The Fast & Furious franchise is moving ahead, but the future of the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw offers more promise for the popular action movie series.
The Fast & Furious franchise has a two-part finale on the way, but the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw is the more exciting corner of the series. When it comes to action movies driven (no pun intended) by fast cars and automotive stunts, there’s no bigger titan than The Fast Saga. Spanning an astonishing two decades, the series is set to wrap up with Fast 10 and Fast 11.
Unfortunately, Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs won’t be a part of the final ride of the Fast & Furious series. This stems from Johnson’s feud with Vin Diesel, which led to him stepping away from the series after 2017’s The Fate of the Furious. Diesel would later take to social media to ask Johnson to return for the finale, but The Rock made it clearer than ever that his days in the Fast & Furious franchise are over.
That being said, Johnson hasn’t retired from the role of Luke Hobbs altogether. Johnson returned to the role alongside Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw in the 2019 spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, which currently has a sequel in the works. Johnson has also indicated (via The Jess Cagle Show) that the concept he pitched for Hobbs & Shaw 2 could also hint that it might be his last ride as Hobbs. If Hobbs & Shaw 2 indeed is a finale for its side of the Fast & Furious series, the franchise’s status overall makes it the more compelling conclusion of the two.
The Fast & Furious Series Is Getting Ridiculous (Even By Its Own Standards)
The Fast Saga has been a slow boil of getting more and more outrageous since it began with The Fast & the Furious in 2001. In its early days, street racing was the name of the game for the series, and its stakes were fairly low and decidedly Earthbound. Fast Five changed things up with wilder stunts and action scenes. It also formulated the ensemble – or, more accurately, “family” – that captured the audience’s hearts. Still, for as crazy as Fast Five was, it still kept things in a plausible realm.
By the time F9 arrived, the franchise had gone from living its life a quarter-mile at a time to 1,000 miles an hour. Over the course of the installments between Fast Five and F9, less and less concern was given to adhering to anything akin to believability. Instead, the post-Fast Five mandate of the series was consistently one-upping each previous installment. F9 was the point where The Fast Saga’s ridiculousness came to dominate reviews and online discussion about it. The space car and makeshift space suits of Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) especially signaled just how laissez-faire the Fast & Furious was. What’s curious about that is that the franchise’s last installment wasn’t discussed in the same terms.
Hobbs & Shaw Charted A Different Path
Hobbs & Shaw didn’t try to be a soft reboot of The Fast Saga by any stretch of the imagination. There were still plenty of moments of the series’ well-known casual absurdity. Hobbs & Shaw‘s villain Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) and the Eteon terrorist group were also right out of the franchise’s evolution into superhero territory. The key difference was that Hobbs & Shaw knew how far it could push things before the suspension of disbelief became impossible.
The spin-off also was right on the money that Johnson and Statham’s chemistry in The Fate of the Furious made them a great buddy duo. David Leitch of John Wick fame also stepped in to direct, with Hobbs & Shaw‘s action scenes being some of the franchise’s best. More importantly, Hobbs & Shaw‘s approach to the action was, relatively speaking, the most realistic in years for the franchise. With the occasional reminder of what series it was a part of sprinkled in, Hobbs & Shaw pushed the boundaries of believability without overshooting them. When it comes to its place in The Fast Saga, both Hobbs & Shaw and the primary series are moving ahead. However, the former seems to be in a stronger position.
Why Hobbs & Shaw 2 Has The Most Potential
The Rock’s declaration that he will absolutely not return for Fast 10 & 11 was as emphatic a “No” as it gets. This means that Hobbs & Shaw 2 will be where Luke Hobbs is next seen. To be sure, Johnson’s notoriously packed schedule includes back-to-back Red Notice sequels and whatever plans are spun out of Black Adam. This means that it’ll still be a while before Hobbs & Shaw 2 arrives. Still, his and Statham’s strong chemistry, the very well-executed action scenes, and the light-hearted tone make Hobbs & Shaw 2 arguably the most exciting upcoming Fast & Furious movie. After F9, the main series itself is another story.
It bears repeating just how unconcerned with even the facade of reality The Fast Saga has become. The borderline invincibility of Dom and his crew have left the chase and fight scenes significantly drained of their old stakes. Moreover, Hobbs just doesn’t function as he used to alongside Dom and co. While he’s carved out a fitting niche for himself alongside Shaw, the principal The Fast Saga never found a way to replicate the role he served. This leaves Fast 10 & 11 in the position of being all but expected to execute the most epic Nuke the Fridge moment of all time. Hobbs & Shaw 2, by contrast, can be a more contained send-off for Hobbs adventures with a dash of superhuman elements like its predecessor had.
The Fast & Furious series has had a far longer and more successful run than most action movie franchises ever get. This makes the decision to end the franchise after Fast 10 & 11 a smart move. Still, it also comes long after the series’ embrace of a gargantuan level of silliness. Hobbs & Shaw didn’t disregard any of that but had the best grasp of utilizing it. The last run of the Fast Saga is sure to be an emotional farewell for the millions who have followed the franchise for so long. Still, among all of the upcoming Fast & Furious movies, Hobbs & Shaw 2 looks to have the most going for it.
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