After a too-long hiatus, the Fast & Furious universe is finally back in our lives. Kind of, at least: 2019 will not see the release of the ninth film in the Fast saga, but instead the first spinoff in franchise history, a buddy action-comedy called Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, starring action gods/franchise latecomers Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. The first trailer for the movie dropped on Friday, and while it did not provide any clarity regarding why Johnson is wearing pants under his Samoan tribal outfit, it was everything we could’ve hoped it’d be. To break it down, Andrew Gruttadaro and Miles Surrey—two writers who have certainly invested too much emotional stock in this franchise—have listed the trailer’s many winners and losers.
As the Fast & Furious franchise has veered away from its Point Break for Street Racing roots—remember when Dom and his crew were just stealing televisions and stuff?—it has increasingly approached superhero movie territory. How else can you explain Luke Hobbs flexing his way out of an arm cast, because, quote, “Daddy’s gotta go to work”? Where did the street racing go?!
Hobbs & Shaw could be the “OK, are these just straight-up superhero movies now?” inflection point, because Idris Elba’s international terrorist Brixton (!) is apparently a superhuman, bulletproof foe who appears to have more in common with the Winter Soldier than Carter Verone, a man who mostly just smoked a cigar in a threatening way. Superheroes have invaded Hollywood, and that includes its preeminent street-racing franchise. This isn’t a complaint so long as the Fast & Furious maintains its hot streak. And besides, this seems like the perfect stepping stone to what we all want to eventually see: Dominic Toretto in space. —Miles Surrey
Loser: The Core Cast of Fast & Furious
As much as they talk about family within the Fast & Furious movies, there isn’t much of one left behind the scenes. Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel infamously feuded before the 2016 release of The Fate of the Furious, a conflict that reached its nadir when the former referred to the latter as a “candy ass.” Then came the announcement of Hobbs & Shaw in October 2017, which more or less pushed back the release of the ninth Fast film, and with that came an Instagram-fueled rain of hellfire by Tyrese, who spent what seemed like weeks taking shots at “Dewayne.” “I was simply fighting to keep the family together what makes us great is when you see us all TOGETHER we don’t fly solo,” Tyrese wrote in one post. Diesel and fellow cast member Ludacris went on to take Tyrese’s side by, as one does when the debate exists only on Instagram, liking Tyrese’s posts.
So with all of that bad engine fuel, it must be a bit of salt in the wound that Hobbs & Shaw looks pretty freaking great. The pliability of the Fast franchise has been made evident. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing—spinoffs are the way to keep this going forever and can benefit more people than just the Rock. (Case in point: An all-female spinoff led by Michelle Rodriguez is reportedly now in the works.) But for those devoted to keeping the family together—and for those like Tyrese, who may not warrant a stand-alone movie (although give me Roman Returns to Barstow, like, yesterday)—this has to hurt.
Especially because the centerpiece stunt in the Hobbs & Shaw trailer is a near-replica of the first film’s most famous stunt:
Is this shade? Is this humble homage? I’m too deep in the Fast feud (and Tyrese’s Instagram page) to tell. It’s tough when your parents fight. —Andrew Gruttadaro
While we’re on the subject of affronts to the original Fast series, can we talk about how Hobbs is on a motorcycle in the Hobbs & Shaw poster?
Who does he think he is, Johnny Tran? THE GOOD GUYS IN FAST MOVIES DRIVE CARS. IT IS ONE OF THEIR DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS. —AG
Winner: David Leitch
John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2. Those are the first three films of former stuntman turned director David Leitch (though, boring technicality alert, he codirected John Wick alongside Chad Stahelski). You gotta admit, even if you aren’t a fan of all three films, that’s quite a streak—and now he’s behind the camera for Hobbs & Shaw.
After the balletic fight scenes from John Wick and Atomic Blonde, in particular, I have complete faith in Leitch’s work, sight unseen. The same way Christopher Nolan can get people packed into theaters as long as he’s directing a movie, I will watch a Leitch action film regardless of context. There’s nothing in the Hobbs & Shaw trailer that stands out—the skyscraper sequence looks a little too CGI-heavy for my taste—but the John Wick trailers rarely show their hand, either. And let’s be real: This is Leitch working with Jason Statham and the Rock. We’re in for some good shit. —MS
Loser: Han Seoul-Oh
Just a quick recap of the Deckard Shaw timeline: He killed Han Seoul-Oh at the end of Furious 6 (a retroactive explanation of how Han died in Tokyo Drift); he literally blew up the Torretto household, inside of which he hoped were Dom, Brian and Mia, and their freaking baby; and then he tried to kill the rest of the Fast & Furious famiglia in Furious 7. Does Deckard have some redeeming qualities in Fate of the Furious, thanks to his Hobbs bromance and that airplane fight scene when he protected Dom’s baby? Sure. But he also KILLED HAN TWO GODDAMN MOVIES AGO, and now he’s coleading a spinoff.
I love a good villain-turns-antihero arc, but this one unfolded a bit too fast, as Universal Pictures was (understandably) hung up on the allure of Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson trading one-liners and staring at each other seductively. Han—the snacking savant of the crew and love interest of goddamn Wonder Woman—deserved better. Get those #JusticeForHan banners ready come August. We can’t let his erasure continue unchecked. —MS
In the battle of Idris Elba versus leather, leather is absolutely winning.
What did Idris do to that jacket, and why is it trying to strangle him? —AG
Loser: The Crown
This isn’t necessarily The Crown’s fault: The plan was always to replace its cast every two seasons to coincide with Queen Elizabeth and the royal family’s increasing age. But heavy was the head that wore the crown, apparently, because now that its original actors are freed from their regal bonds, they’re going wild. Erstwhile Queen Elizabeth Claire Foy told some scientists that they’re a bunch of boys and went full pixie cut as Lisbeth Salander; meanwhile, Vanessa Kirby, a.k.a. young Princess Margaret, was horny for danger in Mission: Impossible—Fallout and is now an MI6 agent who is also Shaw’s sister in Hobbs & Shaw.
I would never have anticipated Kirby’s turn toward blockbuster action franchises, but I love it. First she thirsted for Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, now she’s plummeting from buildings in a Fast movie. Kirby might be an adrenaline junkie posing as an actress. Get her a role in John Wick 4. —MS
Winner: Hobbs’s Digestive Track
We’ve already established—via the aforementioned cast flex—that Hobbs probably has superstrength. He throws grown men around like they’re rag dolls. Here’s hoping this vigor extends to the dude’s digestive tract.
Hobbs just ate a big spoonful of coffee grinds like it was ice cream. The man is so intense, he’s one step away from taking his morning caffeine intravenously. I guess I’d also trust him with my life? —MS
Hilarious that this guy thought wearing a helmet would keep him safe from Luke Hobbs jumping off a building, landing on him, and then punching him in the face.
In the Fast universe, the Coronas are always cold, gravity doesn’t exist, and protective gear doesn’t work. —AG
Winner: Inventive Methods of Killing Bad Guys
Two weeks ago, we saw John Wick possibly decapitate Boban Marjanovic with a book. On Friday, we saw Deckard Shaw make a foray into cold beverages. “I’m what you might call a champagne problem,” he says in the middle of what looks like a party. This line either doesn’t make sense—because a “champagne problem” is a trivial rich-person grievance, and I don’t think Shaw is self-evaluating like, “lol it me, a white people problem, amirite?”—or it’s a direct admission that Shaw listens to Nick Jonas. But anyway, the only reason he said is because he was planning to decapitate a person by popping a bottle of champagne.
We are truly in the golden age of creatively murderous action heroes. —AG