If you’re a big movie studio these days, you have to be thinking about universe building. Disney’s got the MCU and Star Wars. Fox has Avatar. And Universal has the Fast and Furious franchise which is entering 18th (!) year. But a franchise can not grow a big fat money tree on sequels and theme park attractions alone. And hence we have Hobbs and Shaw, the Fast franchise’s first spinoff.
It’s built around the big bromance energy that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw flexed in Fast 7 and Fast 8. Surely audiences would want the duo Comedy Central Roasting each other for 134 minutes, right?
Pretty much. The best parts of Hobbs and Shaw are the insults they throw at each other in between fighting their way to save the world. The plot in a nutshell: a humanity-ending McGuffin virus is injected into Hattie, played formidably by Vanessa Kirby, Shaws sister. Idris Elba’s Brixton Lore, a cyborg villain created by a nihilistic transhuman organization, wants it back to cut down earth’s population and start anew. Hobbs and Shaw just need to save Hattie, but that requires car chases through London traffic, a trip to Russia, infiltrating the enemy’s secret base, and then heading to Samoa.
Does that sound a little James Bond-ish with a heavy sprinkle of Mission Impossible? It is. And that’s ok. Because it’s directed by stuntman turned director David Lietch—he was behind Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde—the hand to hand combat sequences are ballet-like in execution, especially the cross cut sequence where Hobbs is muscling his way through a tattoo parlor as Shaw is beating people into submission with a champagne bottle. “Champagne problems,” he says.
But it’s the credit scenes that might be the most exciting moment of this spinoff. That’s because they set up an irresistible sequel and an expansion of the franchise into some interesting territory.
Hellen Mirren appears with her children, Hattie and Deckard, right before they’re going to help her break out of prison. This series has always been about family right? And then there’s Ryan Reynold’s Agent Locke. He first appears earlier in the film to recruit Hobbs for the McGuffin mission. Turns out, they’ve worked together before and he has a huge man crush on him, flashing him a matching tribal tattoo. He later appears in the credit sequence of the film to announce that there’s another virus that needs to wrangled. (And he also comments on the finale of Game of Thrones.)
While it’s delightful seeing Johnson and Statham trade barbs, the idea of throwing a wise cracking Ryan Reynolds into the mix—he’s pretty much Deadpool without the mask—seems like a sure fire way to keep this franchise going for another 18 years. And given The Rock’s tweet earlier in the week about the future of the Hobbs and Shaw team, it seems we’ll absolutely be seeing more of Reynolds in this universe.
What could their adventures entail? There’s a sequel, of course, that could continue immediately after the credit sequence, but there could be a prequel to Hobbs and Shaw (Locke and Hobbs, perhaps?), where we see them in past missions that are mentioned during the recruitment seen? There was talk of Rawanda and we find out that Hobbs’s full name is Lucas Rebecca Hobbs. Nickname? Becky. But here’s a theory of where the story might go next: Could Ryan Reynolds be the leader of Eteon, the corporation that made Idris Elba’s Brixton into a super soldier? After Brixton’s demise in the final scene, the distorted, scrambled voice of Eteon emanates from a helicopter speaker and he says that he has a history with Hobbs. Maybe we’ll just have to wait for the cut scenes in Fast and Furious 9, due out on May 22, 2020 to find out.