Welcome back to another edition of Kev & A. If you have a question or need some advice, reach out at ElectricDraculaInquiries@gmail.com
Today’s question comes from someone who is looking to self-isolate in my wheelhouse:
Should I watch Hobbs & Shaw?
And I don’t mean ironically. I genuinely enjoy the Fast & the Furious movies for what they are: big, fun, mindless action. The bar has been set and raised consistently and I’m worried this series has, creatively, reached the point of diminishing returns.
Hobbless in Shawattle
You must be referring to Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, a movie so extreme, they put two ampersands in the title. That right there is reason enough for me.
I understand your hesitancy, though. How could the spin-off of a series that is already guaranteed to have 10 movies be any good? Easy. Make the first four shitty, then somehow convince everyone to see a fifth and blow the fucking doors off with it.
Vin Diesel had better shit to do than be in the sequels and the producers of the series knew that none of them were working, so they called Vin and asked him to please come back. I have a sneaking suspicion it was because he was the only who gave a shit about making the first movie. This dude looked at a script about street racers who steal combination DVD/TVs or some shit and was like, “Uhdontthintheyhabenubbcrudabuddidty.” Which translates to either, “They need more street cred.” or “I am Groot.” It doesn’t fucking matter. He rolled up to the set of the movie where drag racers compete at something called RACE WARS and was worried about it feeling authentic. He finally agreed to start showing up in them again if he could basically have creative control. And they fucking said YES!
It should be noted that I actually did research on this. Not for this question. Just, like, in my own time. To figure it out.
With Vin back on board, they asked what’s the best way to make the third sequel for The Fast and the Furious and let everyone know that you really mean business and want everyone to love it? DROP. THOSE. ARTICLES! They were just like, “Fuck it. Call it Fast & Furious. No one will fucking notice.” And you know what? It was…fine? I guess. I barely remember it.
A big complaint I have about a lot of movies is it feels like their scripts need a few more passes. You have some broad stroke stuff down or some good characters, but it isn’t working. Take some time and see what you can do to make it gel. And that’s what it feels like they did to get to Fast Five. And I don’t mean worked on the script. I mean, they just kept making the movies until they figured out what it was that they should be. I have to assume they spent the better part of a billion dollars before they realized, “We should probably just make this like real dumb, but on purpose, right?” YES! Bring me your finest semi-retired professional wrestler and make sure he will NOT. STOP. SWEATING!
Imagine meeting someone in the wild who prefers the purity of the first movie in the series over Vin Diesel and Paul Walker destroying the infrastructure of Rio de Janeiro with a fucking bank vault ripping through the streets. Killing the fuck out of innocent bystanders and telling physics to eat shit. The Rock running through walls and looking so jacked that he is starting to produce his own gravitational field. A plot so goddamn thin, it was also asked to be Gal Godot’s stunt woman. There HAS to be some misguided film school dropout somewhere that prefers the simplicity of living life a quarter mile at a time to the inevitably that we are going to see Vin Diesel launch a GTO out of a space shuttle bay directly at a satellite that can trigger an extinction-level event.
Quick side note while I’m still talking about a movie four Fast & Furious releases before the one I was asked about: I swear to god the night that I saw Fast Five, I was convinced that they must have taken the script from the abandoned The Italian Job sequel that was supposed to be called The Brazilian Job and marinated it in vat of Monster Energy Drink and spicy pepper relish for a fortnight. Then they actually brought a cast member from The Italian Job into the series, so I thought, well, at least they can’t try to tie them together in some way. Until they did. Jason Statham makes an offhand comment in Hobbs & Shaw about The Italian Job and I stood up in the theater and punted half a bag of cold popcorn.
Speaking of which, did I mention that I took a day off from work to go see Hobbs & Shaw in a theater? Because I did. And since you are just now asking me if you should watch it, clearly you might not be fan enough. It’s not so much should you watch Hobbs & Shaw, it’s whether Hobbs & Shaw should let you watch it. *stops to check math…it looks good*
Okay, yes, I get your concern about diminishing returns. I would absolutely accept the argument that the movies have started to get stale. Or at least feel a little formulaic, no matter what nuclear submarines they have to race in them. Plus Paul Walker died. That’s going to throw your trajectory off. But that’s kind of the beauty of Hobbs & Shaw. They introduced two major action stars into the franchise late in the game and immediately made them enemies that had to keep working together for comic effect. It’s like 48 Hours and Another 48 Hours, but if Another 48 Hours was still as good as 48 Hours.
They take the two most extreme characters they have laying around and decide, fuck it, they have their own thing now. But how do we spice it up? How about making Idris Elba the villain? Yeah…that’s good, but remember that thing I said five paragraphs ago about needing to bring it all together? Yes. So what do you have for me? We make him a cyborg?
You make him a goddamn cyborg.
Stringer Bell is no longer confined by the limitations of the human body. But like even more so than The Rock already has.
What are you going to do? NOT watch it?
Plus, Vanessa Kirby is in it. Do I have a crush on Vanessa Kirby? Yes. Very much so. Even if it was pointed out to me by my girlfriend (who if she is reading this, I wrote all that stuff about having a crush on Vanessa Kirby as a joke) that she is wearing a wig throughout the entire movie. This is something that happens frequently when I watch movies. I now have the ability to spot a wig from a couch to TV distance away.
The only downside to Vanessa Kirby being in Hobbs & Shaw is that it just makes me want to watch Mission: Impossible – Fallout for the 100th time. God. That movie whips so much ass. Action movies got real bad, then they got fun again for being ridiculous. Now these new Mission: Impossible movies are like, “Join us to see how Tom Cruise COULD have died to bring you entertainment.”
Back to the action franchise at hand: Fuck it, dude. Start from the beginning. Do a bunch of shit around your house while you make your way through the “meh” ones and get yourself in the mood. Kill those lights, make some snacks. Pop on those sweatpants that you won’t even get the mail in. What do you have to lose?
Counterpoint: don’t. Not because you won’t have a great time, but because you shouldn’t feel compelled to watch anything you aren’t sure of.
Just watch whatever the hell you want or nothing at all, if that fits you better. I keep talking to people who feel like they need to be more productive or up their entertainment intake while we are all staying inside. Don’t sweat that shit. It isn’t a competition. Don’t feel like you have to watch Tiger King because everyone else did. It’s not like most people are going to remember it three months from now. If we have Halloween this year, you are going to have at least one guy at each party dressed like Joe Exotic. And it’s like, but that was from March. Sorry you bought props to post a picture of yourself on Instagram and need to justify it on your taxes. Besides, you’ve seen the memes, you get it. Move on.
IN CONCLUSION! (I was on the mock trial team in high school) Hobbs & Shaw is definitely worth your time. It’s up there with the best of the Fast & Furious movies, even if the last few haven’t been ringing your bell. It’s a great way to pass the time and forget about the current state of affairs. Plus, it will teach you important lessons. Like, apparently, Samoa is pronounced like Sam-wah. Huh.
Also, if they don’t figure out a way to make Idris Elba’s character a good guy in one of the upcoming movies, I am going to get cybernetic implants so I can punch my way into the studio and demand a refund.