“Hobbs & Shaw” Fast & Furious spin-off looks heavy on action, light on cars

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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Universal Pictures

Remember when the Fast and Furious franchise was about sweet cars and tuner culture? Not that the last few movies were much more than star-studded action movies with outrageous, literally unbelievable car-chase scenes, but the latest spin-off from the Fast franchise isn’t even trying.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson just posted the trailer for Hobbs & Shaw on his YouTube channel. Aside from the (most welcome) appearance of a svelte-looking McLaren 720S and some kind of building-to-building barrel-roll jump in a buggy, the movie is decidedly not centered around car culture. Which is fine, we’re just saying don’t expect this to be Fast and Furious 8.5.

Plot details, as they often are in explosive blockbusters of this sort, are thin. But what’s clear is Hobbs & Shaw is a kind of anti-buddy-cop action-comedy where nemeses and F&F alums Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) are forced to join forces in order to take on a larger threat embodied by Brixton (Idris Elba). The light exposition in the trailer describes Johnson’s character as a “career law man,” but Hobbs does a fine job articulating his ethos himself as “what you call an ice-cold can of whoop-ass.” Shaw’s self-characterization is equally cringe-worthy or worth generous applause, depending on your taste for this genre of action flick.

The subtext of Hobbs & Shaw as a standalone movie is that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson won’t appear in Fast and Furious 9. He’s reportedly too tied up with making Hobbs & Shaw to participate, although it might also have something to do with the fact that Johnson didn’t always play nice with actors Tyrese Gibson and Vin Diesel.

While I’m sure this new spin-off will be no less enjoyable than any of the recent action-packed Fast movies, it is a bummer that cars won’t be a bigger part of this latest development. I suppose it makes sense given that it’s really Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his exploits that bring the motor to the mix, and there will still be more Fast movies to make sure that appetite is satiated.

Hobbs & Shaw comes out later this year, while Fast 9 is scheduled for 2020.

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