"IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME! No, it couldn't. It could only have been The Rock"
It is not surprising that those who love World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) would enjoy the Fast & Furious series. It has action, comedy, decent-enough acting and good-looking characters. With the introduction of the series' first spin-off, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Pro Wrestling fans can safely chant "YES! YES! YES!" to another blockbuster headlined by The Rock (or Dwayne Johnson, for those who only know of him in the acting world).
Hobbs & Shaw sees The Rock (can we still call him that since he is only credited as Dwayne Johnson now?) return as United States Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent, Luke Hobbs alongside Jason Statham returning as Deckard Shaw, a member of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF).
First introduced in the fifth and sixth instalments of the franchise, the trailer nicely shows that both are Alpha Males who refuse to work together to save the world. But, as we all know, they are forced to put their differences to become a team to take down the baddie, Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba), who is after Shaw's sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who has a virus that has the ability to destroy everyone that Brixton wants to get rid of to reshape the World.
After various exciting fight scenes that take us to England, Russia and Samoa, the trio (I'm including Hattie, as she was a strong participant) accomplish their goal. And, yes, the theme of 'family' that has been ingrained in us since The Fast & the Furious (I'm talking about the first movie... yes, I know it's hard to keep track), is still there!
As it seems in every Rock movie, there are elements of Pro Wrestling incorporated into proceedings, this time around with the introduction of Roman Reigns (credited as Joe "Roman Reigns" Anoa'i) as a member of Hobbs' family (he and Dwayne are cousins in real life), we get to see four popular staples from their Pro Wrestling repertoire; The People's Eyebrow (this never gets old!), Samoan drop (no surprise there!); the overuse of the term 'Uso' (or 'brother' in Samoan); and Roman Reigns' signature spear, along with the "set up" (where he moves his arms in a circle and screams 'Oh ah!') --- however, that normally takes place before the spear, in the film, it is after. Reigns did not have a speaking role (leaning towards this being a good thing), but he was on screen a substantial amount of time in which he could not be missed.
With the Samoan dynasty being such a big part of WWE (sorry Samoa Joe), it was really nice to see the culture in Hobbs & Shaw. This speaks volumes to the star power of The Rock, as it is obvious that part of the script was written for him... or he demanded it be added to the script (he is one of the Producers).
The audience is shown gorgeous scenery of what could be considered Samoa (really, Hawai'i), graced with a Siva Tau (Samoan war dance) and have the opportunity to get a glimpse into a different family (not only Shaw's, Dom's or Brian's).
The film was enjoyable and is everything you would expect from a Fast & Furious film. It does not take itself seriously at all, which is the best part. There are a couple of fun cameos by popular actors, which catch you off guard, and there are bonus scenes all throughout the end credits (don't leave before!).
Statham and The Rock have good chemistry. Maybe it's because you can imagine them TRULY being Alpha Males who think they can do everything by themselves in real life or it could be because they are very popular (and bankable) action stars. Whatever it is, you can bet your life that there will be a second film in this new series (or is it still the same series?) and who knows...Reigns might actually get a couple of lines thrown his way?!
Wrestling fans can rejoice knowing that The Rock stayed true to his mutual love of acting and Pro Wrestling. It is obvious he has not forgotten where he came from and will continue to represent. A simple look at the cast of the ninth film in the Fast & Furious series (John Cena) proves that. The Rock continues to rise above all expectations in Hollywood. Anything he touches turns to gold (can you say 'cha-ching') and he is always looking for a challenge. But one favour to ask of you, Mr. Johnson: in the next film, can you please give the people what they want and do a Rock Bottom! That could have easily been incorporated into the fight scene in Samoa!