If you were asked to encapsulate the Fast and Furious franchise in just two words, and you weren't permitted to simply use "fast" and/or "furious," the terms "action" and "family" would be pretty solid choices.
A franchise that started out nearly two decades ago with a street-racing flick about an L.A. crew that runs VCRs has become, over the course of a whopping nine movies, a brand of full-blown science fiction mega-blockbusters, each bigger than the last. The stunts and stakes have escalated to apocalyptic, human-race-threatening proportions, but what makes the movies work, beyond a dose of self-awareness the size of star Dwayne Johnson's morning protein shake, is their focus on that third F-word, family. Even Hobbs & Shaw — the franchise's first official spinoff, starring its best fighters (Johnson and Jason Statham) and featuring its most outsized story (Idris Elba as a cyborg, trying to unleash a virus to wipe out much of humanity) — makes sure to work heavy family drama into the globe-hopping action.
To emphasize the odd couple dynamic between Johnson's blue-collar ass-kicker Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's more refined bruiser Deckard Shaw, the film's home studio, Universal (which shares a parent company with SYFY WIRE), held two junkets for the movie. And because SYFY WIRE attended both events, we decided to ask the cast about the two foundational elements of the film.
First, in London, we spoke to Statham, Elba, co-star Vanessa Kirby, writer Chris Morgan, and director David Leitch about the movie's insane action sequences and brutal hand-to-hand fighting scenes.
Notably, we asked everyone who would win in a no-holds-barred street fight between Hobbs and Shaw. As you can see above, there was some division on that question — Elba said he'd put his money on Johnson's Hobbs, but Statham himself made a compelling case as to why Shaw would win a throwdown.
"The thing about Shaw is that he's a precision guy, and we all know what precision and speed does," Statham said. "If you're hit in the right place — you can be twice the size of Dwayne, but a kick to the nuts is a kick to the nuts, you don't get protective muscles around the ballsack."
Over in Hawaii, Johnson fielded some more intimate questions (though perhaps you don't get much more intimate than a kick to the nuts). Part of Hobbs & Shaw takes place in Samoa, where Hobbs grew up and where Johnson himself traces his lineage. Johnson sold SYFY WIRE how important it was not only to feature Samoan culture, but also to flavor the action with elements unique to the island.
Hobbs & Shaw is now in theaters.