After eight films that have amassed billions at the box office and millions of fans worldwide, the Fast & Furious franchise is back with its first stand-alone spin-off. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham will reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Directed by David Leitch and written by long-time Fast & Furious creator Chris Morgan, the film also stars Idris Elba as Brixton Lore, a rogue MI6 field agent, The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby as Deckard’s sister Hattie, and Oscar-winner Helen Mirren as Deckard and Hattie’s mother, Queenie Shaw.
Ever since Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo has always tried to take each other down.
But when Brixton Lorr (Elba) – who also happens to have cyber-genetically enhanced abilities – gains control of a threat that could alter humanity forever, these two sworn enemies will have to team up to bring down the common foe.
Blistering action has always been a key component to the success of the Fast & Furious franchise, and this spin-off is certainly no exception.
Fans of Leitch’s other action thrillers, such as the Keanu Reeves led John Wick series, know to expect epic action sequences in his films. But they’re not there just for show – each drives the storyline and showcases the personality of the individual characters.
“Dave [Leitch] always sees the big picture,” says supervising stunt coordinator Chris O’Hara. “He just has such a great action base, which is key for a movie of this scale, but he also really cares about each character and his actors. He cares about telling a really good story and won’t forsake it for a good stunt.”
“What people don’t really realise about action is that it’s just as important to character development as narrative,” Leitch adds. “A good, well-constructed fight scene will tell you just as much about somebody as well-constructed dialogue will. You can really define your characters through the way they fight.”
For instance, Johnson’s Hobbs relies on brute strength, trash talk, and a take-no-prisoners style. Statham’s Shaw, on the other hand, fights with his brain as much as his body, using speed, agility, and resourcefulness to give him the edge.
“Hobbs has this super powerful physicality and just picks people up and throws them across the room,” Leitch says. “Shaw’s a guy who thinks on his feet. He’s much faster, more nimble, and will use whatever is around him to win a fight. It’s a different kind of tempo. These guys have very different fighting styles that have to come together if they have any chance of beating Brixton’s superhuman powers.”
A particular challenge for O’Hara, Greg Rementer and the stunt team was designing fights with multiple people, particularly for scenes where Hobbs and Shaw tag-team against Brixton. The goal was to maintain the integrity of each of their respective fighting styles and keep everyone in their lanes, while also making sure the scene created something dramatic and dynamic to look at.
“Every move, every kick, every block has an intent so that every fight has a story,” O’Hara says.