Hobbs & Shaw
Hobbs & Shaw is the first official spin-off of the Fast & Furious franchise (unless you count Tokyo Drift, WHICH I DO NOT!) It centers on Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who are begrudgingly working together to save the world. Again.
I don’t know that you can necessarily spoil a Fast film??? But SPOILER WARNING.
So, Shaw’s sister Hattie is an MI6 agent who injects herself with a virus to keep it from Brixton (the Bad guy, played sexily by Idris Elba) and the evil cabal he works for. He’s mechanically and technologically enhanced to be a super-soldier. The cabal wants to release the virus and kill off “the weak” and then, if I understand correctly, enhance the remaining vestiges of humanity in the same way??? I don’t know, but sis gets framed for killing her team and stealing the virus and the titular characters get called in to find her.
They do. Things go fast and people are furious. Brixton is thwarted by the Macho Duo, so the cabal feeds the international media a false story painting Hobbs and the Shaws as int’l criminals, and they have to do clandestine shit to go on the run. Hobbs and Hattie flirt, Shaw is mad about it. They do the normal stunts and shows… you know what I mean, you’ve seen these movies.
If you have enjoyed the rest of the Fast & Furious franchise, especially Five and on, you will probably enjoy this. If you — like me — are trying to figure out why we’re supposed to root for the man who killed our beloved Han, you will not get any satisfying answers to that question. But you will enjoy the series’ particular brand of nonsense.
Anyway, I don’t even know why I typed all that, it is entirely irrelevant to my issue with the film and the actual reason I am writing right now.
This woman is supposed to be sister to this man. Cool, fine. But(!) I AM SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT THEY WERE CHILDREN AT ROUGHLY THE SAME TIME!?! If the flashbacks are to be believed they are a mere few years apart and not the two decades I had assumed.
I suspend all disbelief in these films, I go into them ready for fuckery. But this? This is too much. Look, I’m willing to buy that Jason Statham and Vanessa Kirby are closely related despite them looking absolutely nothing alike, nor like their brother Owen (Luke Evans) nor like their mother Magdalene (Helen Mirren). But I cannot and will not entertain the idea that they are approximately similar in age.
To be clear, Jason was born in 1967 and Vanessa was born in 1988. They are 21 years apart. And they look it! Even if she’s playing a bit older and he’s playing a bit younger, they don’t look like they could ever have been enrolled at the same school at the same time. At the farthest reaches of my imagination, I can MAYBE see him 10 years her senior, but in the flashbacks, they look no more than 5 years apart.
He looks old enough to be her dad, cause he is old enough to be. A friend of mine suggested they should’ve just been father and daughter. And while that would’ve made the casting more age-appropriate and believable, it wouldn’t really work with the story and the relationship they’d established. They could’ve changed certain things to make the age difference work, but a better choice would’ve been to just cast someone who was actually in the age range that the character is supposed to be.
And I’d ask why they cast who they did, but the answer is obvious. Men in their 50s get to be sexy and desirable, but women older than maybe 35 (and who look older than 30) do not. Lord forbid a woman in her mid-to-late 40s be allowed to play a strong, capable woman who is also attractive, sexy, and a love interest. What would it even look like, a woman playing opposite men who are her peers, not her elders?
If you want a female character to hit a certain aesthetic, make conscious choices about the story you’re writing for her. Hattie is a few years younger than Deckard, cool, cast someone in their 40s (unless they think WE think Jason Statham looks younger than he does 😬). OR write her as his daughter or niece, or keep her his sister, but don’t show them playing together as similarly-aged kids. Write a story that makes their obvious age difference make sense.
I enjoyed Vanessa’s performance and would embrace her in future Fast films, but I was irritated the whole time by her being so much younger than BOTH/ALL of her male costars. Of all the implausible and outright egregious things that happen in these movies, Deckard and Hattie being “roughly the same age” is The Fucking Worst.