Hobbs & Shaw: Women get ‘Fast & Furious’


While ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ is an excellent addition to the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, do not let the title mislead you. The film is more about Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) than it is about either of the title characters, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).

The IMDb description for the production, “Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity,” makes no reference to Hattie Shaw. What’s wrong with this picture? Why is there no mention of Hattie? Does this character not warrant a mention in the description?

Hattie, no damsel in distress, can stand on her own feet without the assistance of some testosterone-heavy brute. Because Hattie has an attitude, she knows how to push all the right buttons to get what she wants.

While a lot of people might want to focus on Johnson and Statham, we should not forget which talent is playing the character everyone wants. That’s Kirby. Hattie is the one with the virus in her body, not Luke or her brother.

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ is not a film where we see two-dimensional female characters playing second fiddle to men. These female characters have depth, real opinions and voices to express those opinions with when men get out of line.

Strong Female Characters…

Women, in addition to Kirby, play a significant rule throughout the film. Helen Mirren reprises her role as Magdalene “Queenie” Shaw from The Fate of the Furious, Eiza González plays Madame M and Lori Pelenise Tuisano is Sefina.

Queenie is the kind of mother every EastEnder fears and loves in equal measure. Madame M, a mysterious billionaire, is a professional robber with significant resources. She’s capable of arming a small army at short notice. Sefina, Luke’s mother, is the matriarch of the family Hobbs just like Queenie is with the Shaw family. Because Sefina demands respect from her sons, they know when not to cross her. Actions have consequences and they fully understand what will happen if she is vexed.

If Hobbs & Shaw proves anything, it shows a production can have fully realised female characters and still be appealing to a wide filmgoing audience.

The Film Premise…

MI6 learns the terrorist organization Eteon has possession of the Snowflake virus. Consequently, a team of MI6 agents were sent out to retrieve the virus, but during the operation, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) arrives and kills all the agents except for one. Hattie, after injecting herself with the virus, escapes.

With all Eteon’s resources at his fingertips, Brixton frames Hattie for killing her team and stealing the virus. The CIA recruits Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, Hattie’s brother, to bring in Hattie and reacquire the virus.

Because both Luke and Deckard despise each other, they find it difficult to work together. Deckard goes to his sister’s home while Luke manages to find Hattie. After a brief brawl in which it seems Hattie lets Luke win, she is taken to the CIA offices the agency set up in London. Not long after their arrival, Brixton’s team attack the office and takes Hattie.

Hobbs and Deckard pursue Brixton through the London streets. After catching up with Brixton, they rescue Hattie. The trio somehow manages to find common ground and are subsequently able to work together.

After locating Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan), Snowflake’s creator, they soon learn Hattie must either die or have the virus extracted from her body. Because there is a limited timeframe, time is short.

With weapons attained from Moscow billionaire Madame M (Eiza González), the trio set out to infiltrate Eteon’s Ukrainian facility where the extraction device is stored. With the device badly damaged, Luke is left with no choice but to ask his estranged brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis) for help repairing it.

As family reunions go, this was tame. Jonah agrees to repair the device for Luke only because their mother, Sefina, doesn’t give him a choice.

Complete with a Samoan war dance, the confrontation initially goes well for Luke and Deckard, but Brixton takes Hattie again. This forces Luke, Deckard and their allies to bring down his helicopter. After Luke and Deckard defeat, the Eteon’s director remotely terminates Brixton. This is not the last time we hear from the director.