WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flood Advisory View Alerts

'Hobbs & Shaw' shows how buddy action movies won't grow up

The "Fast and Furious" franchise may be known for its ridiculous actions scenes, but it also does serious business. See how this franchise has brought in over $5 billion worldwide.

Posted: Aug 2, 2019 1:40 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2019 1:40 PM

The movie business and discussions of masculinity have evolved over the decades. But if a movie like "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" is any indication, the buddy action comedy -- ripe with juvenile insults and taunts -- remains the Peter Pan of genres, one that refuses to grow up.

Largely immune to change, action comedies remain mired somewhere in the 1980s. That certainly feels true watching this spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, where much of the humor is predicated on the two's dislike of each other, leading to plenty of verbal jabs back and forth. Those include various anatomical references, impugning each other's manhood literally as well as figuratively.

It is, of course, following the template established by the banter between these characters in previous installments of the flagship franchise. Yet what's striking is how little the formula has varied from the genre's old days, where grudging friendships are forged through shared dangers, but only after exhausting the topic of just how much the leading men can't stand each other.

"Hobbs & Shaw" also employs a common subplot to these scenarios -- namely, the complicating factor of having one guy harbor an obvious attraction to the other's sister, in this case, an equally adept MI6 agent played by Vanessa Kirby.

The "Not with my sister, you don't" trope was featured, for example, in "Tango & Cash," a 1989 movie that starred Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as highly competitive narcotics cops, with a pre-"Lois & Clark" Teri Hatcher as the former's sibling.

The '80s, in fact, were a veritable treasure trove of buddy action movies -- several of which hung around in the form of sequels -- including "48 HRs.," "Lethal Weapon," "Midnight Run," "Stir Crazy" (one of several Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder collaborations), "Running Scared" and "Red Heat."

Racial or cultural differences became one way to highlight the disparity and friction between the characters, but the genre's popularity spawned various twists, such as the sci-fi permutation "Alien Nation."

As it happens, the year "The Fast and the Furious" movies began, in 2001, the Los Angeles Times ran a column titled "It's Still a Guy Thing: The Evolution of Buddy Movies." Noting that the genre has endured while others, like the western, dissipated, the piece drew a thematic line back to the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby and Jerry Lewis-Dean Martin pairings, with a taste of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon's team-ups, especially "The Odd Couple."

The article concluded that these movies "tell us a lot about the eras the films come from," an assertion that seems questionable in hindsight. Notably, "Hobbs & Shaw" arrives on the heels of "Stuber," an action movie starring Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista that tried to address issues surrounding "toxic masculinity" within the context of what Nanjiani called "a dude movie."

"I feel like we're in a time where we can talk about masculinity and how it's always been very traditionally defined in a narrow way and how that's led to problems for everyone -- for women and for men," Nanjiani told The Hollywood Reporter. "I felt like it would be interesting to try to talk about that stuff in a traditionally very masculine genre."

"Stuber," alas, has mostly fizzled at the box-office. There are several ways to read that, but one is that action movies aren't really the place to explore such nuance, and the people who enjoy them prefer they remain as big, loud and uncomplicated as they've traditionally been.

Whether that assertion holds, firing blanks commercially isn't a fate "Hobbs & Shaw" is likely to suffer. What that says about the expectations of the action-movie audience is open for debate, but for Hollywood's purposes it's the one measurement, ultimately, that matters.

"Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" opens Aug. 2 in the US.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather