'Hobbs & Shaw' Has The Greatest Trailer Of All Time
When you think of awesome trailers, what movie scenes start flowing through your veins? Dr. Manhattan vaporizing people in the Watchmen trailer? The complete lack of dialogue in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? The Gravity trailer that pretty much gives you the first two minutes of the movie? The echoed voiceovers in Mad Max? The loud BWAAHHH from the Inception trailer? The 500 million friends line from Social Network? All of the shots from Rogue One that didn't make it into the actual movie? The iconic Liam Neeson speech in the Taken trailer that ends with the haunting 'good luck'? The full reveal of Thanos in Infinity War? All of the slow-motion shots in 300? The tongue click and complete misdirect in Hereditary? The sudden crescendo (no pun intended) of a chair throw in Whiplash? The uploaded-without-sound-and-music Mummy trailer that is somehow accidentally revolutionary?
The essential consideration when judging a trailer is that its effectiveness is entirely independent of how good the actual movie was. Whether Social Network is considered one of the greatest movies of all time (a Sorkin masterwork) or that Watchmen is polarizing at best are irrelevant points. The trailers are standalone works, and the criteria for judging a trailer are different from those of judging a movie. First, what is the ratio of on-screen text to actual clips from the movie? Second, is the primary plot driver introduced in the first half of the trailer? Third, does the trailer overshare or give away too much of the plot? Fourth, does the trailer give a representative sample of action or dialogue? Fifth, at what point does the studio credit come up? Sixth, is some kind of a twist at least gently teased in the back half? And seventh, do they end on a fitting note or line?
I've only watched it two dozen times, but I feel confident in saying that the trailer for 'Hobbs and Show' is the greatest trailer ever made. The Dwayne Johnson-led spinoff of the Fast and Furious franchise featuring Jason Statham not only hits on all of the key points but takes them to new extremes. If the movie is shaping up to be a cross between Mission Impossible and The Expendables, the trailer is a mashup of cocaine and testosterone. After you've finished experiencing the three and a half minute (!) adrenaline rush in full and without interruption, let's go through it together second-by-second so we can truly appreciate it for the greatness that it is.
0:00 – Before we even start, it's worth mentioning that the premise of this whole movie is ridiculous, because Statham's character was somehow retconned to kill Vin Diesel's family™ member Han in Fast 6 even though Han died in a completely different way in Fast 3 (Tokyo Drift). It seems like it only took everyone a couple movies to forget that, including Hobbs, who is a former law enforcement agent. Just to establish the grounds we're playing on here. At least X-Men made up a reason to go and mess with the timeline. Ok, let's go.
0:01 – We start off with landscape shot of cars and a helicopter all headed toward what looks like a nuclear power plant, which are always good places to ratchet up the tension. Usually we start off with *just* cars, but the copter is a nice touch. No wasted seconds here.
0:06 – The bickering between Johnson and Statham sets up this movie as a quippy buddy cop flick from the jump. Again, these two would be mortal enemies in any logical universe, and they were! Remember the prison fight? But they can bust each other's balls, which is the most important qualification in being friends. Always nice when the movie is self-aware.
0:17 – It's unclear how they found someone both taller and bulkier than the Rock, who somehow still dispatches him with a single punch that he apparently never saw coming. It's the same way the 2016 Jason Bourne trailer started!
0:21 – Statham holds up a bulletproof vest as a shield against point-blank fire, which is not how Kevlar really works, but is an important moment to establish the devotion to physics (or lack thereof) this movie is going to have. Even better, he uses the bullet-riddled vest to smack the gun out of the shooter's hand. For some reason, the Rock had to fight off a dude with a wrench, while everyone else had guns. We're already doing great.
0:32 – This reach-around move is almost fourth-wall breaking, as if Statham's character knew that he was part a movie and had to do the most theatrical thing possible. While the Rock drags his victim by the leg, Statham makes sure to grab his by the collar to ensure maximum face-recognition efficiency. Honestly, this hallway could be as long as the airplane runway from Fast 6 and it still wouldn't be boring to watch Statham rail on faceless villains.
0:45 – We get the Universal logo after a great opening sequence, followed by an immediate reveal of the bad guy, Idris Elba, who is talking to an empty square of people on a huge screen public TV. Of all the ways to try and reach a handful of specific people, this seems like it was poorly conceived. Elba also uses actual glitches while talking, which seems like the high-tech equivalent of jump cutting. The stakes are high.
0:53 – Vanessa Kirby, who was last seen playing Queen Elizabeth's spoiled-ass sister Margaret in The Crown, immediately shows her chops at being an action hero in a franchise that has routinely worked with interchangeable female characters (remember that Gal Gadot used to be in these movies?!), and proving that her Mission Impossible feature was not just a one-off but the possible beginning of an identity.
0:56 – "A virus" is explained to be the plot driver. No one's accused this franchise of being too light-handed with their exposition. I wonder if they'll explain exactly which half of the population this virus is supposed to kill, and why it wouldn't just kill everyone. Apart from gender, it's hard to think of a characteristic that manifests in right around 50% of everyone. Maybe it'll be a Thanos-esque chance-based killing.
1:04 – The 'Fast and Furious Presents' text reminds me of when music labels used to put an established artist in the title of a newcomer's album to give it some steam. Remember how the now-omnipresent DJ Khaled's first album was titled 'Terror Squad Presents Listen’? Look how far we've come. It makes it feel like we're here for a show. And the show is just getting started. Right after we see the 'Fast and Furious' text, we get an immediate homage to Family™, which is in the screenwriter's contract to include. It's impressive that they somehow extended the whole Family™ trope to the villains, which include Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, and now Statham as the staple.
1:08 – In the span of a half second, the Rock punches through his own window, makes contact with and grabs the shirt of a motorcycle going full speed in the opposite direction, holds him up with the strength of his forearm, and smashes him against the wall. Somewhere, a physics professor squeals in delight at having found the perfect exam question.
1:14 – A Helen Mirren reveal! Mirren probably has better things to do with her time, which makes it all the more awesome that she chose to be in this movie. This is the right kind of reveal, unlike when Batman v Superman completely ruined the Wonderman in-costume reveal. Just a taste. Always keeping us wanting more. It's hard to pick out another super-serious actor who came aboard an entirely non-serious franchise midway.
1:16 – Among all the unconventional weapons that modern action movies use, the flamethrower is notoriously underused. I wonder if Elba bought it from Elon Musk. This should be one of the most exciting scenes of the trailer, but it doesn't even make the top 10.
1:33 – After ejecting Statham on an intentionally mistimed count (a far more effective one than when Matt Damon stepped off a landmine in the Monument's Men), the Rock somehow facetimes Kirby in 1080p from a jet at cloud level with the top down. You know you're not fucking around when you have technology like that.
1:37 – In the wildest scene in all of action movie history, Elba somehow runs down the side of a building while carrying someone on his back! What?! And that was without Channing Tatum's anti-gravity rocket boots that use redirected differential equation slope fields from Jupiter Ascending. We don't need that condescending faux-science explanatory shit here! Keep running, Idris!
1:39 – Remember when it was cool for a car to jump out of a building, all the way back one movie ago in Fast 7? Here, we have an armored jeep corkscrewing while crashing out of the side of a building while a nearby helicopter shoots at it, and Statham returns fire using a… pistol. It's a safe bet to say that he takes out a propeller blade or two. I'm amped up.
1:45 – Aaaaand we get our first disposable female character played by Eiza Gonzalez, who will probably end up leading a superhero franchise a few years from now. Book it!
1:50 – I didn't need to know that Idris Elba was genetically enhanced, but it's nice character background I guess. We're still raising the stakes.
1:55 – On second thought, I did need to know that he is Black Superman. Maybe that's why he can run down buildings? What about his mercenaries? Are they Black Kryptonians too?
2:00 – The nuclear power plant from the first few seconds looks like it finally got around to exploding. I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. This isn't Chernobyl-esque prestige TV! All that matters is that there are explosions, not why.
2:02 – As you might have guessed, the power plant is crashing down right behind the truck that the three main characters happen to be fighting on.
2:04 – Johnson confirms that Elba is indeed Black Superman, which was obvious when he somehow slid forward on a pile of rubble as if it were ice. Regular old White Superman couldn't do that. And Johnson would know – he pioneered the slide for the People's Elbow.
2:06 – As Statham walks into a room of nice cars, the first such objects we've seen in this Fast and Furious movie, it's worth noting that we're already past the two-minute mark. The trailer should be reaching its peak moment, but we're just getting started.
2:11 – We get a complete venue shift to Hobbs' "home", which features his brother Roman Reigns! This isn't just a cameo; you can bet that we're going to get awesome action from him. Casting a professional wrestler means this truly is home for the Rock.
2:23 – Hobbs claims they need cars and guns, although it's very unclear why they would need cars. They presumably left to an island to 'get off the grid', so where would they go with cars? Who cares! It doesn't matter.
2:26 – Hobbs is surprised to see that all his guns are missing, more specifically, that exactly eight guns are missing (I counted). I guess if there's only one family living on this island, you probably wouldn't really need more than one gun per person, right?
2:34 – "Let's get old school" is about as promising as you can get for a movie about fancy cars and genetically-enhanced soldiers pursuing a deadly virus. This is a great full-circle moment – the Rock started the movie by beating a dude with a wrench, and now he's forced to use a wrench himself. Also, did they not bring any guns with them to the island? Were they just unarmed the whole time?
2:37 – We get our obligatory shirtless Rock shot, which has been in his contract since Baywatch. In a series not known for its male eye-candy with the exception of the late Paul Walker, it's a welcome sight. Another reminder that we have a full minute left in this trailer.
2:39 – The Rock performs a ceremonial pre-battle dance for Elba. I'm very excited to see whether Statham takes part. Call that a tease.
2:44 – This is likely a clever editing trick, but it was done to make it appear like the Rock smashing a club into the ground somehow explodes a car that flies 20 feet into the air. A beautiful cut.
2:46 – The armies charging at one another has to be the final shot right? That's what we did in Infinity War!
2:51 – There's a notable difference between the hammer-wielding proficiency here. Swings by the Rock and Roman send people flying, while Statham needs a few hits to get a knockout. Maybe he could have used a Kevlar vest?
3:02 – A bit late, but we do get the signature keys-in-the-ignition shot. A pity we can't get a bunch of gear changes and NOS as well.
3:04 – While this trailer has been somewhat low on cars, it has been exceptionally high on helicopters. This has to be the fourth separate scene that had a helicopter in it.
3:09 – NOS ALERT! THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Who needs guns when you can try to win a race with a helicopter?
3:12 – The Rock hurls chains over the… wings (?) of the helicopter, which has to be the most impressive throwing feat since the Night King downed Viserion with a single shot to the neck. It's not clear how the chains stayed attached, but they were probably genetically enhanced chains.
3:22 – Statham's incredible driving manages to swerve the truck out of the way of incoming missiles shot from about 100 feet away. Personally, I would have gone with the tried and true strategy of just pushing the missile away. And you thought we'd go a whole trailer without getting a car chase scene.
3:25 – The Rock manages to hold onto the truck with one hand and pull the helicopter with another, which is somehow possibly his third greatest physical feat in this trailer, and his second greatest grip-related achievement. It's a similar shot to when Captain America did the exact same thing in Civil War. Possibly relevant: Captain America *is* a genetically enhanced super soldier.
What a ride. Truly. It matched all the criteria – (1) no on-screen text except the 'presents', (2) the virus was the plot motivation, (3) we somehow got the entire plot but at the same time no plot at all, (4) it's safe to say that the entire movie will be at a 10 level of action, (5) the studio credit is a solid 40 seconds in, (6) the twist is going home, and (7) the ending is possibly the biggest action setpiece of an action-packed trailer. It's borderline impossible to even call it a trailer at this point. It's more like a short film. That's the level of art we've achieved.
It's entirely possible that they burned all of their best shots in this trailer, but it's also possible that these were the shots that they could afford to burn because they had a ton of better ones in the movie. Either one is legitimately in play. Ordinarily, it's bad when you can't pinpoint a signature moment, but here, it's because you have so many to choose from. Is it Black Superman, and wouldn't Idris Elba playing Bond be a downgrade from that? It is the helicopter pull? The hallway fight? The two-on-one fight? It's all fucking awesome. Just inject it into my veins. Put it in a magnum and fire it up my ass. Flood the room with NOS and let me breathe it in. Give me as much as you possibly can. I'm here for all of it.
You don't even have to give me the movie. Just keep giving me trailers just like this.