The Rock Shouldn’t Have Returned After Fast Five: Hobbs Was Ruined

The Rock Shouldn’t Have Returned After Fast Five: Hobbs Was Ruined

The Rock became one of the pillars of the Fast and Furious franchise, but Hobbs should have not returned after Fast Five – at least not the way he did. While The Rock’s feud with Vin Diesel has led the former to exit the main Fast and Furious movies, Dwayne Johnson’s contribution to the franchise cannot be denied. The Rock played Hobbs in four Fast and Furious movies plus a spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw, and yet none of those entries managed to recapture what had made the character so interesting in Fast Five.

After Fast & Furious (2009) proved that there was still an audience for Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner’s stories, Fast Five was given the first $100 million-plus budget in the history of the franchise. Brian and Dom were still at the center of the story, but Fast Five also featured characters from all other four Fast and Furious movies in what felt almost like a crossover event. A threatening and skillful villain had to be created to chase down Dom, Brian, and their newly-formed crew, and although Hobbs was originally written for Tommy Lee Jones, The Rock was cast as Fast Five’s villain.

Related: Fast 5’s Best Dom Story Has Been Lost – But Fast X Can Bring It Back

Fast Five was a turning point both for The Rock’s career and the Fast and Furious franchise. The film cemented Dwayne Johnson as an action star at the same time it changed Fast and Furious into a blockbuster action movie franchise, with Hobbs serving as the most formidable enemy Dom Toretto’s crew could have encountered. That said, Hobbs was designed to lose, as the Fast and Furious characters will always find a way to win in the end. Similar to Brian in The Fast and The Furious, Hobbs realized at the end of Fast Five that Toretto was not the enemy, at least not the biggest one. Hobbs gave Toretto a 24-hour head start as a reward for his help in catching Reyes, essentially “redeeming” The Rock’s character. The problem, however, is that the following Hobbs’ appearances in Fast and Furious kept little to nothing from that Fast Five character, with The Rock playing yet another hero instead of an antagonist or an anti-hero. This ruined what originally made the character great, reducing him to another generic Fast and Furious cast member.

The Rock Was Perfect As Hobbs In Fast Five

Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs in Fast Five

To this day, The Rock’s Hobbs is widely considered the best Fast and Furious villain. Hobbs felt way more threatening than previous names like Braga and Carter Verone, and yet he was never too campy or over the top as recent Fast and Furious villains like Cipher and Jakob Toretto. The Rock’s physicality was also a perfect match for Vin Diesel, which made the Hobbs vs. Toretto fight a highlight in the Fast and Furious franchise. After growing attached to Dominic Toretto and his crew for four movies, audiences could not help but root for the crew to succeed in their heist and for them to escape Hobbs – which made Fast Five highly entertaining. The stakes may not have been as high as in The Fate of the Furious or F9, and yet there was a sense of urgency in Fast Five that no other Fast and Furious movie managed to match. The Rock’s Hobbs was a realistic antagonist, at least for the Fast and Furious standards, and he represented a perfect balance between what the franchise used to be and what it would become.

Turning Hobbs Into Dom’s Ally Was A Mistake

Dwayne Johson as Hobbs in Furious 7

The Rock’s Hobbs shined in Fast Five precisely because he was placed against the characters audiences knew and loved. Dominic Toretto’s family are the heroes of Fast and Furious, which means they would eventually find a way to escape, but that did not make Hobbs’ hunt less interesting. It is rare for The Rock to lose a fight on screen, same for Vin Diesel, another reason why having Dwayne Johnson play a villain in Fast Five was so interesting. Therefore, bringing back Hobbs in Fast & Furious 6 as Dom’s ally and friend was the wrong choice. Hobbs could have continued to chase Toretto’s crew, not as the Fast & Furious 6 villain but as a second antagonist sort of character. Another solution would have been to have Hobbs reluctant to work together with Dom’s crew as opposed to becoming essentially their partner and friend. This would have also avoided another Fast and Furious problem – the fact that now everything is easy for the crew given how they work for government agencies all over the world.

Hobbs Quickly Became Like The Rock’s Other Characters

Shaw and Hobbs in the rain in Hobbs & Shaw

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Hobbs in Fast Five is how different the character is from other The Rock characters. Hobbs is a villain in Fast Five, something that has become rare in Dwayne Johnson’s career. However, from Fast and Furious 6 onwards, Hobbs became pretty much the same character The Rock often plays – a charismatic hero who protects his friends and family. That change became more evident once Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious showed more about Hobbs’ personal life, and it was cemented in Hobbs & Shaw. Unfortunately, in the Fast and Furious spinoff, Hobbs barely resembles that Fast Five villain who made the heist film so entertaining and different from other installments, deepening the issue with continuing to feature the character after his seismic debut.

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