Many of us watch movies for the the escapism. Films can take us away from our daily lives, leaving us entertained for a few hours. And nothing provides better escapism than the traditional “skop, skiet and donner” that action movies provide. Something which is made obvious by how so many big action movies make big bank at the box office- like the Marvel and Fast & Furious franchises.
It’s that latter franchise which released a new spin-off this past weekend as Hobbs & Shaw came to our cinema screens to once again prove that Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham can outmuscle anything that comes their way, even if its cybernetic bad guys who should be able to snap them like twigs. And while the outrageous action scenes do provide for good entertainment, it seems that their superhuman exploits that have come to make the Fast & Furious franchise the logic-defying franchise that it is, is not just down to writers and directors trying to outdo themselves, but rather because the actors, along with franchise lead Vin Diesel, are contractually not allowed to lose.
This comes from a Wall Street Journal report which uncovered these surprising details about the actors’ contracts in the franchise, that is apparently designed to make sure none of them looks weaker than the others and is perhaps more a way of managing their egos than anything else:
according to producers and crew members on the films, Mr Statham, 51 years old, negotiated an agreement with the studio that limits how badly he can be beaten up on screen. Mr Diesel, 52, has his younger sister, a producer on the films, police the number of punches he takes. And Mr Johnson, 47, enlists producers, editors and fight coordinators to help make sure he always gives as good as he gets.
This is all quite laughable if true, though does explain perhaps at how a franchise like the Fast & Furious has gone from simply having car physics grounded in reality to human characters who behave like superheroes. It’s not exactly clear if these contracts only apply to this particular franchise or if it forms part of all their movies and explains why regardless of movie, they always seem to appear on the winning side. Though to be fair, Vin Diesel’s Groot (who he only provided the voice for) has died twice and Statham has looked ridiculous in some of his comedy roles like the movie Spy, but those were all very different movies where getting beaten up by another similarly muscle-bound actor wasn’t involved.
Knowing all this now though, I have realised I would pay good money to see the three of them all get beaten up quite badly. Maybe I’m just a sadist, but it can get tiring seeing these actors always defy gravity, physics and common sense to somehow always win. It would be nice to see them finally get brought down to earth. Maybe something we might eventually see when Fast and Furious 28 introduces time travel and their 80-year old selves finally get beaten up by their younger versions, because that’s the only way they’ll allow themselves to lose.
Last Updated: August 5, 2019