Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham look primed for their very own Fast & Furious spin-off movie if events in the eighth chapter of the Car Wars saga are anything to go by.
Fast & Furious 8 is a solid entry into the franchise, featuring plenty in the way of eye-opening stunts and action set pieces even if the absence of Paul Walker is keenly felt.
Arguably the best thing about the latest instalment in the franchise, however, is the increased screen time given to Johnson and Statham.
Sidelined for much of the last outing, Johnson’s Luke Hobbs is on equal footing with Vin Diesel this time round and the movie is all the better for it.
Statham, meanwhile, enjoys similarly equal billing as Deckard Shaw who goes from enjoyably silly two-dimensional bad guy to something akin to Crank’s Chev Chelios.
Yet it’s when the pair are together that the film really crackles.
Former enemies turned allies, the duo make for the perfect buddy cop pairing in 2017, spending much of their time together flexing muscles, trading insults and kicking ass.
No where was this better demonstrated than in the film’s impressive prison riot/breakout scene, which sees both characters in inspired form.
Fast & Furious 8 writer Chris Morgan is also careful to include a little more of Shaw’s backstory this time around, with Statham’s character supposedly once the recipient of the Victoria Cross and a former British government operative.
Forced into a life of crime by his wayward brother, it’s the sort of setup designed to justify including Statham in the film this time round but one that could also set up an intriguing spin off.
With [SPOILER ALERT] Johnson’s Hobbs opting not to return to his job with the police at the conclusion of the film, in order to focus on spending time with his daughter, the pair appear ready to go it alone – and that could even be to the benefit of Fast & Furious 9.
While Fast 8 was an enjoyable enough actioner, it felt a little over-stuffed with characters, often at the expense of the collective as a whole.
And if the rumours of tension between Vin Diesel and Johnson are to be believed, a spin-off could be the ideal solution for both parties and the studio.
More importantly, with Statham’s other go-to franchise, The Expendables, in disarray following Sylvester Stallone’s departure from the fourth film, a Furious spin-off could offer the ideal escape.
And with all of this likely to amount to more screen time for Vin Diesel and underused talents like Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, the whole thing could work out well for all parties.
It’s now up to Universal to make it happen.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.