There is no denying Dwayne Johnson’s significance to the Fast and Furious series, but Hobbs’ subsequent appearances were lackluster.
Hobbs should not have returned after Fast Five, at least not in the manner he did. The Rock eventually established himself as one of the mainstays of the Fast and Furious franchise. Although The Rock left the main Fast and Furious movies due to his conflict with Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson’s impact to the franchise cannot be disputed. Hobbs was portrayed by The Rock in four Fast and Furious films as well as the Hobbs & Shaw spinoff, but none of those entries were able to recapture what made the character so compelling in Fast Five.
Fast Five received the first $100 million+ budget in the franchise’s history after Fast & Furious (2009) showed that there was still a market for Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner’s adventures. Fast Five had characters from all four of the previous Fast and Furious films in what felt like a crossover event, although Brian and Dom were remained at the center of the plot. It was necessary to come up with a menacing and cunning antagonist to pursue Dom, Brian, and their newly formed team, and while Hobbs was initially intended for Tommy Lee Jones, The Rock was cast as the film’s antagonist.
Both The Rock’s career and the Fast and Furious series underwent a sea change with the release of Fast Five. The movie established Dwayne Johnson as a leading action actor while also transforming Fast & Furious into a successful action movie series, with Hobbs serving as the most challenging foe Dom Toretto’s team could have faced. However, given that the protagonists in Fast and Furious are always able to prevail in the end, Hobbs was created to fail. Hobbs discovered at the conclusion of Fast Five that Toretto was not the enemy—at least not the main one—much like Brian did in The Fast and the Furious.Hobbs rewarded Toretto for his assistance in finding Reyes by giving him a 24-hour head start, so “saving” The Rock’s persona. The issue is that The Rock played yet another hero rather than an antagonist or an anti-hero in Hobbs’ subsequent Fast and Furious appearances, which preserved very little to none of the Fast Five character. As a result, the character became just another generic Fast and Furious cast member, ruining what made him so fantastic in the first place.
In Fast Five, The Rock played Hobbs to perfection.
The Rock’s Hobbs is still regarded as the best Fast & Furious antagonist. Hobbs was far more menacing than earlier characters like Braga and Carter Verone, yet he never came off as over the top or campy like more contemporary Fast and Furious villains Cipher and Jakob Toretto. The Hobbs vs. Toretto fight was a standout in the Fast and Furious series because The Rock’s physicality complemented Vin Diesel’s perfectly. Fast Five was incredibly enjoyable because fans, who had grown devoted to Dominic Toretto and his gang over the course of four films, could not help but root for the crew to pull off their heist and escape Hobbs.Fast Five had a sense of urgency that no other Fast and Furious film was able to replicate, even though the stakes may not have been as great as in The Fate of the Furious or F9. In terms of Fast and Furious standards, The Rock’s Hobbs was a genuine nemesis, and he represented the ideal compromise between the franchise’s past and future.
Fast Five’s Hobbs, played by The Rock, excelled exactly because he was pitted against well-known and beloved characters. Fast and Furious’s heroes, Dominic Toretto’s family, knew they would eventually find a way out, but that did not make Hobbs’ hunt any less captivating. Being a villain in Fast Five with Dwayne Johnson was intriguing because neither The Rock nor Vin Diesel frequently lose fights on-screen. As a result, it was a mistake to have Hobbs return in Fast & Furious 6 as Dom’s friend and ally. Hobbs may have carried on pursuing Toretto’s team in a different capacity than that of the Fast & Furious 6 villain.Instead of effectively becoming their friend and collaborator, Hobbs could have been unwilling to work with Dom’s crew as an alternative. Due to the crew’s employment with governments around the world, everything is now simple for them, which would have prevented another Fast and Furious issue.
Hobbs’ differences from other characters played by The Rock in Fast Five are arguably what make the character the most intriguing. Fast Five features Hobbs, a villain, which is unusual for Dwayne Johnson’s career. But starting with Fast and Furious 6, Hobbs essentially took on the persona that The Rock frequently portrays: a charismatic hero who stands up for his friends and loved ones. This transformation was solidified in Hobbs & Shaw and grew more obvious as Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious revealed more of Hobbs’ private life.The problem of continuing to use the character after his seismic debut is compounded worse by the fact that Hobbs hardly resembles the Fast Five villain who made the heist film so enjoyable and distinctive from prior episodes.