2 Stars – Shallow
Diabolical leaders use our fears against us. This was seen when Thanos in Avengers End Game solved the problem of overpopulation by destroying one half of all living beings. It is seen here in Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw when the corporation Eteon decides to help evolution by not only destroying the weak but reformulating the strong. Again the solution would include destroying one half of all humanity but doing so by specifically targeting those considered weak and unable to evolve into Eteon’s image.
A spinoff from the Fast and Furious franchise where both Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Stratham) showed amazing individual skills, this film is built around the fact that their egos will not allow them to work together. However, the evil champion of the Eteon corporation is an enhanced human named Brixton (Idris Elba) who can defeat either of them individually. Having been rebuilt and controlled by Eteon, Brixton is committed to the necessity of genocide to save the future of humanity.
Though not included in the title but just as much a part of this epic battle is the very capable Hattie (Vanessa Kirby). Coming from a crime family, Hattie has turned to the good and is working for British intelligence when she has to make a decision to keep a weapon of mass destruction from coming into the hands of Eteon. Since that is the primary dynamic of the action we won’t spoil the tale.
The moral dilemma that arises from this film is one that has often plagued humanity. Is evil justified if the goal is good. No one would argue that it is good for us to work together to save humanity from future starvation and destruction. But if doing so requires killing of the half of us that are considered too weak to enter into that future then is that moral? The problem, of course, rests with what we consider good and who gets to decide it: Eteon? The weak among us? The strong? The rich? The poor? The oppressed? Obviously, what is good for some is surely evil for others.
The message of this film is that we need to fight with all our heart against that which wants to destroy us. Thus, this action film answers the question by having a grand battle between Hobbs/ Shaw,/Hattie and Eteon’s Brixton. We would all agree as we engage with this story that it ends in the way we would hope, but real life is seldom so simple or final. Even this film sets us up for the next battle as Eteon challenges the victors to join Eteon or be destroyed. That is always the call of evil: Join or die. Most of us, wisely, would choose death, for what we lose in joining evil is far more than our temporary lives but our very reason for existing.
It is difficult to understand why humanity would ever choose to participate in the evil of genocide or the killing of the weak, yet ethicists have long struggled to explain why many do. Here is an essay titled “Why we kill the Weak” by J. Budziszewski. How do these thoughts either help or confuse the issue?
The underlying message that we need to get over ourselves and work together is clear. How do you work with others to help solve the problems threatening our mutual future?
The positing of multinational corporations who are trying to kill us has become common in films today? Why do you think that is?