An annual convention of movie theater owners got a jolt of adrenaline on Wednesday morning, as Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham touched down in Las Vegas to greet CinemaCon 2019.
Surprise guests at the morning Universal Pictures presentation, the men brought an action-packed first trailer for “Hobbs & Shaw,” a spinoff from the “Fast and Furious” franchise in which both men have previously appeared.
“We wanted to create our own tapestry,” Johnson told the exhibitors, “and have fun. I can’t stress that enough. This is fun.”
Statham played the strong and silent type to Johnson’s laid-back crowd pleaser. The former wrestling pro said this film, directed by David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde”), was “paying homage to the value systems which have made ‘Fast and Furious’ a global sensation.”
A major undercurrent to the film is cultural representation. Statham takes the audience back to his English roots, and gets into trouble with his steel-edged sister (Vanessa Kirby). When a villainous Idris Elba executes a scheme to steal a deadly virus with plans to infect half of the world’s population, the Shaws call on Hobbs for help.
The trio retreats to the independent state of Samoa (Johnson has Samoan heritage), where they forgo the normal “Fast” accessories of guns and flashy sports cars for tribal gear, a traditional Samoan battle dance and some serious hand-on-hand combat.
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After calling Statham “the second handsomest bald guy in the world,” Johnson teed up the trailer for the theater nestled in Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Leitch did not disappoint with numerous intricate sequences involving off-road vehicles, a high-security facility break, an island in flames and, of course, some good ol’ fashioned chases through the London streets.
Kirby shows off an even harder edge than what she brought to last year’s “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” letting mostly her two fists do the talking with her enemies. Eiza Gonzalez pops up as an accomplice of Elba’s, who revels in the deliciousness of his bad guy role.
The theater owners ate up the footage, as it is exactly the kind of star-fronted action fare that gets people into cineplexes. The trailer should not disappoint when fans get their hands on it — especially a sequence where a pickup truck hitched to an SUV tosses a rope up onto a helicopter and rips it from the sky. The film hits Aug. 2.