Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s joke about Vin Diesel and The Rock works perfectly because it highlights the humor of the two actors’ Fast & Furious rivalry.
In a movie filled with jokes and pop culture references, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 perfectly mocks the feud between Fast & Furious stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Based on the popular video game series, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 continues Sonic’s story as he tries to become a true hero. He gets a chance to prove himself when Dr. Robotnik returns with the help of his new partner, Knuckles the Echidna. Together, Robotnik and Knuckles aim to recover the Master Emerald, a mystical weapon that can turn thoughts into reality, and Knuckles believes that Sonic is the key to finding it.
Although Sonic did not know anything about the Master Emerald before the arrival of Knuckles, he is indeed essential to discovering its location. Throughout Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic learns that Longclaw, his guardian when he was little, was the last in a long line of owl warriors who protected the Master Emerald. Many years earlier, the echidnas forged the Master Emerald, which allowed a single warrior to defeat whole armies. Although the echidnas were heroes, the owls believed the Master Emerald was too powerful, so they stole and hid it. This made the owls and the echidnas enemies, eventually resulting in a battle where both Longclaw and all of the echidnas died — except for Knuckles, who was too young to fight at the time.
When Tails, Sonic’s new fox friend, explains the conflict, Sonic immediately responds by equating the owls and the echidnas to “Vin Diesel and the Rock.” Actors Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson worked together for the first time in 2011’s Fast Five, the fifth installment of the Fast & Furious film series. The two continued to appear together in several sequels, and relations between them seemed cordial until social media posts revealed underlying tension. Johnson eventually left the main Fast & Furious series, and he and Diesel have had an ongoing “feud” ever since. Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s inclusion of this joke about Vin Diesel and the Rock works perfectly because it highlights the humor of their rivalry.
Although Vin Diesel and The Rock’s feud began due to difficulties working together, it has become a long-running joke that has been referenced in multiple movies. Johnson admitted in an interview that he even enjoys the jokes and the creative ways people include them in his projects (via Us Magazine). He explained: “You’d be surprised with how many people come to me with, ‘I’ve got a great one. I’ve got another great Vin Diesel joke.’ I’m sure you do. [They’re] always funny.” In this way, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the next in a long line of movies joking about the Diesel and Johnson feud.
Additionally, Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s Diesel and Johnson joke works well because it is a hidden pun. Diesel and the Rock worked together on several Fast & Furious movies, which sparked their feud. In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic and Knuckles are rivals for the majority of the movie. During this time, Sonic is fast due to his super speed, and Knuckles is furious with Sonic due to his connection with the owls. This makes Sonic and Knuckles “fast and furious” rivals. While many movies have referenced the feud between Vin Diesel and the Rock, Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s joke works well because it both adds humor and summarizes the characters’ relationship through a play on words.