Raise your hand if you expected the Fast & Furious franchise to become one of the most profitable movie series of all time? Now raise your hand if you’re a bold faced liar. Yeah, that’s what I thought. What started as a simple petty crime and drag racing story has evolved into a globetrotting saga of balls to the wall action and espionage. Oh, and something about family.
With the eighth film in the series, The Fate of the Furious, hitting theaters this weekend, we thought now would be a great time to rank the Fast and Furious movies.
7. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Yakuza hanging out with high school kids, Lil Bow Wow doing Little Bow Wow things, Lucas Black struggling to deliver the simplest of lines. Ugh, why was this movie even made again?
Tokyo Drift should have totaled the franchise. It’s sloppy, uninspired and high on the unintentional comedy scale. To me, this is the only movie the series that lacks any redeemable qualities.
6. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Though the second installment rightly receives a smorgasbord of hate, it certainly isn’t the worst movie ever put to screen. With Vin Diesel speeding out of the franchise, 2 Fast 2 Furious had the unenviable task of replacing its main star. The sloppy and directionless sequel stalls frequently without him, but there’s enough goofy appeal here to prevent it from being blackballed forever.
Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pierce and Ludacris’ Tej Parker are always good for a few laughs and there’s something about the unabashed idiocy of the film that just works.
Plus, Eva Mendes. You can’t go wrong when Eva Mendes is involved. Facts.
5. Fast and Furious (2009)
Fast and Furious reunites Paul Walker and Diesel and sets the stage for future installments, but in doing so, it also drags this outing down. Sure, we all love the periodic Brian V Dom: Dawn of Engine Failure battle scenes. But the race/chase scenes don’t possess the same visceral excitement as previous installments. That likely has to do with the George Lucas levels of CG that were slathered onto this picture.
Overall, Fast and Furious is one of the weakest of the bunch.
4. Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
Fast Five helped to evolve the series formula into the worldlier affair we’ve become accustomed (addicted to) while Furious 7 embraced the blockbuster mentality to full effect. In between, Fast and Furious 6 helped set up some overarching guidelines while pushing the franchise toward the height of its ridiculously-stupid-but-I-kind-of-love-it template.
At its core, Furious 6 is a plain old good action movie. But it’s more than that thanks to Dwayne Johnson’s expanded role and the movie’s lack of self-seriousness.
At the end of the day, we just want to have fun in this franchise.
3. Furious 7 (2005)
While I didn’t love this installment, it’s hard to beat a class old west-reminiscent revenge story. Jason Statham is out for vengeance because Dom and the squad messed with his little brother (Luke Evans). Alright, sounds kind of dumb, but I’m game because I love explosions and crazy stunts.
The use of Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody adds another interesting flash to the mix while Brian and Dom start skyscraper-jumping with vehicles. Plus, The Rock goes full Rock in this one and it’s glorious.
But the real highlight of Furious 7 is the emotional beating heart it shows in the deft handling of Paul Walker’s death. That finale scene, man…Dammit, who is cutting onions?!?!
2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The one that started it all.
The original film is clearly a Point Break with cars knockoff, and even if it isn’t as well put together as its surf-centered predecessor, it still helps to build a foundation that would serve as a through line to the rest of the series.
Dom, Letty, Mia, Vince, Jesse and Brian are the Family 1.0 that get somewhat replaced with the Roman, Han, Gisele and Hobbs in later films. The initial relationship between Brian and Dom is a well-seasoned character point and even if the cheesy CGI and laughable soundtrack don’t hold up, the themes would.
1. Fast Five (2011)
Dwayne Johnson should be renamed The Rock: Franchise Saver. He is Beyonce for boys and I will literally see any movie he is in.
Beyond his addition, moving the action to Brazil helped kickstart the Fast and Furious franchises’ wise strategy of jet setting around the world. It gives the film a new style of action.
Finally, Fast Five helps the series transition away from petty squabbles and into high-stakes heists and drama. In other words, shit gets serious here.