As mentioned in my review of F9, I wanted to rank the Fast and Furious films now that I’ve finally seen them all. Some of these films are really fun to watch and some induce the biggest groans. So let’s break it down, going from worst to best!
F9: The Fast Saga
I won’t get into too much detail about this one as I just wrote a spoiler review on F9, but goodness how the franchise has fallen. Maybe if you’re watching it with a bunch of friends over drinks and laughing at it, it becomes enjoyable, but otherwise, this is the low point of the franchise. Retcons are further retconned, a never before mentioned family member surfaces, the action is actually really boring. I can go on, or you can read the review.
2 Fast 2 Furious
The sequel to the surprise hit that was The Fast and the Furious came out two years later and featured a noticeable lack of Vin Diesel. Paul Walker’s Brian was back for 2 Fast 2 Furious though, this time working a case in Miami. 2 Fast 2 Furious does have some high points, such as the introduction of Roman and Tej, but apart from that, the movie feels uninspired and lazy, which is surprising considering the film was directed by the late John Singleton, perhaps best known for directing the acclaimed Boyz n the Hood.
The only reason why Furious 7 ranks above 2 Fast 2 Furious is due to its surprisingly touching finale, which paid tribute to Paul Walker in a very effective and emotional way after he died in a car accident while production on the film was still ongoing. The rest of the movie signaled the transition to the series being more of a government/military action film series and I just wasn’t about that. I thought the film wasted the potential of Johnson (who was busy with wrestling at the time of the shoot), Statham (who was basically Winter Soldier, coming and going causing mayhem), Djimon Hounsou and Tony Jaa.
The Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw
Due to the popularity of the franchise and the growing feud between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, the franchise broke off and a spinoff was born. This new film is about, you guessed it, Hobbs and Shaw, the once villains turned anti-heroes turned heroes. Hobbs and Shaw has that summer movie action film quality to it while wearing its dumbness on its sleeve. The first 90 minutes or so of the film are pretty solid and if they ended it then, this would have ranked higher. But the film had to tack on an extra thirty-odd minute or so at the end and diverted the plot from Europe to Samona because Johnson wanted to. So the film ends up feeling bloated and inconsistent. Still, overall it’s a solid if inconsistent offering from director David Leitch, perhaps best known for his work on John Wick, Deadpool and the upcoming Bullet Train.
The Fate of the Furious
The Fate of the Furious (serious, missed opportunity not calling it F8 of the Furious), was admittedly a lot better than Furious 7. A big reason for that was the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw. The two really had a blast with their scenes together, so much so that the duo would eventually get their own spinoff series. The film tried to break convention by making Dom the “villain” of the movie due to blackmail from Charlize Theron’s Cipher and the action was the right kind of ludicrous (heh). All in all, still dumb and the action does drag but it’s definitely fun.
Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious was the film that got everyone’s attention in that brought back most of the original cast for the first time since the original film. The street racing did feel uninspired, with an overreliance on CGI and the whole cartel angle did feel unoriginal, but just seeing the original crew back together again for the first time in years was a treat for fans. The film felt much more intimate than recent offerings, largely due to the smaller cast size and the smaller scale of the plot.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
A major shift in tone and style for the franchise, Tokyo Drift is the film that fans will either say they love or hate. I fall into the former. While the performance from the film’s lead, Lucas Black, is rocky (and side note, no way can he pass as a 17-year-old in this movie, sorry!), the film is surprisingly decent as a portrayal of a culture and a subculture. The film couldn’t get permits for a lot of the crowd/pedestrian scenes, so the film definitely has a guerilla/indie vibe to it. Plus, Sung Kang as Han is perhaps the best character in the entire franchise. Couple that with a heavy amount of in-camera cinematography for drift racing and you got a cool look at Japanese culture and street racing.
Fast and Furious 6
Before venturing into government missions, the series was first and foremost a heist/street racing series. By the time it got to Fast and Furious 6 (or Furious 6, as it randomly called in the opening credits), the film is notably shifting towards the government mission aspect of the franchise, but keeping the roots of the franchise. Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs comes to Dom with a mission: to stop a group of thieves operating in Europe. The crew, led by Luke Evans and an amnesiac Letty, are in many ways mirror images of Dom’s family. It’s a fun time, no doubt about it, and plays into the strengths of the franchise.
The Fast and the Furious
The one that started it all. When compared to the franchise as a whole, the first feel stands out a bit by being more of a crime thriller with action, rather than a big-budget studio tentpole. But this smaller nature works well for The Fast and the Furious, which despite being Point Break on wheels, is still a good ride. The scene near the end of the movie, where Vince is pinned to the truck and bleeding out, has more tension in it than any other scene in the movie and characters do die over the course of the run time. Put that in contrast with F9, where characters joke about being invincible and cuts and bruises are lucky to get an invite to the party. The film feels rooted in the early 2000s, with the soundtrack, clothes and attitude and the first thirty minutes of the film does feel a little disjointed, but at the end of the day, this one comes out ahead for the franchise, despite its flaws. Fun gaf, you can clearly see the stunt doubles in the thumbnail of the trailer below.
Fast Five, against all odds, isn’t just the best Fast movie, but an actual good movie. Sure, it’s dumb-as all Fast movies are, and the characters aren’t super layered or anything, but the film knows this and rolls with it. What we get is Oceans 11 on wheels, set in the slums of Rio. Filming on location gives us a peek into this often forgotten part of the world and it does feel like danger is lurking around every corner. Johnson’s Hobbs is one of the antagonists in this film and this is the best the character has ever been-as a no-nonsense tough guy rather than, well, Dwayne Johnson. Plus, it’s the film that reunited the many characters from across the previous four films. Each character brings a skill that’s critical to the completion of the heist. Fun time and the highlight of the franchise.
So that’s my ranking of the Fast films! What would your ranking be? Let us know!