Did anyone ever expect the Fast & Furious franchise to become what it did back when Vin Diesel was just ripping off truck drivers for VCRs in the first movie? Seriously, how has it become a multi-billion dollar franchise?
It’s honestly astonishing how far the series has come from those humble early days. 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)
Why is the Yakuza hanging out with high school kids? What the hell is the point of Lil Bow Wow’s character? Why can’t Lucas Black deliver any lines without sounding like male version of Siri?
Tokyo Drift should have totaled the franchise. It’s sloppy, uninspired and high on the unintentional comedy scale. I don’t think there’s a single redeemable quality about this entry. Anyone care to argue?
6. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
The second installment rightly receives a smorgasbord of hate, but I don’t think it’s the worst movie ever made. 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 schlock to enjoy to get you through the picture.
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 somehow sets the stage for even more sequels. In doing so, it leaves this particular outing somewhat out of gas. Sure, we all love the periodic Brian V Dom: Dawn of Engine Failure battle scenes. But the race/chase scenes don’t match the visceral excitement as previous installments. It also doesn’t help that this movie is bogged down by a gratuitous amount of laughable CGI.
Overall, Fast and Furious is one of the weakest of the bunch.
4. Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
Fast Five pushed the franchise to the far corners of the globe while Furious 7 embraced the blockbuster mentality to full effect. In between, Fast and Furious 6 helped set up some overarching guidelines while reaching peak ridiculously-stupid-but-I-kind-of-love-it levels of stunts.
Bottom line, Furious 6 is a plain old good action movie. It’s helped by Dwayne Johnson’s expanded role (hint: more Rock is always a good thing) and the movie’s lack of self-seriousness. Really, we just want to have fun in these movies.
3. Furious 7 (2005)
Full disclosure: I didn’t love Furious 7 as much as its $1.6 billion worldwide gross would suggest. But, it’s hard to beat a classic 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 whatnot.
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody adds another interesting flash to the mix while Brian and Dom jump skyscrapers in their cars. 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)
Ain’t no school like the old school.
The original film is clearly a Point Break knockoff with cars, and even if it isn’t as well put together as its surf-centered predecessor, it still helps to build a fun foundation that would become an expanded upon template for the rest of the series.
Dom, Letty, Mia, Vince, Jesse and Brian are the Family 1.0 that get somewhat replaced with 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 early aughts soundtrack don’t hold up, the themes do.
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 an exotic sense of fantastical fun. These aren’t just American butts the camera is zooming in on anymore.
Finally, Fast Five helps the series transition away from low-stakes scores and into high-stakes heists and drama. In other words, shit gets serious here.