Ranking The Fast and Furious Cinematic Universe
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)This will upset people, but even among a group of great films, there has to be a bottom. For me, 2 Fast 2 Furious lacked a few of the qualities that really make the franchise what it is. That’s not to say it’s a terrible thing, it took the Fast Franchise up until Fast Five to truly find its stride so the first few entries on this list are kind of an experimental phase. This movie had a milquetoast villain, no Vin Diesel and Paul Walker was still in his surfer boy phase. We needed this to perfect the formula, but it’s at the bottom of the list.
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)Lucas Black as Sean Boswell is the blandest protagonist I’ve ever seen in an action movie. It felt like an actual whiteboard was playing an action hero, but the executives needed some way for him to stand out so they wrote “Texas” on the board and called it good. Despite that, I was surprised with how much I liked this entry and a big piece of that goes to both Han (Sung Kang) and the villain of the film. Like 2 Fast 2 Furious, it’s missing a key part of the Fast and Furious formula which is the heists, but it makes up for it by having some of the best racing scenes in the franchise.
Fast & Furious (2009)From here on out the competition for the best movie starts to get really tough and the fourth installment is next up because it gets back on the right track by bringing back the two main characters. Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Connor are the two brothers from different mothers who breathed life into this franchise. Brian finally looks the part of a leading man having ditched his surfer boy look, so that’s points to me. The villain here was serviceable, Gal Gadot was a great addition to the cast and even though the whole tunnel races on the border were far-fetched they helped to set up the idea that anything is possible in this franchise. Letty’s death was very out of left field and seemed like a waste after going to two whole other movies without her, but it ended up serving a purpose down the line.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)I’m a bit conflicted on the placement of the original, is the value in the content itself or am I giving it value simply for being the first one? When I went back and re-watched The Fast and the Furious, I was immediately aware of the amount of time I’ve spent on this earth. Despite releasing in 2001 this is absolutely a 90’s, Action Flick. When those ’90s influenced scenes hit you, they do so painfully. Despite Dom saying otherwise in his famous quote about living life a quarter-mile at a time (the crew doesn’t matter my ass), the essence of the franchise is still established in this movie. It’s about family, it’s about crazy heists, action sequences, and high-performance drivers. When compared to how far we’ve come with the Fast and Furious franchise, it serves as a humble beginning.
The Fate of the Furious (2017)With the movies that are left on our list, the franchise has found its lane (ha!) and knows exactly what it is. The formula is equal parts action, family, heist, and over-the-top stunts, but what sets The Fate of the Furious apart from the rest and causes it to sink from the top is Dom himself. There wasn’t a single person who believed Dom was actually turning away from his family and it was insulting to think that plot device would work. In every movie that came before it, Dom and his kin relied on each other through thick and thin, everyone was in danger and everyone had each other’s backs. So to set an entire plot around him going rogue to ‘protect’ everyone else was just silly.
Fast and Furious 6 (2013)There isn’t a whole lot to say about Fast and Furious 6, it hits all the right beats and follows all of the tenants of a great Fast and Furious movie. It has insane heist action, Family is at the heart of the plot and the choices made. We finally see the return of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and throughout the film, relationships between characters grow stronger. Besides the tragic loss of Gal Gadot as Gisele, the sixth installment is a solid addition to the franchise.
Furious 7 (2015)The seventh iteration of the Fast and Furious franchise introduces action star legend Jason Statham as the main antagonist. Everything else you expect to see in a Fast and Furious movie is there, but Statham’s Deckard Shaw adds a new human element to the plotline. Dom and his family aren’t just trying to stop some evil guy from doing something terrible. Family, as much as fans like to joke about it, is what is at the heart of these movies. Deckard Shaw may be seen as the bad guy to us, but just like Dom, he’s fighting for the family as well. It’s what makes him just as compelling of a character and sets him up as a potential ally for later films.
Fast Five (2011)These last two entries are pretty interchangeable, but there is no question that Fast Five is the definitive example of what a Fast and Furious movie should be. It’s the first one that truly goes balls to the walls with its action and over-the-top stunts. It’s also the first movie to truly bring the family together where everyone serves a vital role on the team. It also introduces Agent Hobbs played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, the worthiest rival of Dom in the entire franchise. The relationship between Dom’s family, Hobbs, and the antagonist delivers a new dynamic that none of the other films match. Fast Five perfected the formula and cemented a dynasty.
Hobbs and Shaw (2019)This may be blasphemy to some of the hardcore fans putting a spin-off film above all the mainline entries, but it marks an important moment for the franchise overall. With the charisma of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, they single-handedly started their own side of the Fast universe. Hobbs and Shaw are to the franchise what Guardians of the Galaxy are to the MCU. They show the strength of the brand can support new stories and it’s the first film that feels like a superhero movie all on its own. With only one movie under their belt, they’re already teasing an all-star cast with Idris Elba, Ryan Reynolds, and Kevin Hart.
F9: The Fast Saga (2021)With Fast 9 being the latest in the Fast Saga where will this film fall in the definitive rankings? That’s for you to decide, so let us know on social media what your favorite film in the franchise is. What did you think of our list and how would you order the ranking for the Fast and Furious movies? From director Justin Lin, Fast 9 is in theaters now. It stars Vin Diesel, John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, and more.
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