A Definitive Ranking of Every ‘Fast and Furious’ Movie
Back in 2019, I saw a trailer for a movie that looked bonkers. The word "bonkers" can take on a lot of different meanings, and make sense in a lot of different contexts, so I want to make sure that I'm entirely clear with this: when I say the trailer for Hobbs and Shaw (later officially titled Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, for reasons I don't quite understand) looked bonkers, I meant it in a good way. I'm not someone who needs every movie to be Parasite or Tár; just as much as those character-driven dramas, I can enjoy a (wildly) dumb action movie that chooses to defy logic and make cinematic choices purely for the purpose of entertaining audiences and telling them one important thing: stop thinking.
That's what the long-running Fast series, which began way back in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious is all about. This is a series that embraces its main theme (family), its larger-than-life characters (Vin Diesel's Dom Torretto has essentially become an on-screen spy/racing/action deity), and utterly ridiculous action sequences for one goal and one goal only—to entertain audiences.
And so after I saw that Hobbs and Shaw trailer, I decided to go on a journey. I decided to watch every single movie in the Fast series, which at the time had been running for nearly two decades. Since then, I've spent 1,235 minutes—or 20 hours and 35 minutes—of my life watching every Fast and Furious movie ever made. Every frame. The entire series. All of it.
After watching the most recent entry in the series—the outrageously-titled and even more outrageously-plotted F9: The Fast Saga—it was time to take everything I had experienced, and put it into a new order. Like just about everything else, if there's one thing we love to do with movies and shows when we've seen them all, it's rank them. And so here I am, doing it again. After all, this series—which has now been going strong for 22 years(!)—started as a low-stakes street racing/petty crime movie, and now is about flesh-eating viruses, venturing into outer space and literal nuclear bombs. Obviously, we needed some reflection.
Sure, not all of these movies are good. Yes, sometimes the acting might leave... a bit to be desired. But the set pieces? The action? There's something to this series that just sticks, and it's not a surprise that each movie makes approximately a bazillion dollars in its sleep. Each Fast and Furious movie is immensely watchable in its own way—but some are also clearly better than others.
So, without further ado, and before the release of Fast X, I give you the complete ranking of every movie in the world-acclaimed Fast and Furious franchise.
9. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Is it bad that I don't exactly remember...uh... what happened in 2 Fast 2 Furious? Tyrese and Ludacris entered the franchise for the first time in place of the absent Vin Diesel (oh, don't you worry—he'll be back). Brian (Paul Walker) is not a cop in this one, but he's still doing cop work.
Then again, Tyrese and Paul Walker launch their car onto a boat, and shoot someone out of a front seat of a car and shout "EJECTO SEATO, CUZ!," which is an iconic moment in cinema history, so it's not all forgettable after all, I guess.
8. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
I'm very sorry to be the one to relay this information, but Tokyo Drift is mostly bad. It has some cool racing scenes for sure—drifting through the streets of Tokyo (hey, that's the name of the movie!) is inherently cool. But neither Vin Diesel nor Paul Walker star, and the movie's replacement protagonist, Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) is a complete dud. He is immensely uninteresting. Bow Wow is also here doing something.
However, the movie has a moment of redemption—it introduces Han (Sung Kang), who just might be the greatest character in the entire series. It also makes a horrific mistake, and kills Han (#JusticeForHan).
7. The Fate of the Furious (2017)
The first movie after Paul Walker's death/character retirement doesn't really work. Complete credit to the series for reeling in a legitimate A-list superstar Oscar-winning talent in Charlize Theron to play the movie's villain (and a nice hearty 'WTF' to whoever decided that she should wear dreadlocks in her hair). But the movie has a lot of slow patches.
It also begins the awkward process of converting Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw (the Furious 7 villain) into a good guy; we can't forget that he literally killed Han, and moments later blew up Dom (Vin Diesel)'s house. But The Fate of the Furious finds him trusted enough to hold Dom's baby in one hand and fight off bad guys with the other. It doesn't make much sense. Don't think about it too much. Just watch action and fast cars.
6. Fast & Furious (2009)
This movie gets credit for being the 'soft reboot' of the franchise, and was the first one I saw that didn't seem incredibly dated. During chase scenes, Fast & Furious at least had an actual movie score playing instead of a random selection of totally forgotten early-2000s rap/rock.
Letty dies early in this movie, which is a damn tragedy (stay tuned). Brian is also inexplicably in the FBI, working the Toretto case. This makes no sense at all, as he was previously caught for being involved with Toretto and letting him go and being generally corrupt. And by the end of the movie... well... you won't believe what happens.
5. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The first entry in the series is clearly the best of the pre-Fast Five movies. Yeah, in a lot of ways it is so completely dated (in particular, the music), but it's got a bit of heart that really help it to sort of, somehow, against all odds, hold up. Fans of the series (which, it seems, now includes me) love this movie as much as Dom loves Coronas.
Paul Walker's acting, rest his soul, is absolutely terrible. But it's almost endearingly so. I've been quoting this scene ("Dude, I almost had you!") on a daily basis since watching the movie. His reaction makes no sense (a running theme in these movies, you might notice), but it's also just legendary.
4. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
The credits scene of Fast Five had a stunning reveal: Letty is alive (don't think about it, I promise you it won't make sense). But in Fast & Furious 6, we see a reveal that she's got amnesia, and is operating as a member of villain Owen Shaw's team.
This movie has a ton of action, and Shaw 1.0 (who, much like his on-screen brother, also becomes good. Don't think about it.) is the series' first above-average villain. We lose Gal Gadot's Gisele in this movie, which is a shame because she and Han are the true First Couple of these movies. Bring them both back.
Plus, Statham's introduction in the credits scene actually rules.
3. Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Now we're talking. Jeez, this movie was good. Who needs Vin Diesel? (This is a joke. Vin Diesel please continue to be Dominic Toretto in Fast and Furious movies for 100 more years). It was clearly angling for more comedy, but the action sequences were jaw-dropping (I was particularly fond of, oh, you know, The Rock pulling a helicopter out of the sky with one bicep).
Yes, it's a bit awkward that Shaw, who killed Han, is now a good guy and it's not really mentioned. But once you decide to not think about that (please, as is tradition in the Fast/Furious world, just turn your brain off), this movie is great. It also helps that following suit from Charlize Theron and Statham himself, the movie has a villain played by a legitimately awesome and charismatic actor; Idris Elba as 'black Superman' is so cool.
2. Fast Five (2011)
I remember being in high school when Fast Five came out and scoffing at people trying to claim that it was "actually sick." (2011 was a weird time) Eight years later, and.... I agree.
Fast Five turns the series from a racing series into a heist series, and adds The Rock as a fugitive hunter/team member and it works INCREDIBLY. Bringing back the all-star cast from the movies to this point was great, and it also allowed for more Han, who, again, is a legend and needs to be featured more. The Rock and Vin Diesel actually fight in this movie and Vin Diesel wins somehow (don't think about it).
The Rock also talks with a strange accent for a fraction of the time, which he abandons in future movies. It is yet another truly thrilling thread of Fast Five.
1. Furious 7 (2015)
This movie has a devastating and truly affecting ending (Paul Walker had filmed about half of his role in this movie at the time of his 2013 death; the movie ends with a touching tribute to him), but it's also got the best action sequences in the series. Statham as Deckard Shaw is still the best villain the series has made, a lone, rogue, black ops spy who pits people against one another with ease. His introduction scene, tearing through a hospital during the movie's opening credits, is immaculate. It also adds Kurt Russell as spy leader Mr. Nobody, who rules, and Game of Thrones' Nathalie Emanuel as a hacker named Ramsey.
Things that also happen in this movie: Vin Diesel flies his car through a helicopter and plants a bag full of grenades on it. The Rock, recovering in a hospital bed, looks out the window and says to his daughter "Daddy's got to go to work," before flexing out of a full-arm cast (please, please, I beg of you, don't think about it.), riding an ambulance down to the action, shooting a drone and firing a turret like a madman.
It might just be the greatest scene in the history of movies.
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