In an alternate coronavirus-free universe, the moviegoing public would be flooding theaters this weekend to witness the tenth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise: F9. In a continuation of Dom’s storyline, John Cena was scheduled to join the Fast crew as Dom’s brother and expand the franchise’s cinematic realm.
Alas, we’ll have to wait until at least April 2021 to see F9—and possibly even longer than that. So in the meantime, we’ll just have to sit and enjoy the Fast & Furious films we have.
Rankings of the Fast & Furious film range from fan to fan—including myself. I’m a huge Fast & Furious fan whose rankings of the franchise films have changed greatly over the years. So today, I thought it’d be fun to look back at each and every Fast & Furious movie, think about what I like and don’t like about each of them, and then undertake the nearly-impossible task of ranking them.
So here we go: my rankings of the nine Fast & Furious movies.
9. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Tokyo Drift was a film I used to actively despise for being part of my favorite franchise. These days? I don’t find its detractors as offensive as I used to. I’ve actually grown to appreciate the adolescent humor, the modern take on cowboys, the absolutely ridiculous and wildly inefficient driving that takes place the races. It’s all good fun.
But, if I’m being honest, the humor and action and drama just never seems to all mesh together like they do in the other movies. I like Tokyo Drift, but I don’t love it.
8. Fast & Furious
You can really see the Fast & Furious franchise begin to put the pieces together in the franchise’s fourth film, Fast & Furious. The action gets a little crazier and more unrealistic, the team starts to expand, Dom comes back into the fold—all of the pieces are certainly in place.
But there are still too many variables at play that hold the movie back: a plot-heavy focus, a weak villain, stunts that are still tethered to reality. Simply put, the biggest problem with Fast & Furious is it doesn’t go hard enough. Justin Lin really finds his groove and his definitive Fast & Furious aesthetic in the next film.
7. Hobbs & Shaw
I know a lot of people harp on this movie and that it didn’t do as well at the box office. But you know what? Hobbs & Shaw separates itself from the other Fast & Furious movies comedically and it’s super fun to watch. Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Vanessa Kirby have incredible chemistry and could each headline their own action movies.
My only real issue with Hobbs & Shaw is that the movie tries way too hard to squeeze in the familial themes that run throughout the franchise. It makes the characters more interesting, but it also feels like it’s all being packed into a single film as opposed to building over several films (like the later Fast & Furious films pulled off).
6. Furious 7
I feel bad ranking Furious 7 so low. I have such a soft spot for the seventh installment because it came out right after Paul Walker’s death. The scene where Brian talks to Mia over the phone still destroys me, and the post-credits scene makes me bawl like a baby every time.
My only real issue is that I just don’t think the set pieces measure up to other recent Fast & Furious films. I think James Wan is an incredible director, and he has several glorious moments in this movie. I’m just more attracted to Justin Lin’s style (so I can’t wait to see what he does with F9).
5. 2 Fast 2 Furious
Man, if there’s one thing I know to be true about this franchise, it’s this: 2 Fast 2 Furious gets way too much hate. Tyrese Gibson and Paul Walker have otherworldly chemistry as two leading men. The way they play off each other is so natural and so independent from the energy of the first film. They truly made the second movie their own entity.
Plus, John Singleton is mining for cinematic gold in this one as he flaunts his natural action sensibilities. I really just don’t understand where the hate comes from. This is gorgeous, hilarious fun.
4. Fast Five
Don’t get me wrong: I love every other Fast & Furious movie. But Fast Five is where the entire crew (especially Justin Lin) finally figures out the special formula. Before Fast Five, every other Fast & Furious project felt like they were derived from other action movies. But here, the franchise truly found its definitive aesthetic.
Plus the team gets bigger (with the introduction of Dwayne Johnson) and their relationships become more complex. The character dynamics strengthen, the set pieces get wilder, and Justin Lin stops tethering his abilities to science and physics. This is bonkers superhero-level stuff right here that stops caring about logic and genre rules—and the world of cinema is better for it.
3. Fast & Furious 6
Without a doubt, this is the “most Fast & Furious” movie we have. If Fast Five was the series’ first World Series win, then Fast & Furious 6 is the three-peat or something. This is where the franchise becomes a dynasty.
Absolutely everything is working in this movie. Every actor is firing on all cylinders. The action is crazier and more unbelievable. It’s the perfect mix of action, comedy, and drama. It puts every other non-Fast-&-Furious movie that attempts this formula to shame.
2. The Fast and the Furious
I had to think hard about whether I’d place the original Fast & Furious movie over Fast & Furious 6, which for a while was my absolute favorite of the franchise. Simply put, The Fast and the Furious doesn’t have the same insane set pieces, the otherworldly action stunts, the giant team of the later Fast & Furious movies.
But as much as I love the sixth installment, nothing matches the homegrown energy of the original. Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster are absolutely electric together from the get-go. And Rob Cohen makes street racing look impossibly beautiful. None of the other Fast & Furious movies feel like this one—in fact, no movie feels like The Fast and the Furious. This one is a gift from the cinema gods.
1. The Fate of the Furious
Might be surprising to some. But in my opinion, this is where the franchise goes from pure entertainment to downright emotional. The familial bonds that reverberate throughout the series reach a peak here with Dom’s dilemma. As he’s forced to save his God-given family, his concerned homegrown family is desperate to help him. The action and set pieces truly come to reflect the personal journeys of each and every character as they fight the greatest evil threat they’ve encountered to date.
Oh yeah, and on top of it all? The set pieces are unmatchable. I was wary about F. Gary Gray’s turn at the franchise at first—but did he ever pull it off. I could watch this movie a million times and it would never get old.
Source: Forbes Business