fast and furious movies ranked tokyo drift

3. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Score: 37

When I was in middle school, a group of pimply white boys were so obsessed with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift that they performed the theme song by the Teriyaki Boyz at the school talent show. It was after the second verse of “Fast and furious!! Drift, drift, drift!” that I resolved to never watch Tokyo Drift. That was until a few months ago, when I marathoned the entire Fast and Furious franchise and discovered what a gem of a movie Tokyo Drift was.

Following the thrilling swagger of The Fast and the Furious, the franchise was almost dead in its tracks after the slog that was 2 Fast 2 Furious. But then came Tokyo Drift, which in concept sounded like a complete disaster. A troubled American teen gets sent to live with his ex-pat father in Japan, where he ultimately learns the secret skill of Japanese car drifting? Sounds like a recipe for every terrible white savior movie. And it almost was — the teen at the center of the film (Lucas Black) is a forgettable hero with a bad Southern accent who bumbles his way through most of the movie. But thankfully, he is the least important part of the film. It was the energetic direction of Justin Lin and the brilliant introduction of Sung Kang’s Han that saved Tokyo Drift, as well as the electrifying depiction of the neon-drenched underbelly of Tokyo’s racing scene — which acted as a wonderful homage to the rich counterculture of Japan. It’s also fun to watch the film in retrospect and see familiar faces like Westworld’s Leonardo Nam, and — if there are any fellow j-drama lovers out there like me — Sailor Moon Live Action actress Keiko Kitagawa.

It helped too that the plot of the movie is basically a Japanese drama — outsider boy accidentally angers a yakuza gang member, who challenges him to a race for the heart of a girl. It’s an obscenely simple and soapy plot, but if you’re going to make a pulpy movie like Tokyo Drift, you might as well go all the way. It’s easy to see from Tokyo Drift why Lin — who injected life and respect into a stale and appropriative plot — was brought on to direct the next three Fast and Furious movies. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

fast and furious movies ranked furious 7

2. Furious 7 (2015)

Score: 40

This is a classic revenge story – a new villain (Jason Statham) vows to make Vin Diesel and his “family” pay for the wrongs they committed against his brother (Luke Evans). Forget the fact that when we first meet Statham’s character Deckard Shaw, he’s just wreaked destructive havoc on the hospital that is keeping his comatose brother alive, because that’s too logical for a sequel that continues to throw physics out the window in favor of a damn good time at the movies.

In addition to the introduction of Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, we’re talking about a movie that has skydiving cars leading into a high speed chase/heist for a MacGuffin. It’s a movie where Paul Walker and Vin Diesel jump a car from one skyscraper to another. Plus, let’s not forget the fact that this movie has Dwayne Johnson merely flexing his arm in order to break out of a cast so he can go shoot down a drone with an M134 Minigun. Those are just a few of the ridiculous and satisfying moments in this movie.

But what really makes Furious 7 work is the heart that’s at the core of the whole thing. Due to the loss of Paul Walker, we have to say goodbye to Brian, who gets a lovely, fond farewell. The bonds of family have never felt stronger in the franchise then they have in Furious 7, and it’s rare that you get to have such tender, genuine emotion in a movie that has so much ludicrous action. (Ethan Anderton)

fast and furious movies ranked fast five

1. Fast Five (2011)

Score: 56

I have never been a Fast and Furious die-hard. The original film and Tokyo Drift were enjoyable movies, but it wasn’t until Fast Five that I was really sucked into this fun series. I think there are a number of key reasons why this one is the best of the series:

  • The introduction of Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs brought a fun cat-and-mouse interplay to the movies. This was particularly nice coming of the series’ worst and most serious installment. The interaction between the ensemble cast in this film is unmatched and The Rock is the perfect counterbalance to Vin Diesel.
  • Setting the film in Brazil gave a whole new flavor and energy to the proceedings. Instead of a film full of more street races, the story offers new kind of action, like an inventive gun-fueled foot chase through the grungy favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Fast Five transforms the franchise from a campy street racing series to a ridiculously fun ensemble heist series.
  • Forget the physics: Justin Lin’s energetic high-octane, sometimes preposterous action scenes elevate everything into something special and magical. The more absurd the action and plot gets, the better the series becomes.
  • Borrowing a bit from the likes of Marvel, Fast Five begins to feel more like a cinematic universe, complete with an end credits scene that helps establish what’s coming next.

Fast Five is everything I want from a popcorn movie. This is the type of movie that you can put on television in the background and just keep it playing on repeat. It’s dumb but clever in its execution. It’s fun and spectacular without feeling too formulaic. It’s charismatic and self-assured without becoming obnoxious. It’s the best movie in the series by far. (Peter Sciretta)

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