Fast and Furious ranking

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is coming to theaters this week (read our review here), so it’s time to rev up a new ranking of the entire Fast franchise that includes the new spin-off. So peel out, hit your NOS button, defy some physics, and read on to learn the definitive, inarguable order of these ridiculous but lovable #family films.

On today’s episode of /Film Daily, I joined Peter Sciretta and Jacob Hall to discuss and debate the merits of this list, and you can listen in as Jacob comes to the crushing realization that, as I mentioned before, this list is truly definitive and therefore can’t be argued against. (If you, like Jacob, find yourself having any complaints about the order, feel free to sound off in the comments with the full knowledge that the list is totally incontrovertible.)

Fast and Furious Ranking

9. 2 Fast 2 Furious

Director John Singleton took the reins early in this franchise’s history, when the Fast movies were still trying to establish themselves and find their identity. Unfortunately, this movie is a case of style over substance in the worst way, and it lacked the heart the series would exhibit in its later entries. 2 Fast does have a couple of goofy moments that still put a smile on my face (the boat jump at the end, the “confuse the cops by releasing a ton of cars from a warehouse at the same time” tactic, Tyrese and Paul Walker constantly saying the word “breh”), but it pales in comparison to everything else in this franchise.

Fast and Furious 2009

8. Fast and Furious

Fast and Furious walked so Fast Five could run…er, drive. You know what I mean. This is the Iron Man 2 of the Fast and Furious saga, laying necessary groundwork for a super fun movie that would arrive a couple of years later. Reuniting Walker and Diesel was a good idea, and there’s some fun stuff here (I recall there being a solid foot chase early on, and Dom has Sherlock Holmes-ian deduction skills for one scene?), but I can’t imagine ever rewatching this one again outside of the context of an entire franchise rewatch.

The Fate of the Furious

7. The Fate of the Furious

The more I think about this movie, the less I like it. At the time I thought it was passable, a middling entry at best. Years later, it’s dropped in my estimation: the glory of seeing Jason Statham fight a bunch of guys on a plane with a baby in tow can’t offset all of the Dom-centric drama that this film is so interested in. This movie makes gestures toward bringing its #family together, but without Paul Walker, it feels hollow.

Hobbs and Shaw Featurettes

6. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

Hobbs and Shaw is a C+. It’s a fine action movie – essentially a modern day remake of Tango and Cash, but with a genetically-enhanced Idris Elba in the mix instead of a bug-eyed Jack Palance. The comedy dynamic between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham grows thin after a while, and all of the best action beats were showcased in the trailers, but at least this spin-off tries to do some interesting stuff with the concept of family, which has been an important element of the “saga” films.

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift origin

5. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Lucas Black’s horrific southern accent is an affront to everyone who’s ever even visited the south (let alone the people who have lived there), and his “aw shucks” schtick always kept me at arm’s length emotionally. But this movie features some impressive stylistic flourishes from director Justin Lin (one of the key creative players in this saga’s overall success), and introduced the character of Sung Kang’s Han – maybe the coolest guy on the planet in this cinematic universe – into this franchise, so it gets extra props for that.

4. Fast & Furious 6

There’s a noticeable dip in quality here from Fast Five, but it was a tall order for any movie to follow up one of the best action movies of the decade. Still, even though it’s not quite top-tier, Fast & Furious 6 delivers some of the franchise’s craziest moments (Dom catching Letty mid-air during a chase! That nutso airplane runway fight!) and brings more drama and heart back into the franchise by focusing on the Dom/Letty relationship. Amid all the action scenes, this movie is a full-on soap opera dressed up as a blockbuster.

the fast and the furious

3. The Fast and the Furious

Yes, this first film is basically a remake of Point Break. But here’s the thing: Point Break rules, and this is one of the best cinematic copies of Kathryn Bigelow’s undercover cop movie that’s ever been made. Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto works wonderfully here as a purely charismatic force, and I took Paul Walker’s boyish charms for granted at the time: he proved to be the beating heart of this entire franchise, and these movies have never been the same without him. Also, shout out to the casting in this film, which felt totally natural for this very of-the-moment movie but inadvertently resulted in one of the most diverse casts of any ongoing Hollywood franchise.

Fast and Furious property damage infographics

2. Furious 7

I love Justin Lin’s Fast movies, but I’ve gotta give it up for James Wan here, the horror master who proved he could step into one of Hollywood’s biggest and most important action franchises and not miss a beat. Furious 7 delivers in a huge way. The skyscraper scene is one of the most jaw-droppingly audacious moments in this franchise, and watching actual cars plummeting from the back of a carrier plane and parachute to the ground was something I never thought I’d see. And that’s not even mentioning the touching tribute to Paul Walker at the end (Walker was tragically killed during production), a moment that transcended the boundaries of the film. This was about more than just a send-off for Brian O’Connor: that moving montage gave audiences a chance to process the loss of an actor they’d been watching in this franchise for fifteen years.

Fast Five Vault Chase

1. Fast Five

If there’s any justice in the world, Fast Five will be in serious contention for the best Hollywood action blockbuster of the 2010s in any future conversation about that topic. It represents this franchise finally figuring out what it wanted to be, and it’s the perfect blend of character, cheesiness, and stunning practical action sequences that not only still hold up, but have gotten better with age. It’s a heist movie with the perfect structure, and there’s something deeply satisfying about watching a baby-oil-drenched Dwayne Johnson clash with our protagonists in that classic “I hate you Ron Burgundy, but god damn it, do I respect you” sort of way. This movie elevated the Fast films to the next level, and it even included its own mind-blowing mid-credits scene. Bow down before Fast Five.

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