Every Fast and Furious Movie Ranked

6. The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious Review

The one in which they outrun a submarine.

With the “family” brought as close as ever in Furious 7 (with even Johnson’s Luke Hobbs growing close to Diesel’s Toretto), The Fate of the Furious needed to throw a spanner in the works. Its answer: what if Toretto turned on his family?

It was a fresh concept for a franchise within touching distance of overplaying its own tropes and likely to fail in any attempt to recapture the heart and soul of its predecessor. It also made a space for Vin Diesel to reclaim his role at the front of the franchise after being overshadowed in back-to-back movies by Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Paul Walker. The choice also created the circumstances in which the “family” would have to adapt to a mission without their leader, creating the bedrock for great jokes and character exchanges, and offering Statham’s Deckard Shaw a way back into a franchise he’d become something of a fan favourite in during his star turn as Fast & Furious 6’s antagonist.

This simple decision also created a Civil War dynamic, asking audiences to ponder more than the typical “hero versus faceless villain” trope on offer elsewhere. This left the door open for Charlize Theron to debut, the South Africa-born actress entering to great fanfare courtesy of her performance in car-crazy actioner Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), but ultimately only serving the purpose of being the antagonistic motivating factor behind Toretto’s defection – in short being the generic bad guy acted by someone with a name the producers could put on the film’s promotional material.

While just as snappy and spectacular as the best of the franchise, The Fate of the Furious did seem like a significant step down from the franchise high of its early-to-mid-2010s run, remaining thoroughly enjoyable and quotable but not quite earning the distinction of being the movie you’d most like to rewatch.

Recommended for you: Mad Max Movies Ranked

5. Fast X (2023)

Fast X Review

If you set aside nostalgia for a moment, and expunge the real-world context surrounding any of the Fast and Furious releases, Fast X is a certified medallist in this list. So far as modern, post-2010 Fast and Furious goes, Fast X has it all and then some.

Featuring arguably the most charismatic out-and-out villain in the franchise’s history, Jason Momoa’s enigmatic and flamboyant scene-stealer Dante Reyes, and paying just the right amount of homage to the franchise’s most-often praised release Fast Five, this 11th franchise entry (10th of the central series) is a whole lot of fun and levels above the films already presented in this list.

With action sequences that are grounded more in the realm of the pseudo-reality you might see in the Mission: Impossible franchise as opposed to the space-exploring, physics-defying excitement of other Furious entries, Fast X comes across like another evolution to the series’ formula, all the while inching towards what seems like a conclusive franchise entry.

This doesn’t have the character focus of the series’ humble beginnings, nor does it compete with the best of the franchise’s 2010s offerings in terms of action, stakes and real-life emotion, but it is a rewatchable and endlessly fun Fast and Furious film nonetheless.

Recommended for you: Mission: Impossible Movies Ranked

4. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

“Ride or die, remember?”

Often, there’s no better experience in a movie franchise than seeing the original for the first time. With Fast and Furious, that’s not quite true… The Fast and the Furious being a strong inclusion into the canon but certainly not the franchise’s most impressive feature release to date.

A surprise hit for Universal that repaid its production costs after just 3 days at the US box office, The Fast and the Furious was a success from the off, but one that still appealed only to a relatively niche market, the film striding to a $207million box office run that would pale in comparison to the $1billion returns of some later films. The true success of this 2001 release actually came on home video where its relatively grounded car chases and relatable drama earned this Rob Cohen-directed film a cult-like status; one that would ultimately form the bedrock of support that later franchise entries would embrace.

Later dubbed “the street racing version of Point Break“, The Fast and the Furious had a story worth investing in, with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel proving to be charismatic leads as undercover cop Brian O’Conner and loyal criminal Dominic Toretto, the film’s themes regarding morality and brotherhood elevating this beyond being just any other car movie.

In retrospect, The Fast and the Furious is something of a nostalgia trip back to the days when cinema didn’t have to be so loud, brash and flashy. And there’s certainly value in that.

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