The Fast and the Furious franchise has grossed over $3.8Billion at the box office worldwide (according to boxofficemojo.com) since its introduction in 2001. This is a phenomenal figure considering the budgets of each of the movies in the original trilogy and has spawned a fandom of nerds, action enthusiasts, and car enthusiasts, whose loyalty is comparable to that of the Star Wars and Marvel fandoms. It seems like whether you’re an avid movie watcher who appreciates the simplicity of the action and complexities of the mythology, or you’re a casual viewer on the edge of your seat for some of the biggest (and coolest) names in Hollywood, the Fast and the Furious franchise has something for you. This list will rank all seven of the franchise’s movies from worst to best, hopefully solidifying the number one film of the franchise in your mind. Of course, you may end up disagreeing with me. If you do, leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I’ll be sure to get back to you!
Engines at the ready? Here we go…
7. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was not only without Vin Diesel (mostly), but it was also without Paul Walker, making it the least Fast and Furious movie of the bunch. Set mostly in Japan, this picture seemed more like Universal’s attempts at exploiting the flailing franchise than any attempt at entertaining audiences and thus emphasised its lack of heart, making for by far the worst movie of the franchise. In fact, it’s arguable that the only good thing to come from this was director Justin Lin (who went on to make three more Fast and Furious movies) and the introduction of the charismatic Sung Kang as Han.
6. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Just as number 6 on this list sorely missed Vin Diesel’s presence, so did 2 Fast 2 Furious; the film that took the Paul Walker “undercover cop” element of the original picture to a new level, this time teaming his character Brian O’Conner with a number of car thieves to take down a super criminal with the help of old friend Roman Pearce (played by Tyrese Gibson). It was fun, sure, but it lacked the draw of Vin Diesel’s charisma as Dom Toretto and was quite far removed from the story of the original movie, isolating it as one of the worst Fast and Furious movies simply out of negligence to the original story arc.
5. Fast & Furious (2009)
Fast & Furious (2009) was the fourth instalment in the franchise and was a much needed injection of adrenaline after the relatively minuscule amount of money that Tokyo Drift had taken at the box office. Justin Lin’s return to the director’s chair was a risky choice, but it paid off when his action was coupled by the re-introduction of a number of key characters that had been missing since The Fast and the Furious (2001), not least Dominic Toretto, Vin Diesel’s iconic character. This time, Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner was in the FBI and needed Diesel’s Dom Toretto to take down a drug cartel from over the border, something Toretto only agreed to in order to help his former lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). It truly re-established ‘the family’ and made for one of the more action packed editions of the franchise; it was certainly a return to form for the Fast and Furious films, placing it strides ahead of the chasing pack in this list.
4. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
This movie was, appropriately, the culmination of all that came before it and helped to provide so much more of an emotional connection to Han, who we knew died in Tokyo Drift (this movie’s sequel in terms of the Furious universe’s timeline), and helped to establish a new foe for Furious 7, Jason Statham. Remembered for its spectacular airplane chase/crash scene, and The Rock and Vin Diesel finally teaming up, Fast & Furious 6 was a movie of spectacle as well as emotion and was undoubtedly one of the better pictures in the franchise.
3. Fast Five (2011)
This film was part heist movie, part car movie, and part action movie. The fifth instalment in the series, Fast Five took to the exotic and beautiful streets of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, for some of the most enthralling action sequences in any action film, let alone a Fast and Furious movie. Pitting Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto against action megastar The Rock (as Hobbs) was a masterstroke by the producers and set fans up for what was a dream on-screen match for any fan of the franchise or action movies in general. Fast Five was also the first place we saw the likes of Han, Roman and Tej unite with Toretto and O’Conner, causing one of the more exciting fan-service moments in the franchise’s rich history.
2. Furious 7 (2015)
Furious 7 is best remembered for saying goodbye to the franchise’s central character Brian O’Conner following the untimely death of its star Paul Walker in 2013. The metaphor of having Walker’s O’Conner drive down a different road to Diesel’s Toretto at the conclusion of the movie was the perfect end to their movie relationship and offered a truly heartfelt goodbye from the franchise’s cast and crew that brought about many tears from its worldwide Box Office smashing audience. Also starring Jason Statham as the villain, the rest of the regular crew, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as a turret-gun wielding bad-ass, undefeated UFC champion (at the time) Ronda Rousey and Kurt Russell, Furious 7 is the franchise’s most financially successful movie having brought in $1.5Billion in Box Office revenue.
“It’s been a long day without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”
1. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The Fast and the Furious (2001) is the undisputed classic of the franchise for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it was fresh and interesting for the time, and is the reason for all that followed it. This movie was a surprise hit for Universal and repaid its production costs after only 3 days in the US box office, but its status as franchise builder only came as a result of the cult following that grew after the movie’s release in the home theatre market (VHS/DVD/TV). This is because The Fast and the Furious had heart underneath its flashy car chases and action-packed visuals, telling a story of what it means to belong to a family of people you choose and making Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto an iconic action franchise leading male. This was the movie that also asserted Paul Walker as a heart-throb good guy for the ages. With the ever-fashionable undercover cop story running throughout, The Fast and the Furious can now be considered the best picture of the seven.
“Ride or die, remember.”