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The Fast & Furious Power Rankings
Let's talk about family and an ice cold Corona
Here at Working Title, we pride ourselves on not being too far up our own ass. Don’t get me wrong, I love an Arthouse Film™️ just as much as the next guy. I think TÁR is brilliant. I own several pieces of A24 merchandise. I just went and saw ENYS MEN on 35mm at a repertory cinema here in LA and didn’t really get it but I still went “hmm” every once in a while.
I also love to join the unwashed masses at my local Cineplex with a large 50/50 (half Diet Coke, half Coke heavy) and let a big ol’ blockbuster wash over me. Bright lights. Big sounds. I’m simply a baby clapping his hands at the spectacle. I just wanna see some stuff. In the words of Nicole Kidman, we need that. All of us.
Some of the more dependable (and insane) movies in that department are the FAST & FURIOUS franchise. For 22 years(!) Dom Toretto and his family have gone from illegal street racing in LA to literal space and several international locations in between. It has evolved rapidly, becoming essentially a superhero franchise at this point.
I understand these movies are not for everyone but I respect that they try to make them for as many people as possible. You can choose to be all in on these characters or you can choose to just kind of see what happens because it doesn’t really matter. I once went to a screening of one of these films (I think it was FURIOUS 7) and the guy with me hadn’t seen any of the previous films and I would say we had the exact same amount of fun.
I enjoy these movies so much that in college my friends and I would host Fast & Furious parties where you had to wear a white tank top with jeans and we only served Coronas, holding them exclusively by the neck of the bottle. These films are very stupid, but it’s a beautiful stupidity. What can I say? I like it when things go fast. If it’s good enough for Dame Helen Mirren, it’s good enough for me.
With the release of FAST X this weekend, I think it’s time we take a look back and put these films in the correct order. It’s time for the FAST & FURIOUS power rankings.
We will be ranking every film in the FAST & FURIOUS franchise. They are:
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003)
THE FAST & THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006)
FAST & FURIOUS (2009)
FAST FIVE (2011)
FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013)
FURIOUS 7 (2015)
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017)
FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBES AND SHAW (2019)
We will not be ranking THE TURBOCHARGED PRELUDE or LOS BANDOLEROS which are two short films that prelude 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS and FAST & FURIOUS, respectively. This ranking will also not include FAST X because as hard as I tried I didn’t get invited to an early screening and I’m not seeing it until Saturday.
10. Fast & Furious
Ultimately, I think this is the least successful of all the movies in the franchise. The opening scene is sick as hell, but the movie never comes close to touching that scene for the rest of its runtime. FAST & FURIOUS is also in a weird growing pains zone because all of the original cast is back after saying they didn’t want to do F&F movies anymore and they’re trying to find the story. It is essentially the same plot as 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS only not as funny and with some insanely bad GPS graphics. Despite it being last on the list, there are still some things to like. The Brian vs Dom fight is great and the aforementioned opening scene is one of the best in the whole series. It just doesn’t have much to offer outside of that.
9. Hobbes & Shaw
I am kind of surprised where this movie ended up in the rankings considering how many times I said “hell yeah” out loud in the theater. There is a sequence in this movie where Idris Elba gets thrown through A DOUBLE DECKER BUS and then responds by basically saying “Tsk tsk, now you’ve really gone and done it.” That is awesome, sorry to offend.
It seems counterintuitive to have this movie so low considering how much I love The Rock and Jason Statham in the other movies of this franchise. Give them their own movie to carry and it doesn’t quite work as well. Some of the effects are pretty bad and there are a HILARIOUS amount of drone shots. So many that a guy in my theater muttered to himself “Enough with the fuckin’ drones” to himself during our screening. Vanessa Kirby is in this though and she whips an insane amount of ass.
I guess that’s the thing about the movies in this franchise. Even if one is ranked lower on my list, there are still parts about it that illicit a fist pump from me.
There is just simply too much going on in this movie, which seems like par for the course but here it bogs down the film to me. There is a lot of Vin Diesel in this one, which is an insane thing to say since he is the person this franchise is built around but I think you know what I mean. It has some of the series’ signature setpieces but the seems are starting to show a little bit. These guys have officially become superheroes at this point, absorbing hits that Captain America would stay down from. There’s only so much suspension of disbelief I can do for you. They also have Tyrese doing this thing where half of his jokes are “isn’t this crazy” meta-commentary that’s winking at the audience. Sometimes it’s funny but sometimes it’s not and Tyrese is usually one of the best parts of these movies. The ostensible villain played by John Cena turns good with about 20 minutes or so of the movie left. Also, the villain from FATE OF THE FURIOUS (played by Charlize Theron) is in this movie, and, for like a minute, she basically does phrenology about John Cena’s chin. Weird!
Again, there’s some stuff to like in this one. They literally go to space in a Pontiac Fiero. The backstory about Dom’s dad is cool simply for the fact that we get to see Michael Rooker in the film. Helen Mirren and Vin Diesel have legit chemistry. The big set piece with magnets at the end is very tight, I’ve still never seen magnets used like that. I also loved the soundtrack on this one lol.
7. Fate of the Furious
As I mentioned in the opening of this newsletter, people come to these movies for the set pieces and brother let me tell you that the action in this one is a front flip dick stomp. There are so many good sequences in this film. The opening car race in Cuba is such a good tone-setter. Jason Statham fights off a bunch of bad guys while also protecting a baby in what is maybe my favorite sequence of the whole franchise. Dom blows up a submarine by tricking a heat-seeking missile and then his family defends him from the ensuing blast by shielding him with their vehicles. The world-famous Zombie Car scene. There is a lot to like here!
The reason this one isn’t a little higher on the list is that between all of the fun action sequences, this thing is a soap opera to the Nth degree and it sometimes leans into that REALLY heavily and makes the story a bit of a mess. Also, Charlize Theron has dreads. They’re bad.
6. The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
I feel like this movie has slowly started being reclaimed by various corners of the internet and that makes sense. I didn’t really care for this movie when I first saw it because it was so far removed from the other two movies up until that point. The more time that passes and the further we get into this franchise, the more essential this movie becomes. We’re introduced to Han in this movie. The global aspect of the franchise is introduced here. Like 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, a lot of what the franchise will become is represented here which is why it sits higher than some might be expecting. I’m thinking more big picture here than just individual movies.
The driving sequences are way cooler than anything from the first two movies if I’m being honest with myself. They play BAWITIBA by Kid Rock to great effect and that Teriyaki Boyz song is an absolute heater to this day.
While I may have a soft spot for this film, I recognize its flaws. It is pretty wildly miscast. They had my man Lucas Black playing a high schooler while he looked precisely 43 years old. There is not enough focus on Han, who is arguably the best character. The lack of the main cast is felt throughout. IDK, this one is probably too high on the list but I’m keeping it here.
5. Fast & Furious 6
After the bolt of lightning that was FAST FIVE (more on that below), I was fully on board for FAST & FURIOUS 6 and it ultimately didn’t deliver what I wanted but I still had a great time with it. The acting in this one is really bad and it kind of makes it fun. Gal Gadot is in this and she is just so unbelievable at everything. Even when she’s just standing around, I’m kinda like “Hmm, don’t really believe you girlie.”
This is the one with the incredible tank sequence and it’s the best Letty movie in the whole series. She has a couple of great fight sequences.
4. 2 Fast 2 Furious
A lot of people think this is one of the weaker entrants because it lacks a lot of the main characters we will come to know and love and I totally get that, but I think this movie is the first REAL Fast and Furious movie. It predicted the future of where this franchise was headed. I don’t know if it was particularly trying to do that, but it did it nonetheless and that’s why it sits where it sits on this list.
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS actually takes the time to start building out a little bit of a world and we get to see the characters inhabit that world more deeply. Things start getting a little bit wacky. There are cars getting speared with tridents and they’re jumping cars onto boats. It’s the blueprint of what these movies ultimately will become and I think people forget that. It introduces us to Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) who are so important to the comic relief elements of most of these movies moving forward. It’s also a perfect time capsule of 2000s culture and it’s fun to revisit for that reason too.
It also has “I said forget about it cuh.”
3. The Fast And The Furious
I think you have to have this one in the top 3 for historical purposes. None of what comes after (including my two favorites in the franchise) happen without this first film. I actually think there are some movies that rank lower on the list that I enjoy more than this one, but they don’t happen if this doesn’t get made so it’s going here.
This movie gives us the best version of Dom and Bryan. Their first race against each other is awesome. Dom being the villain (but not really a villain) is such a funny aspect looking back on it now. It features some of my favorite lines of dialogue in the franchise including “You never had me. You never had your car” and “I like the tuna here.”
There are two things about this movie that will never not be funny to me. The first is the fact that their big heist is stealing camcorders and DVD players and that they’re scoring big ($250,000!) by doing so. The second is that they go to an event in the desert called fuckin’ RACE WARS. It’s so funny every time I see it pop up on screen. Did nobody want to give that a second pass?
2. Furious 7
Everyone talks about this one being the most emotional of the films due to the death of Paul Walker and I think that is absolutely true. There is a certain amount of gravitas (for this series of films anyway) that really works. The stuff around Walker’s character is moving and genuinely affecting, especially in the final scene with him and Dom. I was cryin’ in the theater to a damn Wiz Khalifa song and that song is NOT good.
On the flip side of that, there is SO much good action in this movie. There is actually pretty minimal talking in this movie despite its emotional heft. The opening sequence of this film is a 10/10. Not only is it an awesome action sequence, but it’s also the perfect introduction to Jason Staham’s character Deckard Shaw. It’s the one where Paul Walker climbs a bus as it’s falling off a cliff. They go to Dubai and drive a car through SEVERAL Royal Family buildings and suffer no consequences for their actions. And, in the piece de resistance, there is a scene in which The Rock has a broken arm that’s in a full cast and to get out of said cast he flexes his arm so hard the cast breaks. No notes. There’s only one movie that could top it.
1. Fast Five
This movie is so good. And not “so good for a Fast & Furious movie.” It is good for a movie, full stop. Until this point, the Fast & Furious films had lived up to their name, using street racing and cool cars as their central narrative device. In this one, Justin Lin came in and said “fuck that noise, it’s heist time baby.” and hot damn does it deliver on that promise.
I knew this movie was going to rock ass because it has one of the all-time great “getting a team together montages.” It also has the other little trademarks of a great heist film. A secret hideout. Smaller heists necessary for the bigger heist. An impossible-to-crack safe kept in the most secure location in the city of Rio De Janeiro. A scene where it seems like this heist really is impossible. An absolutely incredible reveal that shows that you’ve been one step behind the whole time. It’s all there and executed to perfection.
A few of my other favorite things about this movie. Tej Parker (Ludacris) returns from 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS. In 2F2F, Tej is a guy who manages an auto garage, organizes street races, and is obsessed with ass. In FAST 5, Tej Parker is not just some dude who runs a garage. He is a computer and mechanical engineering genius who can fix anything, hack anything, and might be in the top 20 smartest people on the planet. He’s into some CIA/NSA-level shit. He is also still obsessed with ass. This is also the film where we meet The Rock, where he plays Luke Hobbes, the Diplomatic Security Service agent who is tasked with bringing our team to justice and he takes that shit SERIOUSLY. His back-and-forth with both Dom and Bryan is so funny.
The set pieces in this film are some of my favorites ever put to screen. The opening sequence involves breaking Diesel out of a prison bus followed by a heist that involves stealing expensive cars off an extremely fast-moving train before hitting a bridge. There is a roughly 10-minute sequence in which Diesel and Walker use stolen cop cars to drag a 2-3 ton safe through the entire Rio De Janeiro metropolitan area, causing what I assume to be MILLIONS of dollars worth of damage.
This movie is violent even by the franchise’s own standards and is the last movie that has a little bit of a mean streak. Due to their focus on illegal street racing and grand larceny, a lot of the earlier FAST & FURIOUS films had an ACAB mentality inherently. FAST 5 is the last film that really leans into that, which is a lot of fun. There’s a scene where the gang destroys roughly 30 cop cars and they’re cracking jokes the entire time. It’s also the movie where our heroes move from basic street racers to Avengers-level threats. Gunshot wounds, insane car crashes, and falls from tremendous heights are all treated with minor annoyance.
All of this adds up to what is not only clearly the best FAST & FURIOUS movie but one of my favorite movies period. It’s easily on the top of this list.
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