The Fast and the Furious Films Ranked

 With the release of F9, I thought I would do an article ranking all the Fast and Furious films (F&F), I am including Hobbs & Shaw on the list.  Theatres are not yet open where I live, and F9 has no option to stream online so I am not sure when I will have a chance to see F9.  I have done ranking lists before for Star WarsThe DCEU, and The MCU; the F&F franchise was the funniest to revisit.  I will admit that the series is missing Paul Walker, since his death in 2013 the films have not been the same.  The series which started out as a street racing remake of Point Break has evolved into a crazy series that somehow raises the stakes with each sequel.  I really enjoy watching these films, though some of the dialogue and unrealistic action sequences sometimes take me out of the film.  The dialogue and action sequences that continually break the laws of physics also provides some laughs while watching the films.  The series is confirmed to have two more films with the core cast before the series is put to bed, but there will be spinoffs likes Hobbs & Shaw coming out to keep the franchise active.  I would not be surprised if Universal Pictures decides to reboot the franchise at some point, I am probably going to talk some smack about these films in this article, but I do truly enjoy these films.  I know some of the enjoyment comes from the bonkers action, while another is my love of the cars used in these films.  There will be some spoilers in this article, I will need to drop some spoilers to explain why I feel about some of these films the way I do.  The Fast and Furious franchise has constantly strived to get bigger with each film, but I hope the spinoffs go back to some of the simpler types of stories that we saw in the first four films.  

9.  2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

This should not be a surprise to anyone, I would be shocked if this is not the lowest-ranked film on any list.  After the success of the first film in the series a sequel was greenlit by the studio, but Vin Diesel did not return to the role of Dominic Toretto.  Paul Walker came back, but without Diesel, the film felt lacking, and even though it was a financial success, 2 Fast 2 Furious is often considered the worst film in the franchise.  The sequel introduced us to Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce and Ludacris as Tej Parker, the brother dynamic between Walker and Diesel was replaced with the brother dynamic between Tyrese and Walker.  I thought Tyrese was good in the film, but the villain was weak, the romantic part of the story was weak, and I thought the action was just okay.  The action scenes earlier in the film were better than the action set pieces near the end of the film, which to me is a problem.  I do enjoy parts of the film, and I don't think it is a terrible film, I just feel it is the weakest film in the franchise.  I still believe that 2 Fast 2 Furious is a must-watch film in the franchise, but it is a film that has a Vin Diesel-sized hole in it.  Diesel's absence looms large throughout the film, when I first saw the film, I kept hoping he might make a surprise appearance at some point.  Paul Walker is not a great actor, he has charisma, he has looks, he seems likeable, but he has no dramatic ability.  Walker leading 2 Fast 2 Furious just did not work, but the film is still fun and has some awesome cars.

8. The Fate of the Furious (2017)

I struggled with what to do with The Fate of the Furious, the eighth film in the franchise and the film I ranked eight on this list.  There is a lot I really enjoyed about Fate of the Furious, but the stuff I hate really holds the film back for me.  I think Charlize Theron is absolutely wasted as Cipher, but my biggest issue with the film was the Vin Diesel turn.  It never made any sense having him be a villain for the film, I never once believed he had gone bad, and the reveal of why he joined Cipher is even worse.  I enjoyed the storyline with Hobbs (The Rock) and Shaw (Statham), the chemistry between the two of them was the best chemistry in the series behind Diesel's and Walker's chemistry.  The film could really use Walker's presence and the plot feels a little too similar to Furious 7.  The Fate of the Furious is a lot more watchable than 2 Fast 2 Furious, but my problems with the film ruin the experience for me.  If you don't mind the Diesel storyline, or if you enjoy Charlize Theron's Cipher then this film could be a lot higher on your list.  

7. Fast & Furious (2009)

When Fast & Furious came out in 2009 I was very excited, it was great having the core cast back for another film.  My first few viewings of this film had me thinking it was my favourite film out of the first four, but on repeat viewings I find myself getting by frustrated by some things in the film.  I liked the villains (played John Ortiz), the first appearance by Gal Gadot as Gisele and a returning Sung Kang as Han.  The appearance of Han in this film confused me at first until it was explained that Fast & Furious takes place before Tokyo Drift.  I did not like the driving through the tunnels climax, or Letty being killed off early in the film.  The tunnel driving was too CGI-looking for me, and I do not know why they could have found a way to keep Letty alive throughout the film.  Fast and Furious breathed new life into the franchise, so even though I think it is just okay it is still an essential film in the franchise.  There is no way to describe how nice it was to have Walker and Diesel back together, the film is far from perfect, but it is very enjoyable.

6. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

I never really considered the idea of a F&F spinoff film, until rumors started circling that The Rock and Jason Statham would lead a spinoff focusing on their characters from the franchise.  This film also had some incredibly cheesy dialogue and really nonsensical action, but the film is just so much fun.  Hobbs & Shaw is easily one of the most rewatchable films in the franchise, there is a lot of great action, and it is the funniest film in the series.  The villain is played by Idris Elba, and he is incredibly badass in the role.  We meet Shaw's sister Hattie, played by Vanessa Kirby, she has great chemistry with both Statham and The Rock.  This film has really big action and a lot more comedy than I was expecting.  Ryan Reynolds shows up to play a key role who I think will make another appearance in the sequel.  I am excited about the sequel, I miss the cars and racing, but I think the Hobbs and Shaw series has a lot of potential.  Due to the drama surrounding The Rock's strained relationship with Vin Diesel, The Rock will not be appearing in F9, and I can only think that is a bad thing for the F&F series.

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

The first several times I watched Tokyo Drift I felt this was an inferior film, I have come to appreciate the film for its strengths.  Tokyo Drift feels like an attempt to reboot the franchise, you had Lucas Black as the Paul Walker stand-in, and Sung Kang in the Vin Diesel role.  Since we know Sung Kang has now appeared in four other films, but Lucas Black has briefly popped up in two other films.  The film being set in Japan was a great idea, it gave the film a new style, setting, and racing.  The story follows Lucas Black as he is sent to live with his father in Tokyo, while there he gets involved with local street-racers.  Sung Kang becomes a mentor to Lucas Black, they become very close, but they also draw the ire of a local gangster.  My main complaint of the film was that Lucas Black was miscast; his southern accent did not work for me.  I think Lucas Black might have grown on me if we got to spend more time with his character in the sequels, but his character has only ever appeared very briefly.  Tokyo Drift was Justin Lin's first foray into the F&F franchise, and he brought style and spectacle to the series.  I hope we go back and revisit the world of Tokyo in the F&F franchise, whether it is in one of the two final films or a spinoff.

4. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The film that started the franchise is still one of most rewatchable films I have ever watched, the cars, the story and the action all make me happy.  There is no film like the original F&F film, the next two films follow the street racing storyline, but both of those attempts were inferior to the original.  The racing, the cars, the characters, the action, and the story all keep me coming back to watch this film.  The Fast and the Furious was not the overstuffed films the sequels would go on to be, there is something simple about the first film that I just enjoy.  I think the main reason I am so attached to The Fast and the Furious is because it feels like a Point Break reboot.  Paul Walker and Vin Diesel were reprising the roles played by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze in Point Break, the casting in both films was fantastic.  There are certain films I can watch over and over again and never get bored, The Fast and the Furious is such a fun film that I don't think I will ever get tired of watching it.  

3. Furious 7 (2015)

The series has been delivering great action from the very first film, but Furious for has been the high point for action.  Furious 7 also has the unfortunate distinction as Paul Walkers final F&F before he died, the ending of the film tries to give the character a happing end to hist story, but I would have preferred he was killed off.  Furious 7 has the biggest action in the series, but it also a tension to it because we were all wondering if they going to kill Paul Walker off.  Furious 7 also features two villains in Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw and Djimon Honsou as Jakande.  The villains were great, especially Statham, but we also saw Kurt Russell join the franchise playing a shadowy government agent named Mr. Nobody.  From the beginning of the film to the end, I think Furious 7 is the biggest film in the series, and if not for the loss of Paul Walker I think this could have been the best film in the series.  The loss of Paul Walker was tragic and unexpected, the film was directed by James Wan and he did a great job wrapping up the film in a satisfying way.  It is not fair that I hold Paul Walker's passing against this film, but I do.  There are rumors that Walker's character will appear in the final two films, if it is not to kill the character off, then I hope we never see him again.  Furious 7 is event cinema, it is all kinds of crazy, I think that is what works so well for the film.

2. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

I cannot properly put into words why I have such an attachment to F6 in comparison to F7, one my big enjoyments is The Rock, this is his best appearance in the franchise.  F6 also has such cool action sequences, like the car chases in London, the tank scene, the airplane sequence, and the fight in the metro.  The main antagonist of F6 is played by Luke Evans, I thought he did a good job in the role, his character is an ex-military veteran who has turned to mercenary.  Luke Evans played Owen Shaw who is the little brother of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).  This was shoe-horned into F8 to make the villain of that film (Cipher) seem like a big bad for the series.  There is a lot of action, and it is all really well done, but the character stuff in this film works so well for me.  Hobbs informs Toretto that Letty is still alive and working for a tough crew; Hobbs needs Toretto and his crew to help him take down Letty's crew.  Fast 6 also features a heartbreaking ending for one of the crew, and that moment always works for me.  I think any true fan of the franchise will have Fast & Furious 6 in their top five, I have a strong attachment to this film, but I also think it is one of the stronger entries in the entire series.

1. Fast Five (2011)

Is anybody surprised that Fast Five is the top choice; this is where the franchise became the box office gold it is now at.  Fast Five was where the series shifted from street racing franchise to a heist franchise, it is also the first film to feature the core crew we are still seeing to this day.  The Rock also made his debut in the series in F5, and what a debut it was as Luke Hobbs.  After the success of F5 and Journey 2 The Rock started calling himself "Franchise Viagra", and I can't argue with him.  I am not saying The Rock is the only reason that F5 was successful, but he did command the screen whenever he was on it.  The climax of the film was something so spectacularly massive that I don't think audiences were prepared for what they saw.  The villains of the film while perfectly slimy were not in the film a whole lot, the focus was on Hobbs and our main crew.  Fast Five was also the first film in the series that leaned into comedy a lot more, this film has some very funny moments (mainly delivered by Tyrese Gibson).  Fast Five is the best F&F film, it is the perfect distillation of what came before it and what has come after it.  Another big reason that F6 is so high on the list for me is because it is the first film after F5, and I think they kept the energy from F5 alive in F6.  

That is my ranking of the Fast & Furious films, I wish I could have gone into deep spoilers, but I did not want to ruin too much about the films.  I hope you enjoyed the article and let me know what your ranking of the F&F films released to date, and if you have seen F9 let me know what you thought (please no spoilers, I will see it when theatres open up here).

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