Back in 2001, not many people were expecting the simple street racing crime flick “The Fast and the Furious” to turn into an eight-part, multi-million dollar franchise. Yet, all these years later the series is still turning out films, with the latest, “The Fate of the Furious” set for release tomorrow.
With that in mind, now seems like a good time to look back on the series and share my view on where they all rank. So, here’s my Furious franchise listing, from worst to best.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (Part 3, 2006)
Did you like the characters from the previous two movies? Do you want sequels to actually tie into the story from the previous installment? If you answered yes to both, then like me, you probably weren’t a big fan of the third installment of the series, “Tokyo Drift.” Neither Vin Diesel who played the outlaw with a heart of gold or Paul Walker playing a cop who doesn’t play by the rules showed up here. (OK Diesel showed up for 30 second cameo but come on.)
What we got instead was a weak lead performance from Lucas Black playing an annoying teenager who gets into trouble and isn’t even that good of a driver. Accompanying him in the movie was Shad Moss, formerly known as Bow Wow, giving a dreadful performance as the movie’s comic relief. The only bright spot here was the character Han, which is apparent as he’s the only character from here who got more than a cameo in later installments. The movie should have been about that guy.
2 Fast 2 Furious (Part 2, 2003)
Yes, on this list this is technically “second 2 worst,” but the difference between “2 Fast” and “Drift” can’t be stated enough. The direct sequel 2 the original is over the top, filled with ridiculous moments and had some scenes that were rather silly. However, this flick is just so much damn fun, it can’t help but be a guilty pleasure.
Walker comes back and gets 2 play his character a little more loosely as he’s no longer a strict cop. At the same time, it created a good dynamic between his character and Roman, who was played by Tyrese Gibson. Walker’s character still played things more by the books creating a fun banter between him and Gibson’s role. It’s schlocky entertainment and it’s something I don’t mind catching on cable now and then.
Furious 7 (Part 7, 2015)
If anyone thought “2 Fast 2 Furious” would be the extent of insane sequences, then “Furious 7” would have blown peoples’ minds. This movie had planes skydiving, a raid on a warehouse with special operatives, helicopters blowing up, cars flying through skyscrapers and an antagonist in action star Jason Statham who could match up with the heroes.
Unfortunately this flick also had some detriments. Djimon Hounsou played a secondary villain who was just after some technical Mcguffin. This is on top of the fact that he wasn’t really needed since the movie already had Statham. This also led to Nathalie Emmanuel playing a character named Ramsey who had to guard the Mcguffin and in the end it just made her character forgettable.
This one is still entertaining but doesn’t hit the levels of the flicks in front of it.
The Fast and the Furious (Part 1, 2001)
OK, I’ve heard it all, the first one was just a rip-off of “Point Break,” blah blah blah. I still really enjoy the first “Fast and the Furious” and hold it up as one of the better pictures in the franchise. The movie had a great attitude that perfectly fit the time it was made, the characters introduced were likable and the action was fast paced and intense.
Additionally, the action while great visually, was a bit more simplistic in comparison to the wild sequences that populate the later movies. The dialogue also struck a solid action movie balance of having enough tough-guy one-liners mixed with humor.
Fast and Furious (Part 4, 2009)
This put the whole thing back on track. After the absolute train wreck (or maybe car wreck is more fitting) of “Tokyo Drift,” “Fast Five” brought the series back to its roots and set up its future. Back were Walker and Diesel, now tougher and more experienced in the crime world than they were in the first installment, which was great to see.
The action and racing was also a welcome return, too, Bringing the intensity that was in the original. While what was featured in “2 Fast” was fun, the raw, fierce action featured here, especially in the final chase sequence was highly engaging. It may not be my favorite of the series, but this may be the most important. It took the franchise off life support after “Tokyo Drift.”
Fast and Furious 6 (Part 6, 2013)
The sixth installment earned a lot of points for its amazing action sequences. There’s fantastic hand-to-hand combat both in the middle of the movie in a subway as well as on an aircraft at the end. Plus, there’s incredible moments with car chases, especially when it involves a tank.
The picture was just pure popcorn madness, completely embracing the ridiculousness of the car combat that the series had been building up and running all the way with it. Keeping it out of the top spot was a subplot with Walker’s character going undercover at a prison which slowed things down a bit too much.
Fast Five (Part 5, 2011)
Everything that part 6 did, “Fast Five” did better. In fact, this movie really took the best of both worlds. The film kept the lead characters as anti-heroes, keeping them outlaws and trying to pull off a heist while being chased by agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). At the same time, though, they’re called in to take on a Brazilian Drug Lord, forcing them to fight the crime world, ultimately making for a solid dynamic.
Bringing the whole crew from previous movies together and adding Dwayne Johnson to the roster was brilliant and the action in the series was never better. Plus, the movie featured the fight between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, arguably the two biggest action stars of the 2000s. Everything simply clicked.
How about your favorites? Leave a comment down below and name how you would rank them.