We’re approximately 4 months from Fast 8 – a.k.a. Fast & Furious 8, a.k.a. #F8, a.k.a. The Fate of the Furious – hitting theaters. The official trailer came out for F8 on Sunday, so what better time than now to rank the first 7 movies in the 15-year old franchise?
7. 2 Fast 2 Furious
John Singleton has made some bad movies, but this one is right down there with the worst of them. By just about any metric, this movie was bad.
It feels different than every other movie in the series and the fact that Paul Walker and his curly hair are there, doesn’t do anything for it. We get an awkward introduction to Tyrese and his constant eating. The best thing that this movie has going for it is the fact that it broke the mold on sequel titles.
6. Fast & Furious
The fourth movie in the franchise is as much an origin story as the original. It sets Dom and Brian as the main characters again and brings back Letty and Mia. It also introduces Gisele and resets everyone as action stars pulling off stunts and doing dangerous driving to advance convoluted plots. They’re the best in the world for some unexplained reason. Unfortunately, it’s just a little too dark and gritty and I don’t like it when Dom and Bryan aren’t family. In fact, turning your back on family makes me very weary of F8.
5. Furious 7
Considering the circumstances surrounding the film, this was a great effort. James Wan’s already faced the impossible task of replacing Justin Lin after four solid to great movies. Then there was the tragic death of Paul Walker before the film was done. Knowing what we know – and with The Rock put on the bench for the entire middle portion of the film – this movie is actually kind of hard to watch.
Jason Statham came in as a bad guy and introducing the Shaw FAMILY as potential permanent foils for our beloved Fasters. Gisele and Han are gone, so they added Ramsey and a government ally in Mr. Nobody. Then there’s a complete other expendable villain played by Dijmon Hounsou. Not to mention the stunt casting of Ronda Rousey as some sort of dress-wearing body guard who gets her ass kicked by Michele Rodriguez. This movie was completely overstuffed. They barely had room for Lucas Black!
By all accounts, Fast 8 will fall into the same trap as they add a slew of new bad and good guys and go to New York City. Hopefully, F. Gary Gray is able to make some sense out of it and do it with the style that Lin did.
4. The Fast & The Furious
This movie has not aged well, as FilmDrunk previously wrote, but it still has a certain charm and remains rewatchable in a 80’s action movie in the 90’s kind of way. Plus, it was first and as Dom will tell you, it don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile.
When this movie first came out, I wasn’t yet to the point of my movie-appreciating life where I could enjoy this. I didn’t care about cars. 2 Fast 2 Furious only further hurt the series reputation and I immediately dismissed Tokyo Drift for it’s weird name. It wasn’t until I saw Fast 5 that I really started giving these movies a chance and was able to go back and appreciate them for what they were. With the original, it was just a good bad movie full of dated cultural references and hammy dialogue. The cultural references are all gone, but the dialogue remains the same as you can see in the trailer for the new movie.
3. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Wrongly ridiculed because of the silly name. Tokyo Drift expanded the Fast Universe to its first exotic worldwide locale. Tokyo Drift opened the door for Brazil, London, and Abu Dabi. It introduced us to Han and is the defacto Han spin-off before Han was even a part of the family in the other movies. Do you see what this series is capable of!?
With Lucas Black and Bow Wow, this movie has aged incredibly well and has turned into one of my favorites. The over-the-top dumbness of the opening with Brad from Home Improvement is really what propelled this series into a second life. For that, we thank you.
2. Fast 6
This is the second time in the series that a character comes back from the dead. With Han they messed with the timeline – and then killed him in the same movie that they brought Letty back. Sure they revealed she was alive at the end of 5, but anything surprising to Dom is surprising to us.
They brought back The Rock and gave him a competent Gina Carano and plenty of other giant people to fight. Then they flip-flopped Gina Carano in a truly confusing plot twist that would have taken a Departed-level of planning on the part of Owen Shaw where he somehow maintained a romantic relationship with this woman. Oh, to be a super villain.
The runway scene might be the second-best movie in the series on its own. Plus, this movie had a full opening title sequence. This was very hard to top.
1. Fast 5
Perfection. Take a newly reborn action franchise and add The Rock. This movie was so good that Fast 6 had to have an opening title sequence like it’s a damn television show.
The Rock and Vin Diesel fighting. Vince comes back. Vince dies. They get the gang back together. This is the movie that changed it from an action franchise to an action-based Ocean’s 11-type franchise.
Fun fact: The destruction of downtown Rio by Dom and his crew is actually what began the problems that led to Brazil’s current economic state.