No matter the rank of each Fast and Furious movie, they are all fantastic films.
Fast and Furious was never supposed to be one of the largest franchises in the world. What started as a small-scale film about street racing now features stunts that wouldn’t be out of place in a Marvel or DC film. Now that Fast X is coming out, starting to bring the franchise to a close, it’s time to look back and rank all of the other films.
Though, it should be said that every film on this list is fun and a blast to watch, no matter what the critics may have had to say about it. Part of the fun, which continues with the latest film adding Jason Momoa and Brie Larson to the cast, is the crazy amount of big-name stars that decided to drive a quarter mile at a time, even if just for a little while.
10. Fast & Furious (2009)
“New model, original parts” is one of the greatest taglines in movie history, and it accurately describes Fast & Furious, which is stuck in between the first three racing-centered movies and the later super spy action films. The plot, involving smugglers racing through underground tunnels, is grounded and more realistic than everything that came next, but it’s also, and this is hard to say, a bit boring. Michelle Rodriguez‘s return as Letty, and her fate in the film, is undone later and robs the movie any lasting impact on the franchise other than bringing back Diesel.
The return of Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto was the big selling point, and it’s still a fun film thanks to his on-screen chemistry with Paul Walker, but outside of the last fast-paced sequence, it’s slower and more character-focused than the others. On the scale of Fast and Furious movies, it’s the worst one, but that still makes it one of the better action movies of this century.
9. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
2 Fast 2 Furious suffered without Vin Diesel, and this was Paul Walker’s first starring role as the leading man, coming a few years before he wore skimpy swim trunks for Into the Blue and won a new legion of fans, with his awkwardness coming off the screen. Introducing Tyrese Gibson as Roman and Ludacris as Tej, two characters that would go on to be some of the best parts of Fast and Furious, makes it an important film in the timeline, but other than that, it’s skippable.
The chemistry between Walker and Gibson is replaced in later films when Diesel returns, but in 2 Fast 2 Furious, their rapport and the always-game Eva Mendes fuel the best scenes in the film. Another grounded plot around a drug kingpin, the stunts may be more restrained this time out, but it’s hard not to get pumped when the garage doors open and the decoy cars come flying out.
8. The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
Sadly, the third film didn’t have the tagline, “New model, none of the original parts.” The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift is famous now for introducing Han, played by Sung Kang, an immediate fan-favorite that dies horribly during the film but gets better. Lucas Black takes over as the lead, playing Sean Boswell, sent to live in Japan with his drunken Marine father, where he befriends Twinkie (Bow Wow) and Neela (Nathalie Kelly) while discovering the world of drifting.
In retrospect, Tokyo Drift has gained respect over the years, with the emphasis on drifting and street racing setting it apart from the rest of the franchise. Later Fast & Furious films have left behind racing, but at the same time, they’ve increased the importance of this film, including the return of Sean and Twinkie in Fast 9. Also, the drifting, done with mostly stunt drivers and no CGI, is some of the coolest driving in the series.
7. F9 (2021)
F9 shook up the franchise by introducing Dominic Toretto’s long-lost brother, Jakob (John Cena), who just happens to be a quasi-military special forces operative. Yet, what the film will be most famous for in the future is because it finally did the thing, and a Fast and Furious movie finally sent a car into space. After Fast Five increased the stakes, fans had been joking for years that the final logical step for the ludicrous action sequences would be the Final Frontier, but what they didn’t count on was magnets.
A recurring gimmick in F9’s action setpieces is a set of heavy-duty magnets capable of tossing cars around like Hot Wheels. As perfect as Cena’s addition to the franchise is, which makes him the fourth former WWE champion to be part of it, the physics-defying car stunts stole the show. The other important part is the return of Han, now part of the series again moving forward, but we have to wait for Fast X for the real fallout of his “resurrection.”
6. The Fast And The Furious (2001)
No one knew that The Fast and The Furious would become one of the largest franchises in the world, earning billions of dollars at the box office. At the time, it was considered a stylish look at the world of underground street racing, based on a magazine article, “Racer X,” written by Ken Li, that ran in Vibe magazine. Immediately influential for the first drag racing scene showing the inside of the engines as the heavily customized cars cruised a quarter mile at a time, the film was a smash hit, but not nearly to the levels the family would reach later.
Today, The Fast and The Furious, centered around stealing TV/DVD combinations from trucks, only has higher stakes than Tokyo Drift, bearing very little resemblance to the super spy heist thrillers of the later films. Still, it’s a fun film that holds up today and is worth watching to see the franchise’s origins.
5. Fast And Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (2019)
A spin-off centered on Dwayne Johnson‘s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw featuring the two former villains going up against a cyborg Idris Elba. Meant to be its series of separate movies away from the rest of the Fast & Furious crew, the leads have been reincorporated back into the main films, reducing the odds of a Hobbs & Shaw sequel.
Still, as a campy action film, Hobbs & Shaw is a fantastic romp, expanding the theme of family to include Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), Mateo Hobbs (Roman Reigns, the third WWE Champion involved in the franchise for those keeping track), and Jonah Hobbs (the always underrated Cliff Curtis). Everyone knows that family is the most important part of the Fast and Furious series, and it’s true even in the spin-off.
4. The Fate Of The Furious (2017)
The eighth film in the franchise, and the darkest one to date with the most vicious character death in Fast and Furious history, The Fate of the Furious is notable for introducing Charlize Theron as Cypher, the best (by being the worst) villain yet. One step ahead of the family for the whole film, Cypher forces Dom to work with the villains of the previous two films to save the most important person in his life.
In true Fast and Furious fashion, the car stunts have to one-up the previous film, and in this case, that means pitting a submarine against a Lamborghini. By now, the team are essentially superheroes with cars as their power, making it a ridiculous film grounded by the sadistic, cold, and calculating nature of Cypher.
3. Fast & Furious 6
Fast & Furious 6 brings a classic trope to the franchise, the evil doppelgangers, in this case, a team of operatives that match up perfectly with Dom’s crew led by the sinister Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Oh, and this one features cars vs. tank, which at the time, was, again, a huge change from Fast Five, as the stakes had to be raised in every film.
Letty returns in Fast & Furious 6 with amnesia, as the franchise has yet to meet a cliche it won’t use to great effect. The perfectly timed and executed character beats, including a third-act reveal, support the bombastic action sequences with what may be one of the best final setpieces in cinema history. Scholars will argue for years about how long the runway was while also wiping away the tears from another noble sacrifice late in the film that, to date, has not been undone.
2. Furious 7 (2015)
Paul Walker passed away during the production of Furious 7, with his brother, Cody Walker, stepping in to help complete filming. In one of the most powerful moments in any franchise, the team behind Fast and Furious didn’t kill off Brian O’Conner, instead giving him a beautiful send-off. Even without the extra drama from a real-life tragedy, the film itself is an incredible series of action set-pieces, but it’s how the entire story is structured to honor Walker that elevates it towards the top of the chart.
Sporting an all-star cast that adds Jason Statham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russel, Ronda Rousey (the fourth WWE Champion in the franchise), Tony Jaa, and Djimon Hounsou to the sprawling ensemble, there’s only one film better in the Fast & Furious franchise, but it’s close.
1. Fast Five (2011)
The film that changed Fast and Furious forever, Fast Five introduced Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot to the team while also elevating the plot from street racing and drug cartels to a heist film. A massive vault being dragged through the streets of Rio Di Janeiro was unlike anything seen before, propelling the film to earn over $600 million at the box office (via IMDb) as action films would never be the same again.
It’s impossible now to explain the rush experienced in theaters when the trailer hit, showing characters from all of the previous films joining forces in one massive film. Fast and Furious would not be the cultural juggernaut it is today without the runaway success of Fast Five, making this the best film in the franchise.