9:00 am EDT, August 6, 2019

Every ‘Fast & Furious’ ranked from most lame to most insane

The ever-expanding vehicular franchise Fast & Furious hits theaters once more with spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, so we rank them all.

From humble beginnings with street racing in 2001’s The Fast and the Furious to the borderline Mission: Impossible level of action and espionage we see in today’s installments of the franchise, this was definitely a fun series to revisit for our ranking.

See the full list below, and let us know which are your favorites!

Ranking every ‘Fast & Furious’ movie

9. ‘The Fate of the Furious’

Charlize Theron with white dreadlocks is a sight to behold, but that’s about all you’ll get from this deeply disappointing latest entry in the Furious universe. Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is lured to the dark side by Theron’s villainous hacker, as Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty and the rest of the gang are forced to go up against family.

The psychological warfare Theron inflicts throughout is compelling, but it’s never enough to fully pull us in, even with Jason Statham’s Shaw coming into full form. The action is upsettingly uninteresting compared to the insane stunts that came just previously in Furious 7, and the irritating return of the hacker device God’s Eye feels like a total retread.

It definitely sticks the landing with an emotional coda that solidifies the franchise’s themes of family and loyalty, but unfortunately everything that comes before is woefully undercooked.

8. ‘Fast & Furious’

This one had a lot of growing pains. While it was the much-needed reboot of the franchise that marked the beginning into the mode of these movies we see today, it still is among the worst of the bunch. Justin Lin came on once again as director from the third installment and brought the gang back together for the first time since the original.

While it’s great to see Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and the rest back in action, especially with a rather thrilling opening sequence, the movie quickly devolves into an uninteresting plot that too much rehashes the original.

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Brian O’Conner is back with the FBI and back chasing Dom Toretto, a dynamic that needed to be reestablished to then refocus their bond into something more brotherly than adversary. It definitely feels like a reboot in the worst way, but it was a necessary cog in the machine to shift the franchise into the next two great installments.

7. ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
The first official spin-off within the Fast & Furious franchise, future sequels to this installment are sure to come, running tangential to the main sequels. Hobbs & Shaws, as you would guess, follows Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw as they’re forced to once again put aside their petty rivalry and work together to save the world.

It’s perhaps the funniest installment that leans fully into its comedy, with extended sequences of simply watching Hobbs and Shaw lob elaborate verbal insults at each other. One has to wonder if any of these bits were improvised, but the schtick also gets old quick and the accompanying action isn’t nearly as outlandish as it could be.

The MVP here is Vanessa Kirby who plays Shaw’s sister, a a total badass who steals any scene she’s in. Idris Elba proves a taunting villain and the storyline of super-natural A.I. and computer-powered super-humans further hints that, as writer Chris Morgan has expressed interest in, this franchise might be able to launch itself into space.

6. ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’

The first sequel directed by John Singleton continues the street racing energy of the original and kicks it into even higher gear. Brian O’Conner has trekked down to Miami to meet up with long-time friend Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and together they get into a new undercover operation.

The introduction of Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris are certainly welcome in this entry, as their characters of course go on to play pivotal roles, but the overall storyline here is rather uninteresting and moves along rather by-the-numbers.

Worst of all, the absence of regular players like Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel is definitely felt, and the plot feels largely insubstantial without ever tying back into our main storyline.

5. ‘Furious 7’

James Wan takes the driver seat for this seventh entry, which easily contains the most insane action set-pieces ever seen in the franchise. Brian O’Conner tells his young son Jack, who chucks his toy car out a window, that cars don’t fly. That sentiment humorously gets repeated by characters who are sitting in cars that later in the movie might as well be flying.

One truly spectacular sequence involves Brian and Dom jumping a car between not two but three skyscrapers. Preceding this, the team goes undercover to a swanky party, giving this installment a very Mission: Impossible vibe, perhaps to a fault.

This movie owes a lot to Brad Bird’s Ghost Protocol in its high-altitude thrills, and while stunning, this is the first entry where I felt it loses a bit of its own DNA and instead really imprints and leans on high-class espionage, a la M:I.

However, the finale is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to the late Paul Walker that you can’t help but get emotional watching. For a franchise gushing with genuine sincerity, you can tell it’s wholly felt.

4. ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’

The first sequel directed by Justin Lin wasn’t well-received upon its release but has gained a second life as the series has evolved. What once might’ve felt like a an inconsequential, one-off sequel that didn’t star any of our regular cast now plays an important role in the larger Furious universe.

And even without that tie-in, the fish-out-of-water story in a rich and vibrant Tokyo setting is fun and always engaging thanks to the introduction of one of the series’ best characters, Han, played by Sung Kang. His charisma certainly makes up for the lead Lucas Black’s extreme lack thereof, and thankfully Han becomes one of our key players.

3. ‘The Fast and the Furious’

There’s no denying the original street racing drama where the good-natured Brian O’Conner goes head to head against the strong-willed Dominic Toretto, setting up a brotherhood dynamic that’ll evolve and emotionally invest us for six more movies.

It was humble beginnings with the introduction of Mia (Jordana Brewster) as Brian’s love interest and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) as Dom’s. The actors portraying these characters carry the emotional through-line of the entire series and caring about them starts here.

Watching this, it is such a far cry from what the series has now become, so it’s a refreshing throwback to see that the movie really is just all about street racing and, what now feels like, low-level crime.

Stealing a bunch of DVD players to sell for car parts is petty crime compared to securing a nuclear football like our protagonists find themselves doing six installments later.

2. ‘Fast Five’

Largely considered the best in the franchise, this one really solidified Fast & Furious as the movies we know them today and officially pivoted them away from street racing and into high-octane action.

The movie pivots to a heist and a “one last job” plot, cleverly borrowed from something like Ocean’s Eleven or The Italian Job, and it’s a premise that so naturally fits into this world, you’ll wonder why it wasn’t done before.

This is also the first time in the series the full gang is really together, including Ramon, Tej, Han and his love interest, Gisele, played by now Wonder Woman Gal Gadot. They get a base, they hatch a plan and what’s best about it is that they abandon the plan for something a little more bombastic and something you’d totally expect from this team.

It escalates to a final set-piece that is among the series’ crowning achievements. Brian and Dom tether their cars to a massive bank vault and drag it across the city, mowing down cops and traffic as they go.

1. ‘Fast & Furious 6’

Fast & Furious 6
In terms of emotional payoff and drawing on the series’ themes of family, loyalty and being stronger together, no other entry does it better than Fast & Furious 6. The ending of the crew back at the original house address from the first movie, all enjoying a backyard barbecue together as we fade to credits, that’s what these movies are all about.

This is the installment that’s all about bringing Letty home after her memory loss, and that theme of “home” which Furious is all about has never been more potent.

The infamous runway scene remains a stunning centerpiece, a crescendo of unbelievable action and suspense, but even before we get to this, the movie is sprinkled with awesome moments.

For one, the cross-cutting brawls involving Han and Roman in one scene and Letty in the other is the best fist fights the series has to offer, and the bridge moment where Dom leaps across a bridge midair to catch Letty, and they land on a car together, a literal rejoining of these two characters, it’s, for me, the scene of the series.

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