The Dose: Ranking the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies from worst to best
The “Fast and the Furious” films are a true anomaly. What began as a street racing series has gradually become the Roger Moore-era Bond movies of our generation – with our favorite gearheads evolving into master thieves and international spies. Famous for its high-octane antics and ridiculous stunts, the franchise stands as the greatest carsploitation series of all time, and continues to break box office records to this day.
In honor of its eighth movie release, I ranked every “Furious” entry from worst to best.
- “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003)
How do you follow up the surprise summer hit that popularized Vin Diesel and street racing culture? Well this wasn’t it, and was destined to suck from the moment Diesel and the original director left to make “xXx.” Because of their loss, the writers created Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) to star alongside Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) instead, making an awkward, homoerotic chemistry that failed to duplicate the first film’s machismo. Throw in some terrible, over-computerized racing sequences and you have the very worst of the “Furious” films.
- “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006)
This was a failed attempt to reboot everything after the second movie’s poor reception. The plot is built around Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), a walking Southern stereotype whose dialogue and performance manage to be worse than Bow Wow’s in every scene they’re in together. Even though it introduced Han (Sung Kang) – one of the franchise’s best characters – and ushered Justin Lin into the directing role, this tepid entry had little to do with the series until “Furious 6” was released.
- “The Fate of the Furious” (2017)
The first “Furious” film since Paul Walker’s untimely death, and it shows. Unfortunately for longtime fans, it suffers from his absence and the choice of making Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) a villain under the influence of a cyberterrorist in one of the most bland, uninspired performances of Charlize Theron’s acting career. The majority of this film is so badly written, poorly paced and overly maudlin that it’s only when Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are onscreen that it’s a genuinely good time.
- “Fast & Furious 6” (2013)
This film sees Justin Lin repeating the “Fast Five” formula and forming a really great villain in Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) – an embodying antithesis to Dom’s familial philosophy. But the last hour of this film performs every action cliché in the book: where characters literally walk out of explosions, fight each other on 20-minute runways and fly through the air without any explanations. Unlike my next four picks, “Furious 6” disregards plausibility without delivering a single creative set piece to justify its lunacy.
- “Fast & Furious” (2009)
After the failures of the first two sequels and none of the original actors capitalizing on their talent, this film saw the return of Diesel, Walker and their love interests Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Mia (Jordana Brewster). It also marks the first time that Dom shows characteristics of Thor and Superman, which is now a series hallmark. What’s so great about this film is that it showed Lin improving off of “Tokyo Drift,” helming a proper sequel that captured everything fans loved about my No. 3 pick…
- “The Fast and the Furious” (2001)
The classic that started it all, this is the story of how Brian, as an undercover cop, investigated Dom’s racing circuit – only to become his ally and rediscover his love for fast cars. This movie is almost 16 years old and still holds up as the single greatest “Point Break” knockoff ever conceived. As a bit of trivia, David Ayer co-wrote this before penning the classic “Training Day” and directing “Street Kings,” “End of Watch” and “Fury.” Talk about some manly movies.
- “Furious 7” (2015)
Coming off of the horror hits “Insidious” and “The Conjuring,” James Wan replaced Justin Lin and had to finish Paul Walker’s footage once he died in the middle of production. Not only did this turn out to be a highlight for the franchise, it is the most entertaining movie of Wan’s hit-and-miss career, where his corny, hyper-kinetic style fit this film like a glove. “Furious 7” offers some of the most insane, inventive action of the series, revitalized Jason Statham’s career and sent off Paul Walker in a satisfying ending.
- “Fast Five” (2011)
Widely considered the best “Furious” film, it switched the focus from street racing to worldwide adventures. It was Justin Lin’s third time directing and the one where he reinvented the series into the over-the-top, self-aware juggernaut that it is today. Bringing back Roman, Han, Tej Parker (Ludacris) and other beloved characters, this nonstop thrill ride pits them against Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who wants to stop them from stealing $100 million. It’s a film so good that even critics who hated the first four began positively reviewing the franchise.
Featured Image: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker starred in 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious.” Universal Pictures.
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