Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
Who would have thought that a film series based around street racers would last this long? While some movie franchises struggle to reach a full trilogy, the Fast and Furious films are now on the cusp of doing it three times over. And despite other franchises getting worse with each sequel released, Fast and Furious somehow seemed to get better and better (most of the time). With the 8th entry in the enduring franchise, The Fate of the Furious, set to race into theatres on April 14, 2017, let’s go down memory lane and rank the last seven films from worst to best!
- The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
I don’t think that this will come as a surprise to anyone but at the very bottom of our list, we have Tokyo Drift. After introducing fan favourite characters such as Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), the franchise decided to shift its focus away from them, opting to introduce a new world of racing and brand new characters. Not only does it introduce the series’ most boring protagonist (Lucas Black as Sean Boswell), it has an extremely thin plot, bland antagonists and its final act is… well not great… at all. I will say that the film does introduce my favourite character in the series, Han Seoul-Oh, played beautifully by Sung Kang. The drift racing also proves to be exciting but neither of these aspects can save the film from being the worst in the series.
- Fast and Furious
The one that came directly after Tokyo Drift, the one that was a soft-reboot of the franchise, the one that came close to being as bad as Tokyo Drift, at number 6, its Fast and Furious. This was the movie that brought back the franchise starlets, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. The film features exciting action sequences (most of which obviously feature cars), but its plot is so muddled and flavourless that it brings all the excitement down. Much like with Tokyo Drift, one of the film’s strongest points was Sung Kang’s Han. It was wise to bring in his character as it added a whole new layer to Dom and Han’s history before Tokyo. It may be an important film in terms of structuring the rest of the franchise, but Fast and Furious is still a weak entry into the series.
- 2 Fast 2 Furious
First off, this film has got to have one of the stupidest titles for a film ever. 2 Fast 2 Furious took the series to Miami, following the adventures of Brian O’Connor and his life after Dom Toretto. Honestly, I don’t really mind this film. It’s stupid fun. While it hammers home the campiness, 2 Fast 2 Furious introduces key characters like Roman Pearce and Tej Parker, played by Tyreese Gibson and Ludacris respectively. It delivers several high octane action sequences and holds the distinction of being the film with the (unintentional) funniest and most unconvincing villain in the series, Carter Verone. So, the film isn’t that good, but it’s still fun to watch.
- The Fast and the Furious
The film that kicked off one of the biggest franchises ever. The Fast and the Furious looks undoubtedly modest compared to its successors and that’s where it shines. The film may not have aged well in terms of early 2000’s CGI, but it does still demonstrate captivating performances from its young cast and has some of the series’ most exciting race scenes. The film puts more focus on the family dynamic and how important it is to ex-con Dom Toretto and has new kid Brian O’Connor on full display as he navigates through uncharted territory. Having one of the franchise’s best villains, a killer Vin Diesel monologue about living life a quarter-mile at a time, and for being the film that was almost strictly about racing, The Fast and the Furious is nearly every bit as exciting as its bombastic sequels.
- Furious 6
Here’s where things took a literal GIANT turn. Re-introducing Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz was one thing but the action sequences in this movie are literally humongous. The film once again emphasises the theme of family amongst the team and features scenes where they take on a tank on a highway and bring down a moving airplane as part of the film’s finale. To top it all off, the tank scene ends with Dom legitimately flying through the air, catching Letty and crashing into another car to save her life. I’m not kidding; I’ll even put the scene here instead of a picture. Furious 6 also has Luke Evans debut as my personal favourite villain in the series, Owen Shaw, who is cold, calculating and is every bit as scary as the villains the preceded him. Skip to 2:30 in the video to see the flying scene…
- Furious 7
Furious 7 is easily the biggest film the franchise has ever done and it was a complete blast. Its got the hugest, most imaginative action set-pieces the series has ever scene and has some pretty incredible acting performances. Director James Wan deserves an immense amount of credit for crafting this film into what it became. The tribute to the late Paul Walker, who passed away tragically during filming, was extremely touching and proved to be an emotional moment for all viewers watching. Add in entire sequences dedicated to cars falling out buildings and an airplane and franchise newcomers Jason Statham and Kurt Russell bringing in some serious powerhouse performances, Furious 7 takes its over-the-top story and turns it into an action movie unlike any other.
- Fast Five
The film that brought everything full circle. Almost all of the characters that were introduced in previous films came together for this wild ride of a movie. Fast Five is one of the best action films of the 2000’s. The 5th entry into the franchise introduces the foe-turned-friend Luke Hobbs, played wonderfully by Dwayne Johnson and has several hall-of-fame action sequences. From the final bank robbery to the initial train heist, Fast Five has it all. Instead of treading along the same waters with more street racing, Fast Five entered into new territory, becoming a heist film and moved the setting from the USA to Rio de Janeiro. It’s got drama, action, comedy and above all else, it has the most heart out of any film in the series and that’s why Fast Five ranks at the top of our list.
And that’s our list! Think some films are in the wrong spots? Let us know in the comments and on social media and for all things in nerd culture and entertainment, keep it locked to Talkies Network!
The Fate of the Furious speeds into theatres on April 14th, 2017