Jake Peffer ranks the six installments of Fast & Furious franchise….
Since beginning in 2001, The Fast and the Furious franchise has become one of the most successful movie series of the past decade, combining cool cars with incredible action set pieces and likable characters. The franchise has changed somewhat over the years, going from being about street racing to following these characters as they run from the law. Each film certainly ranges in quality, but they all have plenty of entertaining moments, so with Fast & Furious 6 coming to theaters I felt it was time to rank the series from worst to best…
6. Fast & Furious (2009)
2009 saw the original cast from the first Fast & Furious movie reunite. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster all returned for the fourth installment, which ended up being the worst in the series. What makes this one the low point of the franchise is the fact that it’s all played way too seriously. The series has been built on being over-the-top and ridiculous, but still keeping everything fun and entertaining. Fast & Furious is essentially devoid of almost all humor, has maybe one or two entertaining scenes, and features the weakest villain in the series, Braga (John Ortiz).
5. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
For the second installment director John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) took over the reigns and while the sequel isn’t quite as good as its predecessor, it’s still a fun watch. 2 Fast 2 Furious takes us from Los Angeles down to Miami where Brian (Paul Walker) and childhood friend Roman (Tyrese) must go undercover to take down a drug kingpin (Cole Hauser). This is where the series started to get exaggerated with some of its action sequences and at times it almost feels cartoony. Nonetheless, there is still a lot of fun to be had here and both Tyrese and Ludacris, who plays Tej, are great additions to the franchise cast.
4. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
It seems like so long ago that The Fast and the Furious came out but the film still holds up well today. While it was never a great movie to begin with, like this entire series there is a lot to enjoy. This is a great introduction to the characters we’ve grown to love over the years and makes for a decent ‘undercover cop who befriends a criminal’ story. Some of the characters come off as annoying here, especially the villain, and Paul Walker’s acting is certainly weak, but it’s still an entertaining action film that has a lot going for it.
3. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
The third entry is where the series lost a little steam. It performed the weakest at the box office and audiences weren’t as fond of this as the first two films because of the lack of Vin Diesel (not including his cameo) and Paul Walker. However, I quite enjoyed Tokyo Drift and felt it added something new to the series. Lucas Black makes for a good lead and this is the first film where we are introduced to Han (Sung Kang), who ends up coming back for parts 4, 5 and 6 despite dying in this film. Adding the aspect of drifting makes the races extremely fun and Tokyo is a great place to showcase a film like this.
2. Fast Five (2011)
Fast Five gave new life to this franchise when it opened in 2011. After a very disappointing fourth entry there was only one way to make the fifth entry worth watching: by bringing back all the best characters from the previous films. Adding Dwayne Johnson to the cast made for a great antagonist and ends up being a much better character than the true villain. The chemistry between all the characters are the high points of Fast Five and this time around the film really goes above and beyond when it comes to the action set pieces. Watching Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drag a safe through the streets of Rio de Janeiro is better than the first four films combined.
1. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
It may seem a little presumptuous to call the newest film the best in the series alreadym but it really is that good. Fast & Furious 6 takes everything that was great about Fast Five and cranks up it to 11. The action set pieces are some of the best I’ve seen in quite some time, and this is the first film in the series to have a truly great villain, who is played wonderfully by Luke Evans. While I’m not a fan of them essentially bringing back a character from the dead, they’re able to make it work. No pun intended, but the film is fast, furious and doesn’t let up from the start. All our favorite characters are back, with great chemistry still, and they finally find a way to tie the series back in with Tokyo Drift, which is without a doubt one of the best after credits scenes I’ve seen in a long time.
How would you rank the Fast & Furious franchise? Let us know in the comments…