I was a late convert to the Fast & Furious series. I saw the first movie back in high school and more or less enjoyed it. The Fast & The Furious was one of ubiquitous movies high school movies where I’m from. Everyone seemed to own it, either on DVD or VHS and those who didn’t own it were either renting it or borrowing it from a friend. I can’t say the movie that much of an impression on me, but it was one of about 4 movies (this, an Austin Powers, Varsity Blues, Cruel Intentions) that always seemed to be playing in the background from junior high until I graduated. I had seen it, it I had never really thought about it. I found 2 Fast 2 Furious actively stupid and from there put the movie series out of my mind. I didn’t outright hate the series, I just couldn’t be forced to care.
The next three movies hit without me ever even considering changing my mind about it. I was told that Fast 5 was excellent, but I didn’t listen. Then I accidentally sawa trailer for Fast & Furious 6 before some movie, and I realized that I might have been wrong. I still didn’t make it out to the sixth movie, but I grabbed a cheap DVD copy of Fast 5 before Furious 7 hit. Even with all the love that movie had got I wasn’t ready for how much I enjoyed it. I instantly became a fan.
Now we are on the eve of the release of Fate of the Furious. It isn’t quite my most anticipated movie this year, what with Star Wars and Justice League and Baby Driver and did you see that Thor: Ragnarok trailer, but it is probably in the top 5. So before I amble down to the cinema to watch Fate of the Furious, I decided to rank the series. Because that is really easy and quick and other people are doing it and they are doing it wrong.
7: 2 Fast 2 Furious – I don’t feel quite as uncharitable toward this movie as I did when I first saw it, and in many ways it lays down the path that the better entries in the series would take even if this one doesn’t execute it especially well. But it is still a movie that doesn’t have a lot to recommend about it.
6: The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift – I know I’ve seen it, but it exists as kind of void in my memory. It it largely unconnected to the rest of the series, other than introducing Han, which is reason enough not to ignore it. Still, it probably the last movie I’d rewatch, despite thinking it is a slightly better film.
5: Fast & Furious –
This movie is kind of necessary for the evolution of the series into into what it would become, this movie is kind of a miserable slog. It leans into all of the series worst tendencies, but it also does a lot of plot lifting to get Dom and Brian back together.
4: The Fast & The Furious –
This first one is just a moderately well-made Point Break knock-off. Everything is laughably low stakes for what the series would become, but there is just enough interesting to make the whole thing watchable.
3: Furious 7 –
The end of this movie is emotionally devastating, and the rest of the movie is pure delightful nonsense. It throws out any pretensions of presenting anything remotely realistic for parachuting cars out airplanes and driving them through skyscrapers. It is excellent.
2: Fast & Furious 6 –
F&F6 sits at the midpoint between the bonkers lunacy of Furious 7 and the the regular over the top action movie nonsense of Fast 5. It’s plot does feature a jumbo jumbo jet, a tank racing down a highway and plenty of amnesia, but it is perfectly fun and propulsive. It is a close call between this and 7, but this one barely edges it out.
1: Fast 5 – This is just a notch short of being a perfect action movie. The heist movie structure gives it a perfect reason to bring in most of the memorable characters from previous movies and adding The Rock as an admirable adversary is just perfect. It has great action scenes that perfectly toe the line between gonzo nonsense and still being relatively grounded. It is the perfect expression of what this series could be.