I am a big enthusiast of The Fast and The Furious franchise. I refuse to say it is a guilty pleasure since I am not ashmed of it and know I am not in the minority seeing as how they have grossed almost 4.5 billion dollars. Iknow the first was a pretty blatant remake of Point Break that replaced surfing with drag racing and Patrick Swayze with Vin Diesel, but that doesn’t detract anything … which is saying something since Point Break is one of my favorite movies. I am more than willing to look past the misgivings since the series makes up for it several times over.
The Fast and The Furious
While Paul Walker and Vin Diesel both had decent success before this movie, it effectively launched them into the stars they became. I can’t point to a singular reason as to why this movie clicked with me the way it did, but it instantly became one of my favorites and saw it almost 10 times in theatres (counting the re-release). Brian O’Connor and Dominec Toretto were mere shadows of what they would eventually become, since both effectively totalled a car apiece and they were only driving in straight lines.
2 Fast 2 Furious
First sequel for the series and arguably the worst. Vin Diesel had dropped to work on xXx and Chronicles of Riddick namely, but Paul Walker stuck around to carry the film. The only worthwhile things to come from the entry are Tyrese Gibson’s Rome and Ludacris’s Tej. The Nissan Skyline also became Brian’s calling card replacing the Supra.
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
This one was easily the biggest deviation and sadly the least profitable. Paul Walker wasn’t invited to take part since he was too old and Vin Diesel was brought back only due to poor screening receptions (and famously got the rights to the Riddick franchise in return). I would argue that this movie helped make the franchise into what it would become. It replaced drag racing with drifting which would become a large part of the films to come and introduced Han (Sung Kang) who would eventually become the most tragic character (of the actual movies). It introduced Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) who has sadly only made a cameo in Furious 7 due to “scheduling conflicts” even though he could have been a good place to get a soft reboot after Paul Walker’s death.
Fast and Furious
The second worst movie in the series which also brought O’Connor and Toretto back together. It had Brian going undercover to avenge Letty’s “death” since she was working for him. Eventually Brian succumbs to the dark side and working outside the law. This movie broke the trend of racing and focused more on action. At the same time, it started with a heist focused on driving and ended with them basically driving through a tunnell. There wasn’t anything horrible about it, just nothing that stands out.
This is where the series found its foothold and kicked it into another gear. It took the action oriented focus and found a way to move the franchise forward. They were using their cars for different heists and making an event out of it; whereas the fourth one didn’t feel like it knew what it wanted to do. There are a few standouts such as the Rock getting introduced, the safe heist, and the twist cliffhanger mid-credit scene.
It is hard to follow up the amazing Fast Five and the jaw dropping mid-credit scene … but Fast Six was a fantastic follow up. They took the car heist aspect to another level and introducted Owen Shaw (his brother would end up a reoccurring character) while bringing back Letty. The big scenes are the tank chase and the airport scene with the longest runway of all time. While Fast Five had the Letty is still alive bomb, Fast Six introduced Jason Statham as the man who killed Han at the end of Tokyo Drift … and was a giant surprise / retcon.
This one joins the ranks of movies with a tragic behind the scenes story due to Paul Walker’s death in the middle of filming. Production was stopped for a while before common consensus was to continue using a mixture of CGI and Paul’s two brothers. With that said, it had the biggest opening weekend domestically of the series and the craziest car stunts to date. There was the parachuting cars, running off a bus that was falling off a bus while catching the bumper of a car, driving between sky scrapers, and out driving a drone.
The Fate of the Furious
Following up any largely successful sequel is a hard task, but following it up while missing a main character is a monumentally tough job. To compensate for a lack of Paul Walker, The Rock and Jason Statham got to up their screen time. Unfortunately, the movie attempted to further compensate the missing character while one-upping the prior movie. The car scenes were not revolutionary and almost boring. Luckily the scenes between The Rock and Jason Statham were highlights. The prison fight scene and the banter were possibly the best parts … until you get to Jason Statham’s final fight scene.
I would rate them as below.
- Fast Five
- The Fast and The Furious
- Furious Seven
- Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift
- Fast Six
- The Fate of The Furious
- Fast and Furious
- 2 Fast 2 Furious
Fast Five won its spot purely on the energy and intuitive action. The original might be nostalgia speaking, but it is also a fun and believable movie. #7 had all the heart any movie can muster and easily broke the heart of any casual fan. Tokyo Drift was another fun entry that should have been widely more successful than it was. Fast Six was a fantastic movie that helped bridge the gap between Tokyo Drift using the biggest runway ever. F8 tried too hard and just didn’t have the same fun spirit. The fourth was just short on every aspect and fell short of being the revolutionary one. Finally … 2 Fast 2 Furious is just bad.