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Every Fast & Furious Movie, Ranked

Vin Diesel in Fate of the Furious. Photo: Vulture; Photos: Everette Collection, Universal

In 2001, it seemed impossible that a $40 million movie about car racing starring the guy from The Skulls would go on to spawn a franchise featuring 11 installments and multiple Academy Award winners. And yet, as surely as a well-timed NOS injection will propel a vehicle across the finish line on a quarter-mile racetrack, that is exactly what happened. Fast X finds us 22 years after that first fateful competition for pink slips in east L.A., and while the Family remains the same, the scope of the franchise could not be more different. Audiences have seen a car in space now, so what could possibly happen next? The answer to that in the latest installment, Fast X, is: anything and everything. After watching all 11 ultra-jacked films (and taking into consideration things like critical reception, box-office performance, significance to the franchise, heartstrings pulled, lessons imparted, etc.), we’ve created this ranking of Fast and Furious movies. So pick your import or your American muscle, and let’s ride off into the sunset together.



When Fast Five arrived, it leveled up the scale of heisting in this franchise exponentially. When Furious 7 made landfall, Charlize Theron’s inexplicable mini-locs and the nuclear submarine exploding through an ice shelf set the stage for the saga’s eventual trip to space with a new kind of silly extravagance. Then we got F9, which brought the Fast films into their self-eulogizing era. In a collection of movies that is always deeply earnest and fun, the ninth entry is still both of those things, but it’s also the most laden down by Diesel’s messianic persona. Dom wrestles entire concrete structures with his raw strength in F9, and you’re almost waiting for him to start glowing with full-on superpowers. Without the grounding co-anchor of Walker or another megastar like the Rock to balance out Diesel’s gravitational pull, this is the movie where the star-producer’s indulgences feel their most unchecked. It’s all in the name of Family, and that heart of gold can always bring a smile to one’s face, but F9 is the movie that stresses this franchise’s playbook the most.


2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Consider 2 Fast the weird adolescent period of the franchise. Vin Diesel skipped it, and with Brian (Paul Walker) suddenly living in Florida, that meant no Mia (Jordana Brewster) or Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) either. Tyrese and Ludacris would eventually join the franchise and become worthy additions to the Family, but in their first appearance they make the movie feel more like a spinoff than a linear progression. 2 Fast kind of works now as an origin story for those two jokers, but the setting and the pseudo-love story all feel like filler until the main thread of the universe picks back up again. Look, any Fast and Furious movie is going to be fun to watch, and listening to Tyrese and Luda deliver hammy one-liners is a great time, but the best part about 2 Fast is that it convinced Vin Diesel he needed to come back to the franchise.


Fast & Furious (2009)

Fast and Furious fares better with a rewatch than it did on initial viewing, but that’s probably because you already know the franchise revives itself in subsequent entries. At the time it mostly made you wonder, Is this all they’ve got left? Paul Walker looks flat-out tired for most of the fourth movie, and killing off Letty just makes Dom and Brian and Mia sad. Watching Brian still try to stay on the right side of the law gets a bit tedious when you know he’s an outlaw at heart. Fast & Furious does give us Gal Gadot, which is great, but the fourth movie is otherwise merely a bridge to what would come next. At least Mia finally got to be a getaway driver.


The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Vulture’s Emily Yoshida says Fate is “weighed down by its own muscle,” and it’s easy to see why: It’s the first installment made completely without Walker, and the movie struggles to find an emotional center without him. Instead, there’s a circle-the-wagons approach that brings back almost every living character who has passed through the Fast family, and it’s these guest stars — particularly Jason Statham, who has a wonderful sequence with a baby — who lift Fate of the Furious when it starts to drag. The dynamic between the primary players is so ingrained it works like clockwork by now, and if Dom and Letty and the rest of the Family become some kind of Impossible Mission Force overseen by Russell’s Mr. Nobody, well, that’s a Furious future worth exploring.


Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

The best-kept secret in the whole Fast universe is that Tokyo Drift is actually pretty great! The concept needed a reset after the band got broken up in 2 Fast, so the series went to study abroad in Japan for a semester. Lucas Black and Bow Wow star in what’s basically an action-powered light drama about high-school outsiders. Drift is mostly indispensable for introducing Sung Kang’s Han, and his death in the movie serves as a sort of prologue for Furious 7. Much like Fast & Furious, Drift is improved by the way the franchise grew up after it. So thanks for the memories, Tokyo.


 Fast X

The thing about Fast X is … Jason Momoa. Through the first 20 minutes or so of this tenth franchise entry, you might start wondering, Is this the worst movie? Is this a movie at all? The whole thing begins the way every other Fast film ends, with the family coming together talking about the lessons we’ve learned. The references to prior movies are off the charts, giving you the sense that the producers wanted to make sure anyone could just start this 20-year long journey from part ten without having to watch all those other chapters first. It hops around the globe so much the location title cards start to feel like a bit. And like any Fast flick, it always seems like it’s still 2001 somewhere. But the thing this movie has that no other entry can come close to touching is the chaotic pansexual genius of Momoa’s villain performance, and if you surrender yourself to every choice he makes in the role of big bad, Fast X will take you hostage on its gonzo ride. This is the gayest movie of them all, which is really something in a franchise that seems totally unconcerned with the fact that queer people exist. But Momoa prances through antagonist exposition like a flamboyant masc mischief god while Brie Larson gives a hypnotic “if you know, you know” kind of performance as a friend to the Family at the Agency. Fast X is the hardest to explain of all these films, but it’s a total cartoon that fortunately gave Momoa full permission to put it on his back and carry the whole thing to Clowntown.


Furious 7 (2015)

This movie shouldn’t have even been possible. Vin Diesel and the Rock and Jason Statham and Kurt Russell and Ronda Rousey and the entire principal Fast cast all in the same movie? And it was awesome instead of a bloated catastrophe? Unreal. Furious 7 is a case study in a movie’s writers having an ethos of “and …” instead of “or …” No fantasy is left unfulfilled here. Dom and Brian drive a car from one skyscraper to another — through the air. Michelle Rodriguez even wages her fight scene in a ball gown, if that’s what you’d been waiting for. Did we mention Kurt Russell is there? But for all their bombast, the sneakily most enduring thing about these movies is how much we’ve come to care for the cast over the years. The ending of Furious 7 — in which a digital Paul Walker gives one last sun-dappled smile before driving off to heaven in a white car — could have easily felt exploitative, but it’s so big and so heartfelt that it’s a perfect cinematic moment. Who doesn’t dream of getting the chance to good-bye to a lost friend one last time?


Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

With all due respect to Vin Diesel, I must say: Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham pull off a pretty awesome Fast and the Furious movie without him. Of course, the DNA of the Fast founding father is still all over this franchise extension, what with the requisite monologues about family, the extreme vehicle chases, and the penchant for nitrous oxide. But the real swagger of Hobbs & Shaw can be found in the BDE showdowns — about which many jokes are made — between this movie’s two male leads. The titular characters are a perfect odd couple, played by some of the most charismatic men in Hollywood. Add in Idris Elba — who outmatches even Statham and the Rock when it comes to effortless cool — as a man-machine hybrid bent on reshaping the world order, and you’ve basically got the Furious version of a Marvel movie. The best surprise of all, however, is Vanessa Kirby as Statham’s sister, Hattie Shaw, who takes no shit and gets to beat the hell out of bad guys the entire movie. (This is her Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation–style breakout turn.) We may only get ten films in the core F&F franchise, but Hobbs & Shaw proves that the cinematic institution’s micro-universes contain a wealth of characters worth mining.  


Fast Five (2011)

After Fast & Furious, things were looking a little bleak for the franchise. Fast Five was a go-for-broke attempt that would either rejuvenate the Fast films or be their death knell. Fortunately, it was very much the former. Five juiced up the franchise by abandoning car races in favor of a series of ever more elaborate heists, and became the first in the series to make more than $200 million at the domestic box office. (It also earned the strongest critical reviews for the series to that point.) And Fast Five is a great action movie: Dom gives one of his signature at-the-hood-of-a-car lectures to Hobbs. The Rock shows up and fights Vin Diesel. A pair of Dodge Chargers use a giant steel safe as a wrecking ball. This is the movie that birthed the franchise we know today.


Fast and Furious 6 (2013)

The second and third spots on this list are so close, we had to go to the photo finish for verification. But in the famous words of Dominic Toretto, “It don’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.” But Furious 6 has a few key factors that push it over the top. The essential Sung Kang is still around, as is his adorable burgeoning romance with Gal Gadot’s Gisele. Michelle Rodriguez returns after being absent from most of the two previous films, and gets one of the best fight sequences in the whole series opposite MMA champion Gina Carano. (Furious 7 had Ronda Rousey, but she can’t match Carano’s brooding charisma.) The Rock joins the team, which means he gets to fight alongside Diesel, not against him. There’s also Tyrese’s tank-evading leap, and the just-the-right-amount-of-crazy moment when Dom soars over a bridge to catch Letty in midair. These are all signature scenes in the series, and they’re tied together with the goal of making the Family whole again. It ends with everyone hanging out in the Toretto backyard in L.A. for what would turn out to be the final time. There’s still no better place to close out a Fast movie than that.


The Fast and the Furious (2001)

While the original may not have the best execution of all the Fast movies, it’s still the purest distillation of the franchise’s soul. Rewatching The Fast and the Furious now, the movie seems almost quaint: All those tanks and submarines and flying super-cars sometimes make it easy to forget that this all started with the notion of living your life a quarter-mile at a time. Not one movie in the franchise has trafficked in irony, but the earnestness of The Fast and the Furious is still downright moving by comparison. The betrayals and the deaths hit a little bit harder because the world is only as big as the east side of Los Angeles, and seeing the entirely practical stunt work of three little Honda Civics hijacking semitrucks is still just as jaw-dropping now as it was 16 years ago. No matter how big it gets, The Fast and the Furious is still about protecting the family you’ve chosen and sticking together until the end. That groundwork was laid in the original movie, and that’s what makes it the undisputed best entry in the franchise.

Every Fast & Furious Movie, Ranked