This post is an updated version of a previous post, located here, which ranked the six existing films in the Fast & Furious franchise on the eve of the Furious 7 release. It now contains all seven previously released films as we await the eighth, The Fate of the Furious. We’ll probably just keep updating this ranking every time they release a film. That seems like a good plan.
1. Fast Five
An incomplete list of things that happen in Fast Five:
- Vin Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto, is freed from police custody by Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) when they intercept an inmate transfer bus and send it tumbling down a deserted road. Despite the bus flipping over at least four times, Vin Diesel survives. The accident is covered on television by the same actor who played Perd Hapley on Parks and Recreation. This is the first thing that happens in the movie.
- The crew takes part in a train heist that sees them yoink a number of expensive racing-type cars off the train while it is speeding down a Brazilian track, and the train heist ends in disaster and explosions and Vin Diesel and Paul Walker flying off a cliff in a sports car and splashing to safety 100 feet below, at which point they are promptly captured by Brazil’s biggest drug lord. This is the second thing that happens in the movie.
- The Rock is introduced as a U.S. government agent named Luke Hobbs who (A) travels to Brazil to arrest Dom and Brian as though jurisdiction is a mere suggestion; (B) has a wardrobe that consists exclusively of military issue cargo pants and Under Armour t-shirts so tight that you can see his heartbeat through them; and (C) re-introduces the audience to all the characters by saying, “I know you, I read your file,” then ticking off all the history and personality traits “from the file” that you need to know to get caught up. Useful, that guy.
- They get the handprint they need to access the drug lord’s vault from the bikini bottoms of one of their attractive crew members (Gal Gadot), whose butt he gropes within moments of meeting her at a fancy beachfront club/restaurant in the middle of the day.
- They rip the drug lord’s cash-filled vault out of the corrupt Brazilian police force’s downtown headquarters and dragging it behind two muscle cars through the streets of Rio, flinging it into personal property and storefronts and doing what one has to assume is millions of dollars in damage before fleeing the country.
Fast Five is the best Fast & Furious movie.
2. Furious 7
Furious 7 asked a very important question that more movies should ask at some point: “But what if Statham, also?” Because, really, the biggest surprise here isn’t that Jason Statham appeared in a Fast & Furious movie. The biggest surprise is that it took everyone until the seventh film in the franchise to get us there. Although he did appear in the post-credits scene of the sixth, so it’s not like a “full” seven. And I guess if we’re being technical about it all, now that we know he was driving the car that killed Han, he was kind of in Tokyo Drift, too, in an offscreen, uncredited role. This is a lot of fun to think about while watching Tokyo Drift now, by the way, years later. The secret Statham of it all.
But anyway, yes, Statham. Between his introduction as a villain and the skyscraper car heist/escape and the ending scene with Dom and Brian where they drive off into the sunsNO YOU CRIED DURING AN ACTION MOVIE ABOUT CARS THAT GO ZOOM AND VROOM.
I’m sorry. I’m still a little emotional about all of this. What I’m saying is that this movie was the biggest, most ambitious, most heartfelt movie of the series, and it has Statham. The Rock flexed his broken arm so hard that his cast broke off. We should make it a point to think about that every few weeks. The only reasons I have this movie at number two are 1) because it didn’t feel as tight as Fast Five, and 2) because the addition of The Rock to the franchise in Fast Five was such a critical moment that it can’t be ignored. And for the record, I don’t mean it was a critical moment for the franchise. I mean it was a critical moment for cinema, in general.
I am barely joking.