All discourse on the Internet follows a simple three-stage path:
- STAGE ONE: Something happens
- STAGE TWO: Everything flies off the rails
- STAGE THREE: It all gets very dumb
With that in mind, we are very pleased to welcome you to Stage Three of the Chicken Wars, which started late last week with the rollout of Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich and are still burning white-hot today. Yes, it is time to get dumb. Really, really dumb. Dumb in a powerful and reckless way. Dumb in a way that suggests someone flipped a cap open and pressed a red button labeled NOS and rocketed the discussion forward at breakneck speed, past logic and good sense and into madness and chaos. Presenting…
The Fast and the Scrumptious: Fast food chicken sandwiches as represented by films from the Fast & Furious franchise.
Yes, we are doing this. We’re sorry and you’re welcome.
The Fast and the Furious — Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich
The Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwich was not the first chicken sandwich, just like The Fast and the Furious was not the first movie about a federal agent getting in too deep with a crew of thrill-seeking who are led by a charismatic alpha. (It really is just “What if Point Break but cars?”) It is really good, though, and it still holds up some two decades after its debut and, without its success, I’m not sure any of the subsequent iterations have the same success. Go watch the movie again. Go eat the sandwich again. Steal some DVD players. Say hi to Ja Rule, who is there for some reason. It’ll all be worth it, I promise. — Brian Grubb
2 Fast 2 Furious — The McChicken
It’s not the best there is. In fact, it’s in the bottom tier, but it’s always there when you need it the most. Sometimes all you have is a couple of bucks and need lunch and the McChicken is there for you, exactly as it always is, a formerly frozen patty smothered in mayo and semi-wilted lettuce that for some reason hits the spot. 2 Fast 2 Furious is a bottom tier F&F movie, but when it’s on TNT at 3 in the afternoon, you better believe you’re gonna watch it because the car chase and race scenes are incredibly fun, even if the plot and dialogue often make little sense. — Robby Kalland
Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift — The BK Chicken Sandwich
You don’t want to admit you like the BK Chicken Sandwich, with its oval of chicken parts mashed together and fried, but goddammit it’s better than people give it credit for. It is an extremely serviceable chicken sandwich that is far too often considered the laughing stock of the group. Tokyo Drift has maybe the worst dialogue of all the F&F movies (which says a lot), but it might have some of the best racing action of the whole franchise. It’s often forgotten when discussing the franchise, sometimes purposefully, but people that consider it the worst of the bunch are mistaken. Also, like Tokyo Drift making over $90 million overseas, Burger King is arguably more popular on the international market than domestic. — RK
Fast & Furious — Bojangles Cajun Filet Biscuit
Everything you could ask for is right there, it just doesn’t quite work. The movie has all our favorites back: Vin Diesel returns for his first full run since the first, Paul Walker is back after skipping Tokyo Drift, Ludacris comes in from the second, Han is back despite dying in the third because, listen, things are about to get wild around here, buckle in. Same with the sandwich, the ingredients are there: spicy chicken filets are great, biscuits rule, throwing them together in a sandwich should work. And it does kind of work. Kind of. It’s not all there yet, though. There are improvements to be made. Moisture to be added. Luckily, this brings us to… — BG
Fast Five — The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
The best. Objectively perfect. Just a delight from beginning to end each time. I spent a good 15-20 just now trying to think up some way to tie them together but I could figure out if The Rock was Popeyes and the franchise was chicken sandwiches, generally, or if the franchise was Popeyes and The Rock was the new sandwich that showed up in a skin-tight Under Armour shirt to breathe life into the whole operation. I gave up because it was as hard and confusing as The Rock’s traps, but also, who cares? This one just works, like the movie and the sandwich. Let’s not go around overthinking it.
HOBBS: Popeyes Chicken Sandwich. I read your file. New kid on the block. Real hotshot. Came in top of your class at the academy. Heard they’ve been calling you “the phenom.” Not bad.
POPEYES CHICKEN SANDWICH: [says nothing, is a sandwich]
HOBBS: Quiet type. Let your actions do the talking. I like that. — BG
Fast & Furious 6 — Crispy Colonel Chicken Sandwich
This is the one that is really pretty solid and has everything you like about the ones before and after it but you still forget about. Sometimes you don’t even think about it at all. You’ll be like, “What sandwich/movie should I eat/watch? Do I go with Popeyes/Fast Five or Chick-Fil-A/Furious 7?” And it doesn’t even dawn on you that KFC/Fast & Furious 6 is right there, too, down the street/On Demand. You probably drove/scrolled right past it. It’s not the fault of anyone involved, really. They’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. They just can’t compete with their big loud brothers. Nothing to be ashamed of here (sandwich tastes good, Ludacris holds a Walkie-Talkie to his face and says “Uh, guys, they got a tank”), just nothing that sets the world on fire. It’s all fine. — BG
Furious 7 – Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
It’s a wonderful, delicious sandwich that many have a tough time supporting, understandably, due to the political beliefs of the Cathy family and Chick-fil-A corporate. A fresh out the fryer CFA sandwich can be a true delight, but CFA acolytes heap too many expectations on it and, when compared to Popeye’s sandwich, it falls short. Furious 7 is one of the best movies in the franchise, but it’s impossible to get past the fact that it came out shortly after Paul Walker’s death and that cloud hangs over the entire film, even if they handled it pretty tremendously at the end. Still, it put a damper on the full enjoyment of, say, seeing Vin Diesel win a fight with Jason Statham by saying “the thing about a street fight? The streets always win,” before stomping his foot and causing a parking garage to collapse under Statham. It’s a very different reason to feel a bit guilty for enjoying the movie than it is to feel guilty enjoying that homophobic chicken, but the guilt still exists. — RK
The Fate of the Furious — Shake Shack Chick’n Shack Sandwich
The Fate of the Furious is a Fast & Furious movie at heart but it also went about adding Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren. This is a good development. Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren are awesome. Adding quality ingredients should always make the final product better. And it is good. It just feels… it feels like too much. There’s just too much going on in Fate of the Furious. They tried to take a fun thing full of simple, cheap thrills and fancy it up a little too far.
Same things goes for the Shake Shack Chick’n Shack sandwich. It’s more expensive than the other options. It’s a little fancier. It’s good, too, don’t mistake that, but it just doesn’t feel right. It feels like too much, like we’re all working too hard, like maybe we’re all pushing the simple and perfect chicken sandwich into new ground where it doesn’t quite belong. Like the movie, I will happily consume it if it’s in front of me, but I would probably prefer to just hit the drive-thru of the Popeyes and watch Fast Five instead. — BG
Hobbs & Shaw — KFC Double Down
Gluttony and a commitment to good old fashioned American excess got us to both of these things. The Double Down, a chicken sandwich in which two fried chicken patties served as the buns, with cheese, sauce and some bacon slammed in between. It should never have been made in any reasonable culture, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t embarrassingly tasty. Hobbs & Shaw is only tangentially an F&F movie, existing in the universe, but at the same time wholly unique and on its own — much like a chicken sandwich where fried chicken is the bread. Jason Statham and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson serve as our big, meaty chicken patty buns in this metaphor and Idris Elba is the bacon wedged in there ‘cause, hey, that’s a big name, providing a truly gluttonous movie-going experience. There is nothing subtle about Hobbs & Shaw and that’s exactly how it should be. It’s in your face, telling you exactly how absurd it’s going to be and dammit you’re going to enjoy it for that. — RK