The ‘Fast And Furious’ Movies Are Good. Their Titles Are Not

It’s easy to get blinded by the things you care about. It happens all the time. Your positive feelings about something — or someone — can make any statement to the contrary feel like an attack. Politics is the obvious example, where people retreat to their corners and lob bricks at each other while likeminded-types egg them on, with everything becoming a binary choice between good and evil. But it can extend to other areas, too (friendships, love, art, etc.), and it’s probably not a good thing. Your thing doesn’t have to be unassailably perfect to be okay. Flaws are fine. It’s healthy to admit that sometimes.

I lead with that because I need to tell you something and I need you stick with me until I explain it. I’m going to poke a small hole in your balloon. Ready? Okay. Here we go.

The titles of the movies in the Fast & Furious franchise are bad.

It hurts me to say because I love these movies, too. And it’s not that they’re bad individually. Fast Five? Solid, clear, alliterative. Good title. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift? Also good, both because you get the full title and a short post-colon phrase that explains it, and because — I repeat — literally every movie can be improved by adding “: Tokyo Drift” to the title. 2 Fast 2 Furious? Okay, that’s bad. But it’s hilarious. I give it a pass.

The problem here is that when you take them together you’re left with an unwieldy, confusing mess. There’s no consistency to them. Some have numbers written out, some use numerals, some have neither. It’s like the people in charge kept getting surprised someone let them make another one and they had to spit out the new title without looking at the list of previous ones. (I’m joking here, a little, but there’s probably a kernel of truth to it for the third and fourth movies, before The Rock came in and the whole thing became the biggest action series on the planet.)

Getty Image

I mean, look at this boondoggle:

  • The Fast and the Furious
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious
  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • Fast & Furious
  • Fast Five
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • Furious 7

And it’s even worse when you add in the chronology of the movies, how the third one technically takes place after the sixth. Explaining it with the numbers would help, or saying “the Tokyo one comes after the sixth,” but then you get to the thing where the fourth movie has no number in the title or post-colon explanation. (Fast & Fourious was staring them right in the face.) It’s so close to the title of the first that it even confuses my cable guide sometimes. This is a franchise that has made billions of dollars. It’s madness.

But fine. Again, they didn’t know this was all going to blow up the way it did. Maybe it caught them off-guard and left them scrambling a bit, and they didn’t have a chance to do the thing Mission Impossible did where they kept the title structure in every film but added a number or a post-colon phrase. (Remember what I said about adding “: Tokyo Drift” to every movie title? Also applies to “: Ghost Protocol.”) Which would all be a great argument if the Japanese titles of the movies in the franchise didn’t exist.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did you not know about the Japanese titles of the movies in the Fast & Furious franchise? Oh my. You are in for a treat. They are my favorite thing. I know I just said the thing about Vin Diesel self-producing a 22-minute short titled Los Bandeleros to fill a chronological hole for his character was my favorite thing about these movies. I have a few favorite things. Leave me alone.

The first thing you need to know about the Japanese titles is that the original movie is called Wild Speed. This is objectively a better title. I’m not poking fun here. I love it. Then the films, from the second through the seventh, proceed like this:

  • Wild Speed x2
  • Wild Speed x3: Tokyo Drift
  • Wild Speed MAX
  • Wild Speed MEGA MAX
  • Wild Speed EURO MISSION
  • Wild Speed SKY MISSION

The fact that Fast Five is called Wild Speed MEGA MAX in Japan makes me so happy and so jealous. I wish it had been called that here. I wish it had been called that everywhere. It’s a perfect title. It’s like an executive was tearing himself apart, like “Crap, we already used MAX. In all-caps. Where can we go from there? How do we get bigger than that? There’s no way to… wait a second.” And even the sixth and seventh are better than the American versions, because they’re uniform and describe what actually takes place. “EURO MISSION” takes place in Europe. “SKY MISSION” features parachuting cars and Vin Diesel flying through the Abu Dhabi sky. Check and check. Also, “SKY MISSION.”

This brings us to the newest movie in the franchise, which is called The Fate of the Furious in America. Get it? Fate? F8? Like a pun? Yeah, it’s not great. Wanna know what this movie is called in Japan, per IMDb? Wild Speed ICE BREAK. Because…


Consider this post my official request to go back and retroactively adopt these titles for the American films. It solves two problems: One, it makes sense and fixes the biggest flaw in the series, making my opening paragraph moot and allowing you to stay in your bubble and yell at people, which you were probably going to do anyway. And two, I would really like it. Which is also important.