Most franchises run out of gas as they churn out more sequels, but in the case of Fast & Furious, the movies have grown more ambitious and a bit more ridiculous with each installment, so let's take a look back at this most unlikely of franchises and rank its 11 entries.
Scroll through the slideshow or read the list below.
Ranking the Fast and the Furious Movies: From Worst to Best
11. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Coming off the surprise success of 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, a sequel was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the decision to move forward without Vin Diesel on the marquee also demonstrated a serious lack of brains. Though Paul Walker returned and Tyrese Gibson did yeoman’s work as Walker’s new muscley sidekick, the edgy magic of the original cast was hard to recreate, even with Eva Mendes and the always appealing Ludacris added to the mix.
10. Fast X (2023)
The beginning of the end brings with it a lot of baggage. Fast X had a lot of setting up to do, while also needing to follow through on what came before. So there was all that, while shuffling directors halfway through production. So it’s easy to call Fast X messy, but somehow it still came out fun, mostly thanks to Jason Momoa who bursts into the Fast franchise in a blaze of glory, quickly rising to the top of the Best Villains list. Thankfully, at least one (or maybe two) more movies will feature Momoa’s Dante as the lead villain, as he attempts to make Dom and his family suffer. Unfortunately, Fast X itself suffers from perhaps the most aggregious error a Fast movie can make: It has no truly iconic action set piece.
9. F9 (2021)
F9 may have welcomed back director Justin Lin after sitting out The Fate of the Furious and Hobbs & Shaw, but that wasn’t quite enough to recapture the series’ waning magic in its ninth main installment. F9 puts Dom and his family on the defensive as they face a dual threat in the form of Charlize Theron’s Cipher and John Cena as Dom’s long-lost brother, Jakob Toretto, a plot twist that strains the series’ already convoluted family mythology. Cena is disappointingly flat as the vindictive younger Toretto, and even the copious flashback scenes do little to flesh out that sibling rivalry. On the plus side, this sequel is bigger and more bombastic than ever, including finally delivering on the promise of sending our musclebound heroes into space. It’s also hard to complain about the return of Sung Kang’s Han, even if that’s another convoluted addition to the series’ soap operatic storyline. Entertaining though it is, F9 raises the question of whether The Fast and the Furious should have called it quits by now.
8. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
By the time the Fast & Furious franchise started fiddling with nuclear subs and jumping cars between skyscrapers, testing how a bionically-enhanced supervillain would fit into the world seemed like a no-brainer. Benefitting from the constant one-upmanship of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, Hobbs and Shaw is a buddy action movie featuring buddies who absolutely hate each other, and similarities to the Fast movies largely end with that crackling dynamic between the actors. It's a bizarre outlier within the franchise, but on its own merits, Hobbs and Shaw is a breezy quipfest and required viewing if you liked Johnson and Statham's chemistry in Furious 7 and Fate of the Furious.
7. Fast & Furious (2009)
The fourth film’s streamlined title can be seen as a symbol of its return to the series’ roots. Once again the plot centers on vehicle-based heists. Instead of skimping on the characters we came to love in the first film, this one features the triumphant return of Walker, Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez (at least for a little while), and Jordana Brewster. Bonus points for traveling backward in time, as this entry (like the next two films to be released) actually takes place before the events of the third film, Tokyo Drift.
6. The Fate of the Furious (2017)
It’s incredibly rare for a Hollywood franchise to even reach eight installments, much less maintain any sort of quality in the process. But The Fate of the Furious is another solid outing, one that furthers the series’ evolution from car-centric crime drama to full-blown, over-the-top superhero saga. This sequel packs in some great set pieces, from the opening Havana race to the prolonged showdown in icy Russia. It also finds a fitting new villain in Charlize Theron’s Cipher, who replaces Statham’s now-reformed Deckard Shaw. Who else could make it literally rain remote-controlled cars? The Fate of the Furious definitely suffers a bit from the departure of series mainstay director Justin Lin, but it holds up far better than the subsequent sequels.
5. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
The surprising reveal at the end of Fast Five – Rodriguez’s Letty is still alive! – was bound to give Fast & Furious 6 a bit of a soap opera feel. Yet somehow what should have been a goofy amnesia plotline more or less works, lending emotional weight to a busy, action-heavy story and reintroducing a popular character in the process. On the opposite side of the playing field, Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw is a marked improvement over the forgettable villains in previous installments.
4. Furious 7 (2015)
With over $1.5 billion in worldwide box office, Furious 7 is the franchise's biggest hit to date. It's also a blast to watch. The film boasts the biggest, most creative set-pieces so far, adds new Fast and Furious cast members Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, and Nathalie Emmanuel, and establishes the tense dynamic between Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw that we would later see evolve in their own spin-off. Furious 7 also delivers a thoughtful, satisfying sendoff to the franchise’s late star, Paul Walker, who passed away during filming.
3. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
The drift-racing phenomenon seemed like a natural evolution for the Fast and Furious series, and the divisive third installment featured not just an exotic locale and racing style, but also an entirely new cast, most notably protagonist Lucas Black. While Tokyo Drift represents the low point of the franchise’s box office returns, the brief Vin Diesel cameo at the very end of the film not only triggered the franchise’s return to its classic form in the next film but also set up an intricate backstory that interwove Dom’s past with that of likable Tokyo Drifter Han. Their relationship would become a prominent part of future chapters.
2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
The one that started it all. At the time critics derided it as a Point Break knockoff with race cars instead of surfboards. And you know what? They were right! The story of an undercover agent infiltrating and eventually empathizing with a gang of thrill-seeking thieves is undeniably similar to what Keanu Reeves did in Point Break 10 years earlier. But through some combination of adrenaline, nitrous oxide, literal highway robberies, and Vin Diesel’s star-making turn as Dominic Toretto, The Fast and the Furious managed to steer clear of Point Break’s shadow and blaze a trail all its own.
1. Fast Five (2011)
Fast Five upped the ante from previous films and amped up the star power by including Dwayne Johnson as tough-as-nails government agent Luke Hobbs. Johnson is electric and steals every scene he’s in, building up to the confrontation everyone is waiting for as Dom finally squares off against an adversary as unstoppable as he is. Of course the two men battle to a standstill. In the end, Dom’s admirable (if slightly criminal) motivations are enough to convince straight arrow Hobbs to join forces with his former quarry to take down the real bad guys. But of course, what really makes this movie is the way it pushed the Fast series into new and exciting territory, positioning the characters as more than just a street-racing family who pulled off heists to a practically invulnerable family of superheroes who pulled off heists like the famed bank vault sequence that remains, quite possibly, the highpoint of the entire franchise.
Got a favorite Fast and Furious movie? Tell us why in the comments!
Note: This story originally ran on June 22, 2016. It was updated on May 24, 2023 with the latest information about the Fast Fam.
Every Major Fast and Furious Character