Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
The Fast and the Furious has been a successfully phenomenal franchise, beginning in 2001 and is still going strong 16 years later. There have been eight films total and two more are planned. In the following article, I will list all 8 films from the best to the worst.
Best #1: Furious 7
Furious 7 earns top spot for its emotional goodbye tribute to the late Paul Walker who was killed in a tragic accident on November 30, 2013. The film not only upped the stakes and the action, but also pushed every cast member to their limits both physically, mentally, and emotionally. They had all just lost their closest friend and to continue with the film and finish it took a lot of strength. On top of it all, Cody Walker stepped in to fill his brother Paul's scenes for half of the film. The facial CGI was astounding and difficult to differentiate what was computerized and what was real. It was clear that a lot of work, love, and effort was put into this film and for that reason I give Furious 7 a 4 out of 4.
Best #2: The Fate of the Furious
The one thing that fascinates me about this series is the fact that they constantly outdo themselves with stunts and action. The Fate of the Furious brought together the Fast & Furious family and pit them against the one person they weren't prepared to face: Dom. After being backed into a corner by super hacker and terrorist Cipher, Dom is forced to turn his back on his closest friends and follow her every instruction. Almost everyone returns and that makes this film all the more special. Charlize Theron proves she's one serious badass of a villain and I hope to see her in later films. I give The Fate of the Furious 3.5 out of 4.
Best #3: Fast & Furious 6
After pulling off one of the biggest heists in history, Dom, Brian, and the rest of the crew have retired from the crime life in a non-extradition country to live out their lives in peace. But it isn't long until Hobbs comes knocking at their door asking for help to bring down Owen Shaw and his crew. Why would Dom accept such a request? Because Hobbs has intel which states that Letty, Dom's previously-assumed-dead-girlfriend, may very well be alive. The film has a well-written plot and the action and stunts never fails to amaze. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
Best #4: The Fast and the Furious
They say the first is always the best, but with this franchise the first is the 4th best. The first film will always have a place in my heart though because of the fact that this is how it all started and it's the film that brought all these incredible people together. The film focused more on street racing and local gang trouble, which made the film more real and more personal than any of the others. It wasn't a state-of-the-art film by any means but it was a fun ride with a lot of heart and meaning. I give The Fast and the Furious a 3 out of 4.
Best #5: Hobbs & Shaw
Throughout film and TV history, there have been many a duo that became legends. Mulder and Scully, Riggs and Murtaugh, Thelma and Louise, Han and Chewbacca... I could go on for a while. But now, in the modern era, we're given Hobbs and Shaw, characters that were born from the Fast & Furious franchise. They're comparative of Lee and Carter (Rush Hour), one being an American big-mouth and the other being an Eastern martial arts badass. They shouldn't (and often don't) get along but when they're focused on their mission, they're actually an outstanding team.
Two years after the events of Fate of the Furious, Luke Hobbs has been on break and is ready to get back to work. His old friend, CIA Agent Locke, brings to his attention the heist of a virus with the potential of global extermination. The CIA wants him to locate and safely apprehend the virus before it's used. Hobbs accepts the mission. Little does he know, on the other side of the world, Deckard Shaw is being briefed on the same situation. Shaw accepts because, as it turns out, his sister is the one who stole it in order to keep it from falling into the hands of Brixton, a cyber-genetically enhanced cyborg (for lack of a better term). Hobbs and Shaw end up being forced to work together to track down Deckard's sister and stop Brixton once and for all.
Dwayne Johnson may have gotten top billing, but this was without a doubt Jason Statham's movie. He had the best lines and often the best stunts out of anyone. Idris Elba is definitely in the top 3 villains of the Fast & Furious franchise. He was so good that his reasoning for wanting to release the virus was actually pretty convincing. Vanessa Kirby was the next best in the film, showing talents she hasn't shown before. She's certainly come a long way since her small roles in Charlie Countryman and About Time and is establishing herself as a woman of action and substance.
There were only three issues with the film. First, Brixton was like something out of a comic book. He's cyber-genetically enhanced so that he's more machine than man. He's bulletproof, he has enhanced agility, super strength, and "robot eyes" as I call them, otherwise known as the ability to scan a person's body movements and be able to tell how hard and fast an incoming punch or kick will be. He's like a Bond villain on cyber steroids. There's a point when, even in these films, boundaries get pushed too far into the unrealistic area. Elba's character, as fantastic as he was, was a bit too unrealistic. The second flaw was Dwayne Johnson. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm sure I'll get a lot of flack for this but, come on, Johnson has become nothing more than eye-candy for the ladies that get dragged to these films by their boyfriends. Dwayne used to be one of my favorite actors. Now, he just seems like an empty shell and that's a shame because I know he's capable of so much more. Thirdly, and least of all, was the comedy. The comedic tone was a good tension breaker, and there was a lot of tension, but the jokes could sometimes be a bit much. I mean that in the sense that there were times when the writing tried too hard to be funny and just came off awkward. It didn't happen often though, and didn't take away too much from the film.
In conclusion, Hobbs & Shaw had far more positives than negatives. I liked how Samoan culture was included in the film, which is a callback to Johnson's own ancestry. I loved the chemistry between Statham, Kirby, and Johnson. Heads up, there are THREE credit scenes so be sure to stick around for those. I'm actually looking forward to the sequel (there's a set up for one, if not more) and I look forward to seeing just how they could possibly top this film. I give Hobbs & Shaw a 3 out of 4.
Here's the line between the best and the worst. Now, a few of these aren't that bad but could have used some work to make them better. Some have script issues and some have acting issues and some have all kinds of issues. So now let's begin our look at the bottom four entries of the Fast & Furious series.
Worst #5: Fast Five
Fast Five has a ton of potential and was almost a great film. The thing that hindered it the most was the introduction of Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) into the series. Now, while I understand that a rough and tough man was needed to hunt down the most skilled crew on earth, and Dwayne is very good at both rough and tough, the execution fell short. His performance was stiff, unbelievable, and borderline annoying. While the fight between him and Diesel was incredible, Dwayne himself needed a lot of work. Otherwise, I enjoyed the film and had they addressed that issue, it would have been bumped up to the best section. I give Fast Five a 2.5 out of 4.
Worst #4: F9
Sometimes in the attempt to top itself time and time again, a series can go a bit too far into the ridiculous realm. I have loved the Fast and Furious franchise ever since the first film debuted in 2001. We've seen Dom, Brian, Letty, and the rest of the crew survive and accomplish incredible feats. From street gangs to Latino crime bosses to skilled assassins, from jumping a car onto a yacht to surviving a collapsing highway, it seemed nothing could stand in the way of Toretto and his family. So why, despite the beautiful story and the incredible stunts, did F9 not feel like a Fast and Furious film?
SPOILERS AHEAD, WARNING
The film opens with Dom and Letty on their farm with baby Brian. After Ramsay, Tej, and Roman spill the intel they have on Cipher's whereabouts, Dom is hesitant and wants to stay out of it but is pulled in when he recognizes someone he never expected to see again: his brother Jacob. Now Dom has to stop Jacob at all costs or the world will be thrown into catastrophe.
As much as I hate to admit it, F9 was one of the lesser entries in the franchise. Not because of Tej driving across a falling bridge, or because of the sudden "all's forgiven" moment after finding Dom and Jacob have a common enemy; it was because of the utterly ridiculous shooting a car into space with a rocket engine strapped to it. Oh, and did I mention Tej and Roman were inside the car, which also has thrusters built into it? I mean sometimes the Fast series could border on the impossible, but it's always had one foot in reality and one foot in the spectacular. While this film had a great backstory tie-in and a good build-up, the climactic point of the film did not fit in with the rest of the film nor with the rest of the series. I won't go so far as to say the film "jumped the shark", but it did push the line a bit too far.
Now, don't let my ramblings spoil the film for you because it did have a lot of positive elements. I loved seeing Dom's backstory and where Jacob fit into everything. I loved the face-off between Vin and Cena. I loved how Han's return was explained and I especially loved the mid-credit sequence which lifted my spirits for the final film, assuming 10 actually is the final film. I also loved how they continue to keep Paul Walker's memory alive most of all. Despite the setbacks the film had, the love the cast still have for Paul can still be seen and felt.
In conclusion, I sum up F9 with this: the longer you continue with a series, the harder it gets to shock and wow audiences because it's always a goal to continue to be bigger and better than the previous entry. It's better to go out on top than to end in disaster. Here's hoping F10 will learn from this one's mistakes. I give F9 a 2.5 out of 4.
Worst #3: Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious was an ambitious soft reboot of the franchise after parts 2 and 3 turned out to be real clunkers. Vin Diesel returned to the series as Dominic Toretto, which honestly renewed interest in the then-dying series. The problem with this film was too much CGI. For the most part the F&F series uses real stunts in order to make each film look and feel as real as possible but this entry used not only too much CGI but shoddy-looking CGI. It was painfully clear that most of the film was faked which really took away from what could have been an excellent breath of fresh air. I give Fast & Furious 2 out of 4.
Worst #2: 2Fast 2Furious
2Fast 2Furious had a similar problem that Fast & Furious had: the CGI was rather awful. However, 2Fast didn't use it nearly as much. What caused 2Fast to really suffer was the acting. Even Eva Mendes, who is normally a very good actress, was rather stiff and spotty with her line delivery. The big bad, Cole Hauser, was even worse, causing the viewers to laugh when he talked. There was absolutely nothing threatening about him which makes one wonder why the FBI had such a difficult time capturing him. I will say that the addition of Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris was a fun and smart decision. Paul Walker returned which was a plus, but Vin Diesel did not, which was a huge let down. Overall, I give 2Fast 2Furious a 2 out of 4.
Worst #1: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Watching The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was almost like watching one of those Feature Films for Families that Family TV puts out every now and then. The acting was horrible, the cast virtually unknown, and very little care was put into the film. Thankfully, the series gradually got better after this low-point and has learned from its mistakes. I give The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift a 1.5 out of 4.
Every franchise has its great moments and its forgettable ones but thankfully the Fast & Furious series has had more hits than misses. They've learned from their mistakes and now pour every ounce of their hearts and minds and creative talents into their films in order to make films the cast and crew can be proud of and films that will awe and astound the audience.
© 2017 Nathan Jasper