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The Fast and Furious franchise is an odd duck. Not only has it rapidly gained in popularity in the last decade or so after languishing somewhere between cult favorite and just barely successful enough to keep going, but it has evolved quite a bit since its early installments.
To try to rank them isn’t exactly easy, especially with some of the movies being some completely different than the others. For that reason, this is my personal take. You may not agree with it, and that’s fine.
One final thing: there’s no such thing as a bad Fast & Furious movie, only differing levels of good.
Some might disagree with my statement about there being no such thing as a bad Fast & Furious, specifically when it comes to this movie. Yes, it’s a step or two (or several) below the others, but this movie is still brought Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce and Ludacris as Tej, two characters who are still important to the series today.
Critics have made plenty of arguments against The Fate of the Furious, but really there is only one: This is the first movie in the series after the death of Paul Walker, and there’s no way you can ignore it. That aside, the movie is pure popcorn blockbuster, which is all it needed to be.
This movie, released after the almost spin-off Tokyo Drift, was the start of the series’ comeback, though nobody would blame you for not thinking it at the time. While this is where the story the series is still following really kicked off, this one has some cheesy effects and questionable story moments, though it did bring Gal Gadot’s Gisele to the series.
The first movie in the series is very visibly a product of another time. This movie, if it were a person, would probably listen to a lot of Kid Rock. Still, while it may seem dated in some ways, it introduced many elements that are still important to the series today and let’s face it: it’s still a blast to watch.
5. Hobbs & Shaw
While officially a spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t stray too far from the series bread and butter. While Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw are the only main characters, all the vehicle-related stunts, explosions, and general over-the-top bombast are here in top form.
4. Furious 7
If I were ranking this series on the stunts alone, Furious 7 would take the top spot uncontested. It’s tough placing this one so far down the list, as some of my favorite movies from the series happen here. That said, it’s also a bit of a bummer, because this is the movie where we say goodbye to Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner.
The only thing keeping Fast and Furious 6 from being higher on this list is that it’s not one of the two movies above it. After the last movie introduced Dwane Johnson as Hobbs, he plays an even bigger role this time around.
I had the urge to put this movie first on this list, and it just may be my own favorite in the series, despite the fact that no one in the case of the first two movies is in it and of all it’s characters, only Sung Kang’s Han made his way into future movies in the series.
Tokyo Drift may be the most car-centric Fast & Furious movie, and it’s also very much a standalone. If you’ve never seen the series and you only want to watch one, make it this one.
1. Fast Five
Fast Five was the first time the series put its various elements in order and they truly worked together. Maybe it’s just fond memories that put it so high on this list (and some others, from what I’ve seen), but it’s going to be hard to top the way everything just works in this one.
Looking for More Action?
If you’re going to walk away from this article to rewatch a few favorites or start the series over from the beginning, that’s great. But what if you’ve just finished watching through the entire run and need something else to do? You could always watch Torque. Or, you know… not.
If you need more action, check out these action movies that came out way better than expected.