We’re about to get our tenth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise — eleventh if you count Hobbs & Shaw. For better or worse, the long-running franchise continues to dominate the box office charts and delight audiences with its outrageous stunts, crazy action, and strict devotion to family. With so many chapters in the Fast Saga, we decided to take a look and see where the movies stand before Fast X hits theaters. Here are the Fast & Furious movies ranked from worst to best.
10. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
The enormous success of The Fast and the Furious shocked everyone in Hollywood, leaving executives scrambling for a sequel. Surprisingly, Vin Diesel declined the opportunity to reprise his role as Dom, which led to Paul Walker and director John Singleton taking over the franchise. While we can only speculate about how Dom v Brian Part II would have turned out in 2003, it’s widely acknowledged that 2 Fast 2 Furious was a massive disappointment. Despite a solid cast featuring Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Cole Hauser, and the captivating Eva Mendes, this clumsy sequel pushes Brian to the forefront with a nonsensical plot centered around a drug lord in Miami.
The lack of thoughtful writing is evident. However, the opening sequence is visually impressive, and the film has a vibrant color palette. Occasionally, you can sense a faint pulse from the engine. Still, this lifeless sequel relies heavily on familiar tropes and fails to capture the infectious energy of its predecessor, which is why it is last in our list of the Fast & Furious movies ranked.
9. The Fate of the Furious (2017)
Charlize Theron crashes into the Fast and Furious universe and nearly wrecks the goodwill she earned from Mad Max: Fury Road. The Fate of the Furious is so dumb that it made me initially skip F9. During the climax, our heroes take on a submarine with their cars. Let’s say my suspension of disbelief hit the brakes hard.
But hold on tight; there’s a jaw-dropping twist! Dom turns to the dark side because Theron’s dreadlocks sporting cyber-terrorist took his baby. When did our resident tough guy turn so soft? We’re far from the streets of LA, where he almost shot Brian in cold blood for being a cop or when he took on a drug kingpin for revenge. Our hero now talks endlessly about family and displays superhuman abilities. His team executes precise maneuvers like a top-notch military unit. Should we even care?
Amidst the madness, there are exhilarating action sequences that shine, expertly orchestrated by director F. Gary Gray. Yet, an undercurrent of desperation permeates the excessive chaos. While embracing the Fast Saga demands a certain mindset, Fate of the Furious treads dangerously close to Batman and Robin levels of absurdity that could sink any franchise. It’s certainly entertaining in spades, but it may be time for everyone involved to consider reining in the insanity.
That scene where Shaw saves Dom’s baby — oof.
8. F9 (2021)
At this point in the Fast Saga, there’s nothing new we haven’t seen a million times before. I’ve also grown to accept that the franchise isn’t taking a U-turn and heading back to its crime drama roots. Dom’s crew are action heroes who assemble when their boss, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), calls them on the hotline. Yeah, they’re Power Rangers without the dinosaurs.
John Cena joins the fun on this ride as Dom’s long-lost brother who desires to reboot the world order, or something, with a device known as Aires. He’s working for Cipher (Theron, again) and … blah … blah … Han is somehow alive … I just don’t care.
Justin Lin returns after a brief hiatus and tries to splatter the picture with juicy action. To his credit, he finds unique new ways to inject a little life into numerous set pieces. However, the cartoonish violence clashes badly with the stagnant drama. When Helen Mirren rolls in as Queenie Shaw, orchestrating a wild chase while decked in sparkling high heels, I had no choice but to throw my hands up and join the reckless ride off the cliff of sheer stupidity.
7. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Tokyo Drift represents a refreshing step forward for the Fast Saga, redeeming itself from the disappointment of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Director Justin Lin takes the reins with finesse, orchestrating exciting races against the vibrant backdrop of Tokyo, resulting in a visually stunning experience. The narrative centers around Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), a rebellious teenager forced to relocate to Tokyo, where he plunges into the wild underground world of street racing, forging new alliances and rivalries while mastering the art of drifting to survive and find his place in this electrifying and perilous subculture.
While not the best entry in the franchise, Tokyo Drift at least tries something new and, better yet, ditches the campy tone of its predecessor and opts for a darker, character-driven approach. The action is exciting, and Sung Kang’s Han remains one of the more likable characters in the series. Regardless of where it lands on your personal list of the Fast & Furious movies ranked, it deserved a better reception than it initially received.
6. Furious 7 (2015)
Furious 7, while featuring a heartbreaking finale, struggles to leave a lasting impression. Paul Walker’s untimely passing during production led to significant script changes and CGI usage, but his performance remains remarkably seamless. The film’s poignant ending is undeniably moving, bidding farewell to the actor in a heartfelt and dignified manner.
Despite the emotional conclusion and scattered moments of excitement, such as a thrilling cliffside chase and Kurt Russell’s enjoyable cameo, Furious 7 ultimately disappoints. An opening credit sequence featuring Jason Statham as new villain Deckard Shaw (Owen’s bro) kicks things off on a thrilling beat. Still, director James Wan doesn’t know what to do with his cast beyond propelling them through increasingly outrageous and implausible set pieces.
Moreover, the film veers away from the series’ earlier attempts to ground the action in some form of reality. Dom’s crew transitions from gritty street punks to Avengers-like superheroes, losing the relatable underdog charm that made them endearing.
Furious 7 is still goofy fun, but even devoted fans may roll their eyes when Dom begins shattering concrete buildings with a mere foot stomp, which is why it’s in the middle of our Fast & Furious movies ranked.
5. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Fast & Furious 6 is a mixed bag for me. The action sequences, particularly the tank scene and never-ending runway finale, are spectacularly staged by director Justin Lin. However, the cracks are starting to show. Ideas are running thin, necessitating bigger and louder stunts, chases, and fight sequences strung together by the slimmest of plots.
This time, our heroes are recruited by Hobbs to capture a dangerous madman named Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) before he … um … I’m not sure what Shaw wanted, to be perfectly honest. A microchip? A computer? Neither do Lin or screenwriter Chris Morgan, who cruise through exposition at full throttle. You don’t have much time to think about any of it, which is probably for the best.
Nonetheless, the return of Michelle Rodriguez as Letty is a stroke of genius, despite the somewhat clumsily handled amnesia storyline. Rodriguez’s presence among her co-stars brings a sense of fun, and she impresses with her formidable performance in the action sequences.
Again, this is perfectly fine popcorn entertainment built for the masses, which is why it lands here on our list of the Fast & Furious movies ranked. Those looking for more crime drama and less Avenger-ing will be disappointed.
4. Fast & Furious (2009)
The true sequel to 2001’s original The Fast and Furious picks up sometime after our boys, Brian and Dom, parted ways all those years ago. Fate eventually brings them back together. Well, that and Letty’s shocking death at the hands of a drug kingpin named Arturo Braga (John Ortiz). Fueled by his thirst for vengeance, Dom teams up with Brian to bring Braga down, resulting in a low-key but adrenaline-fueled entry that raises the stakes without sacrificing character.
Surprisingly, Fast & Furious ranks among the lowest rated of the franchise — just 29% on RottenTomatoes. Pump the brakes! I dug it. The story works. Dom and Brian’s bromance is great, and the various action scenes — particularly a gritty street race through downtown LA — get the blood pumping. The drug trafficking angle is lazy, but it suits the universe established in the original. Dom was never an out-and-out bad guy but a low-level criminal trying to keep his family afloat in a world run by sharks. So that’s why we like him.
Fast & Furious maintains a crucial edge subsequent chapters abandoned when the franchise became too much about family.
3. Fast X
The Fast and Furious franchise is at its best when built around Dom’s efforts to protect his family. That’s why parts one, four, five, and seven stand out as the most entertaining. They’re less about missions to save the world and more about a group of super street racers trying their best to survive an outlandish situation.
Fast X adheres to this formula and, thanks to a terrific scene-stealing performance from Jason Momoa, delivers the high-octane spectacle that made the series so appealing. Yeah, we’re still a long way from where we started. Still, Fast X strikes a nice balance between absurd action and heart-pounding intensity, immersing audiences in a whirlwind of adrenaline-fueled excitement. It’s big, goofy, cheesy fun. Director Louis Leterrier keeps the mayhem flowing at a ridiculous pace. He stages the action with a rhythmic beat, playing like a big-budget music video. Moreover, he seems keenly in on the joke, subtly poking fun at the franchise. He takes the material seriously enough to give it an edge but only ventures so far beyond audience expectations.
Really, Fast X feels like the movie Furious 7, Fate of the Furious, and F9 wanted to be. To the highest degree, it’s summer blockbuster nonsense but also big, bombastic, and completely self-aware. If I had to make a comparison, I’d liken Fast X to Avengers: Infinity War in spirit. Even characters like Charlize Theron’s Cipher and John Cena’s Jakob Toretto are more tolerable now.
Overall, there’s plenty here to enjoy. Vin Diesel is great as Dom, portraying him as an angsty father who still knows how to deliver a kick-ass line — “You should’ve taken my car,” he says before driving off the side of a dam. Michelle Rodriguez turns it up a notch as Letty, and her scenes with Theron are a fun detour from the main narrative.
Still, this is Momoa’s film, and the hulking star knocks it out of the park. His infectious charm and energy breathe life into what was a stale franchise. So I’m actually excited to see where this never-ending saga goes next.
2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Call me crazy, but after watching it this week, I dug the original Fast & Furious film. Essentially Point Break with cars in place of surfboards, this early 2000s action flick has a little something for everybody — cars, action, hot girls, bromance — and surprisingly dramatic stakes. The third act action sequence in which Dom and his crew battle a shotgun-toting truck driving is pulse-pounding, and the final drag race between Dom and Brian bears emotional weight. Moreover, director Rob Cohen keeps his story grounded, relying more on character than the outlandish action that would define the rest of the series.
On a negative note, supporting characters like Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty and Johnny Strong’s Leon are short-changed. The finale leaves several plot threads dangling in the air, making it even more bizarre that a direct sequel never hit theaters until Justin Lin’s quasi-reboot in 2009.
Regardless, my view on The Fast & the Furious has improved. This chapter was refreshingly simple and straightforward compared to the bloated eighth and ninth installments. There’s a reason fans flock to these movies, and it all started here with this low-budget, gripping, entertaining crime drama.
1. Fast Five (2011)
The Fast Saga peaked with Fast Five. Over a decade later, my mind hasn’t changed. Everything here works. The story is small enough in scale to at least maintain credibility; the heroes are likable, the villain (Joaquim de Almeida) is formidable, and The Rock slides into the franchise like a massive force of nature, injecting a new level of intensity, charisma, and larger-than-life presence that amplifies the adrenaline-fueled excitement of the Fast & Furious series to exhilarating heights.
Nothing beats the vault chase, a clever action set piece that leans on our heroes’ impeccable racing skills. They’re not saving the world or firing endless rounds of gunfire at military opposition; they’re merely street racing at an utterly absurd level. I love it. Diesel is a rock star; his performance still maintains an aura of badassery before the series turned Dom into a walking caricature.
Justin Lin navigates his way around creative set pieces and keeps the picture moving at a whiplash-inducing pace. There’s also more at stake here than before, and that sense of urgency gives the final reel a much-needed push across the finish line. This is the one where I was all in on the Fast Saga and why it tops our list of the Fast & Furious movies ranked. So while the remaining bunch represents a steady decline, the time at the top was fun while it lasted.