Over the last twenty years, the Fast and Furious movies have covered a lot of literal and metaphorical ground. The series has delivered everything from DVD player thievery to submarine battles. We’ve seen characters come and go and then come back, in a winding and unpredictable timeline. Along the way, there’s been a hell of a lot of chrome and a consistent focus on the First Family of Action Cinema.
This franchise has something for everyone — as long as we assume that everyone is, at the very least, into oiled-up bald men, fast cars, and the philosophy of living life a quarter-mile at a time. It’s like a buffet of Monster energy drinks.
Now, we understand that this plentiful buffet isn’t for everyone. But whether you think of the Fast and Furious movies as mostly bad with some good (wrong) or mostly good with some bad (correct), it’s clear that not all of the offerings deliver the same excitement. So, when it comes to ranking the first eight feature installments of the main series plus the spinoff movie, we’re considering how each stands on its own as well as how it contributes to the series as a whole.
Although there’s good to be found in all of the Fast and Furious movies, there are some that are just simply a cut above the rest. So without further ado, let’s get to the order, from least best to best.
This article was co-written with Meg Shields.
9. Fast & Furious (2009)
Quite possibly the most confusingly named movie on this list (a feat), Fast & Furious is the direct sequel to 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, reuniting the main cast despite it being the fourth installment in the franchise. Throwing a monkey wrench into chronology, the plot picks up with charming con-at-large Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) as he gets the gang back together and reignites his feud with FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) in the process. With Dom’s girlfriend, Letty (Michelle Rodríguez), supposedly dead, the pair swallow their mutual hatred and team up to take on a common enemy. Fast & Furious exists to yank the timeline into the present, making it a forgettable and decidedly weaker Fast and Furious movie. Despite its raucous opening moments, if there is a “basic” entry in the franchise, this is it.
8. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (2019)
Can you make an entire film based on how Dwayne Johnson is enormous compared to Jason Statham? Well, you can, but at what cost? The product of Vin Diesel and The Rock’s “this franchise ain’t big enough for the both of us” mentality, the spinoff Hobbs and Shaw sees uptight military man Luke Hobbs (Johnson) reluctantly teaming up with the lawless Deckard Shaw (Statham) in an effort to thwart an anarchist cyborg (Idris Elba) hellbent on unleashing a programmable supervirus upon the world. Somehow both cartoonish and boring, Hobbs and Shaw is a noisy mess of hot air, centered on two unkillable heroes powered solely by circle-jerking and self-effacing winks. That said, Vanessa Kirby is great and deserves so, so much better.
7. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Although it doesn’t quite live up to the first franchise entry, there’s still a lot to love about this first sequel. It pulls off some outlandish stunts, expands the world on screen, and, most importantly, introduces us to characters who’ve become integral to the series. Plus, we get some fun moments of bromance between Brian and Roman (Tyrese Gibson). Ironically, the best thing about 2 Fast 2 Furious is also the thing we most hold against it: Suki (Devon Aoki). She’s introduced here in her hot pink cruiser with the attitude of a winner and the skills to match. In a franchise that has continually retconned deaths and swapped around timelines to keep important characters in the story, it’s shocking we’ve never seen Suki again. It’s almost cruel to put her in this movie and then never bring her back. But still, better to have loved and lost, as they say.
6. The Fast and The Furious (2001)
In retrospect, it’s strange to think that this is where it all started. Looking at the first franchise entry now, it seems shockingly lowkey. Or, at least lowkey in the way that it’s still jacked up and ridiculous. But The Fast and The Furious has its fair share of legendary moments, and it did successfully deliver a cast of fun characters, even if the narrative beats here are a bit expected. The movie operates on a handful of cliches but compensates with a souped-up attitude and a distinctly 2000s style. It’s loud and gauche and exactly what it had to be. If anything, it’s a credit to the overall quality of the series that this perfectly serviceable original movie is only ranked at sixth place.