Here's our definitive ranking of all the Fast and Furious films, including the latest installment Hobbs & Shaw. Although technically a spinoff, Hobbs & Shaw is part of the Fast & Furious canon, following Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) as they team up to take on a new villain named Brixton (Idris Elba).
Hobbs & Shaw is the ninth feature-length film in the Fast & Furious franchise, which has been going strong for nearly 20 years — a true feat in the film world. The franchise began with a simple story — undercover cop tries to infiltrate a crime ring who use make flashy getaways from their heists — but has expanded to deliver even wilder, bigger stunts and face off against more formidable villains with each successive installment. The franchise has cemented the action star status of actors Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges.
So, with so many different tones and styles across nine entries, how do all of the films stack up? What follows is the current ranking of all the Fast & Furious movies - until a new installment is released.
9. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
The second film in the Fast & Furious franchise branches off, making the poor decision to follow only Brian O'Conner and leave any activities related to Dom Toretto behind in Los Angeles. Brian is on the run in the second film, facing the consequences of aligning himself with Dom and his crew of thieves in The Fast and the Furious. He settles in Miami and reconnects with an old friend, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), who introduces him to the city's racing scene. Brian also gets involved in a new mission to take down local drug kingpin Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) after he's contacted by a former LAPD colleague, Bilkins (Thom Bilkins). This gives Brian the opportunity to put together his own crew and co-opt some moves he learned from Dom in order to get the job done.
Maybe it's the curse of the sophomore slump but 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious veered way off course when it ditched most of The Fast and the Furious cast for the sake of just following Brian. It's nice to see Brian develop as a character; now, he's finally feeling the pressures of his actions in the first film. However, running clear across the country to avoid past crimes is a bold way to force character development and certainly doesn't feel like a decision the O'Connor of the first movie would make. It's also slightly cumbersome to have to get familiar with the entirely new cast of characters introduced in 2 Fast 2 Furious, especially when only two of them - Roman and Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) - are going to remain involved in the franchise.
It's clear 2 Fast 2 Furious is the result of a team of people asking, "What is this franchise really about?" The relationships feel tenuous, the racing sequences are safe and predictable, and even the Carter Verone plot reads as a boring "catch the bad guy" affair and it's fairly paint-by-numbers at that. As you watch, you're also consistently reminded this movie wants you to accept Brian stepping into the Dom role and letting Roman become the new Brian. This dynamic can't stand, not when it's clear Roman was always destined to be another member of the crew (not a leader) if he was going to stay on at all. Brian and Roman's partnership could never hold a candle to Dom and Brian's.
8. Fast And Furious (2009)
Fast and Furious mercifully reunites Dom and Brian as they work together to bring down a drug dealer, Campos (John Ortiz), and investigate Letty's apparent murder at the hands of Campos. That's right: Letty is seemingly dead for most of this movie. It reads as pretty brutal to force Dom to investigate the death of the woman he loves. Overall, the fourth movie is dominated by more snooze-worthy stunts and yet another plot to bring down a drug kingpin, making it all too clear there needed to be a reassessment on the kind of villain featured in these films.
Brian has somehow miraculously moved on from being a wanted criminal to landing a job in the FBI, which feels like an incredible turn even for the franchise. Fridging Letty just to motivate a reunion between Dom and Brian feels wrong, not only because you lose an integral member of the Fast & Furious crew but then the circumstances under which Dom and Brian are brought back together for the first time in years feels too emotionally loaded in the wrong way. How Dom can be okay working with Brian while knowing Letty was working for him before and that this mission is the reason she's dead adds the wrong kind of weight to their partnership. If these two are going to be the central, uniting force of the franchise, it's better to not have this simmering between them.
The arrival of Gisele (Gal Gadot), who feels more like window dressing than any kind of functional character, is also odd; it's not until she shows up in the next movie that she's treated like a person instead of some kind of seductress/badass. Is there anything new or exciting here to get the adrenaline pumping? No. But at least that's only because the chases and stunts feel a little too grounded and have yet to be elevated to the kind of surreality fans have come to know and love.
7. Fast Five (2011)
Don't get too excited about Fast Five. This may be Luke Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson) first appearance in the franchise but that doesn't mean it's his best appearance. Hobbs is brought in to find Dom, Brian, and Mia after they unwittingly steal a car that's very essential to a Brazilian crime boss' (better than a drug lord, but still a bit of a snooze) operation. All of the macho grandstanding between Dom and Hobbs, two alpha males clearly threatened by the existence of one another, becomes very old, very quickly. Dom getting put in his place from time to time is fun to see, but their antics regularly threaten to derail any kind of momentum the film has.
It is nice to see the extended crew around Dom and Brian forming but there are still too many cooks in the kitchen here. Personalities collide and there seems to be no sense of harmony or alignment between the team members. They can work together when there's pressure to complete a mission, sure, but whatever false sense of family Dom tries to promote among the group doesn't feel believable for some reason. If this franchise is all about the concept of family, Fast Five needs some help being reminded of that.
The first hints of next-level stunts are at work here; pulling a massive safe down a highway is one way to ramp up the excitement. Fast Five begins leaning into its amped-up action sequences which visibly pulse with adrenaline. But it's clear there are ambitions to take it even further. When compared with sequences from future installments, Fast Five's ranking takes a bit of a hit by comparatively playing it fairly safe.
6. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Letty is back but she's a different woman in Fast & Furious 6. Having survived what was believed to be a brutal car accident, only for it to be revealed it wasn't what it seemed, is a stunning way to reintroduce a leading lady back into the franchise. Letty's journey in Fast & Furious 6 is one of the most compelling parts of the film. The accident from Fast & Furious has left her with amnesia and it's Dom's job to help bring her back to herself. She struggles with her identity, making her a bit of a wildcard as she enters into an uneasy alliance with the rest of the team in their efforts to take down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).
Speaking of Shaw, the franchise finally gets an interesting villain that is actually worth watching — a true breath of fresh air. A criminal in search of Nightshade, a device meant to bring down military communications systems, Shaw is ruthless and creative. He's also a bit larger than life, full of swagger and assured in his purpose, which is necessary in the Fast & Furious world.
5. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift may be the reason for lots of timeline tomfoolery but it's still an enjoyable diversion from the primary franchise timeline. Where 2 Fast 2 Furious flailed when it separated Brian from Dom and forced this world's Robin to become Batman and organize his own team, focusing on an entirely new set of characters works to Tokyo Drift's advantage. There's still the whole "Han is alive but shouldn't he be dead?" problem, which contributes to this film's middling ranking. However, that whole snafu merely shaves off minimum amounts of goodwill and ranking power.
Tokyo Drift feels a bit like a re-do of The Fast and the Furious but makes an interesting bid to expands the scope of the racing world that is so integral to the franchise. The film follows Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), a teenager shipped off to live with his dad in Tokyo after getting in trouble with the law for racing back in the U.S. Sean is a bit unsure of it all until he meets Twinkie (Shad "Bow Wow" Moss), who introduces him to the underground racing community. Sean immediately feels at home and rightfully so because he's a skilled driver.
The concept of "drifting" is introduced in Tokyo Drift, a new kind of car trick used effectively at numerous points in the film. Even though this is a heist-less, big bad-less installment, it's acceptable because of how it focuses back in on the racing world. There are no dreams of pulling off multi-phase, elaborate schemes here and that puts some much-needed blinders on the plot to help keep it on track. Additionally, Han and Sean's relationship, which becomes a mentor-mentee one as the film progresses, unfolds at a pleasing pace and never feels like it's hampered or forced. Han isn't afraid to take Sean down a peg when need be but he also champions him too.
4. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Hobbs & Shaw knows what viewers want and delivers. It's a bold move devoting a spinoff to Hobbs and Shaw, two characters who historically have never gotten along. But this is an experiment that works because Hobbs & Shaw knows what Fast & Furious audiences want at this point: jaw-dropping action sequences, banter for days, and a genuine connection between the lead actors that makes them all worth rooting for. This spinoff not only delivers, but it goes above and beyond these expectations.
Giving Hobbs and Shaw their own film works better than expected. It's easy to worry these two would flail on their own, disconnected from the rest of the Fast & Furious crew. However, dedicating a film to the developing connection between them was a smart move for the franchise overall. Hobbs and Shaw were allowed to evolve, work through their bad blood, and give each other the space to let their skills as operatives shine. Hobbs is brute force personified while Shaw is a bit more tactical and studied. When their backs are up against a wall, this film makes it clear they don't stand a chance unless they get on the same page. That's what the Fast & Furious franchise is all about: sticking up for your chosen family and riding out the storm with them. Watching Johnson and Statham work off one another is fascinating and worth every second spent doing it.
It doesn't hurt that literally every action sequence in Hobbs & Shaw offers the biggest, most jaw-dropping, physics-defying stunts, chases, and hand-to-hand combat ever seen in the franchise. Case in point: early on in the film, Hobbs grabs onto a rope and slides down the side of a tall building, seemingly unaffected by things like friction that would force a mere mortal to let go and plummet to their death. At another point, he holds on to a helicopter carrying Brixton (Elba) and the only thing keeping them connected is a length of chain link. It shouldn't work because the stunt is so incredible. Logic says it should pull a viewer out of the action as they question what's going on. But it does work — and it's just one of the many reasons Hobbs & Shaw is a seriously good franchise entry.
3. Fate Of The Furious (2017)
The Fate of the Furious is perhaps the most outrageous installment to date but that doesn't mean it's a tough sell; quite the opposite, in fact. The arrival of Cipher (Charlize Theron) as the first genuine female villain in Fast & Furious is a major selling point here. Cipher is arresting to watch as work. Unabashedly confident in herself and her plan, she is able to break tough guy Dom in an instant, forcing him to work for her and abandon his team at the drop of a hat. Granted, it's for a good reason (kidnapping your son and the woman you had a romantic relationship with is a strong move) but still, Dom's evil turn is as shocking as it is soapy and exciting.
When it comes to action, The Fate of the Furious is unparalleled: being the first film in the franchise to make good use of a submarine in its final action sequence automatically bumps the eighth installment up a few notches. With the very loaded chase sequence as the crew, led by Letty, tries to catch Dom and find out why he's working for Cipher, it's easy to see this film understands how to infuse its action sequences with believable emotional stakes. It's subtle, yes, but compelling nonetheless and is proof the Fast & Furious franchise finally knows what it's about.
2. The Fast And The Furious (2001)
There's nothing quite like the first film when it comes to capturing the magic of this franchise. Yes, the Fast & Furious series has evolved over the years into something brimming with spectacle, but this first film, which tells the simple story of an LAPD cop going undercover to catch a ring of thieves who put their driving skills to good use during the getaway, is really a thing of beauty.
Seeing the Point Break friendship and level of trust develop between Dom and Brian in The Fast & The Furious is exciting. It's clear the rapport between the men is electric. They work well of each other, a natural balance where Dom is comfortable as the leader and Brian his right-hand man. They're meant to have an antagonistic relationship considering Brian is trying to nail Dom for his crimes but it quickly goes beyond that; these two are cut from the same cloth.
It's aged well too. After half-a-dozen outings full of next-level stunts, reminding yourself there was a time in this franchise when it really was just about racing cars and staying on the ground as much as possible feels refreshing. There's nothing particularly gravity-defying or mind-boggling about watching Dom and Brian drive, but that's OK. The grounded nature of the film only makes it more compelling to watch after nine entry (with more on the way).
1. Furious 7 (2015)
All of the elements are balanced in Furious 7. There is the appropriate amount of bombast and surreality in the action sequences. The team has finally been fine-tuned to perfection and it's small enough that viewers can actually watch relationships between characters grow and develop. The key theme of family, which runs through the franchise and is a core moral tenet propagated by Dom as the team leader, is adhered to in a sympathetic way that adds genuine emotional value. Everyone knows what they're about in this film and they all understand one another's antics. The care and concern is genuine between these people, making it all the more meaningful to watch those relationships unfold over the course of the film.
Whether it's watching the team drive their cars out of the back of a cargo plane and parachute onto a narrow highway or hotwire a car inside a showroom located high up in a luxury tower and jump into to a neighboring skyscraper, there's not a wasted minute of action in Furious 7. Here the franchise became incredibly comfortable pushing the boundaries of physics for the sake of a breathtaking jump. For that, a tip of the cap is necessary.
Of course, this is also the final film to feature Paul Walker following his untimely and tragic passing in 2013. Furious 7 is keenly aware that a proper tribute must be paid to an original member of its family. Even though Walker is noticeably digitally added to a final driving sequence between him and Dom, it doesn't detract from the gorgeous emotional weight of it all.
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Fast & Furious 9 (2020) release date: May 22, 2020