What began as a thinly veiled rip-off of Point Break that replaced surfing with street racing has become one of the highest grossing and most popular movie franchises on the planet. The Fast and the Furious franchise has gone from strength to strength, incorporating new characters and going bigger and better and even more ludicrous with each installment.
Now, the franchise is becoming its own fully-fledged cinematic universe with spin-offs and multiple sequels all on the way. As with any series – although more with this one than the average franchise – there have been ups and downs. So, here are The Fast And The Furious Movies, Ranked By Rotten Tomatoes Score.
8 Fast & Furious (29%)
With its fourth installment, the Fast & Furious franchise threw out the established focus on street racing and became a more straightforward action series, with Vin Diesel returning. There were still plenty of cars, and not a single major set piece that didn’t involve cars in some way, but the characters became vaguely defined mercenaries.
As a reinvention of the franchise, Fast & Furious didn’t quite reach the heights of gleeful absurdity that the later installments would. Still, there are a couple of wonderfully high-octane action sequences, and the seeds of what the movies would eventually become are clearly there.
7 2 Fast 2 Furious (36%)
2 Fast 2 Furious is a unique case for an installment in the Fast & Furious franchise in that it doesn’t tie into the wider storyline of the rest of the series. Instead, it’s a standalone story following Brian O’Conner and Roman Pearce’s attempts to bring down a vicious drug kingpin.
The sequel might not be perfect, and its script leaves a lot to be desired, but the great John Singleton’s direction and the on-screen chemistry of Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson make it, at the very least, an entertaining blockbuster. While it doesn’t have a brain, it does have a heart – and it is a rousing, crowd-pleasing thrill-ride.
6 The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (38%)
Is a Fast & Furious movie without Vin Diesel or Paul Walker really a Fast & Furious movie? To be fair, Diesel makes a cameo appearance at the end (which he only agreed to do in exchange for ownership of the Riddick franchise), but it’s too little, too late.
Without the bromance of Dom and Brian at the center of its plot, Tokyo Drift devolves into yet another run-of-the-mill, by-the-numbers, automobile-based action movie. It feels like a Fast & Furious rip-off as opposed to striking the unique balance of heart and insanity that the franchise masters at its best. Aside from Han, who fans still want justice for, there isn’t anyone in this loosely related threequel that we really care about at all.
5 The Fast And The Furious (53%)
While its story of an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a sports-based criminal organization and finding himself getting too close to the perps is shamefully similar to the Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze vehicle Point Break, The Fast and the Furious is, mainly thanks to the chemistry shared by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, an agreeable action thriller – and it’s also a visual treat for car fanatics.
The success of The Fast and the Furious franchise is all down to the first movie feeling like a breath of fresh air when it was released in 2001. It was the sort of nitro-boosted, rubber-burning action movie that had been replaced by CG-laden snooze-fests like the Gone in 60 Seconds remake.
4 The Fate Of The Furious (67%)
Unfortunately for The Fate of the Furious, it faced the monumental challenge of being the first movie without the involvement of Paul Walker. It had to somehow honor his legacy, show how the franchise would continue without him, and be an entertaining movie, all at the same time.
Also, it made the controversial decision to turn Dom Toretto into a villain. However, against all odds, the eighth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise managed to be more than decent. With submarines tearing through ice and Dwayne Johnson redirecting torpedoes with his bare hands, the set pieces topped the previous ones yet again.
3 Fast & Furious 6 (70%)
To be fair to Fast & Furious 6, it had to follow up Fast Five. While it wasn’t quite as stunning as its predecessor, the sixth installment held its own. Taking the crew to London where the fifth one took them to Rio, Fast & Furious 6 has all the mega-sized action you could ask for from one of these movies.
It culminates in that airport runway sequence, which is one of the most memorable and talked-about action scenes in recent memory (even if it was mostly discussed because, at 13 minutes long with a plane going 120 mph, that runway would have to be 26 miles long).
2 Fast Five (77%)
The moviegoing public was taken by surprise in 2011 when Fast Five came along. For the first time in the franchise’s history, critics and audiences were genuinely impressed with the craft of a Fast & Furious movie.
A heist movie set in Rio de Janeiro, Fast Five was bolstered by visceral, genuinely thrilling action set pieces and the cast becoming a true ensemble for the first time. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined the cast in this one, and it’s fair to say that, while he didn’t necessarily singlehandedly save the franchise, his irresistible charm and rising star power did go a long way towards digging it out of a slump.
1 Furious 7 (81%)
There’s a special place in every Fast & Furious fan’s heart for Furious 7 because it was Paul Walker’s final movie before his tragic and untimely passing. The seventh movie has some of the franchise’s most memorable action sequences – from the inter-skyscraper car jump to the vehicular skydiving – as well as a stronger focus on the tenets of family than ever.
As a classically action-packed, adrenaline-fueled adventure, it was the perfect send-off for Walker and his character Brian. Plus, it ended with a suitably touching tribute to the franchise’s fallen star that left not a single eye in the audience dry.