With ‘The Fate of the Furious’, the eight installment in the Fast and Furious series, hitting cinemas I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the Fast journey so far. Multiple cast members, several directors, plenty of quarter miles and a stupid amount of nos have accelerated this franchise into blockbuster territory. I’m a massive fan, so come along for the ride and lets talk turbo chargers, chrome rims and family!
The Fast and the Furious (2001) Dir. Rob Cohen
The film that started everything off, and now over fifteen years old, ‘The Fast and The Furious’. There is a strong case to be made for this film being the best the series has ever seen. It’s simplicity and more grounded nature by comparison to it’s sequels is so refreshing. When you look at the storyline you have to admit it’s just ‘Point Break’ in cars but I’m ok with that because it’s done so well. It’s a solid crime action movie with the added element of street racing incorporated throughout. It also boasts Vin Diesel’s best performance as Dominic Toretto. It’s a fantastic series opener but also a fine film to watch in isolation.
Rating – 9/10
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) Dir. John Singleton
Without Vin Diesel returning for sequel ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ the series really could have been in trouble. Thankfully, Paul Walker remained on board so the films maintained some continuity. Despite this ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ has never been that popular with fans. I seem to be the exception to this rule though as I find this entry into the Fast franchise to be one of the most fun. This is mainly due to the introduction of Roman Pearce played by Tyrese Gibson. Gibson & Walker have an unquestionable chemistry and with this film featuring the peak of street racing culture it’s a nos filled thrill ride which easily feels the most standalone of the series.
Rating – 7/10
Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) Dir. Justin Lin
Often renowned as the worst film in the series ‘Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift’ manages to become much more when watched in chronological order in terms of the overall Fast narrative. The lack of either Diesel or Walker in the lead role does cost the film somewhat however transporting the audiences to a completely different continent manages keep things fresh. This film also introduces us to Han, played by Sung Kang, who goes on to become a core member of Dom’s gang. His performance like the film can be appreciated more when future films have been watched.
Rating – 6/10
Fast and Furious (2009) Dir. Justin Lin
‘Fast and Furious’ is the first film to really begin to connect all of the previous installments together and start building the world of Fast and Furious. With both Diesel & Walker returning this film makes up for the changing casts of the previous two films. The car action isn’t the best the series has seen but it features some good on foot chase sequences which make up for this. The writing is probably at it’s strongest here too with an interesting story built around the villain of the film, Braga. The dynamic between Dom and Brian is developed well and the ending teases the start of something special for the series.
Rating – 8/10
Fast Five (2011) Dir. Justin Lin
‘Fast Five’ is almost every Fast fans favourite film and rightfully so. The almost Avengers esque coming together of all the previous characters is a treat for audiences who have followed the series from the beginning. This entry also has the most authentic feel of family before the future films take this element too far. The Rock joins the cast as Agent Hobbs and completely steals the show. He’s never been able to replicate his career best performance here in the future installments. The heist style of the film works really well and makes sense with the narrative. Accompanying this is some fantastic action; in particular the train sequence and the chase through the favelas. This film could easily have ended the series on the highest of highs but a mid credits clip brilliantly teases the next chapter of the story.
Rating – 10/10
Fast and Furious 6 (2013) Dir. Justin Lin
‘Fast and Furious 6’ finely tunes it’s cast including all the essential players and getting rid of any dead weight it had been carrying. This is also the start of the really insane stunts. They still work though as they make sense within the narrative. Although a few raised eyebrows are to expected with some of the more bonkers moments. The action remains strong in the smaller scale too though with loads of really fun and satisfying fist fights. The chemistry and comedy between the gang is also at it’s best in this installment. Luke Evans is great as the films villain, quite possibly being the best of the series so far. With a fantastic ending I just wasn’t prepared for the masterful tieing up of loose ends concerning Tokyo Drift and Han. The mid credits scene introducing action legend Jason Statham was a stoke of genius too which perfectly wet my appetite for what was coming next.
Rating – 9/10
Furious 7 (2015) Dir. James Wan
‘Furious 7’ will forever be overshadowed by the tragic death of Paul Walker during it’s production. Thankfully the films tribute for Walker was genuinely perfect and put any fears to rest about what they would do with his character on screen. It’s a shame that tribute aside ‘Furious 7’ feels the furthest thing away from a Fast film you can possibly get. What should have been a simple revenge thriller with Statham as the main villain turned into something that would have felt more at home in the ‘Transformers’ franchise. The whole God’s Eye storyline was awful and the constant need to outdo the previous films reaches dizzying heights here. The new characters and cast members only detract from the quality of the film further. There are moments of quality and the cast still have their wonderful chemistry but as a whole the film is easily the weakest entry in the series.
Rating – 5/10
I can’t say that I’m looking forward to ‘The Fate of the Furious’. The last film had the perfect conclusion to the series as a whole and they’ll never be able to top it. However, with a series as successful as this it was inevitable that more movies would be made. With submarines, wrecking balls and remote control cars it seems the next installment will be bigger than ever but I highly doubt it will be better. The series is being taken in completely the different direction I had hoped for so I can’t help feeling that, for me at least, Fast and Furious will always be a seven film series.
‘The Fate of the Furious’ is released 14th April 2017
Thanks for reading my retrospective, please let me know what your rankings of the Fast and Furious films are and who your favourite character is! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.