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Best Fast and Furious movies, ranked! From F9 to Tokyo Drift

(Image credit: Universal)

We've been waiting a long time for Fast and Furious 9. A really long time. However, after COVID-induced delays, we finally got to see Dom, Letty, and the gang continue their fight against Cipher, who has employed a villain someone nobody saw coming: Dom's brother, Jakob. How did the mysterious Toretto sibling stay hidden for so long? Well, you'll have to watch F9 to find out. And once you've done that, make sure to come back here to find out where the new instalment in the franchise lands on our list of the best Fast and Furious movies, ranked!

The Total Film team got together to pull together which of the crew's many adventures reigns supreme. That includes both the most recent F&F movie, as well as the spin-off, Hobbs and Shaw. Because, despite an ongoing real-life feud, those two characters are still part of the Family. Here's pick of the best Fast and Furious movies, ranked!

10. Fast and Furious (the fourth one)

(Image credit: Universal)

After making a small cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, the fourth movie in the franchise, saw Vin Diesel finally return as a main character in a Fast movie. Paul Walker, who had led 2 Fast 2 Furious, rejoined the Family, as did Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. 

Brian (Walker) is now working for the FBI and Dom (Diesel) has come out of hiding to find the person who killed Letty (Rodríguez). This brings the duo together once more as they deal with a drug baron who uses drag racers to deliver his drugs from Mexico across the U.S. border. 

Putting aside the fact that Letty is fridged, there’s something about the performances in Fast and Furious that doesn’t quite connect. Plus, the drug lord narrative plays too similar to what we saw in 2 Fast 2 Furious, making this film feel less of a fresh reboot and more a retread of old tarmac. Still, those cave racing scenes are pretty nail-biting. 

9. 2 Fast 2 Furious

(Image credit: Universal)

The only main-series Fast and Furious movie that does not feature Diesel, the first sequel follows Brian, who is hiding out in Florida after getting in trouble for letting Dom getaway at the end of the first film. Earning money as a street racer to keep himself afloat, Brian’s approached by his former boss to help take down an Argentinian drug baron alongside Eva Mendes’ undercover agent and his old pal Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). 

The best thing about this movie is the introduction of much-needed humour through Gibson's Roman and Ludacris’s Tej. 2 Fast 2 Furious ends up as essentially an origins story for the duo, who would later become series' stalwarts. However, though there are some cool car races and chases, the storyline isn’t quite as compelling without Dom, Letty, or Mia to play against.

8. Fast and Furious 6

(Image credit: Universal)

Fast 6 continues the good work from the previous film but this time sees Toretto and Hobbs working together, begrudgingly, to stop Luke Evan’s Owen Shaw from stealing a government chip. The movie also brings Letty back into the fold after she turns up alive with amnesia, and Rodriguez is on top form, both behind the wheel and bare-knuckle fighting with Gina Carano. Meanwhile, Gal Gadot shows just why she was cast as Wonder Woman as former Mossad agent Gisele, who debuted in the fourth movie. 

Moving into spy territory, Fast and Furious 6 has more of a Mission: Impossible feel. So, why so low down? Owen Shaw doesn't prove as good a villain as his brother would later on, and there are some very fluffy scenes during the middle of the movie that are borderline unbearable – remember that unending scene by Battersea Power Station? – and the finale can't top Fast Five's safe race.

7. The Fate of the Furious

(Image credit: Universal)

The first movie without Walker, following his untimely death in a car accident, really pushed the ridiculousness up to 11. The story takes off when the crew are forced to go up against their old friend, Dom, who has been coerced into working for cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). They get help from Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and, of all people, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), whose latter fight sequence is huge amounts of fun and screams Hardboiled. 

Sadly with a push towards even more outlandish set-pieces, including a race across ice against a submarine, becomes too absurd and, without Walker, it loses much of the emotional heart that keeps the story flowing.

6. Hobbs and Shaw

(Image credit: Universal)

This spin-off may not feature any of the original cast but it still packs a punch thanks to the unfriendly buddy match-up of Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw. Feeling more like a superhero movie and serving up less earnestness than the main franchise films, the two eponymous frenemies are forced to team up to stop Idris Elba’s superpowered bad guy Brixton, who wants to get his hands on a deadly virus. When Shaw’s sister (played by Vanessa Kirby) is accused of being a traitor, the three must team up to clear her name and stop the bad guys. 

Thanks to some special additions to the cast, this is one of the funniest installments in the series yet. The movie doesn’t skimp on the car chases or choreographed fight sequences, either, and even has The Rock doing his best Captain America impression. Yet, despite electrifying camaraderie at its center, it can never quite hit the heights of the some of the main Fast Saga movies.

5. F9

After a long, long delay, Dom and the Family returned for another show-stopping adventure that literally takes them to space. The gang literally joke about their immortality during this one, making for some interesting fourth-wall breaking, while the movie pays loving tribute to Paul Walker.

Returning director Justin Lin gets the series back on track with Fast and Furious 9 by delving into the past while racing into the future. However, the much-hyped return of Han Seoul-Oh... while more Sung Kang is always welcome, his return is dispiritingly underpowered. And there's still not quite as much heart as in previous movies, but there's still plenty to enjoy in F9.

4. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

(Image credit: Universal)

While Lucas Black might not have been the most captivating lead, director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan’s Fast and Furious debut was a refreshing addition and introduced one of the most popular characters of the franchise: Han. 

The film follows American teen racer Sean (Black) who, after getting into trouble for causing serious damage during a drag race against a rich kid, is sent to stay with his father in Japan. There, he gets caught up in the drifting racing scene. Trouble with the local Yakuza gang ensues. The slick race sequences and cultural details make up for the mundane plot, but Sung Kang’s cool performance as our ill-fated Han gives it some much-needed edge and shows just why they wrote the sequels as prequels – all so they could bring him back.

3. Fast Five

(Image credit: Universal)

Following a disappointing return of the main characters in Fast and Furious, Fast Five reinvigorated the franchise, thanks namely to the introduction of Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and a push away from street racing and more towards having a heist movie storyline. Of course, there are still car chases, but there’s certainly an Italian Job sensibility mixed with brilliant action and fight sequences. 

The story sees Dom, Brian, and Mia enlist some old friends to help steal from a corrupt Brazilian businessman, all while being pursued by D.S.S. agent Hobbs. It's basically the Avengers of the Fast universe, with everyone back for One Last Ride. More levity and better writing raise the stakes for this film, which elevated the franchise to new heights and still stands as a singularly great action movie.

2. The Fast and the Furious

(Image credit: Universal)

It might show its age in comparison to later instalments, but The Fast and the Furious is still the OG and should be respected as such. Point Break meets drag racing, the movie sees Walker play the undercover cop Brian, who gets pally with local mechanic and racer Dominic Torretto, the leader of a burglary team who steal from trucks while driving black Honda Civics. 

Directed by Rob Cohen and written by Gary Scott Thompson and David Ayer, the first movie in the franchise is a solid B-movie with blockbuster action sequences that elevate a somewhat dated script. Walker, Diesel, Rodrguez, and Brewster establish a brilliant chemistry that has been captured in every instalment since. Even if you hate the propulsive, blockbuster action that the majority of the series is known for, there's no denying this is one slick flick.

1. Furious 7 (2015)

(Image credit: Universal)

After moving away from its street-racing origins and entering espionage territory, the Fast and Furious franchise struggles with some major highs and lows. Furious 7 is where the franchise peaked. A brilliant balance of action and narrative depth is achieved with the introduction of Jason Statham as the new villain Deckard Shaw, the brother of Owen Shaw who promises to exact revenge on Dom and the crew. They are, however, preoccupied after being recruited to stop a hacker’s surveillance program getting into the wrong hands. 

While Furious 7 might follow the cliched sequel schtick of being bigger and bolder than its predecessors, director James Wan handles the action sequences – most notably some jaw-dropping skyscraper hopping – with as much finesse as Dom behind the wheel at 140 miles an hour. The film also offers a touching tribute to Walker (in his last movie before his death) that feels heartfelt but without diving too far into cheesy sentimentality. A fitting send off for a beloved actor.

Want more Fast and Furious? Then be sure to check our our feature on the making of Fast and Furious 9 with the cast and crew behind the movie.

Hanna Flint

Hanna Flint is a freelance film and TV critic who has bylines at GamesRadar+, Total Film magazine, Variety, BBC Culture, The Guardian, British GQ, IGN, Yahoo Movies, and so many other publications. Hanna has also appeared as a critic and commentator on Sky News, Sky Cinema, BBC World Service, and BBC Radio 5 Live, and can be frequently found as a Q&A host at MTV UK, BFI, and BAFTA. When Hanna isn't writing reviews, interviews, and long-form features about the latest film and TV releases, she specializes in topics concerning representation and diversity.