Fast X is set to be released on 19 May
The summer of 2001 was a simpler time. The War on Terror was not yet a twinkle in George Bush’s eye, Manchester United had won the Premier League for the third season in a row and The Fast and the Furious handbrake turned into cinemas leaving a trail of empty bottles of Corona in its wake.
When the mid-budget studio actioner was a hit with audiences (if not critics), even the film’s biggest fans could never have expected the series would still be speeding down the highway over 20 years later. The original foursome of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster has grown to become a giant ensemble that makes the Dirty Dozen look like high school bullies.
Over the years, the series has recruited Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell and even Helen Mirren for its array of street races, heists and globetrotting adventures.
10 main films, one spin-off and enough on-set drama to write a book about, Fast X is set to screech onto our screens on Friday, 19 May complete with a cameo appearance from Walker’s daughter Meadow, marking her franchise debut. To celebrate the film’s release, we’ve ranked the existing ten movies which have taken us from the sun-drenched streets of LA to outer space.
11 | The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Global box-office: $159 million
While not technically a spin-off, Tokyo Drift feels like a spin-off. Or a straight-to-DVD sequel with a proper film’s budget. Vin Diesel cameos right at the end after he made a deal with Universal to gain the rights to the Riddick series. The drift races are memorable and exciting but Lucas Black and Bow Wow were not Diesel and Walker though Tokyo Drift does get points for casting martial arts movie legend Sonny Chiba as the head of the Yakuza.
10 | Fast and Furious 9 (2021)
Global box-office: $726.2 million
Fast and Furious was never self-aware enough to jump the shark but space travel, story ruining retconning and Dom’s long lost brother (with hair) go a long way to sending the series hurtling off a cliff.
Read more: Fast & Furious – the story so far
The idea of replacing ex-wrestler Dwayne Johnson with ex-wrestler John Cena is more amusing than the pay off and the film also has a Statham-sized hole that nobody else can fill. F9 seemed more interested in ‘lore’ than blowing stuff up but the only person interested in Dominic Toretto’s backstory is Vin Diesel.
9 | Fast & Furious (2009)
Global box-office: $360.4 million
The sequel to save them all. After none of the original cast featured as a main character in Tokyo Drift, Walker, Diesel, Rodriguez and Brewster reunited for the fourth film which is more of a police procedural than anything else.
There’s more plot mechanics in this one than the other nine combined and as a result has a much drearier tone. The opening is great and the fact it was a huge success is the reason we’re getting hyped for Fast X fourteen whole years later.
8 | Fast & Furious 8 (2017)
Global box-office: $1.236 billion
The tread on the tires was wearing a little thin but the eighth instalment still had enough NOS in its tank to race past the finish line. The first film without Walker and the last with Johnson due to what can be politely called clashes with Diesel over quite literally everything including the amount of punches they’re allowed to land on each other.
It does have one particularly stunning prison break sequence with The Rock in a hilariously large orange jumpsuit.
7 | 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Global box-office: $236.4 million
Directed by the late, great John Singleton, the first sequel saw only Walker return from the first film with Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes and Ludacris rounding out the rest of the cast with Cole Hauser as a Scarface-esque villain. Still in the mould of the first film but with candy cane colour pallet and a hint of Lethal Weapon, Fast and Furious was already well on its way to going bonkers.
6 | Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Global box-office: $760.7 million
Despite the massive success of Fast and Furious, Hobbs & Shaw remains the series’ only spin-off as Johnson and Statham’s characters go their own way to take on Idris Elba’s Black Superman aka Brixton. The two stars have a fitting raport though Vanessa Kirby as Statham’s sister pretty much steals the thing from all the male muscle.
5 | Fast X (2023)
Global box-office: TBC
The Fast saga is being given the conclusion that it rightly deserves, and it will reach the end of the road over the course of two films. The first, Fast X, sets the stage for the last act with Dom and the family going up against Dante Reyes, the son of Fast Five’s villain Hernan.
Jason Momoa is a stand-out as Dante, who is an utterly ridiculous but incredibly entertaining villain whose unpredictability and elaborate plots make him one of the franchise’s best adversaries.
4 | Fast & Furious 7 (2015)
Global box-office: $1.515 billion
It’s okay to cry. Paul Walker tragically died during production with a large amount of the film still not shot so Diesel and director James Wan were left with the awful challenge of reconfiguring a blockbuster around the absence of one of its two leads.
Using Walker’s brothers as stand-ins and CGI, Furious 7 doubles as a fitting tribute to a genuine star gone far too soon. The final moments, featuring Brian and Dom’s vehicular goodbye is the type of fitting farewell most dramatists would sell their soul for. The Rock also flexes his arm out of a cast and Jason Statham and Vin Diesel play a game of chicken with cars where nobody blinks. Furious 7 contains multitudes.
3 | Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
Global box-office: $788.7 million
The one with the longest airport runway in cinema history, an amnesiac Michelle Rodriguez and a post-credits glimpse of our lord and saviour Jason Statham. The real highlight (apart from the now cartoonishly delightful levels of action) is Luke Evans’ villain, who’s more threatening as a hissing snake than some of the series’ other bad guys who are all brawn no brains.
2: Fast & Furious 5 (2011)
Global box-office: $626.1 million
After it looked like the fourth film would be the end of the line, Fast and Furious arose from the dead in Brazil by zooming away from the street racing in favour of a convoluted heist that literally sees a massive safe being dragged through the streets of Rio.
It’s also the first appearance of Dwayne Johnson’s soaked in babyoil Luke Hobbs complete with goatee. Featuring several all-time great action set-pieces including a train robbery of cars, Fast Five sent Dom and family into overdrive.
1 | The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Global box-office: $207.3 million
The original and the best. A quasi-remake of Point Break but with street racers instead of surfer bros, The Fast and the Furious is an early 2000’s time capsule for baggy jeans, rap rock and modified cars.
The film made immediate stars out of its laconic leading duo Vin Diesel and Paul Walker but you’d never have thought 20 plus years later, they’d still be making these on ten times the budget.
Fast X is in cinemas from 19 May.