This is the one where the Rock and Jason Statham fall in love.
This is the one where the Rock and Jason Statham fall in love. Frank Masi/Universal

Thanks to the long-awaited release of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, I have been inundated with requests—nay, demands—that I update my authoritative, undisputed ranking of the major motion pictures in the ever-growing Fast & Furious saga. There have been so many emails, texts, calls, and bricks thrown through my window that, for long days and longer nights, I have barely been able to sleep, eat, or watch Fast & Furious movies.

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Do I protest? I do not.

For who am I to deny the desperate caterwauls of countless Fast & Furious fans ("Toretto-heads"), eager to know where Hobbs & Shaw stacks up? It is, after all, the question of our age, and I, after all, am the foremost authority on the planet.

I cannot, and will not, shirk my holy obligation. Let us begin.

1. Fast Five, "The One That's the Best, and Everybody Knows It"
Pauline Kael never wrote truer words than when she called Fast Five "audacious... and bodacious!" The indisputable "fast fave" of critics and Toretto-heads alike, the fifth film in the saga is where it all really comes together, and is arguably the best jumping-on point for those first experiencing F&F's timeless legend of love, loss, and NOS. Here, the franchise congealed into its ultimate and perfect form: Something that's part action movie, part comedy, part heist flick, part superhero team-up, and one trillion parts family soap opera. One more key part: The climax, which features Dominic "Dom" Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) dragging a massive safe behind their cars as they careen through Rio de Janeiro, using said safe like a goddamn wrecking ball. Audacious indeed.

2. Fast & Furious 6, "The One That's Almost as Good"
This sixth entry couldn't quite match the high that the fresh Fast Five provided, and also, from here on out, let Fast Five only be referred to as Fresh Fast Five. But! It is still very good, with some of the funnest sequences in the whole saga and some of the deepest relationships in the series. (Han + Gisele 4 life.) This film also features the greatest song in human history: 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa's "We Own It."

I listen to this song, in full, every morning, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror. If you want your life to improve a thousandfold, I recommend you do the same.

3. Furious 7, "The One That Makes Me Cry"
Yes, Furious 7 is boated and weird, and yes, there's just a whole lot going on. (Even for a F&F film, which always have just... a lot going on). Plus, the whole "Paul Walker died, so here, we now introduce you to Digital Brian O'Conner" thing is somehow sad and disconcerting at the same time. Furious 7 does have, however, a scene where cars go skydiving, and it's the most nakedly, earnestly, and sweetly emotional of any film in the series. (Rest in peace, Paul Walker.) Also, real talk (that should probably be classified as so-real-it-will-make-you-a-little-uncomfortable talk) (but I know Toretto-heads will understand): Furious 7 also has the honor (?) of being the only F&F film that makes me get a little bit teary eyed, and if I ever need to ugly cry on cue—I don't know, like at work or something—all I have to do is quietly sing the refrain from this movie's Wiz Khalifa classic, "See You Again."

"We've come a long way from where we began," I sing-whisper, softly, beautifully. "Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."

4. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, "The One Where the Rock and Jason Statham Fall in Love"
AND THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK COMES OUT SWINGING! In my exceedingly learned opinion, I believe this film exists entirely due to the feud between longtime F&F star Diesel and relative F&F newcomer Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. (This feud will hereafter referred to as the "Furious Feud.") Since Walker's untimely death, Vin has made the F&F films increasingly about Dom, and it was only a matter of time until Vin felt threatened (I assume) by the fact that once the Rock showed up in Fast Five, everybody liked him just as much as they liked Vin (or—shhhh, don't let him hear you—even more). (Never forget: Vin Diesel "hired his sister Samantha Vincent to count the number of punches he takes in every brawl sequence and affirm that he'll always deliver at least as many.") AND THUS BEGAN THE FURIOUS FEUD! (I assume.) Since these two sweaty slabs of grease-slicked man-meat can't even be in the same room anymore, here we are, with the Rock and Jason Statham fucking off into a whole other branch of the shockingly complex Fast & Furious Cinematic Universe. It is my melancholy suspicion that once Vin sees how good Hobbs & Shaw is—and realizes it doesn't even have a mention of Dom anywhere in it—both the Rock and Statham will be personas non grata in the "core" F&F saga. But if that means we get more Hobbs & Shaw movies, so be it.

Oof. Recapping the heartbreaking Furious Feud has left me in a mood. Let's shift back into gear with Luda's excellent track from 2 Fast 2 Furious! Fuck that dude's Ferrari! Smoke him.

5. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, "The One That People Think Will Be Bad, But It Isn't!"
Everyone thinks this movie is going to be bad! It isn't! Also, quick sidebar here, I've asked this before, and I will keep asking until I get the RIGHT ANSWER: Does anyone reading this know how to Tokyo drift? Can you teach me? I drive a 2004 Subaru Legacy.

6. The Fate of the Furious, "The One with the Baby and the Submarine"
Despite having hands-down the best title of all the F&F films (whoever came up with calling the eighth F&F Fate of the Furious deserves the Man Booker Prize, and oh my GOD fingers crossed Universal takes fans' suggestion to call #10 Fast 10: Your Seatbelts), Fate of the Furious never quite works as well as it should. Oh, there are wonders to behold, like 1) a submarine, and 2) Charlize Thereon as Cypher, a BABY-SNATCHING HACKER. But the focus on Dom comes at the expense of everybody else, and the tragic aftermath of the Furious Feud is distressingly evident. Obviously, it is still a landmark motion picture, and The Fate of the Furious wholly deserved each of its 17 Best Picture Oscars.

"Beep beep!" Martin Scorsese famously said as he left the theater, pretending to hold a little steering wheel. "Four stars! Beep beep!"

7. The Fast and the Furious, "The One That Somehow Started All of... *waves hands around* THIS"
It's basically Point Break with cars, but seeing the origins of the Fast Family—and the origins of the Fast Family's love of Corona—is still wonderful. This film is nearly 20 years old, and parts of it have, uh, not aged great (there's at least one homophobic slur, which is insane considering these movies are so very, VERY gay), but overall: It's The Fast and the Furious! "Beep beep!" Martin Scorsese famously said as he left the theater, pretending to hold a little steering wheel. "Four stars! Beep beep!"

8. Fast & Furious, "The One That's Okay, I Guess"
An overall okay attempt to bring the series back to its roots after Tokyo Drift ditched many of the previous films' characters, Fast & Furious reunited original cast members and tried to do this whole... I don't know, this whole deal with, like, racing in subterranean tunnels under the Mexican border? (That COWARD Denis Villeneuve still refuses to admit that Sicario totally ripped this off.)

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(Nota bene: The above gif is not from Fast & Furious, but rather from Fast & Furious 6, so as to remind us of better times. This is the scene in which the the harsh-as-rusty-razor-blades Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), who suffers from Very Bad Amnesia, and Riley Hicks (Gina Carano), a trusted and violent associate of Luke Hobbs, beat the living shit out of each other. It is in black and white for artistic purposes.)

9. 2 Fast 2 Furious, "The One That Sucks"
Rigorously testing Sergei Eisenstein's famed theorem ("Any Fast & Furious film is better than any non-Fast & Furious film"), 2 Fast 2 Furious—the late John Singleton's hasty sequel 2 The Fast and the Furious—focuses on Brian and his ex, Roman (Tyrese), and also features Eva Mendes as... a cop, I think? I'll be honest, I don't 100 percent remember. I know a lot of shit about these movies, but not a ton about this one, because it sucks. It is mostly notable for being perhaps the gayest of all F&F films—a legit impressive feat—and also for having a car crash in2 a boat, which seemed kind of cool in 2003? Alas, that's a stunt that now—in this, our faster, furiouser era of skydiving cars, speed-demon submarines, and the Rock angrily yanking helicopters out of the sky—seems like little more than quaint bullshit. We've come a long way from where we began, and oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again.


~ fin ~