UPDATED 7/21/2021: F9 THE FAST SAGA IS NOW INCLUDED W/ AN EXPLANATION WHY IT IS WHERE IT IS!!!
Hello again! Since big big movies are finally starting to slowly trickle their way back into movie theaters, I am here to let you know that I am still only doing mainly smaller 3-4 sentence Background reviews that I am posting on my Facebook page Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews, on my Instagram @zachszanymoviereviews, and my newly relaunched Twitter @zachzanyreviews. BUT…every now and then, like the Friends Reunion review about two weeks ago, I’d like to do something special, like now, and do a ranking of THE FAST SAGA before F9 is released on June 25th, and then I will update the list shortly after I see the film (NOW UPDATED 7/21/2021). I just rewatched all 8 previous movies + Hobbs & Shaw, so I’d like to think that this list is final in a way. Anyway, my rankings from lowest to highest are before you, with a little explanation on why I put them where I put them!
10. F9: THE FAST SAGA
If you go down to the next ranking, you’ll see why I had initially put that movie last on my list because “I realized I didn’t give a shit about any of the other characters.” With F9, I not only didn’t give a shit about ANY of the characters, but everything was so bonkers unbelievable Looney Tunes bullshit, that none of the characters, even John Cena, had any sort of believable character arc, I didn’t care who lived or who died, and I was laughing at literally almost every other bat shit crazy action sequence. Han’s return from the grave was absolutely horseshit, and oh God, don’t get me started on Tyrese and Ludacris going into space. I cringed every time it would switch to them near the end of the movie and laugh when my brother, who I saw this with just for the laughs, started laughing. Also, I had said on the #9 ranking that ‘visually the movie looks nice but there is almost no substance here to hold on to.” There is NO SUBSTANCE here, and the movie wasn’t visually nice…at all. It’s as if they rushed through production just to get a product out on time, but because of COVID, wasn’t nearly on time as they thought, was it? They couldn’t have done some reshoots after delaying the film for over a year? Clean up some of the spotty CGI? That’s really hard to believe. The main problem with this movie? Letting Justin Lin co-write the script and not bringing Chris Morgan back, who has wrote nearly all of the movies in the franchise. And while I didn’t care for The Fate of The Furious or Hobbs & Shaw (Morgan wrote both of these), everything that happens in those movies are masterpieces in believability when you compare it to this giant waste of space. I can’t see how the final two movies in the saga could get any worse, but hey, seeing how I couldn’t stand this movie…it’s entirely possible that family could fuck it up beyond repair. This isn’t beyond repair…but it’s close.
9. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT
You thought it was going to be 2 Fast 2 Furious or Fast & Furious here huh? Nope. I’m going with Tokyo Drift. My last choice is a very controversial one to fans of the franchise, as this entry has gotten more love over the years. But when I watched it again a week or two ago, I realized that I didn’t give a shit about any other character in the movie other than Han, who isn’t really in the film all that much anyway (**spoiler alert** especially because he *dies* a little over midway thru the movie, and we now know the death is bullshit based on his character just magically showing up unscathed in F9 trailers and tv spots). I don’t like Lucas Black’s character, Lil’ Bow Wow’s character, and I can’t even tell you the name of the love interest’s character or the name of the actress that plays her (nor do I really want to look it up). Other than a mildly interesting opening car race and climatic giant hill drift race, the rest of the movie, other than Han’s character few lines of wisdom (let’s face it, nobody really paid his character any attention until the incredible Fast Five), is very dull, boring, and frankly, stupid. Visually the movie looks nice but there is almost no substance here to hold on to. How director Justin Lin got the job to direct four more movies (2 of them the best of the series) in the franchise and it not sizzle out there is astonishingly shocking.
8. 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
The only thing that keeps 2 Fast 2 Furious above water from time to time is the chemistry between Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson. I also like the race to win better cars for their mission midway through the film. Eva Mendes also is hot as hell in the movie. Other than that, ho-hum at best. I don’t even know if Vin Diesel being a part of the story would’ve helped matters, as the standard “bust the bad guy” plot is very, very dull, boring, and stupid. Again, visually, the movie looks nice and bright but other than the camaraderie between the two leads, again…no substance. John Singleton should’ve said no to directing.
7. FAST & FURIOUS
The really only thing that is noble about the 4th entry in the Fast & Furious franchise is that it brings back all the original central players in a bridge movie that no one new would lead to one of the greatest sequels of all time. Their chemistry and being back into the swing of things is the only slight notch this film has over the last two movies on this list. The last three could easily be shuffled over re watches but will always be the last three, unless F9 sucks a big dick. “Killing” off Letty (we didn’t know at the time that it would turn out to be bullshit when F6 came along) was lazy, stupid shock value writing at its worst. Mia just gives herself to Brian after only one scene of being pissed at him, and the climatic cave race to the death is so fucking fake looking you wonder why Justin Lin even agreed to return as director. This movie is usually at the bottom of all lists because of how fake everything looks and the ho-hum bridge to a better movie story, but for me, it’s slightly above the bottom just because the movie’s producers got the band back together again. P.S. Vin Diesel saying “pussy” to a bad guy as his one liner at the end of the film is almost unforgivable.
6. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
This and #5 could be switched around if I ever…ever come back to giving these yet another rewatch, but The Fate of the Furious gets the short end of the stick here because none of the action is memorable other than Dwayne Johnson steering a submarine torpedo off course with his arm, hanging off the side of his vehicle in a massively overdone ice chase. You don’t cast Charlize Theron as the villain and have her behind a desk the entire film. And whenever Johnson and Vin Diesel have scenes together, it feels so off kilter because you know that behind the scenes drama led to them not really having any scenes together, it’s all just blatantly edited movie magic…because egos. And changing Jason Statham from a villain to an anti-hero just because the franchise is afraid of killing anyone off that famous is stupid and then when you put that together with the Luke Evans’ cameo, where he ends up saving the life of **spoiler alert** Vin Diesel’s love child, changing his villain character from part 6 into an anti-hero as well (not to mention being out of a coma so suddenly) is just down right God damn abysmal. The very beginning of the movie where they do another street race is a strong opening highlight, but the rest of the action sequences look too CGI’y and I just didn’t care about the stakes. I get that making a “Diesel versus his team” movie was too irresistible to ignore…but separating the group like that just doesn’t work (whether that plot turn was because Johnson and Diesel still hated each other around that time is anyone’s guess). I guess now they know huh? So why isn’t this lower the the last three on this list? Because even though the action isn’t memorable, it is watchable. The other movies the action isn’t really that watchable.
5. FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
Or the movie Vin Diesel doesn’t want existing in the franchise and doesn’t want YOU to see! Hobbs & Shaw is only okay, and that’s only because the chemistry between Johnson and Statham is electrifying and I love me any kind of Idris Elba, even if his “Black Superman” villain is really not all that menacing or memorable. The action was a little too goofy here for me even though it was all watchable and mildly entertaining. Even though the action was too goofy, all of the sequences, from the climax, to the elevator chase, when put together, beat out any of the action sequences from my #6 pick, to my bottom pick, combined. Would I have preferred that this movie didn’t exist as well so that Statham and Johnson could’ve been in an already too packed F9? Yeah, actually. Unless a Hobbs & Shaw 2 is so overwhelmingly good, this movie could’ve honestly not been made and the only thing I would’ve missed was any Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham screen time.
4. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Okay, so by the end of June there will be 10 movies on this list? If F9 is any good whatsoever, that will mean that The Fast Saga has half excellent to good movies, and half okay to downright blah ones (UPDATED 7/21/2021, it’s not, The Fast Saga has more blah movies than good ones). So until that movie comes out and I can give a true verdict of its value, that means that The Fast Saga has more misses than hits…yikes. Well, the first “hit” on my list is the original. The most grounded (obviously) of all the Fast and Furious movies. The one that made both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker household names. Where it was nothing but street races, vandalism, grand theft auto, and small high speed heists for a bunch of (now) low-tech electronic equipment. But just watching it again recently, the film still holds up because of the characters and the opening street race still gives me chills, especially, after having lost the race, Brian points at Dom and says, “dude, I almost had you” with a smile on his face, even though he just lost his car. It’s the simple things really, and since this movie is so simple, it still has that nice sheen and shine to it that is unlikely to become tarnished anytime in the years to come.
3. FURIOUS 7
I had a really hard time with ranking my 2 and 3 picks. On the one hand, Furious 7 has a lovingly, if you don’t tear up during it you have no soul, tribute to the late Paul Walker, who tragically died in a car wreck (he was not the driver) when the cast was on a break from filming during Thanksgiving. On the other hand, Fast and Furious 6 has Paul Walker’s final completed performance, and almost any scene that blatantly isn’t Paul Walker in this movie is very noticeable and distracting as fuck. On a third hand, they did the absolute best with what they had already filmed with him, and the movie magic they were given (which included uses Paul’s brothers as body doubles and CGI’ing his face onto them) to give his character closure. And Jason Statham is fucking BAD ASS in this movie. And the cars parachuting from a plane and the subsequent long ass chase action scene in the middle of the movie is superb. And even though the climax is poorly edited with hardly any real Paul Walker footage, it is faced paced, entertaining and exciting. But I still have to give 6 the edge because of Walker’s completed performance and the three main action sequences…
2. FAST AND FURIOUS 6
which are almost perfectly filmed, edited, and executed. You have the near beginning chase sequence with the short, tiny, yet oddly personable and satisfying villain vehicles that can fling bigger vehicles up and over them, you have the breath taking climax with the never ending runway and the plane that the team doesn’t want to take off, and you have the extremely memorable, and laugh out loud (in a good way) action sequence in the middle of the film involving not only a tank, but a death and gravity defying mid way highway overpass life saving catch involving two of the main characters. It’s that goofy yet great, and even though the previous movie is the masterpiece that got the franchise back on track, this one was almost near perfect in replicating that sheer “I can’t believe this is a down the line sequel that is better than anything that came before it” joy that I can experience in a theater. This and my #1 pick shows why Justin Lin, when given the correct material, can make great action movie spectacles.
- FAST FIVE
If you don’t have FAST FIVE at #1 or #2 on your ranking of The Fast Saga list, something is seriously wrong with you. They flipped a franchise, that was essentially only about which engines in which car was better mixed with testosterone, and turned it into an action heist mission series. Unbelievable how perfect this movie is. The opening train heist sequence? Masterful. The sequence mid way through the film running through the streets of Rio de Janiero? Masterful. The climax of the safe heist, where two cars are pulling a giant safe down the busy streets of Rio de Janiero? Masterful on top of masterful and easily the best action sequence the entire saga has to offer. I’ve seen Fast Five the most out of any film in the saga, and I honestly think it gets better every time I watch it. The movie is perfectly paced, plotted, and executed. I don’t think they could ever make a better entry. If you want a solid trilogy out of the 9 films thus far, Fast Five, Fast and Furious 6, and Furious 7 fit the bill, and it even somewhat has a beginning, middle and end if you wanted to JUST WATCH THOSE THREE AND FORGET THE REST. My top three picks are the reason why I end up loving this franchise, even if all 9 parts together only really get me a decent Hyundai.