F9 is out in theaters in the U.S. next week, and I for one am kind of stoked to nestle myself in a comfy recliner that someone else has farted in while watching a movie that I can’t pause. To mark this auspicious occasion, and to settle any questions friends may have about how I feel about this tenth full-length installment of the franchise, I thought I might offer some thoughts.
Best Overall Fast and Furious Films, ranked from worst to best
9. 2 Fast, 2 Furious. There is so much to dislike about this one. The driving is boooooring. The villain is meh. The introduction of Tyrese Gibson is the film’s lone, bright, shining redemption (just as Roman would like, I think).
8. Toyko Drift. I have so many questions. Why do the grown-up mob men make business decisions based on the testosterone-fueled requests of teenagers? Why does darling Han’s social circle include so many high schoolers? Why does the white boy who speaks no Japanese go to a school that instructs in Japanese?
7. Fast & Furious. While this film contains one of the most satisfying death-of-villain scenes (see below) and a super fun open and close, it’s a little bit of a snoozer for me. The GPS-guided race scenes are too video-gamey and I miss that sixties dream house the cops hunkered down in for the original. I do love the truck driver saving his little lizard pal, though. Tops.
6. The Fast and the Furious. Yes, the original is solidly in the middle-of-the-pack for me. The highway hijinks are fun enough, which is really all I need.
5. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. Hobbs’ return to his family is amazing. Shaw and his sister are adorable. The brothers linking their trucks together to try to wrangle a helicopter…epic Dwayne J. energy. I could have done with fewer jokes the target audience of which is 6th grade boys. Your humor is better than that, F&F. C’mon.
4. Furious 6. Look. Dom launches himself out of a car to hurtle himself over a chasm in order to catch Letty, who has been thrown from a tank, and they safely land on a whole other car. It’s just too delightful for words. Things I am not a fan of: the longest airport runway known to humankind, Gina Carano, the ineptitude of whoever told all those law-enforcement officers to just stand on top of Shaw’s secret lair.
3. Fast Five. It’s a very close race for the top three spots. Like, very close. Fast Five has that opening scene in which a whole damn bus hits a little damn car and it’s the bus that flips! Physics be damned, this is art. Fast Five has “make sure you’ve got your thunderwear on,” and other gorgeous Hobbsian one-liners. Fast Five has a giant safe pulled like a tin can behind a couple of cars, all the way through Rio. A safe! Barreling through bank buildings. It’s beyond wonderful. But Fast Five also has some particularly annoying Mia bits (I’m preggo, we have to stay together!), and how Reyes is cool with Zizi letting Brian and Dom escape, but then that poor little house manager dude gets taken out cold…? I like my bad guys consistent, thank you very much.
2. Fate of the Furious. Killing Elena is a little rough. But also, the timeline here is confusing. You wanted to tell Dom, but Letty had just come back…and then fifteen months went by? I have tried to figure out this math a lot and I can’t suss it. Mr. and Little Nobody are…why are they here? I do not care about them, please make them go away forever thank you. Cipher is really stupid. We all know by now that hacking isn’t really fast typing on glass keyboards. Can they not think of anything more interesting to show us? So, there are some bits I don’t love, but holy moly, the amazing bits keep this installment at the top of my list. The opening race scene is peak F&F. Yes! Drive backwards so the fire doesn’t burn you, Dom, genius! Hobbs and Shaw’s prison escape is a pure delight, a gorgeous dance. The whole bait and switch with Shaw and Shaw’s mum (“no, you’re going to take your brother”). I died. Cars creating chaos and raining from the sky (there’s a message about climate change in there, I’m sure of it). Dom doing some fancy driving to get the heat-seeker to hit the sub instead of his Charger. Then the whole team and their cars magically and quickly shielding Dom from the subsequent blast. Roman and his Lambo. It’s all fabulous. And I know it makes me very basic, but I will never ever tire of Shaw’s fighting a plane full of evil henchmen while toting a carseat full of a baby listening to the Chipmunks through baby headphones. Like, it’s literally the best.
1. Furious 7. Again, Mr. Nobody can take a hike, but everything else is gold. The opening scene. The fight that kills an office building. Parachuting cars, people. Letty catching Brian from a fall by the bumper of her car and then asking, “You good?” Ramsey (“Alpha” “Mrs. Alpha”). Peak Roman (“Double Alpha” “Tej! Tej! I hate you Tej!”). Hobbs flexing his way out of a full arm cast so daddy can go to work. Hobbs killing a drone with an ambulance and then using the harvested drone gun to shoot down a helicopter. A car driving out of a skyscraper, into another skyscraper, and then doing it again. Nearly every moment (damn you Kurt Russell) is a treasure, as long as you skip on the schmarmy fourth-wall breaking send off at the end (sorry).
- Best death of a villain: Hands down, this goes to Fenix, smushed to bits by Dom and his rearing auto.
- Best overall scene: Shaw dropping baddies while googling and cooing at baby Brian.
- Best opening scene: Aw, brothers bonding in the hospital, so swee….no, wait, those doctors are cowering in a corner, and the hospital appears to be falling down. Look at your sunglasses, though, Shaw! You are a nice-looking bloke. Just need a little rehabilitation.
- Best dressed: Obviously, this award goes to Dom and his endless supply of white t-shirts and tank tops.
- Most likely to win a spinoff: Han, but not hanging-out-with-teenagers Han. Just Han.
Can’t wait for next week. I don’t have super high hopes, to be honest, because I don’t think I’m going to see my boys Jason or Dwayne, and the series really picks up for me with their arrival, but I’m excited to see more of Ramsey, to see if they’ve managed to give Mia any depth at all, and to experience a couple of hours of utterly ridiculous nonsense.