‘Fast and Furious’: Catch up on the movie franchise before ‘F9’ this June
Anyone who’s seen at least one Fast and Furious movie knows family is what the franchise is all about, underneath the car racing and the heists and the macho posturing and Tyrese’s terrible jokes. And in a very meta way, the franchise itself has developed a family of its own, with a growing cast and a spinoff series. The latest addition to the fam has been running late for about a year though.
The new Fast and Furious movie was supposed to come out last year but (everyone together now) its release was delayed due to COVID-19. Like most delayed 2020 blockbusters, however, the latest installment of “The Fast Saga” seems to have settled on a 2021 opening date. The ninth Fast and Furious movie – aptly titled F9 – will hit movie theaters on June 25th. Let’s do a quick recap of the series so far!
The Fast and the Furious
There is absolutely no way writer Gary Scott Thompson and director Rob Cohen had even an inkling of what their little movie about illegal racing was going to eventually turn into. The first Fast and Furious movie seems pretty quaint in comparison to the outrageousness of latter chapters in the series, but the basic elements are still there: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, scantily clad women, and hot cars.
The Fast and the Furious is currently streaming on HBO Max.
2 Fast 2 Furious
You gotta give it to the Fast and Furious franchise: they committed to ridiculous movie titles from the first sequel onwards. You can feel the series quickly figuring out that the best way to avoid jumping the shark is to float above the shark at all times. No Vin Diesel in this one, but we got to meet future mainstays of the franchise like Ludacris and the aforementioned Tyrese.
2 Fast 2 Furious is currently streaming on HBO Max.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
There was a brief, odd period of time when actors weren’t jumping at the chance to be in a Fast and Furious movie. When producers were unable to secure the returns of any of the original franchise members, they introduced Lucas Black as the new protagonist and set his adventures in Japan. The result is a fun movie that some people hate because it has very little connection to the Fast-verse.
Tokyo Drift is currently streaming on AMC.
Fast & Furious
Paul Walker & Vin Diesel saw the light and returned to the franchise they would call home from then on. So did Michelle Rodriguez & Jordana Bewster, as the fourth Fast & Furious movie felt a bit like a return to the original formula from the first film while also feeling like a renaissance that could take the franchise in a different direction. The next sequel would certainly deliver on that promise.
Fast & Furious is currently streaming on AMC.
This is where the franchise (ahem) kicked into high gear. It’s not just the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to the cast, but also the fact that this is the first Fast and Furious movie to fully, gleefully, embrace the impossibility of its stunts. Any time you hear someone tease the possibility of a Fast and Furious movie in space, you can thank Fast Five for planting those seeds.
Fast Five is available as a streaming rental on most platforms.
Fast & Furious 6
This is the one where the Fast and Furious crew face off against their doppelgangers – so you can see where the franchise already was, as far as silliness goes. By now, the films have almost completely abandoned street racing as a gimmick and have fully devoted themselves to the espionage & adventure genres. The shift gave the franchise a broader appeal and made it even more successful.
Fast & Furious 6 is currently streaming on Peacock.
If you’re a purist, this is your last Fast and Furious movie before you jump off this crazy rollercoaster. Tragedy hit the franchise when Paul Walker died in a real-life car accident shortly before production wrapped on the seventh film. The filmmakers were able to convincingly write Walker’s character out of the franchise, but his happy ending is bittersweet at best, given we all know what happened in the real world.
Furious 7 is available as a streaming rental on most platforms.
Fate of the Furious
The show – and the racing – must go on. The franchise lost Paul Walker, but by then it had also gained Kurt Russell as an ally to the Fast and Furious crew, as well as Jason Statham, Luke Evans, and, in this installment, Charlize Theron as enemies. The plot in Fate of the Furious deals with Vin Diesel being forced to turn on his teammates. High-speed shenanigans ensue.
Fate of the Furious is currently streaming on FXNOW.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
The Rock & Jason Statham got their own buddy-flick spinoff allegedly because Vin Diesel didn’t want to work with good ol’ Dwayne anymore – and the Fast and Furious producers didn’t want to lose such a valuable asset to the franchise. The film is as over-the-top and ridiculous as you’d expect at this point in the franchise, and Idris Elba plays a villain outfitted with a powerful exo-skeleton. What else could you need?
Hobbs & Shaw is currently streaming on HBO Max.
There’s a three-and-a-half-minutes trailer on the F9 website that shows many familiar faces returning to the franchise, along with newcomers John Cena (playing Vin Diesel’s evil brother) and Helen Mirren (playing . . . a villain of sorts?). No shots of outer space though. Not yet, at least.
Which is your favorite Fast and Furious movie? Have you seen them all? Let us know in the comments!