With a few days left in 2014, it is still
As we approach the release of the seventh Fast/Furious film, it’s time to look back at where this franchise has been, its ups and downs, and where it’s going. While the late Paul Walker tragically will not be involved moving forward, there is already discussion of an eighth entry, and why not? The Furious movies are cash cows that have managed to cross gender boundaries that are typically impossible to breach in the teenage and young-adult audiences.
Yet, it’s amazing it ever made it past two films. Then, it seemed dead again after three. But once the fourth film hit, and a little spice was added to number five, the franchise blossomed into a machine of absurd, fun action and boiling testosterone.
Here is a look at the franchise from beginning to end, or, to its current position.
The Fast and The Furious (2001) – 53% Tomatometer, $142.5 million box office: Despite the mediocre rating from critics, the original The Fast and The Furious struck a nerve with young audiences around the country. Capitalizing on the popularity of street races at the time, and adding in a criminal element, the film was a huge hit for everyone involved, and specifically catapulted Vin Diesel into a flirtation with superstardom.
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) – 36% Tomatometer, $127.1 million box office: The sequel saw a dip in both critical response and box office, which would have indicated a franchise running seven films was a long shot in 2003. Vin Diesel left the film to try and become a superstar, leaving Paul Walker and newcomer Tyrese Gibson to take over. Moving the action to Miami was a feeble attempt to freshen up the material, but overall this is generally regarded as the worst overall entry.
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) – 37% Tomatometer, $62.5 million: Tokyo Drift nearly spelled doom for the franchise. Despite the almost unnoticeable uptick in critical rating, all of one percent, the fact that this third film had neither Vin Diesel or Paul Walker meant the franchise was trying to reinvent with Lucas Black. But then, right when you think they have no intentions of trying this all again, there is Diesel at the end with a cameo, hinting that we may not be done. Nevertheless, the flaccid box office seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.
Fast & Furious (2009) – 28% Tomatometer, $155 million box office: While most people collectively rolled their eyes at the franchise’s return, yet again die-hard fans were jazzed to see both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel back in the forefront. That, coupled with action that promised more insanity than you can imagine in one movie, brought audiences back in droves. They ignored the brutal critic panning of the film and set the franchise back on its feet. While it is one of the worst entries from a movie standpoint, Fast & Furious set a template for what was coming. All they needed now was one rock.
Fast Five (2011) – 78% Tomatometer, $209.8 million box office: This is where the worm turned, and we were in for the long haul. Fast Five is easily the best movie in the series, and thanks to the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the film has more testosterone than any one movie ever needed. Fast Five found critical success as well, as critics came around and realized these movies were a lot of fun. They weren’t trying to win awards, they were trying to blow the doors off the theater, and this fifth entry did that the best so far.
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) – 68% Tomatometer, $238.7 million box office: Even though there was a dip in critical response, this sixth film managed to see an improvement in the all-important box-office area. The highest-grossing film in the franchise to date (though it will surely be second place in a few weeks) feels overlong at times, and brings very little new to what Fast Five perfected.
And Now, Furious 7…
In late 2013, Paul Walker passed away during filming of this seventh entry in a violent car crash. He will still appear in Furious 7 thanks to some crafty CGI and stunt doubles, but his absence moving forward will be tragically felt. As for the franchise, it still has Diesel and Johnson, and has effectively added new muscle in the form of Jason Statham and Kurt Russell to propel the series to its inevitable eighth entry. I mean, we are so close to Fur10us, if we don’t get there, what are we even doing here?!
Ranking The Films Based On Tomatometer
Fast & Furious – 28%
2 Fast 2 Furious – 36%
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift – 37%
The Fast and The Furious – 53%
Fast & Furious 6 – 68%
Fast Five – 78%
Ranking The Films Based On Box Office
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift – $62.5 million
2 Fast 2 Furious – $127.1 million
The Fast and The Furious – $142.5 million
Fast & Furious – $155 million
Fast Five – $209.8 million
Fast & Furious 6 – $238.7 million