"It don't matter if you win by an inch or a mile — winning's winning."
There's no doubt that The Fast Saga is winning. After more than two decades, nine movies, and spinoffs on both the big and small screens, the high-octane opus is one of Hollywood's most successful franchises. As the tenth entry in the series — Fast X — arrives in theaters, it's hard to remember that it all started with a scrappy little action flick about drag racing.
The Fast and the Furious was released in the summer of 2001, helmed by director Rob Cohen, who was perhaps best known at the time as the producer of The Wiz, of all things. That first movie introduced Brian O'Conner as a cop who goes undercover in the world of street racing, where he meets Dominic "Dom" Toretto. Eminem and Timothy Olyphant were originally eyed to play Brian and Dom, respectively, but fate had other plans: Paul Walker and Vin Diesel would eventually land the roles, making movie stars of both actors. The movie, meanwhile, was a box office hit.
The Fast and the Furious isn't to be confused with 2009's Fast & Furious, the fourth film in the saga. The latter movie is noteworthy for two reasons: It's the first F&F film to be produced by Diesel, and officially pivoted the series away from racing cars and into international espionage. Over the ensuing sequels, Dom became a full-on superhero spy as he and his Family were roped into increasingly insane world-saving missions.
Now, The Fast Saga is nearing the end of the road: Fast X arrives as the first film in a trilogy that will conclude the saga. In order to look back on everything that has led us here, A.frame has compiled a viewing guide to where you can watch each of the Fast & Furious movies.
The first film in the franchise feels a bit like a time capsule now. The stakes may have been lower back then — car-jacking instead of global terrorism — but behind the souped-up cars and NOS-fueled stuntwork, from day one the films have always been about family: Jordana Brewster's Mia Toretto, Dom's sister, becomes Brian's love interest, while Michelle Rodriguez's Letty goes from crew member to Dom's love interest. Though the franchise has come a long way since The Fast and the Furious, it's always a blast to revisit the original.
You might remember: Arguably the greatest movie line of all time: "I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullsh*t. For those ten seconds or less, I'm free." (Said by Dom, naturally.)
The sequel that started all the other sequels didn't feature Diesel's Dom at all. Instead, 2 Fast 2 Furious focuses on Walker's Brian as he moves from Los Angeles to Miami. His new start in a new city quickly looks familiar as he gets involved in the local street-racing scene and reunites with a childhood friend, Roman Pearce (played by Tyrese).
You might remember: When Brian and Roman jump a Camaro from shore and land the car — or crash it, as it were — on the yacht of an escaping drug lord. The set pieces would only become more absurd as the years went on, but this one remains a classic.
Aside from the briefest of cameos by Vin Diesel, no actors from the first two Fast films appears in Tokyo Drift. Instead, Lucas Black takes the lead as Sean Boswell, a Southern boy who gets dropped into Japan's underground world of drifting. Tokyo Drift may seem like an outlier in the franchise, but it's a defining installment: It's the first Fast movie directed by Justin Lin, who would helm five films in total and set the bar for what makes a Fast movie great.
You might remember: This is the movie that first introduced Sung Kang's fan-favorite Han Lue. Although Han appears to die in a fiery car wrack during Tokyo Drift, he's resurrected in F9 and becomes a permanent member of the Fast Family.
Fast & Furious is both the culmination of the films before it (excluding Tokyo Drift, which gets a bit of retconning here) and a fresh start, signaling the sort of F&F films that would come after it — perhaps that explains the familiar name. The fourth entry is quintessential Fast & Furious, honoring its street racing origins while leaning into blockbuster sensibilities with higher stakes, faster cars, and the sort of set pieces you have to see to believe.
You might remember: Before she was Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot got her big break in the Fast & Furious franchise. She joined the saga in this movie, playing a former Mossad agent named Gisele who becomes a love interest for Han before she's ultimately killed.
By Fast Five, the franchise has officially moved beyond street racing and become globe-hopping action movies. And as the films grows in scope, the cast gets bigger and bigger too: Notably, Fast Five marks Dwayne Johnson's first Fast movie as DDS agent and bounty hunter Luke Hobbs. As far as plot goes, this one takes Dom and his crew to Rio de Janeiro, where they take on a ruthless drug lord, Hernan Reyes. You'll want to remember Reyes, as Jason Momoa's Fast X villain is his son, Dante Reyes.
You might remember: The sequence in which Dom and Brian steal a vault full of money from a police station, dragging it through the streets of Rio and smashing anything that gets in their way. It's a badass set piece, and it turns out, one that will also be important come Fast X.
Fast & Furious 6 introduces the Shaw brothers, moving the franchise away from one-off bad guys and towards legacy villains and reoccurring antiheroes. The primary foe of the sixth film is Luke Evans' Owen Shaw, though the film also introduces his brother, Deckard, played by Jason Statham. The latter will become the more important character within the Fast canon — eventually earning his own spinoff. But more on that in three entries. Fast & Furious 6 also introduces the concept of set pieces so ridiculous they could only happen in a Fast & Furious movie.
You might remember: Letty lives! After seeming meeting her demise, the end of Fast Five reveals that Rodriguez's Letty is still alive and well. Fast & Furious 6 returns her to the fold — albeit initially with amnesia — and by the time the credits roll, she's back in the crew. What would the Fast & Furious movies be without Dom and Letty's love story?
The sudden death of Paul Walker in 2013 stunned the world, but also the filmmakers behind the already-in-progress Furious 7. After a hiatus for mourning and rewrites, the production worked to gracefully retire the character of Brian O'Conner. In the final scene, Walker's Brian pulls up beside Diesel's Dom for one last ride, then splits off at a fork in the road and drives into the sunset to the tune of "See You Again." It's worth noting that Brian is still alive in the Fast universe, just retired from the action.
You might remember: Two of the franchise's most physics-defying, jaw-dropping, how-do-you-top-this set pieces happen in the same movie: First, the crew parachutes cars out of a plane onto the side of a mountaintop. And then to one-up that, Dom drives a sport car from one Abu Dhabi skyscraper into the next in the infamous "Cars Don't Fly" sequence.
Although the Shaw brothers were no small opponents in the sixth and seventh entries, the eight installment introduces a mega-villain: Cyberterrorist Cipher (played by Charlize Theron), the first villain in the franchise to launch plans for world domination. As Cipher seeks control of global surveillance and technology systems, her motives are deep, existential, and modern. To see the normally light-hearted franchise take on topics so grim is unexpected.
You might remember: Dom has always been a family man, but this is the movie where he becomes a dad — to a son he names Brian. If you're looking for a quick refresher, Letty is not Brian's mother, but Elsa Pataky's Elena Neves (who is killed off by Cipher in this movie).
The franchise's first big-screen spinoff plays more like a buddy comedy than a traditional action movie. (Which makes perfect sense, as Deadpool 2's David Leitch is the director.) Dwayne Johnson, as Hobbs, and Jason Statham, as Shaw, become the odd couple of the Fast & Furious universe, with oodles of cameos from the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart. There is still plenty of action in this one, as the titular duo take on a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist played by Idris Elba.
You might remember: Though Oscar-winning actress and Fast & Furious superfan Dame Helen Mirren first appeared as criminal mastermind "Queenie" Shaw in The Fate of the Furious, her appearance here proved she wasn't a one-off cameo. On the contrary, she's become an essential part of the saga's climax.
The ninth Fast & Furious movie forces Dom to confront his past when it introduces his long-lost brother, Jakob (John Cena), who just happens to also be a high-performance driver and master thief, assassin and rogue agent. F9 takes the saga to new heights — literally — with its most ludicrous set piece yet: Roman (Tyrese) and Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) go to space in a beat-up Pontiac Fiero attached to a rocket engine.
The Fast Family will contend with the threats set up in F9, including the continued presence of Theron's Cipher, along with a new villain played by Jason Momoa (whose baddie is actually connected to the events of Fast Five), come Fast X.