Fourteen years ago, a modestly budgeted film titled, "The Fast and The Furious," hit theaters.
It introduced the world to the underground racing scene and became a hit with an opening weekend haul of $40 million.
This weekend saw the release of the sixth sequel, "Furious Seven."
No longer are our heroes hijacking trucks to steal some stereos; they are now flying cars out of airplanes and having Avenger-type battles in the streets of Los Angeles.
Few franchises get to make seven films, and the ones that do often seem like unwanted retreads.
The same can’t be said of this franchise. "Furious Seven" won over audiences and shattered the already lofty box office expectations with a global opening weekend total of $384 million.
The newest film would’ve performed well, regardless, but the last chance to see Paul Walker (who tragically died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013) in a new film was a clear draw that put the numbers over the top.
Walker’s death delayed the film’s release by nearly a year, and it's truly incredible how the movie was pieced together, considering Walker died before he had completed filming.
While watching "Furious Seven," you can’t help but get a sick feeling in your stomach every time you see Walker on screen.
The end is a complete emotional gut punch that is only enhanced by the knowledge of how close the cast is to each other.
There will surely be more films to come, but this is the end of a chapter in the franchise, as we’ll never see Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor, again.
That being the case, it seems like an appropriate time to make a definitive ranking of all the "Fast and Furious" movies. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
7. "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift"
Since its release, it’s been widely considered the worst of the franchise because the only real connection it had to the rest of the films is the Vin Diesel cameo at the end.
Over the last few years, though, the relevance of "Tokyo Drift" has only been increased with the integration of Han Lue, Sung Kang’s character, into the crew. So, while it still sits in last place, "Tokyo Drift" has only improved with age.
6. "Fast and Furious"
The fourth entry in the series is only notable for bringing back the original crew. It had been two films and eight years since we’d seen Walker and Diesel together.
At the time, the movie got some emotional gravitas from the death of Michelle Rodriguez’ character Letty Ortiz, but in retrospect, it was meaningless since we now know she survived.
While we owe this film for reigniting the franchise, that's about all it’s good for.
5. "2 Fast 2 Furious"
Fifth place seems like an insult, but the rankings five through two are pretty close together.
While Diesel decided to pass on the original sequel, it worked out, as we’re introduced to both Ludacris as Tej and, more importantly, Tyrese as Roman.
The addition of Tyrese ends up being crucial, since he will become the franchise’s much-needed comic relief.
The importance of this movie in the grand scheme of things is low, as its plot is not relevant to the rest of the franchise.
4. "Fast and Furious 6"
While it may have started in "Fast Five," this is the film that begins to turn our characters into super heroes.
Not only do we get them battling a tank on a crowded highway, but they also have a near-30-minute fight sequence on a plane trying to take off from the longest runway in the world.
Despite some great action and humor, the film is slightly held back by the return of Letty, who, for plot purposes, has no memory of her previous life.
3. "The Fast and The Furious"
It’s the film that started it all. Critics of these films often take digs at the acting, but that can’t be said about the original. Walker is good as the pretty boy undercover cop, but it’s Diesel who is in true action-star mode.
While future films will purposely play up the cheesiness, "The Fast and The Furious" tone is dead serious.
Even though this is where we are initially introduced to the characters, this film almost seems like it's from a completely different world than the rest.
2. "Furious Seven"
On its own, this is an entertaining-as-hell movie, but the send-off to Walker single-handedly puts this film in the two spot.
As crazy as the stunts were in "Fast and Furious 6," this edition takes the franchise to a whole new level.
How can just one film contain cars jumping out of planes, a car flying from building to building in Abu Dhabi and an all-out street brawl with helicopters and cars in downtown LA?
1. "Fast Five"
Even the emotions of watching Walker’s final performance couldn’t overtake "Fast Five," which should tell you just how good it is. "Fast Five" isn’t just good for an action movie, or a "Fast and Furious" movie, it’s just a damn good movie.
The fourth film had brought back the original characters, but this film turns into a mix of the past movies with the return of popular supporting players, such as Tyrese and Ludacris.
Most importantly, the movie serves as the introduction of Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs, the government agent tasked to hunt down Walker and Diesel’s characters.
While this is the end of an era in "Fast and Furious" history, the countdown to the next movie is underway.
Diesel has hinted that the eighth film will take place in New York City, so don’t be too shocked when you see cars driving up the Statue of Liberty.