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'Fast and the Furious' superlatives: We pick each movie's best moments

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Everett Collection

There are certain things you can expect from a Fast and Furious movie. The most obvious thing, of course, is cars—lots and lots of cars. But there are a number of other elements that also appear, without fail, in each and every film.

Here, we take a look at some of those elements—the wildest action scenes, most macho moves, and best bromantic moments—as well as film MVPs and the best lines from all seven films. (Beware: minor spoilers lie ahead!) Because you can never really have enough of Dom and his crew, right? Right.

Buckle up, everyone: We’re going on a high-speed trip down memory lane.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, 2001

Plot rundown

Loosely based on the Vibe article “Racer X” by Kenneth Li, the first in the franchise follows LAPD officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), who goes undercover in the local street-racing scene to investigate a recent string of robberies. While there, he hangs with street-racing royalty/ex-con Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), and their crew, who are suspected as the culprits. Upon confirming his suspicions, Brian must choose between a life of crime or justice. (Spoiler: He goes for the life of crime.) 

Film MVP: NOS

NOS, a brand of nitrous oxide, is used throughout the Fast series, but it’s EVERYWHERE in the first film. In the context of the films, NOS makes cars go really, really fast with the push of the button, literally, making it key to almost every car-racing scene. Case in point: Dom beats Brian in their first race by waiting for the precise moment to hit the NOS button, whereas Brian jumps the gun. 

Wildest action scene: The race to beat the train

Dom and Brian drag race at a spot that’s a quarter mile (that’s how much he lives at a time, people) away from a train crossing. Both make it across the tracks in the nick of time, only for Dom to crash into a truck and flip his beloved 1970 Dodge Charger, which his father used to drive. There’s some seriously dramatic slow-mo happening in this scene, but the cat-and-mouse drama (will Brian catch Dom, or won’t he?) surrounding the race is pretty effective. 

Most macho move: The fight over Mia 

There’s less of a macho element to this film than some of the later ones. (The Rock’s presence alone pumped up the testosterone in films 5, 6, and 7 tenfold.) But, there is a bit of bravado between Brian and Vince (Matt Schulze), who get into a fist fight over Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), at the beginning of the film. Dom ultimately breaks it up, like a total boss. 

Best bromantic moment: Handing over the keys

The point of Brian going undercover was to find the robbers, and he did—it was Dom and his crew. After Dom crashed his Charger at the end of the film, Brian had every opportunity to arrest him, but he doesn’t. Instead, he hands over his keys, explaining that he owed him a “10-second car,” and lets him get away.

Favorite line: 

DOM: “Ask any racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning.”

NEXT: We might be Dom-less, but Roman (and his laugh) and Han (and his off-the-charts metabolism) are nice subsitutes, for now

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2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, 2003

Plot rundown

After letting Dom escape, Brian takes off to Miami, where he—you guessed it—gets into the local street-racing scene, and is eventually caught. But he makes a deal: He and his childhood friend, ex-con Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), will use their racing abilities to take down drug lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) in exchange for clean records. With the help of undercover U.S. customs agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes), money man Tej Parker (Chris Ludacris Bridges), and others, the pair are able to pull it off. 

Film MVP: Roman’s laugh

The second installment is a bit heavy handed at times, with its too-serious plotlines and hackneyed characters (hi, Verone!). But it certainly has its lighter moments, most of which can be attributed to Roman—whose hilarious personality and infectious laugh (so, so infectious!) are practically supporting characters in and of themselves. The film might have been a dud, but it effectively cemented Roman as the comedic staple of the series—a title he still holds today. 

Wildest action scene: Crash landing…on a boat

Before Dom launched a car through three Abu Dhabi towers in Furious 7, Brian crash landed a car onto a boat to stop Verone from getting away—and to save Monica, whose cover had been broken. “You’re not going to do what I think you’re going to do,” Roman, the voice of the audience, says. But Brian totally does, and it’s insane. How far did it jump? Like 300, 400, 500 feet? You have to suspend your disbelief, for sure, but once you do, it’s epic.

Most macho move: Tyrese punching through a car window

Brian and Roman have to “audition” to work for Verone. Their task is to retrieve an item from his impounded car. When they arrive at the lot, Roman immediately takes his shirt off, wraps it around his wrist, and punches through the window to grab the item. It turns out the car was unlocked, and the break-in was totally unnecessary—but hey, it gave viewers a nice look at that six pack.

[Honorable mention: The “stare and drive,” which Brian used in an attempt to woo Monica. It didn’t work.]

Best bromantic moment: A make-up with all the feels 

Brian and Roman get off to a rough start at the beginning of the movie. Roman hates that Brian became a cop, and blames him for his arrest. (There’s a pretty funny fight scene at the beginning where they let it all out.) During their make-up, Brian confesses that he let Dom go because of the guilt he had about Roman, and Roman says his arrest wasn’t Brian’s fault. Did I mention they hash this all out at sunset? No better time, right? 

Favorite line

Roman’s attitude about taking down the bad guys

ROMAN: “Guns, murderers, and crooked cops? I was made for this, bruh.”

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT, 2006

Plot rundown

After racing through a construction site, American misfit teenager Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) gets sent to Tokyo to live with his father. There, he’s introduced to drifting by Twinkie (Shad Moss/Bow Wow), and soon makes an enemy of the Drift King, a.k.a. D.K. (Brian Tee), by chatting up his girlfriend, Neela (Nathalie Kelley). Sean challenges D.K. to race, and loses, badly because he doesn’t know how to drift. But with the help of Han (Sung Kang), Sean picks up the technique, and eventually beats D.K. in the race that really counts.  

Film MVP: Han’s metabolism

Throughout the films, Han is almost always eating, and his entry into the Fast franchise is no exception. Literally, it happens from the very first time we first we meet Han. (In Fast Five, Gal Gadot’s Gisele infers that this need to keep his hands busy has to do with him being an ex-smoker.) The man is pretty cool either way, but his ability to eat so much and have none of it show is, frankly, impressive.

Wildest action scene: Race through Tokyo

A massive race through Tokyo ensues after D.K. finds out that Han has been stealing from his business. Sean, Neela, and Han go on the run from D.K., weaving through the crowded streets of Tokyo, and ultimately making their way through a tremendously crowded intersection. Amazingly, the crowd parts, the cars make it through, and no one is hit.

[On a sadder note, this is the race that ultimately ends with Han being hit by a car and killed, a crucial moment in the series that plays a major part in Furious 7.]

Most macho move: Doing donuts 

Han spots a pair of pretty girls in a nice car, of course, at an empty intersection, so he spins in circles around them. After the spinning, he just sits and stares and waits for the girls to hand over their numbers, which they do. It’s a total show-off move, but Han can get away with it because everyone loves him.

[Honorable mention: Twinkie’s Hulk car.]

Best bromantic moment: Sean’s challenge

Following Han’s death, Sean proposes to D.K.’s Yakuza uncle, Kamata, that he and D.K. race to settle the score. The loser will have to leave Tokyo for good, but Kamata signs off on the proposal. The race takes place on a mountain—which is a cool idea in theory, but the big Tokyo race is the real show-stopper—and after some heavy-duty drifting, Sean wins, proving that Han’s lessons didn’t go to waste. His win effectively gets rid of D.K. and honors Han.

Favorite line

HAN: “There’s no wax on, wax off to drifting.”

NEXT: Dom takes a bullet and it’s NBD. The team expands—and we like what we’re seeing

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FAST & FURIOUS, 2009

Plot rundown

Fresh off his brief time running from the F.B.I., Brian now works for the feds in L.A. It’s not long before he happens upon Dom, who returns after Letty’s death. The guys team up to take out certified bad guy Braga (Robert Miano). He’s apprehended! And Letty’s murderer, Fenix (Laz Alonso), is killed by Dom! But he’s sentenced to 25 years to life. Don’t worry: Brian’s liberated as an asphalt renegade with Mia at his side, probably freeing the Toretto patriarch from his prison bus.

Film MVP: Running it back

The most important thing about F&F is that it happened. Singleton’s 2 Fast was a high-octane mess. Tokyo Drift is rad (really, it is!), but it lacked the lure of the Diesel-Walker tandem. Justin Lin’s second time behind the camera is messy, but our friends are back, and that’s an assuring sensation. From film No. 4 on, we could count on the same beloved characters to return in following iterations.

Wildest action scene: Dom flying out of nowhere to kill Fenix

The climactic chase happens. Brian’s car is crashed, and he’s woozy after escaping a collapsing tunnel. Braga is delirious… but Fenix is okay. He’s locked into Brian, ready to kill him and any chance at a sequel. Out of NOWHERE, Diesel’s Camaro smashes the baddie, calling him a mean name, and claiming sweet revenge.

Most macho move: Dom, not responding to a bullet to his shoulder

Dominic Toretto does not live by normal societal rules. He does what he does to ride or die, and for his family—you know, as he says once, maybe twice in all the movies combined. Bullets usher along the “die” part of “ride or die”—but all he can afford to give is an angry turn and four haymakers to the grill. Guns cannot kill Dom.

Best bromantic moment: Racing again

After a two-movie break, the first time Brian and Dom face off in Fast & Furious produces wide smiles. They race through the insanely traffic-compacted Koreatown and downtown. It comes down to the last quarter mile (duh), with Brian nearly winning…before Dom pulls Bush-league antics to cross the finish line. So uncool.

Favorite lines

Brian telling Dom that he would be free with his cooperation:

DOM: “Is that what they told you?”

BRIAN: “Yeah, that’s the deal.”

DOM: “Do you still put milk and cookies out for Santa Claus?”

BRIAN: [pause, then at a barely audible level] “Yeah.”

FAST FIVE, 2011

Plot rundown

We’re in Rio, in case the 25 shots of Christ the Redeemer didn’t clue you in. Dom and Brian run into Brazilian crime lord Hernan Reyes, who doesn’t like them. So the two want to rob his $100 million for—in Dom’s words—”ONE. LAST. JOB,” which leads to the assembly of O’Conner’s 10. All the while, DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) hunts them down…before ultimately helping them, because revenge and justice. Gang gets paid, and Hobbs continues to hunt.

Film MVP: The format switch

People would have flocked to see another racing flick with a bunch of minor felonies. But the heist and expansion of the cast into a true ensemble revitalized the franchise. Tyrese, Ludacris, Sung Kang, and Gal Gadot were all incorporated, with distinct qualities, quips, and preferred whips. Brian, Dom, and Mia riding and dying for family (again) could have been stale, but that reality is one we’ll never know.

Wildest action scene: Leap of faith

After the train robbery, fewer than 20 minutes into the adventure, Brian and Dom launch off a bridge in their car, free fall 500ish feet, and gloriously land in the lake unscathed. Okay.

Most macho move: Gisele taking charge

Han must get Reyes’ handprint to access his vault. It’s a small moment, but her leaving Han in the wake to successfully complete their mission is a small victory—and a better macho moment than inane Roman comments such as “Sexy legs, baby girl. What time do they open?”

Best bromantic moment: Bros talking dads

A series staple is the “talk about something deep over beers on the porch/balcony” scene. Unprompted, Brian asks Dom about his pops, and he drops specifics moments before stating: “I remember everything about my father. Everything.” Brian can’t relate (“That’s just it: I don’t remember shit about my dad.”). He vows to be a good father for Mia and his future child. Plus, Dom would kick his ass if he wasn’t.

Favorite line

Hobbs, when assigning surveillance on Reyes

HOBBS: “If he goes to the john, I want to know how many times he shakes it.”

NEXT: (Possibly) the best female fight in cinema, plus a tasteful goodbye to Paul Walker

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FAST & FURIOUS 6, 2013

Plot rundown

A doppelganger cadre of drivers, led by Owen Shaw, is stealing sensitive tech things all over the world. Hobbs needs Dom’s team, and he drags him in by showing him recent pictures of a decidedly not dead Letty. The whole team meets in London, takes down Shaw, a tank, and the biggest plane ever. Only one person from the band dies (RIP Gisele), as a sacrificial act of love.

Film MVP: Hobbs

The bulky agent fought against our heroes in all but the last act of Five. Now he’s in on the action. He’s making jokes about racist auction attendants with Tej. He doles out vice-grip handshakes to dirty cops. He’s a tangential ally to the cons. He jump-punches Shaw’s roided-up Hobbs ripoff with an assist from Dom. And most importantly, he joins family dinner in the movie’s last scene. (More on this below.)

Wildest action scene: The plane taxiing from hell

A tank explodes not 30 minutes before, but it’s eclipsed by a Rock-sized aircraft carrier barreling down a 25-mile runway on a military base. Chekhov’s gun was established earlier, after Tej pimped out a piece of equipment Shaw’s minions left behind. Multiple members shoot this at the wings, keeping it from taking off and resulting in a hellacious ball of fire. All in all, the sequence is 13 batshit minutes you must revisit.

Most macho move: Letty vs. Riley, Round 1

EW‘s Chris Lee hailed the Tube tussle as the best female fight ever in cinema. It’s awesome. And it’s juxtaposed with Han and Roman getting their asses kicked by Jah. The broads’ bout is claustrophobic and intense, but not gaudy. Riley (Gina Carano) has power and skill, but Letty wants a full-on brawl; there’s no finesse from her. Letty launches herself at her combatant, taking her down the stairs. If that’s not going all out, please show me what is.

Best bromantic moment: Family dinner

Thwarting Shaw’s plan means pardons for everyone and a trip home to 1327. Tej is on the grill. Dom and Brian banter about what Jack O’Conner’s first car will be. Roman says grace. Corona got the screen time it (maybe) paid for. And then…the moment. Dom steps toward Hobbs, conceding, “Not bad for a cop.” The agent moves next to him, uttering, sans eye contact: “I never thought I’d trust a criminal.” Chills? Anyone?

Favorite lines

ROMAN: “Better make sure you get her a big rock, man, because it don’t look like she’ll be easily impressed. If it’s not a big rock, you better be big somewhere else. You know what I’m talking about. [The 2Fast MVP laugh]

HAN: “It’s why your girlfriends wear so much bling, huh?”

FURIOUS 7, 2015

Plot rundown

Owen Shaw’s brother, Deckard (Jason Statham!), is out for revenge. So he severely injures Hobbs, kills Han, and blows up 1327, infuriating Dom. Uh oh. Random fed Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) makes a deal with the team: Grab the hacker Ramsey’s omniscient spying device, prevent terrorist Jakande from stealing it, and they can use it to find Deckard.

Film MVP: Vin Diesel

7 had to be the most Diesel-fueled movie. Walker’s tragic death delayed the film’s release, causing creative to rework the script. While the late lead had filmed the big scenes, the writing had to support scenes he was absent from. The plot relegates Walker to be a more secondary character rather than a co-lead—and as a result, we see a peak badass, self-aware, emotional Diesel who’s more than able to carry the project. 

Wildest action scene: Car bounding between three different Abu Dhabi towers

Dom and Brian’s role in sneaking into an Abu Dhabi prince’s party revolves around finding the priceless vehicle stored in a vaulted room in his penthouse to steal a chip. Naturally, security jeopardizes their mission. So they drive around the living room, then launch the car—100 or so stories above ground, mind you—to the adjacent tower. But wait! To escape Deckard, they do this again to a third tower, because the brakes malfunction. Brainstorming these scenes must be the world’s best job.

Most macho move: Hobbs breaks his cast

Dude is holed up in a hospital for no more than 10 days, chilling with his adorable daughter, when he notes fire and smoke plumes across the Los Angeles skyline. A normal person would take two months to recover and begin only prescribed light jogging. Not Hobbs. He wills his left cast to break, yielding to his magnificence. And then he gives three fist-bumps “for the road” to his daughter, a welcome sweet moment before further destruction.

Best bromantic moment: The ending

Dom tries to leave the final beach party without saying goodbye to a domesticated Brian. As he leaves on the Pacific Coast Highway, Brian catches up to him at a stop sign, flashing a smile and saying something along the lines of, “You thought you could leave without saying goodbye?” The two drive down the coast, with a Diesel voiceover eulogizing his lost friend, paired with a montage of Walker in Fast films throughout the years. For an inherently ridiculous movie, it’s an undeniably sweet, moving tribute to the departed Walker.

Favorite line

While fighting Deckard

DOM: “The thing about street fights? The street always wins.”

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