Best Action Scenes of All-Time: Fast & Furious Edition

*Last Updated 9/17/2023  

Who would have thought in 2001 that the Fast and Furious franchise would put out 11 films and last at least until 2023? I don't think anyone would have guessed that the Fast and Furious franchise would end up competing in box office grosses with the likes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings - two other brands that launched in 2001. Most of the high school students I teach grew up in a world where Vin Diesel was always a mega star and the Furious films were always big box office. It wasn't always this way. If you just interested in the action scenes of the franchise then skip on down below where I have ranked and rated each one. Otherwise, keep reading for a quick summary of how the series went from street racing niche to global blockbuster.

The franchise began as an attempt to appeal to teen audiences through the street racing culture. I think it was a smart idea to pair with the basic storyline of Point Break with Paul Walker playing the Keanu role and Vin Diesel playing the Patrick Swayze role. Instead of robbing banks, Walker would be investigating street racers who were boosting semi-trucks. The first film isn't great, but it's a decent little crime thriller with decent races by a okay director (Rob Cohen). The franchise wasn't able to bring back Diesel for the sequel, but I think they actually produced a better overall film. I feel like John Singleton hit a kind of sweet spot of balance with 2 Fast 2 Furious between racing scenes that were cinematic and enhanced for entertainment but kept it mostly grounded/believable. A large part of the sequel feeling better to me I think is the added humor and the brightness/setting of Miami. The LA setting of the first film was a bit too stuffy and serious - the sequel found a better balance but I think hit a kind of glass ceiling. It didn't make a ton of money and the creatives went in a different direction for the third film Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift. It was thought that new leads and the addition of the drifting culture would bring teens back to the series. Despite loyal fans, it didn't make much money.

Everything changed when Justin Lin and producers behind the series decided to essentially give the franchise a soft reboot and make it more of a blockbuster action franchise centered around a diverse team of actors pulling off fun heists. The franchise brought back nearly all the major stars and broadened the action, committed to practical stunts, and were rewarded at the box office. This is where the franchise became closer to what we know of it today. The true breakout for the franchise came with 2011's Fast Five that made good on all the promises of the soft reboot - this was a team based mega blockbuster in an exotic location that long ago left its "street racing" clothes behind. The action scenes were bigger, more elaborate, and they brought in Dwayne Johnson as a major adversary as well. This would continue a trend for the franchise - bigger, more elaborate, more stars, more exotic locations, etc. Depending on your tastes, this could be a strength or a weakness. 
One weakness is clearly the canon/lore - by film ten in the main entries this franchise has become so convoluted that it feels like every major character has switched from bad guy to good guy, outlaw to authority, and/or has been killed off and brought back. Additionally, trying to maintain that balance forces the franchise to lose any moral center as Deckard Shaw who we first saw kill dozens of police just to chat with his brother in the hospital (remember he walked out giving a grenade to a policemen) become a good guy. Additionally, to streamline things, we get the horrible "consequence" that when Elena is killed to make a point to tidies up the storyline to allow a Dom a son and not have a big deal between him and Letty. Kinda repugnant. The franchise went from caring about how much NOS can be pumped into an engine before the manifold burst to the physics of tanks, submarines, and outer space. I'm not sure any other series has this kind of major transformation. The theme of "family" can only be stretched so thin! Here's how I would rate/rank all ten films so far.

11. Fast X (C-) 2023
10. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (C-) 2006
9. F9: The Fast Saga (C) 2021
8. Furious 7 (C) 2015
7. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (C+) 2019
6. The Fast and the Furious (C+) 2001
5. Fate of the Furious (C+) 2017
4. 2 Fast, 2 Furious (B-) 2003
3. Fast & Furious 6 (B-) 2013
2. Fast & Furious (B-) 2009
1. Fast Five (B+) 2011

I think you can essentially divide the series into two categories: Street racing phase (films 1-3) and Blockbuster heist phase (films 4-11). I think the series put out its best of each phase in their second try - with 2 Fast 2 Furious being the best of the street racing phase and Fast Five being the best of their blockbuster phase. That said, I think only Fast Five is a good action film overall - the rest are okay with reservations or just bad - with Tokyo Drift being the worst of the street racers and Fast X being the worst of the blockbusters. 

All Fast & Furious Sequences Rated and Ranked

Mediocre sequences that have some flaw or issue I find somewhat insulting or offensive.

59. "Opening: Assaulting Dom's Prison Bus" -Fast Five (2011)
- Commentary: There's no other word for this sequence other than assault. I ask you, if the crew wanted to kill Dom, wouldn't this be just as good a plan? Despite the amazing looking stunt work here, the logic behind this is too much to bear. First, playing chicken with a bus is a bad idea since the bus doesn't have to move to win! Second, thinking you have somehow perfectly planned the right spot to be to make the bus go into a spin when the bus is far more likely to crush you is the next leap. Finally, the bus rolling over several times as you intend is far more likely to kill Dom or permanently injure him than it is to spring him free. Three strikes and you are out.

58. “Los Angeles Finale: Drones, Mini-Guns, &Fights” -The Furious 7 (2015)
- Commentary: For a series that committed to bigger, better, and more exotic, staging the finale of this film in LA feels like a bit of a letdown from the get go. The gimmick here is that since the bad guys have "The God's Eye" Dom's crew will need to keep on the move - which is helpful since they are all good drivers. Man, they lucked out there! The bad guys are following our crew through God's Eye up in a helicopter and they release a drone to take out Ramsay who is trying to hack the God's eye system while in Brian's car. They have to evade LA traffic, the drone gunfire, and missiles. There's a silly moment where a missile takes out Brian's car but Ramsay escapes into Roman's car through some suspect car shenanigans. Dom, meanwhile, is taking on Deckard and they end up at a parking structure in another chicken standoff. Again they crash into each other, but Dom rears up and ends up on Deckard's hood (ugh) and then begin shooting at each other. Dwayne Johnson sees what's going on with the news in his hospital room and decides to join the fight. Dom & Deckard end up in a fight with wrenches while Ramsey tries to keep hacking God's eye, but need Brian to setup a new cell tower - the bad guys send Tony Jaa to take Brian out. Their shootout/fight is pretty underwhelming but it has to be - you can't give Jaa six minutes or so to do a major fight. Jaa gets a parkour moment or two, but the actual fight is pretty basic aside from an interesting stair stunt. It's better than their first encounter, but again, it's just a low level henchmen scene. The Rock shows up in an Ambulance and jumps a bridge to take out the drone. He then picks up a huge gatling gun from the drone. The premise of the sequence is largely more grounded than the rest of the finales, but it has little groaners peppered throughout. On top of that its problems are that it never feels cohesive or unified. There's never any specific or overriding threat that we can really feel is being worked toward, one thing happens, then the next thing, then the next thing - it's all parts and no whole. It feels like the writers are stretching hard to include everyone and give them their own moment so they got to keep inventing things to happen. Dom and Deckard's fight is decent, but it's so interlaced through all the other finale parts that it just ends up being them swinging wrenches for thirty minutes until they stop because the helicopter takes down the parking structure with a missile. Ultimately, the helicopter is taken down by Dom throwing his car at it and the Rock shooting at some grenades. What a long and convoluted sequence that never feels like it amounts to more than just a collection of moments - many of those groan worthy.

57. “Somoa Finale: Going Native Against Brixton” -Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- Commentary: What an absolute mess of a finale sequence! First, the decision to go home to Somoa FEELS (maybe it was the design by the creatives all along) like something Dwayne wanted plugged into the movie as a way to flesh out his character and its roots. The problem is that it mostly comes out of nowhere and has negligible impact. It's the last act of the film and we are meeting his family for the first time and learning of their history, etc. It feels more vanity than organic storytelling. Next, they kind of decide to go "Home Alone" on Brixton and create traps for them since they can't fire with fire. Sure, they can disable the guns electronically, but the idea of beating such advanced people with native like weapons is so far fetched to me. It could still work if done well - but it isn't. When Brixton arrives it's dark and the light is fading (He likes to attack at dusk) - so when Deckard lights the fire ring it really stands out I think they have a chance. The guns go off for the six minutes and for the first 30 seconds or so Hobbs has his family do a Haka dance? Seriously? Then in the next few shots, it looks almost like daylight again and the fire ring is this kind of smoldering little thing if you can see it at all. We ultimately do get some nice fighting beats though. There's an odd random moment when Hattie awkwardly just wanders past the fire ring and Brixton grabs her and throws her into the helicopter - strange stuff here. Anyways, Brixton takes off in a helicopter and Hobbs and Shaw chase after in a truck where they throw a chain and capture the helicopter. This leads to a decent sequence where the chain is reeling in the helicopter while they try and get altitude (mind you, this is all in bright daylight...I guess they attacked at dawn and not dusk?!? I'm so confused). The helicopter starts lifting the truck off the ground so family members link up other trucks to keep them down (family linked together get it?) To be fair, it's a neat idea with some cool visuals - it just feels completely out of the blue with characters we just met and don't really care that much about. Other shenanigans happen but suffice to say the sequence has its last phase when the copter crashes and Hobbs, Shaw, and Brixton end up on a set...ahem...some rocks down by the water together (they should have all died from the crash though...and its now night and raining by the way). I like the idea in the last fight here that the only way to defeat Brixton is together and if one is willing to take a hit the other can land one. This is the fundamental problem with so many big budget finales nowadays, they have a few creative ideas and visuals that gets undermined by convoluted plotting, cartoonish suspension of disbelief, and ad hoc decisions that rarely feel like one cohesive idea executed very well. I end up sitting through 30 minutes that might might 5-6 minutes of really good material. For the record, by the time the scene ended it was bright daylight again.

56. “Opening: Montequinto Jungle Shootout & Chase” -F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
- Commentary: A bloated, loud, and nonsensical sequence filled with silly stunts that make no sense. There’s absolutely no sense of gravity or reality anymore. A perfect example of how much money can be wasted to produce such silly sequences no one will remember. This is a perfect example of the series going too far in its quest to keep producing action sequences bigger and bigger.

Mediocre sequences that lack anything that makes them stand out. Decent, but forgettable.

55. “Dom Races Then Plays Chicken with Deckard” -The Furious 7 (2015)
- Commentary: Deckard shows up at Han's funeral and Dom gets in his car and races him through the streets of LA. A decent little bit of chase work here. They end up in a parking garage where they play chicken and nobody moves. That's right - they run right into each other and both men essentially just walk from it. I mean, if neither was going to get severely damaged, how dangerous is playing chicken anyways? This is the cartoonishness that I can't stand in the later films. These guys are superheroes without being superheroes. Anyways, this is a chance for Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody to show up and save the day as well. Meh - there had to be a better way than this to make Dom work with Mr. Nobody.

54. “Capturing Deckard in a Warehouse Goes South” -The Furious 7 (2015)
- Commentary: Dom and Brian leave behind their crew to go capture Deckard Shaw - why bring racers to a fist fight they reason. Along with Mr. Nobody's special forces they raid the warehouse they believe Deckard is using. They converge on Deckard and find him quietly eating a meal. Deckard is frustrated they haven't brought more and reveals there's someone else on his side. A group of forces from another bad guy turn out the lights and we get a shootout in the dark. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) puts on his night vision sunglasses and takes a few people out before he is taken down. Of course, in the scrum the good guys just so happen to leave behind the God's A nothing of an action sequence that just gives the bad guys the God's Eye to setup the finale.
53. "Highway Revisited: Dante & Dom Showdown" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: Stealing elements from The Dark Knight's Joker transport sequence and the bridge sequence from Mission: Impossible 3, this sequence supposedly takes place on the same Rio bridge where the fifth film ended (it's obviously just a set and digital background). Dom is escorted by police over the bridge where Dante fires missiles and then tries to kill more people who Dom finds meaningful. It's a real dumb setup (why need the police to do this?) and something that stinks of ad hoc plotting and editing room work. The action? Well, it's clearly a set, but it's got a moment or two of decent beats while Jason Momoa's Dante gets to vamp like Heath Ledger's Joker for a while. The whole thing feels derivative.

52. “Cops Break Up a Race & Brian Rescues Dom” -The Fast and the Furious (2001)
- Commentary: After the first race, the cops break everything up and everyone scatters. Dom heads out, parks the car, and walks away thinking he's clean but he's spotted by the cops. Brian shows up and after a couple smooth moves they've escaped the cops. Nothing bad here, good looking driving, just short and quick sequence.

51. "Betrayal Fight: Cipher's Guards Turn on Her" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: As is the tradition in nearly every F&F movie after the fifth entry, our new bad guy must be proven to be worse than the previous one - thus allowing us to accept the old villain as quasi-good guy now. In this sequence, Dante (Jason Momoa) arrives at Cipher's headquarters and uses her own methods against her by simultaneously sending video messages to all of Cipher's guards of their loved ones taken captive. Dante takes some important computer thing (I don't remember and it really doesn't matter) from Cipher and leaves the compromised guards to kill her. The resulting fight attempts some interesting stuff with Cipher trying to escape by using environmental objects as weapons, but it all feels like generic filler. There's an interesting moment where Cipher is on a plummeting elevator, but again, it doesn't quite hit like it should - making it feel more like obligatory action rather than something to actually enjoy and remember. 

50. “Finale: The Never Ending Runway Extravaganza” -Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Commentary: I can hear the groans already - how is it possible to rate this sequence a C - as worse than a simple little heist from the first film? It's not that there aren't great moments and cool visuals in this finale sequence, it's that they crossed a line from trying to be believable and grounded to looney tunes physics and time. Sorry, this sequence drags on FOREVER while the airplane is going down the runway. If you wanted a never-ending sequence like this then put it on a train straightaway, but the second you design it for a runway you are signaling to the audience (who has seen an action scene or two) there is a very limited amount of space. In fact, the runway becomes a part of the thrill - time is limited. Imagine a sequence with a bomb countdown and after five minutes of action they cut back to the bomb and only five seconds have ticked off, then five more minutes of action, and only five more seconds have ticked off. That's how I feel about this one. It's a shame because it undercuts some really fun stunts as well. That kind of problem riddles the big set pieces of almost all the films from here on out. Others will have no problem with these kind of issues - for me - it unbalances the scene so far that I can't enjoy it. To each their own.

49. "House Fight: Jakob & Mia Take Out the Agency" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: After Dom and his crew are framed for a terrorist attack in Rome, the Agency tries to secure Dom's son Little B. Generic agency members assault Dom's house where Mia and Little B are playing video games and we get an action scene that see's a professionally trained and armed team of men slowed down by Mia throwing a pot at them and slamming other various objects. This bits really silly and choppily edited. Eventually John Cena's (long lost Brother of Dom) shows up and helps take out multiple Agency guys. Some of the stuff here is nice and practical, but I don't understand why it's okay that these guys are being killed by Jakob (he shoots multiple of them); they aren't genuine villains, they are essentially just government cops asked to take a kid in. Anyways, that oddness along with the feeling that this is just an obligatory "we need to give Cena one action scene" moment docks this one down.

48. “Racing a Cuban Mile in Havana” -The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- Commentary: At the beginning of the eighth film, Dom and Letty are in Cuba visiting with family. When Dom learns a local bad guy is taking his cousin's wheels he challenges him to a race. The catch is that Dom has to race an old slow car vs the fastest car on the island. Dom removes weight and has some tricks up his sleeves and wouldn't you know it, he pulls it out! I love the Cuban setting here and that it was shot in bright daylight, but it just goes to ridiculous lengths to make a point. Okay, Dom knows a few cool tricks to make it go faster, but to have the entire engine on fire? For Dom to beat him while racing backwards? Cmon, are they that out of ideas?

Largely mediocre sequences that have some redeeming or standout feature. This, to me, is where the average decent action sequence ranks.

47. "Sickbay Fight: Cipher vs. Letty" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: One of many decently staged action sequences in Fast X that end up feeling generic, obligatory, and inconsequential to the film. Charlize Theron and Michelle Rodriguez (or more properly their stunt doubles) get a moment to fight here while trying to escape and Agency sickbay. There's some decent fight beats and stunts - but it all feels so much like generic filler. Cipher isn't the main bad guy in this film and Letty trying to get out of Agency custody just feels like a random obstacle put in the movies path to pad out the runtime and give certain people things to do.

46. "Deckard's Hideout: Agency Attack Averted" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: Another decently staged action sequence from Fast X that ends up generic, obligatory, and inconsequential to the film. This time Jason Statham's Deckard is reintroduced because Han, Roman, Tej, and Ramsey are looking for help. There's a misunderstanding leading to a brief fight between Deckard and Han, but eventually random Agency dudes show up, become the common enemy, and we get some action beats that mame and likely kill people are who are essentially just doing their jobs for our government.

45. "Opening: Semi-Truck Heist" -The Fast and the Furious (2001)
- Commentary: The very first vehicle action sequence in the franchise is a heist sequence. In this case three cars surround a semi and after using harpoons to pull the glass off and get themselves into the cab, they knock out the driver and steal the truck. This part is meh. The best part is once they have the truck the road goes into construction zone and one of the cars is forced to move under the truck, between the two wheel bases. It's a cool stunt and it emphasizes how even a meh scene like this can always be brightened with just a cool practical car stunt. They just don't get old when done right.

44. "Opening: Hattie Keeps the Virus from Brixton" -Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- Commentary: The opening sequence of the Hobbs and Shaw spinoff introduces two new main characters to the F&F universe: Hattie the good guy and Brixton the bad guy. Hattie is part of MI6 (and it turns out, another Shaw sibling) and her goal is to secure a key virus whereas Brixton's goal is to steal the virus. There's a decent little sequence where Brixton takes out a group of MI6 agents to show he has enhanced abilities like eyesight with computer tech, increased strength, and body armor. Hattie does a good job securing the virus for a moment in a truck, but ultimately crashes and is forced to infect herself with it to keep it safe. It's an okay introduction, nothing special.

43. "Prison Fight: Brian vs. Cartel Guys" -Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Commentary: This is the kind of storytelling thing the later, more outlandish, entries would do as little 15 min. throwaways. In order to get some information from a cartel member, Brian gets himself put into prison and extract the information. Of course, this is a difficult enough task that it could be its own film, but this movie treats these moments like our heroes can do them without blinking or thinking twice. It's hilarious, but this moment does allows the series to bring Letty back to life with a convincing alternative story - something they would keep doing for other characters as well. After getting his information Brian ends up in a fight with about three cartel guys. It's a quick and pretty brutal affair that's obviously choreographed and shot by stuntmen who know what they are doing. It's incredible how far this series has come from the first film - even in its simple little fights like this.

42. "Nighttime Smuggling Across Mexican Border Thru Caves" -Fast & Furious (2009)
- Commentary: Dom and Brian get their first call to make a run for a Mexican drug dealer. They make the run at night and shown how to use cleverly hidden caves to do it. The sequence plays out more like an introduction to the system than as a straight up action scene, though there is a ticking time component here. This is really a distraction for Dom to get at the man who wrecked and "killed" Letty. He gets his revenge on the man at the end of this sequence. 

41. "Berlin Wrecking Ball: Dom Goes Rogue, Steals EMP" -Fate of the Furious (2017)
- Commentary: Dom is blackmailed by Cipher (Charlize Theron) to work for her and betray her gang. The betrayal begins here as they heist an EMP from a German warehouse facility. I guess they setup a giant wrecking ball ahead of time because once they are chased by a group of security cars they release the ball (it's being swing from a giant crane) and it clears the road and gives us some nice destruction. Ultimately, Dom turns on Hobbs, wrecks him and steals the EMP. It's outlandish, but its short and quick and thankfully they didn't turn it into some giant exhausting set piece. 

40. "Parallel Lives Intro: Hobbs & Shaw Go About Their Business" -Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- Commentary: For those not familiar with Hobbs and Shaw, those just now entering the F&F universe, this sequence serves as a nice introduction to the characters. We get to how each man is just like the other, but with slight differences of place and character. The sequence plays out where we watch them live out a day in parallel (sometimes even in split screen) and then see them each handle a problem physically. We see that each character gets the job done, but each one has their own style. It's an effective introduction for the characters but just an okay action sequence.

39. "Mountain Convoy Chaos: Parachuting Cars to Capture Ramsey" -The Furious 7 (2015)
- Commentary: Mr. Nobody has given Dom's crew the task of retrieving a high-tech McGuffin device called "The God's Eye" which will help them capture and take down Deckard Shaw. In order to obtain this tech, and provide a suitably crazy set piece for the film, the crew decides to parachute their cars down onto a secure mountain in order to surprise a convoy carrying the tech. Visually, the director James Wan does a great job of making the entire thing believable. It's CGI, but it's good CGI. The problem is the logic. Even though they said some nonsense about GPS guided parachutes, the fact that they could drop out of a plane and the parachute would line up the car perfectly over a road is such nonsense to me. That this convoy wouldn't notice five or so parachuting cars in the sky is also quite unbelievable. Oh well, it's just the first phase of the action sequence. I can get past that right? The group comes up behind the convoy and their goal is to take out a bus being protected in the middle of the convoy. The last two cars of the convoy open up to shoot gatling guns, but Tej  has a bulletproof car everyone gets behind. Tej then rams the cars and takes them out. The bus itself then reveals it has side gatling guns that throws off the crews first attempt to control it. Their second attempt begins by harpooning the backend and ripping it off. Brian then jumps on board takes out a few guards and captures Ramsey, but runs into Tony Jaa (!!) for a brief fight between them. Deckard Shaw randomly shows up and begins causing problems for Dom as Ramsey struggles on his windshield. Dom then takes Shaw down the side of the mountain where some pretty unbelievable shenanigans take place. Back on the main road, more shenanigans, as the struggle with Jaa ultimately causes the bus to flip and turn and hang off the side of a mountain where Brian gets free only at the last second. Dom ultimately gets cornered on some mountain turn and he decides to jump down the mountain (I mean why not?) to get away. He of course eats it and the car crashes and spins and tumbles - but it has reinforced bars! Everyone is okay! Somehow his crew finds him at the bottom of he mountain. In general, I can look past the parachuting, it was done believably, and I enjoyed the realistic convoy back and forth. Once Deckard showed up and each part of the crew started doing tumbles without any issues - they lost me. Not only did they allow it to get too cartoony, but it got convoluted and exhausting as well. An additional sin here for basically wasting Tony Jaa as a ho hum low level karate bad guy.

38. "First Street Race Between Brian & Dom" -The Fast and the Furious (2001)
- Commentary: The very first street race in the franchise is probably much more stylized than fans remember. Yes, it's clear there are some genuine practical, "we filmed the cars racing" moments here but the big key shots here are CGI or CGI enhanced. It's clear the creatives behind this sequence wanted to emphasize the speed involved so they bring out the camera tricks to warp the perspective and give everything a blurred kind of view. It works fairly well, though I don't think it would work well if used often. Another novelty of this race is that when Brian blows his NOS for the second time it bursts his manifold. This is a time when the franchise wasn't concerned about the limits of jumping a car between skyscrapers, it was concerned about how much an engine can take. Amazing how things changed.

37. "Ambush in the Street Leads to a Shootout" -Fast Five (2011)
- Commentary: Transporting the newly captured Dom and crew in his armored vehicle, Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs comes under fire from Reye's gangsters. With multiple armed gunmen, an RPG, and some grenades, Hobb's team goes down. Dom's crew (showing they are good guys afterall!) step in and save the day as the gangsters close in on Hobbs.

36. "London Street Race: Dom vs. Letty" -Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Commentary: Letty has lost her memory (oh the soap opera), but Dom won't give up on her (family you see) and so he keeps putting his life on the line to woo her. One of the ways he does so is in an impromptu street race against her. There are some nice racing moments here with their cars past some London icons, but this race here is more about Dom trying to get Letty to remember. It's fairly well done and really paints Dom as a thoughtful and caring person...who so happens to be shacked up with the girl from Rio in the last movie as well, lol.

35. "Opening: Race for Prom Date Ends in Major Crashes" -The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Commentary: An opening race between Boswell in an older car and the high school quarterback in his Dodge Viper – winner gets the QB’s girlfriend. They race in a housing development that is still being built. It’s a decent race, the rules don’t really apply as Boswell goes in and around the development to get around the obstacles. It ends in a pretty exciting crash sequence – so there’s that.

34. "Chicken for the Win: Racing for Two New Cars" -2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
- Commentary: In order to secure a backup plan for their undercover work Roman and Brian need two new cars. To secure their cars they race two bad guys for their slips. It’s a down and back race twice for the win. There’s some nice drama and a lagging behind Brian is forced to play chicken with another driver for the win.

33. "Finale: Dom & Brian Chase After Tran's Motorcycles & Each Other" -The Fast and the Furious (2001)
- Commentary: Dom and Brian are at odds (I mean Brian is a cop), so the script brings them together to fight a common enemy - Tran and his motorcycle gang. They swing by Dom's house and shoot it up, taking out one of his crew (Jesse). Dom and Brian then go after the motorcycle crew together in a decent chase sequence through the hilly streets of L.A. The stylization of the first race has largely gone away in favor of a fairly traditional chase here. Eventually one of the motorcycle goons gets behind Brian, but thankfully Dom is there to stop him and sends him flying. Dom follows up. Brian is able to take out the final goon. This then turns into a chase/race sequence where Dom challenges Brian to race to a train crossing. It's a kind of macho rite of passage moment. A bit of a strange meld of two sequences that really highlights the awkward and should they be friends relationship between a good guy criminal and a good guy cop.

32. "Parking Garage Blunder: Boswell Can't Drift & Loses" -The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Commentary: This is a neat introductory race, even if it’s predictable and a little sudden for Boswell’s first day at school. Boswell gets into it with the big Yakuza racer known as the drift king and they just have to race each other. Han, a friend of the Yakuza guy, lets him borrow his car. What follows is a parking garage race where in order to get around the tight turns the best racer must drift – Boswell can’t drift though and smashes into things. The drift king though, has some really pretty moves. Due to the crumpled car Boswell returns, he’s forced to do odd jobs for Han to pay him back.

31. "Vladovin Finale: Cars vs. a Russian Sub" -The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- Commentary: This general finale covers the last 35 minutes or so of the film and is largely about Cipher trying to get her hands on a nuclear armed Russian sub through the work of Dom while his crew tries to stop him. Dom drives into the secret nuclear sub base and uses the EMP pulse to take out the security services and then carjack the submarine. It's incredible how the EMP works on everything but Dom's car and that it doesn't fry the electronics, just turn them off! Anyways, stuff happens (good summary eh) and we end up getting a team in the control room going back and forth with Cipher trying to get control of the sub and a team in the sub trying to look for the right chip to pull. Did that sound exciting? Well what if the Rock and Letty kicked people during that? Yeah, that's how it works in the scene too. The final phase is the sub trying to get out to open sea and the crew trying to get out to a sea lock to close the sub's exit. In a cool visual (no pun intended), they have to drive on ice to get there as Cipher and the terrorists shoot at the crew. Tej gets to fire his little tank gun. There's some nice little back and forth action beats here. Eventually, Dom is able to get back into the game and save the day. The last obstacle to overcome is the submarine and the torpedoes they are launching. One of the torpedoes breaks the ice and Hobbs is able to direct it toward another vehicle. Yeah - it's a real cartoon. The final stunt is a heat seeking missile launched at Dom that he is able to outrun and then redirect to hit the sub. Look, all of this is done pretty tongue in cheek and I get that - but there just has to be some limits right? For me, I can enjoy the visuals and the effort here, but only to a point. 

30. "Breaking Into and Out of Eteon Headquarters" -Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- Commentary: There are some nice pops of action here as Statham and Rock break in and beat up guys and then some of that standard F&F outlandish vehicular action as they try to escape. There's just three problems here. First, the best parts are largely played for laughs and therefore tough to rate seriously. Second, this is the third major time that Brixton has been bested in a major action set piece. How is this a serious villain? Third, the vehicular action is just too cartoonish. The fight between Hobbs, Shaw, and Brixton look completely green screened and they only get away because a smokestack drops perfectly on the truck to separate Brixton from them. So many obstacles keeping the sequence from working.

29. "Tokyo Chase: Drift King Goes After Boswell & Han" -The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Commentary: A high-speed chase throughout Tokyo gets some adrenaline going with some fast paced driving on the real streets of Tokyo. Real cars and real locations lead to some nice visuals. There’s far too much swerving just for show and the major “drift” moments don’t always feel necessary, except to live up to the title. The chase ends in a major crash leading to Han’s “death.”

Good sequences that have some issue holding it back from being solid.

28. "Ladies vs Men: Tokyo Apartment Fight" -F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
- Commentary: Letty and Mia go looking for Han in Tokyo and it leads them into his apartment. Another female named Elle shows up and the three of them are attacked by bad guys. The fight is pretty decent – all three ladies clearly were game to do stunts and the fight coordinators put together some nice moments here. There’s nothing spectacular, just a solid little fight for each of the women.

27. "Finale: Chase in Tiblisi & Space Driving" -F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
- Commentary: The big finale sequence of the ninth film sees the crew, with those large magnets mounted in their cars, chasing down a convoy that’s uploading a crucial program. Tej and Roman are in a car with rocket attached to it to go into space and take out a satellite that program will use. Yes, this is the scene where the F&F franchise “goes to space!” There’s a sense in which people joked about this, but honestly, I’m of the group that just can’t get there with them. It’s too far out there for my liking. For Dom’s crew on the ground, they take out members of the convoy one by one by using the magnets set up in their car. It’s an interesting concept that doesn’t much sense, even in the logic of the film. Still, if you can hold back your disbelief, there are some interesting stunts and some cool damage being done. I wish I could reward the clear amount of effort and work being done here – these sequences are GIANT undertakings for this crew. They just have fundamental flaws to me that little amount of great execution can overcome and they have become so long, exhaustive, and bloated now that they go on forever – continuing to test the patience of the viewer. Literally, this finale is so lengthy that Jacob, played by John Cena, has the chance to have a full character arc during it! He goes from bad guy on a mission, to betrayed by his ally, to saved by Dom’s team and leaving the sequence, to returning a the right moment to make the save.

26. "Finale: Cannon Cars & Dam Destruction" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: Weaving in elements of action sequences from the sixth and seventh films, the finale of the tenth film sees Dom, alongside of his newly good brother Jakob, trying to get his son back from the dastardly Dante. The whole thing begins with Jakob using a "cannon car" to initially escape from Dom's henchmen, but ends up being another bridge chase sequence (like the sixth film) where Dom drops in and on the highway from an overhead plane (like the seventh film). The ensuing chase has lots of destruction, a little kid doing an impossible jump from one car to another, helicopters, and then ending with Dom driving down the side of a dam to escape two semi trucks. It's amazing that it looks and feels as real as it does, but it just goes too far for my tastes. Too well produced to give a lower score to, but just too outlandish to rank higher. Meh.

25. "Security Services Smackdown: Hobbs vs. Deckard" -The Furious 7 (2015)
- Commentary: Deckard Shaw is the brother of Owen Shaw (the baddie of the last film) and wants to settle the hurting the good guys put on him - starting with Hobbs. The fight has a nice back and forth to it - these are both actors who are good at this kind of stuff. I particularly like the basic boxing stances they take and the moments they square off getting punctuated by a couple nice hard hits. Deckard gets the upper hand when he takes some broken glass and uses it like a knife. He gets some distance and throws an explosive, knocking Hobbs and another officer, Elena, through the glass and down four stories onto the hood of a car. It's a cool stunt, but again, too cartoony for my tastes. I wish the fight was lengthier, but it's just an introduction kind of fight and a reason to allow Dwayne Johnson to sit out for most of the movie. I get it. Still, a bit of a missed opportunity to have a full on Dwayne Johnson vs. Jason Statham fight for the record books.

24. "L.A. Foot Chase: Rooftops, Markets, & Apartments" -Fast & Furious (2009)
- Commentary: This is our re-introduction to Brian as a police officer. Again, the commitment to practical stunts and a more realistic action style pays off as this foot chase, for a quick pop of action, is engaging and fairly hard hitting. Brian comes off as competent and we get a nice adrenaline boost.

23. "Edinburgh Chase on Streets & Rooftops" -F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
- Commentary: This is the major centerpiece of the middle of the film. Jacob, Dom’s brother and bad guy, is stealing something important in Edinburgh and they need to stop him. Their team arrives and their comms go down. It turns out Jacob’s got a truck with a giant magnet interrupting all comms. Tej and Roman get caught in the back roughing up henchmen while Ramsey takes the wheel, she’s never driven before. Dom is left to chase his brother who is ziplining over the rooftops of Edinburgh. The setup here is neat and the idea of a chase scene where the van has a giant magnet on one side and therefore is sucking up loose articles and eventually when turned all the way up, whole cars, is pretty clever. Eventually Dom gets up on the rooftops to counteract his brother and Romand and Tej get the best of the henchmen and throw them out. Dom takes down his brother and they get into a pretty physical fight, destroying rooms and walls. The two then play frogger in traffic to get to their respective teams and cars. It’s all filmed pretty practically and looks pretty good. The final phase of the sequence sees Jacob taking off in a red car with the magnet truck on a parallel road. They turn up the magnet and wham – the red car gets slammed through a glass building and into the truck. Scene over. It’s decent stuff, but its all so over the top and tough to believe. Perhaps another more athletic actor, but big old Dom doing quick parkour on Edinburgh rooftops and cars? Neat ideas – hard to swallow.

22. "Earning Jobs: Roman & Brian Race to the Impound" -2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
- Commentary: Going undercover, Brian and Roman need to earn the trust of a Miami drug dealer. The dealer tests out wanna be drivers by having them race to an impound to collect something from a car. Brian and Roman race over the interstate where there’s some nice playful driving and a brutal stunt where a car gets caught between two semi’s and is rolled over. Just enjoyable practical driving stunts on display here. There's really no reason not to enjoy this one.

21. "The Brothers Shaw Take On Cipher's Plane" -The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- Commentary: While all of the excitement is happening at the sub base, the "dead" Deckard and Owen Shaw make a run at Cipher's plane. I do like all the subterfuge here with Shaw's death, inclusion of his mom, and his brother by the end. Seeing Deckard clear the plane and take out her security in John Wick fashion here is quite fun. For me at least, much more fun than the disbelief I have to suspend when its a submarine vs a bunch of cars on the ice. Cipher's exit is mega-cheesy, "Only one of us has a parachute" but the sequence still stands pretty well. 

20. "Searching for Hattie: Hobbs vs. Hattie, Shaw. vs. Thugs" -Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- Commentary: Hobbs & Shaw split up in their search and Shaw takes to Hattie's apartment where he runs into some thugs. He gets into a pretty darn good little fight with them - kicks, punches, and object use all look clean and impactful. This is really good on its own. However, we also get intercut Hobbs' search for Hattie and he...just finds her. He walks up and they have their own little fight - though this one is played more for humor. Hattie is the real deal and gets some nice shots in, but Hobbs is always able to weather the storm and use his strength advantage to win in the end. A nice one-two action sequence here.

Good action sequences with much to commend about them. They are a solid entry into their genre.

19. "Car Shop Chase: Shootout Ends in a Chase & Fight" -Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Commentary: On the hunt for information about Owen Shaw, part of Dom's crew ends up at a car shop where they are ambushed by Shaw's team. This leads to a short shootout then a foot chase. The chase goes underground and leads to the...well as the British call it, the Underground (subway system). Roman and Han face off with a male member of Shaw's crew who is a great fighter and ultimately bests Roman and Han. Carano chases after Letty and a fight ensures between them. Both fights are choreographed well, with the Letty/Carano one standing out most and getting the best highlights . As interesting as Roman and Han are as characters, they are drivers not fighters and I'm glad the film resisted making them into superhero fighters as well (they couldn't resist with Dom). I like that the creatives gave the ladies the series fight and the guys a more comedic relief one. It worked well for the dynamics and characters already established.

18. "Big Man Brawl: Vin Diesel vs. the Rock" -Fast Five (2011)
- Commentary: I'm glad this film didn't waste the opportunity to give us a fight between Vin Diesel and the Rock. It happens pretty suddenly and by the standards of a big man fight, this is pretty darn good stuff. It's not a finale fight so my expectations are lower - but these two guys get to lay in some great shots on each other, do tons of environmental damage, and essentially make each other look like big brawling beasts. No one here does any kind of crazy moves (like you'd see Vin doing against Cena in the F9: The Fast Saga), it is meat and potatoes punch, kick, wrestle. Hard not to love it.

17. "London Skies to Streets: Brixton Fails to Capture Hattie" -Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- Commentary: While Hobbs, Shaw, and Hattie argue on a top floor of a London skyscraper, Brixton's men bomb the window and attempt a kidnapping job. They grab an unconscious Hattie and rappel down the skyscraper face first. Continuing their "friendly" rivalry Hobbs and Shaw can't agree on how to go about saving her, Hobbs jumps down onto one of the men running down the side of the skyscraper while Shaw decides to just take the elevator. It's a humorous exchange, but it does take a bit away from the awesome looking stunts we are meant to be enjoying on the side of the skyscraper. However, if I have to endure outrageous stunts like that then maybe its best that we get someone like Shaw joking about it. In other words, maybe I'd enjoy it less if I had to take it seriously? Interesting. Anyways, they get near the ground and Hattie awakes and gets away. There's a bit of a fight/shootout on the streets and Hobbs/Shaw/Hattie get into a car and getaway while Brixton's group gives chase on motorcycles. A decent chase occurs with two nice high spots - Hobbs grabbing a guy on a motorcycle and slamming him into a wall (while Hobbs is stills seated) and sliding underneath a semi trailer. The semi spot is a little CGI heavy, but it still works alright. A fun little sequence, but it ultimately makes Brixton seem a bit daft - it's the second time he's come up empty. Not great writing if you want him to be a convincing villain.

16. "Abu Dhabi Skyscraper Jump: Stealing the God's Eye" -The Furious 7 (2015)
- Commentary: Ramsay has something important about the God's Eye (can you tell I stopped caring about the logistics) that got sold to a billionaire who happens to live in a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi. Dom's crew get into a party being hosted by the billionaire and are looking to get the important object. There's some spy like tech and distraction teamwork going on to get Dom and Brian in with a luxury car that has something special in it. Letty gets to have a moment taking on some female guards and ultimately against Ronda Rousey as well. The fight beats here are decent and strong enough. Once security is alerted, the apartment goes into lockdown mode and guess who shows up as well - Deckard (this is a dumb move that has happened now a second time). This kind of random appearance at the last second really saps a lot of the "I'm the best" vibe Deckard had going for him. The increase in security leads Dom and Brian to just steal the car. With nowhere to go they drive through the party and then in the big stunt of the sequence, Dom drives out of the skyscraper and into a lower level of an accompanying skyscraper. He can't brake (because yea that's the one thing that would malfunction in a stunt like this) and they jump out the window and into another nearby skyscraper. Thankfully, the stunts actually all look pretty great despite the outlandishness. Thankfully, it's one major stunt at the end of the sequence rather than multiple over the top moments peppered throughout. 

15. "Catholic Guilt: Chase in Rome Ends in Explosion" -Fast X (2023)
- Commentary: This chase in Rome is a mixed bag and a tough sequence to rate. On one hand, it is clear they did a lot of location work in the city and the scale of the action is epic and features several nice stunts. On the other hand, it's often undercut by some obvious/poor CGI and the cookie cutter template in which the whole thing plays out. Most of Dom's team is in Rome to try and heist some important computer chips but it's all been a setup of Dante's in order to draw Dom and his team to Rome and frame them as terrorists responsible for an explosion at the Vatican. As before, the villain's convoluted plans roll out like clockwork despite numerous technical and physical impossibilities - we are just meant to assume technology, geography, and gravity work as presented. The team get their traditional moments of radio banter where they tell us the plot, tease each other, and ultimately where Dom groans about giving it everything he's got for his family. The chase gimmick here, in a play on the vault sequence in Rio, is that the bomb Dante is using is in a giant metal ball (it's called a mine) and it smashes up the city as it rolls down towards the Vatican. There's some nice visuals and the line between location work and CGI is sometimes hard to tell, but the whole template here feels exhausted. Even though Jason Momoa seems to be having fun, how is this sequence much different than what Charlize Theron, John Cena, Idris Elba, or Jason Statham was doing in their entries?  

14. "Spanish Highway Chase: They Have a Tank" -Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Commentary: This is when I mark the franchise firmly crossing the line of grounded chase action with a fantasy flourish to fantasy chase action trying to be grounded. There’s a very BOND feel to this one as our bad guys steal a tank and it leads to a highway chase that for the most part is quite believable in its depiction and awesome in its destructive power. Additionally, there’s a nice A-Team feel to how they systematically work together to improvise a solution here. Unfortunately, all the goodwill is exhausted with an absolutely fantastical ending that sees Dom and Letty jump across bridges into each others arms and then landing on a car completely safe. That stunt, as cool as it is on paper, marks a conscious decision to be a cartoon. I mean, the fourth film opened with a fantastic tanker heist where Letty, with great tension, took several minutes to feel comfortable jumping from the tanker to Dom's car. Now, Roman and others can hop greater distances and further away with nary a second's thought. The difference won't matter to some, but it does to me. The franchise would never really look back from here on out. After this sequence and  the infamous never ending runway during the finale of the same movie the action in the franchise would be forever changed.

13. "Favela Chase: Running From Gangsters and Feds" -Fast Five (2011)
- Commentary: Dwayne Johnson entered this franchise like a bolt of lightning. They gave his federal agent a real sense of purpose and duty - like a train that wouldn't stop until it got where it was going. His search led him quickly to the crew's layer and produced a nice chase scene through the favelas of Rio. Johnson wouldn't be the only person looking for the crew - a group of gangsters were on their tale as well. I love the wide shots here as they jump from roof to roof of the huge favela. There's enough foot chase beats here (tight corners, shootouts, crashes) give it enough oomph to really enjoy the quick adrenaline rush it provides. Short and sweet.

12. "Desert Truck Heist Goes Wrong" -The Fast and the Furious (2001)
- Commentary: The original best set piece for this franchise came with a heist gone wrong by the team of Letty, Dom, and Vince. Somehow the team thought it was a good idea for them to harpoon Vince into the cab from Dom’s car in the front of a semi-truck. It goes wrong when the truck driver reveals he’s got a shotgun and he begins unloading shells at them. Vince becomes entangled in the truck and the truck uses defensive tactics to ward off the rest of the cars. Brian ends up arriving near the end of the chase and helps to save the day. It's not outlandish, but it tells a simple story really well. All practical, nice looking stunts, this is a solid little chase/heist.

11. "Opening: Miami Street Race with an Inclined Bridge Finish" -2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
- Commentary: Opening the second film is a strong street racing sequence through Miami at night. The sequence introduces a slew of new characters and re-establishes Brian's driving cred. This is well filmed and engaging. The mix of practical footage, with enhanced CGI stylizations, and the LED coloring gives the whole sequence a kind of Street Racer / Anime feel to it. I quite liked the ending with Brian jumping over first place by hitting his NOS right before an inclined bridge. I think this one deserves a bit of a better reputation than it gets.

10. "Finale: Chase From Mexico to U.S. through Caves" -Fast & Furious (2009)
- Commentary: Brian captures the Mexican smuggler Braga and attempts to race him across national borders using the cave smuggling system he learned about earlier. Just behind him is Dom. On his tail, however, are Braga's men who are chasing him in through the desert looking to take him out. The first part of this chase feels like something out of a Mad Max film with the desert setting and Dom helping to take cars out left and right. When chases are done like this practically in the bright sun, then they are almost always a little better in my opinion. There's a fun beat where Dom uses a shotgun to take out a few car tires who then (for whatever reason) flip and cause a great visual in the desert. The second phase of the chase takes place in the smuggling tunnels where everything now is about close calls, tight turns, and no light. This part was done about as well as they could, but it's so dark that you almost end up just kinda saying, "Okay, whatever" and do your best to make out what's happening. There's a few nice stunts in the tunnels, but the line between practical and CGI here is so tough to draw due to the limited vision. It ends with everyone bursting out the back end of the cave - Dom in particular bursts out and rams right into a major villain. I'm mixed on this sequence, but appreciate the commitment to real crashes. This is right between going grounded and going over the top. After this, the franchise would never look back.

9. "New York Chase: Zombie Cars & Nuclear Footballs" -The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- Commentary: Cipher's goal is to retrieve the Russian nuclear football (briefcase to launch Russian nukes) from the Russian Secretary of Defense while he is in a motorcade going through New York (I guess this is the easiest way to get it?) To that end she hacks into every car with an autodrive chip (that's not how they work) she can get into and turns them into zombie cars to overwhelm the motorcade. We get a lot of shots of random cars driving themselves and causing damage in New York, floods of them turning corners, and "raining" from parking garage structures. It's a pretty cool sight. The Russian minister's car breaks out a gatling gun and then starts shooting out the engines of zombie cars - why they have a gatling gun I'll never know. Eventually he's hemmed in by too many cars and that's Dom's signal to jump in and saw through the car to get the nuclear case. That Dom's willing to go this far and get nuclear launch codes for the safety of a couple of family members is noble, but ultimately dumb (okay, it's an action film Leaman, calm down). Dom's crew gets busy and try to contain him and get the football back. This is my favorite part of the action scene here. We don't usually get extended chases like this in New York anymore so it's quite surprising when you see a production cover this many different blocks and streets. I like how Dom uses different tricks here to get away, fake turns, knocking over scaffolding, and the like. The crew's decision to try and harpoon cable Dom's car (everyone getting a shot in) is a cool idea that they make seem real. Of course Dom's car defeating like 4-5 others isn't all that realistic, but "Family"...I mean, he decides to go with the pressure and hit Roman's car taking him out and then letting his door get ripped off, and then driving behind two other cars, meaning the cable rips them together and everyone goes down. Shaw gives foot chase, but Dom takes him down with a gun. When Letty steals the football, Dom can't shoot her, but he does eventually get it back from her. I'd like to put this sequence higher, but there's just something about it that doesn't ever fully gel with me. It has a feel like they had a few interesting ideas and just kind of threw them together here without thinking about the unity of the sequence - I don't know - it just doesn't quite hit like it should. Still, a strong sequence that is enjoyable to watch.

8. "L.A. Street Race: GPS Guides the Cars" -Fast & Furious (2009)
- Commentary: Due to some lucky shenanigans, Dom and Brian end up hunting the same criminal. In order to get close they are forced to enter an L.A. street race where the directions are beamed to the car straight through GPS. What we end up getting is a really high quality race that feels like it was filmed practically on the streets using real cars. We get several real car crashes that feel bruising and expensive. Of course Dom and Brian highlight the race with everyone else biting the dust before the end. I love it. It is edited a little choppier than I'd personally like, but this is far from hyper-edited shaky cam stuff. Additionally, there's really no major memorable centerpiece/gimmick to this race that makes it stand out. Not a inherent mark against it, but it does keep it from being distinct. Despite its competency, it kind of just blends into the background of other races. Still, I think this is in the running for best pure "race" of the franchise that isn't also some kind of heist or escape sequence.

7. "Mountain Race Finale: Drift King vs. Boswell" -The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Commentary: It’s Lucas Black vs. the literal Drift King of the Tokyo racing scene. The setting is a mountain with twists and turns that require expert drifting and the loser must leave Tokyo. This is probably the best pure “race” in the sequence (the rest above this are chase or action sequences). It’s fairly lengthy, shot well, filled with nice drifting around corners, rubbing, pushing, and some great little stunts turning each other around and getting around one another. Though I wish it wasn’t at night and easier to see in the daylight, it’s hard not to like this workmanlike sequence. This is the standout sequence from the third film.

Very good action sequences with something holding them back from greatness. They are typically best in their film and represent something above and beyond expectations.

6. "Prison Break: Hobbs & Shaw" -The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- Commentary: In an effort to get Hobbs to escape prison, Mr. Nobody opens his cell. When guards arrive to get him back in, the other prisoners take advantage and use it as a chance to break out - forcing Hobbs to get involved. We then get a really fun sequence that just allows Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham to look like real beasts - something that movies forget to do at times. Each actor gets the chance to take out several guards in athletic, bruising, and powerful ways. The whole time, even with so many fun action beats, the sequence keeps the thread of Hobbs only doing what he's doing to keep Shaw from escaping. There's a nice moment where a prisoner confronts Hobbs "I've been waiting a long time" and Hobbs destroys him in a second. Little moments like that is important to build up your characters if they are later going to do superhuman stuff. Anyways, the sequence is some giant setpiece and it knows when to let itself end. Wonderful. It begins with a surprise, is a joy to watch, and finishes before it can go to long. A really refreshing sequence for a series that has become so over indulgent. I think it was the chemistry and promise these two showed in this sequence that really allowed creatives to imagine a whole movie with the two of them.

5. "Dominican Republic Opening: Gas Tanker Heist" -Fast & Furious (2009)
- Commentary: The fourth film franchise refresh opens up in the Dominican Republic with a sequence that will come to epitomize the tone of the whole series going forward. The multicultural gang (Dom, Letty, Han from the third film, Tego, and Felix) work together to steal multiple gas tanks from a semi in a mountainous region of the Dominican Republic. The group of course have ear plugs to chat back and forth and Dom takes the lead. He gets out in front of the semi to slow it down while his Letty gets on the tankers to disengage the hitches. The other group members then drive backwards and engage their own hitches to haul the tankers away. All goes well until the truck driver sees Letty and then he begins swiping and shooting at Dom. There are some nice stunts here as the tankers swerve on the road and Dom's car does some tough turns to keep up with the tanker. Ultimately the semi with two tankers is out of control and won't make a turn so the truck driver bails, but Dom is able to skillfully maneuver between the last two tanks, having to go under the last one that was bouncing on fire. It sounds crazy, but the the general lack of CGI and commitment to practical cars here really grounds the sequence. It's exciting, thrilling, and feels real. With sequences like this, it's not hard to see why the series grew in popularity from here out. 

4. "Boosting Cars from a Train Goes Awry" -Fast Five (2011)
- Commentary: Our heroes are now in Brazil and looking for good criminal work (and our director is looking to one up the gas tanker sequence as well!) They discover a job stealing cars from a train shipment. Mia and Brian start out on the train and make their way back to the car housing...the cars. Another squad led by Diesel pulls up in a flatbed truck alongside the train and they begin yanking the cars horizontally out of the train, lay them down the flatbed, and the drivers them park them on the desert. It's not very real, but they execute it in a way that looks very believable. There is some tension in the crew and a fight breaks out among them, ending with Dom throwing them off the train. Brian jumps onto the flatbed and after some tussling with a blowtorch leads to the flatbed truck jumping a small hill and crashing into the train. Very cool stunt. With an approaching bridge and agents, Dom and Brian are in an odd spot. Dom drives a car off the train, up next to Brian who jumps onto the car, and then they both go head first with the car into the ravine/river the bridge was covering. This is a neat ending, but the heavy CGI setting and stunt work does detract a bit. Still, strong work here.

3. "Finale: Keys Car Chase with a Hundred Decoys" -2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
- Commentary: Running drug money down to the keys, Roman and Brian must work three games: evade the local cops, evade the bumbling/prideful customs cops, and evade the wrath of the drug dealer. To accomplish this we are treated to a nice chase sequence with a lot of practical cop cars in tow. The boys have to overcome an electronic attack from helicopter, swerve through traffic, and when they are cornered in a warehouse they spring their trap. Earlier they had set up hundreds of friends in decoy cars to scramble the visuals of the cops and helicopters following them. This is a fun, clean, and engaging sequence. Unfortunately, by the time they get to the drug dealer, things don’t end as sharp. The film builds up to the finale stunt of launching their car onto a yacht – but the stunt doesn’t look that great compared to everything that came before. It’s a black eye in an otherwise strong sequence.

Great action sequences that can compete for best of the year and best of all-time.

2. "London Lift-Off: Shaw & Dom's Team Chase Shaw's Ramp Cars" -Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- Commentary: The last great car chase sequence in the franchise that kept itself primarily grounded, with any big stunts being practical and mostly believable. This is essentially the big action opening to the film and it doesn’t disappoint. The goal here to take down this film's new big baddie Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans, and his crew. One part of Dom's crew led by Brian goes to Interpol and Dom/Hobbs wait for Shaw so that they can track down Letty. When Shaw appears he blows several concrete pillars that the cops are waiting for him on while he blows by them. It’s hard to articulate it, but it’s a nice stunt and shows a lot of intelligence for Shaw’s planning. Dom and Hobbs follow behind. The main gimmick here is that the Shaw drives a formula one type car in a kind of wedge shape that when it collides with cars will launch them (like a speeding ramp) rather than impact them. It probably wouldn’t work that way in real life, but it’s filmed in a way that’s very believable, practical, and awesome looking. Shaw uses the car to glide back and forth and then launch incoming police cars at anyone following him. It’s quite a visual. It’s simple enough to be believable, but cool enough to be a spectacle. It’s right in the wheelhouse I enjoy. Brian’s team gets into a shootout at Interpol and then a chase. They have to deal with another wedge car, but also a “chip gun” that deactivates a car. They fire at Tej and Roman and deactivate their front tire and cause them to get into some spectacular wrecks. Seriously, this moment looks darn good on screen. The teams meet up, enter a tunnel, and then split up again. There’s even a really clever stunt pulled when Brian is ramming one of the bad guys who eventually swerve left only for that wedge speed car to come straight into Brian launching him high. Shaw’s thread comes to an end when Letty makes an appearance and draws Dom off and Hobbs makes a play on Shaw but misses. It’s so refreshing to see these “superheroes” in the later film bested and getting beaten. This chase is lengthy, grounded, practical, and good fun. It’s an underrated sequence in the franchise. It’s too bad the franchise launched too far into fantasy after this one.

An all-time great action sequence. This does not mean it is a technically perfect action sequence, just that it is "perfect" to me. This is one I can watch over and over and it doesn't lose its power.

1. "Rio Finale: Vault Heist Spills into the Streets" -Fast Five (2011)
- Commentary: In order to get enough money to clear there names and win their freedom, Dom's crew decides to hit the vault of Rio's biggest drug dealer. It has been a team effort to build up to this so far with everyone playing some role to get the plan together. The heist sequence, which takes up around twenty minutes or so of the film, begins with Hobbs' armored vehicle bursting into the police station basement followed by Brian and Dom's converted police cars. The armored car punches a hole in the wall and Hobbs sets down some covering fire as Dom & Brian hook the vault up by wenches to their police cars. This is the essential gimmick of the entire following chase - Dom and Brian dragging an entire vault around through the streets of Rio and what an awesome gimmick it is! 
If you just accept that the cars are strong enough to pull this object around and that the object is strong enough to waste anything in its path then the following sequence is pure action bliss. As Dom/Brian cut through the city the vault swerves left and right destroying everything in its path whether that's curbs, planters, cars, or whole building fronts. The destruction is simply delightful. The Rio cops/gangsters try to corner the two and this allows for some nice shenanigans where the two can use the vault as a weapon against the cop cars. In one sequence they split apart and let the vault slide between them slamming into the cars in front of them. In another beat the two split across a large roadway and let the vault/cables just destroy everything down the center. In another clever beat, Roman and Han show up in two other cop cars and begin taking out cop cars from within their swarm leading to even more incredible destruction. The whole time this chase is being done practically, on the streets, with real cars, real destruction. The camera is catching everything perfectly as well. No stylization needed here - just show us everything as it should be, hit the closeups, give us a dynamic camera to enhance stunts, and pop out for helicopter shots to give us geography and scale. This is executed just tremendously. 
The final phase moves from the city to a bridge over a waterway...I mean how are they going to hide this vault from everyone right? Dom releases Brian to drive away and then stops, turns around, fires up the NOS and heads straight for cops/gangsters following. He weaves in and out of them using the vault as a kind of bludgeon weapon knocking cars off left and right in just an amazing sight. The final gangster car starts firing a gatling gun at Dom and he does a circle to turn around and swings the whole vault across the bridge and sweeps everyone off it in an incredible stunt. This is an all-time great sequence and one of the reasons I love cinema.