2001 was a simpler time for Fast & Furious. A simple movie about a cop attempting to infiltrate a group of car hijackers hit theaters, gained a die-hard following, and would become the launching point for what we know today as The Fast Saga.

The Fast franchise has grown exponentially in the last 20 years, releasing nine more movies, including one spin-off movie, and has four more untitled projects in the works. Whether you like it or not, thefranchise has a strong grip on pop culture and the box offices. 

Fast & Furious movies follow a special formula that has remained relatively the same since its debut: extreme close-ups on shifting gears, panning shots over engines revving, testosterone-fueled fistfights, and as many gratuitous shots of women dancing as the movie can get away with. The formula still works even though the films have shifted from a car-centric plot to Dom (Vin Diesel) and the gang saving the world, but did this shift in focus benefit the franchise or hurt it? 

Some fans want The Fast Saga to return to its racing roots, but others believe that the saga only works because of its furious fights. After breaking down what makes a Fast & Furious movie so good into 23 categories, The Film Theorist was able to decipher which Fast & Furious movie, F9 excluded, is the fastest and which was the most furious, and whether being fast or furious makes a difference in the end.

Check out the full video below: 

The fastest film

For a Fast & Furious movie to take the title of the fastest film in the franchise, quarter-mile races, time spent at or near a workshop, time spent riding in or outside a vehicle, and longest and fastest car chases are taken into consideration. After adding up which film had the most of these elements, 2 Fast 2 Furious is the fastest Fast & Furious movie. 

Although Furious 6 does feature the longest car chase in the franchise, clocking in at 13 minutes long with cars going 120 MPH, 2 Fast 2 Furious has the most races and discussions about racing in the whole franchise. Tokyo Drift takes second followed by Fast & Furious, then The Fast and the Furious

The first four films of the franchise rank on top for being the fastest movies compared to the other five. In total, the first four movies have 41 minutes of racing with an additional 40 minutes of characters talking about racing. Tokyo Drift has about three times more racing in it alone than Fast 5 through The Fate of the Furious and Hobbs & Shaw combined. Tokyo Drift had 15 minutes of racing compared to the five minutes of racing across the five latest movies. 

Fast_and_furious_2_fast_'2 Fast 2 Furious'Credit: Universal Pictures

The Fast & Furious franchise made the conscious choice to slow down for the sake of critics’ approval. The average approval rating for the first four movies is 39% but the rating skyrocketed to 72% for the last five movies as the plot focused more on the furious aspect of the plot rather than the fast. As the fastness of the franchise went down, the profits and ratings went up. 

While the fastness of the first four movies laid the groundwork for the franchise to develop into the behemoth it is today, it is clear that the critics and the fans have put speed in the backseat for the time being. 

Fast_and_furious_tokyo_drift'Tokyo Drift'Credit: Universal Pictures

The most furious movie 

We are looking for the Fast & Furious movie that has the most carnage in it.

To measure the fury of these movies, death, destruction, and fistfights are taken into consideration. In The Fast and The Furious, Dom, Brian, and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) beat people up, Jesse (Chad Lindberg) is killed, Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) is also killed, and various vehicles are blown to bits. As years progressed, the movies don’t even bat an eye to the deaths of main characters, blowing up nuclear submarines, and destroying property which also means killing innocent bystanders. 

About 14 minutes of Hobbs & Shaw are dedicated to face-punching, which is triple the amount of the first four films combined. No other movie in The Fast Saga comes close to the amount of fury in Hobbs & Shaw. For comparison, the second-place movie to have the most fury is Furious 7, with seven minutes and 16 seconds of fistfights. On the other end of the spectrum, Tokyo Drift has less than a minute of fighting, clocking in a total of 49 seconds. 

What is interesting to note is that the first four movies all rank together but are at the bottom of the list this time. The highest-grossing movies of the franchise also happen to be the most furious ones. If there are more fistfights and less car talk, then the movie will bring in more money at the box office, which is ironic for a franchise built around racing and cars. 

Unpacking The 'Buff Clown' Trope in Hollywood'Hobbs & Shaw'Credit: Universal Pictures

But fistfights don’t make a movie furious. If you consider the number of main character deaths, double-crosses, and the number of kills, Furious 7 takes the title of the most furious movie in the franchise. Take that, Hobbs & Shaw. 

Furious 7 has everything: Deckard (Jason Statham) killing dozens of cops then wanting revenge, Dom wanting revenge for the deaths of Han’s (Sung Kang) and Gisele’s (Gal Gadot) deaths, seven minutes and 16 seconds of fighting, and Dom’s and Deckard’s head-on collision which neither should have walked away from but did, because they cannot die. What is particularly interesting and most furious about Furious 7 is its title. The title removed the word "fast" from the title completely, giving the movie the freedom to depart from racing, car talk, or anything that can be related to the first four movies. 

Furious 7 is also the highest-grossing film at $353 million domestic and $1.4 billion worldwide. That is a shocking amount compared to the least furious movie, Tokyo Drift, which reeled in just under $159 million worldwide. 

Fast_and_furious_7'Furious 7'Credit: Universal Pictures

All of this proves that audiences want Fast & Furious movies to be more furious than fast. Nobody really cares about the thrills of illegal street racing when the option to launch a car into space to save the world is available. Maybe how the franchisee uses the word "fast" isn’t related to cars anymore. "Fast" is more of a way of life for these characters. I mean, Dom lives his life a quarter-mile at a time, so he basically likes to live life fast. The world of street racing couldn’t be the formula forever, and the franchise seemed to know this early on. The switch from "fast" to "furious" was inevitable for the franchise to keep making movie after movie. 

While the plots of the films have diverged from illegal street racing to international space spies, one thing has always been the same about the Fast & Furious movies: family.

I’m joking—strangely enough, cars have and will always be included in these movies. They are used to go to space, act as an extension of Dom's arms, or are a sentimental send-off for the late Paul Walker. Cars will be the grounding element in Fast & Furious. The love of cars started the franchise, and it will probably be what closes the franchise out. 

Do you prefer your Fast & Furious movies to be fast or furious? Let us know in the comments why! 

Source: The Film Theorist