And This Series is a Winner
This is the second article covering the chronological watch order for the Fast & Furious movies. Check out the first article here, and see how this franchise has set up its key characters in anticipation for the intense action found in Fast Five and Furious 6. These last two movies are really where director Justin Lin starts to unleash some absolutely insane action set-pieces on the audience, but to get the most appreciation for what the characters are going through, it helps to watch each film in the chronological order of the Fast & Furious timeline. Continuing our coverage of this order, then, we move on to our South-of-the-border entry, Fast Five.
Can You Smell What Hobbs is Cookin'?
With the addition of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Agent Hobbs, Fast Five, released on April 20, 2011, made converts out of audience members who had so far been unsure about the relative quality of the Fast & Furious movies. This entry is the fifth theatrical film, but the fourth entry in the series chronologically.
This film also saw the series transform a bit from films about underground street racing to more of an action heist caper in the vein of Ocean's 11. To that end, many supporting characters from previous films in the series make their grand return, including Roman, Tej, Gisele, and Han, all working as a crew under Brian and Dom to steal a safe containing millions of dollars from a Brazilian slumlord. Fast Five is hi-octane excitement from beginning to end, but the third act especially is so over-the-top and action-packed that it simply must be seen to be believed.
Until the End Credits Start
Advertising and packaging for this movie will tell you the title is Fast and Furious 6, but as Justin Lin reminds you on the director's commentary for this movie, the opening credits refer to it simply as Furious 6. This is in keeping with the previous title, Fast Five, and reinforces these two movies existing as a duology. This movie, the sixth theatrical release and the fifth one to watch chronologically, has such a large cast and so many action sequences that Lin and Universal Studios at one time considered splitting it into two parts. Fans of the Harry Potter or Hunger Games films are likely familiar with the concept of splitting a single story into two movies, and the same thing almost happened with Furious 6. And what would the titles have been then? Why, The Fast and The Furious, of course.
Almost every major player from Fast Five returns for Furious 6, but it is only fair to warn you that not everyone makes it out of this one alive. Still, for the sake of the most cohesive narrative experience, you should watch this movie, released on May 24, 2013, all the way until the end credits start to roll. Right after you start to hear Usher and Ludacris' "Rest of My Life" play, stop the Blu-Ray! There is a teaser scene for the next film, Fast and Furious 7, in the middle of the credits, but before you watch it, you should really watch...
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
Those Phones, Though
This one was released way back on June 16, 2006, but it takes place after the events of Furious 6. Most of the characters you have grown to know and love from the other movies are absent here, with at least one notable exception. But trust us on this, to get the full emotional impact from some of the key scenes in this movie, you should watch every other movie (besides the post-credits scene in Furious 6) before this one.
Curiously, if you go by the Fast & Furious chronological timeline, this movie should take place several years after 2006, when smartphones are ubiquitous. However, in Tokyo Drift, everyone is walking around with a flip-phone. Of course, there is no way the filmmakers could have foreseen all the ways technology would change, and these flip-phones are a funny in-continuity anachronism, except that these flip-phones, as we see throughout the movie, are capable of rendering HD footage from satellites in real-time to view street races. Pretty advanced tech, and definitely something our Nokias didn't do.
Tokyo Drift is the first movie Justin Lin directed in the Fast & Furious franchise, and his work here is what convinced many of the key players from previous entries to come back for parts 4, 5, and 6. Judge for yourself, but we still think Tokyo Drift is one of the strongest entries in the entire series.
Now that you have watched every Fast & Furious movie in the proper chronological order, you're ready to meet Ian Shaw, the villain for Fast & Furious 7. This brutal villain makes his debut in the post-credits sequence at the end of Furious 6. Again, for maximum emotional impact, it is best to watch this after you have seen every other film.
And if this scene just makes you hungry for more, well, there is one more scene available to whet your appetite until the release of Fast & Furious 7 in 2015...
Fast & Furious 7 Teaser
On the Furious 6 Blu-Ray
The Furious 6 Blu-Ray contains a special scene from the forthcoming entry in the Fast & Furious franchise, Fast & Furious 7. This is a somber scene, free from any action, but anyone who has grown attached to the characters is sure to appreciate this melancholy teaser.
Tragically, the next entry in this movie series will see the retirement of the character of Brian O'Connor, played by the late Paul Walker. When Walker died in a ironic and tragic car crash in November of 2013, the filmmakers had to rework the script to accommodate this disastrous turn of events. Although we no longer have Walker in our lives, we will always have these great movies to remember him by, and the promise of at least one more Fast & Furious entry with him in it.