In 2001, an undercover police officer named Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) infiltrated the world of illegal street racing to investigate a series of heists in The Fast and the Furious. Brian befriends Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), the alpha and leader of the heists, and the two form an unexpected brotherhood. Dom believes in loyalty, hard work, and most importantly, family, which quickly rubs off on Brian.
Nine films later, these themes remain the backbone of The Fast Saga, which is set to release its 10th installment, Fast X, on May 19. Gone are the days of street racing for pocket change and hijacking trucks for DVD players. Now, the franchise is global as our heroes prevent nuclear war and mass destruction. Speaking of heroes, the cast is a family on and off the set, with many actors reprising their roles they originated over two decades ago. Who are the best members of the family? Below are the best characters in the Fast & Furious franchise, ranked from 7-1.
The comedic duo of Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) are the Fast & Furious version of the Odd Couple. Tej is the brains of Dom’s crew, first appearing in 2 Fast 2 Furious as a Miami mechanic who referees the street racing in the city. Roman, the loveable dummy in Dom’s crew, is Brian’s former childhood best friend who, in the same, film aids Brian bust a Miami drug ring.
The two racers join the crew in Fast Five and become inseparable, whether they like it or not. From buying the same car to courting Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Tej and Roman are linked at the hip. They continuously provide comedic relief, especially Roman, who provides the best unscripted moment in Fast & Furious 6 as Hobbs tells Roman to hide “that big ass forehead,” causing Tej to spit out his drink. If these two can survive in space together, who knows what they will do next?
Hopefully, you are snacking on some chips while reading this next entry, considering Han (Sung Kang) is rarely seen without a bag of crunchy treats. Introduced in Justin Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow, Han’s first Fast appearance comes in Tokyo Drift. The even-keeled ladies’ man is an old friend of Dom’s who becomes a profitable businessman in the Tokyo street racing scene. Han mentors American Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) and teaches him a form of street racing known as drifting. Unfortunately, Han is presumed dead toward the climax of Tokyo Drift after a car explosion. Han shows up in films 4-6 since they take place before Tokyo Drift.
However, The Fast Saga follows the “Never Found the Body” trope, meaning if a character dies and a body is never found, they can still be alive. It happened with Han in F9, as he faked his death to work for Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). Han is slick behind the wheel, refusing to panic, even when he rescues his adopted sibling Elle (Anna Sawai) from Jakob (John Cena). There might be better drivers, but no one looks cooler doing it than Han.
Fast Five is viewed as the turning point in The Fast Saga. The film pivoted from a street racing franchise to an action heist film with more guns, fists, and unrealistic action sequences. Fast Five is one of the best films in the franchise, and that’s due in part to the introduction of DSS Agent Luke Hobbs, played by the electrifying Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Black Adam), as an elite addition to the cast.
Until this point, Dom never had a formidable foe that could stop him, a man who once broke free from handcuffs with his bare hands. Hobbs combines brute force with tactical precision to be the lawman tasked with arresting Dom and his crew, which wasn’t believable in previous films. The big showdown between Johnson and Diesel in Fast Five remains the best one-on-one fight in the franchise. The fight was personal between Dom and Hobbs, maybe too personal, considering Diesel and Johnson’s off-the-set feud. However, a compromise may have been reached as Hobbs may return in a future Fast film, giving fans hope for round two.
The saying goes behind every good man is a great woman. In The Fast Saga, the woman is Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom’s longtime partner and current wife. Letty is a tough fighter and a skilled driver, making her the perfect partner in crime for Dom. Look up the definition of “ride or die,” and there should be a picture of Letty’s face. She risked her own life in Fast & Furious, working with Brian and the FBI to clear Dom’s record.
Though presumed dead in the fourth film, Fast Five revealed Letty was alive, and in Fast & Furious 6, she reunites with Dom and eventually recovers from amnesia to remember the love of her life. I do not know what is in the water in Los Angeles because Letty possesses vast strength and durability. Letty defeated Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6) in a street fight, went toe-to-toe with Ronda Rousey (Furious 7) in high heels, and will take on Cipher (Charlize Theron) in Fast X. My money is on Letty.
The Fast and the Furious begins with one man, Dominic Toretto (Diesel). In the first film, Dom runs an autobody shop with his younger sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), and serves as the patriarch to a group of tight-knit street racers. Throughout The Fast and the Furious, Dom forms a friendship with Brian, a bond tested when he’s revealed to be an undercover cop. However, Brian allows Dom to escape police custody at the end, symbolizing their loving bond that would span 13 years.
Dom believes in four things: his family, his loyalty, his car, and Coronas. At this point, Dom is superhuman, considering all the feats of strength and driving he’s accomplished in two decades. Dom has deadlifted a sports car, survived a head-on car collision with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and leaped out of his car to catch Letty in mid-air, landing safely on a car windshield. Captain America has nothing on Mr. Toretto.
Dominic Toretto is the most important character in the Fast Saga, but Brian O’Connor (Walker) is the heartbeat. Debuting in The Fast and the Furious, O’Conner starts as a wide-eyed undercover police officer trying to infiltrate street racing culture to stop a series of truck hijackings. As the film progresses, Brian becomes enamored with Dom and the code he lives by, something that every character (and audience member) has come to love and appreciate.
Brian’s loyalty and honor are why Dom made him his number two. Brian is a protector, just like Dom, willing to put his own life on the line to save the ones he loves. Plus, he’s the most technical driver in the group, even more so than Dom, who relies on muscle and power. When Walker tragically passed in 2013, not only did the world lose a talented actor, but this franchise temporarily lost its heartbeat. However, the franchise’s commitment to honor Walker’s legacy continues to this day, and the ending of Furious 7 is one of the most beautiful send-offs in movie history.
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