It all started in 2001 with the very first movie: The Fast and the Furious. Since then the Fast & Furious franchise has grown and so has the family as big names like Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Gal Gadot, and Charlize Theron joined Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez.
In the beginning, it seemed that much like that other hit movie franchise, Mission: Impossible, Fast & Furious was set to switch directors from film to film. However, just as Mission: Impossible started to bring back Christopher McQuarrie, so did Fast & Furious keep coming back to the same man. Here are the sizzling talents behind the nine films, plus its spin-off.
Directed: The Fast and the Furious
The very first film in the franchise was directed by Rob Cohen whose action creds included films like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Dragonheart. Although The Fast and the Furious received a lukewarm response from critics, it was embraced by audiences worldwide launching a franchise that would smash the box office repeatedly in the decades to follow.
Directed: 2 Fast 2 Furious
John Singleton made a name for himself with his debut feature, Boyz n the Hood. He followed his successful coming-of-age film with more heavy-hitting drama in Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, and Rosewood, before focusing on action with 2000’s Shaft. Shortly thereafter he joined the Fast & Furious franchise, directing the first sequel. Sadly, Singleton passed away in 2019.
Directed: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, F9
If we include Hobbs & Shaw, there have been ten Fast & Furious features to date. Justin Lin has directed half of those. Lin came to the fore in 2002 with his film Better Luck Tomorrow. It wouldn’t be until 2006 that his first Fast & Furious film was released: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Since then Lin has become the only director to return to the franchise. He’s back this year with the franchise’s latest instalment, F9.
Directed: Furious 7
When James Wan joined the franchise, he knew how to get audiences to the edge of their seats. But not for the reasons you may think. Wan was a well-established horror director, having scared us witless with movies like Saw, The Conjuring, and two chapters of Insidious. He turned his ability from thrilling audiences with scares to thrilling them with mind-blowing action in Furious 7 as he delivered some of the franchise’s craziest stunts as cars leapt between buildings and dropped out of planes.
F. Gary Gray
Directed: The Fate of the Furious
When F. Gary Gray joined the franchise, it wasn’t his first time directing Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, or cars. Gray had worked with Diesel in A Man Apart and brought Mini Cooper action to the screen with Theron in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. The Fate of the Furious posed the challenge of pitting Dom against the family and was also the first film without Paul Walker, after his untimely death. But Gray delivered on the action and the heart, while cementing the blossoming bromance between Hobbs and Shaw.
Watch Fast & Furious 1 – 8 from 21 – 30 May on the M-Net Movies Fast & Furious pop-up channel 111.
Directed: Hobbs & Shaw
Leitch is well-versed in action having directed Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, and co-directed John Wick. He’s also a stuntman having shot, kicked, punched, leapt, and jumped his way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fight Club, Ocean’s Eleven, two Matrix movies, 300, and two Bourne movies, just to name a few. So he’s a good guy to have around when directing a punch up between a couple of actors well-known for their fighting prowess.
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Universal: Justin Lin, John Singleton, James Wan, F. Gary Gray, David Leitch
Alamy: Rob Cohen