Who doesn’t love the “Fast & Furious” movies? They’re wild, they’re completely insane, they don’t take themselves too seriously (if at all), and they’re each absolutely packed to the gills with more incredible stunts and action than the last chapter.
It’s even more impressive when you look back at how the whole franchise got rolling. Beginning with 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious”, the series placed its focus on the culture of urban street racing, while bringing a pretty unmistakable “Point Break” influence along with it. After maintaining that formula for a few movies, the “Fast & Furious” series morphed into what we know it as today with its fifth entry, 2011’s “Fast Five”. From here, the franchise would only get crazier and more off-the-chain with each subsequent entry, with higher stakes, more jaw-dropping stunts, and some of the most over-the-top automotive action the world has ever seen.
However, the “Fast & Furious” movies would also evolve in another way. The series had never been terribly big on martial arts action with its first few chapters. But today, it’s become as much a staple of the series as its car chases, bank heists, and stunt work. The “Fast & Furious” films have expanded their scope so much that each new installment of the series is now a must-see for the diehards of fighting action too.
Of course, with names like Jason Statham, Ronda Rousey, Joe Taslim, Tony Jaa, Gina Carano, and The Rock now among the heavy-hitters of the franchise, that’s only to be expected. And, as you’ve no doubt already guessed, that can only mean it’s time for another countdown of some great smackdowns.
So dear readers, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for this pedal-to-the-metal ride, going a quarter-mile at a time – here (in descending order) is KFK’s rundown of the Top 10 Fast & FUrious Movie Fights!
- Hobbs & Shaw’s intro — Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- The Subway Fight — Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- The Baby Rescue — The Fate of the Furious (2017)
- The Hallway Battle — Hobbs & Shaw
- Battle in the Cargo Hold — Fast & Furious 6
- Brian vs Kiet — Furious 7 (2015)
- The Prison Riot Escape — The Fate of the Furious
- Hobbs vs Dom — Fast Five (2011)
- Hobbs vs Shaw — Furious 7
Our titular heroes don’t actually meet to team up again until about twenty minutes into “Hobbs & Shaw”, so it’s prudent to see what each of them has been up to since “The Fate of the Furious”.
However, we soon come to find that even before their reluctant team-up, Hobbs & Shaw are both working parallel cases leading them to the villainous Brixton Lore and Eteon terrorist group. They both need answers fast, and they aim to get them the only way they know how.
Right out of the gate, the film is effectively hitting us with two action scenes for the price of one. But more importantly, it’s a framing device for both the differences and similarities between our two protagonists, both of whom could’ve kicked the film off splendidly on an individual level, together however, they are absolutely dynamite.
Additionally, the opening set piece of “Hobbs & Shaw” plants the seed for an action sequence later in the film that does bring our two heroes together, but we’ll get to that in a minute!
After the series’ meteoric launch to the stars in “Fast Five”, the “Fast & Furious” movies would begin their ongoing trend of getting more outlandish, more off-the-planet and more bonkers with each ensuing chapter.
With “Fast Five” having injected more hand-to-hand action than the franchise had ever seen before, and having accomplished that feat so marvellously, “Fast & Furious 6” had to keep pace. Enter Joe Taslim and Gina Carano. Mr. Taslim, of course, had broken out the year before with Gareth Evans’ masterpiece “The Raid”, while Ms. Carano was instrumental in bringing Women’s MMA into the mainstream.
That, of course, made them a couple of naturals for “Fast & Furious 6”, and with their side-by-side smackdowns with Dom’s crew in a London subway, it’s another case of two furious battles for the price of one.
Joe’s physical portrayal of the vicious ‘Jah’ is in stark contrast to the upstanding police sergeant ‘Jaka’, whom audiences had seen him as, a year prior. And (spoiler warning) Gina’s face off with Michelle Rodriguez takes on a quite a different context by the end of the film.
“Fast & Furious 6” would mark the first time the series would rope in an MMA fighter and an Asian action star, and as followers of the franchise can attest, it certainly wouldn’t be the last!
Bet you didn’t think you’d see the “Fast & Furious” movies offer up something like this after “Furious 7”, did you? Well, as it turns out, keeping Deckard Shaw alive following the end of the franchise’s seventh chapter was one of the smartest moves the “Fast & Furious” series has ever made.
Sure, the subsequent films have had to perform a rather impressive feat of mental gymnastics to complete his transition from evildoer to anti-hero. But really, Shaw was already one of Jason Statham’s most memorable and charismatic characters even when he was a villain, and he’s that much more so in the role he’s shifted to in the series.
“The Fate of the Furious” shows just how much of a new leaf he’s turned over with Shaw’s rescue of Dom’s infant child while 30,000 feet in the air aboard a private airplane. It’s a true exercise in the art of contrast – Shaw bulldozes past every henchman in his path, while taking the intermittent opportunity to care for the infant he’s rescuing, who’s completely unaware of the smackdown going on around him, thanks to an oversized headset!
Audiences may have once cheered for Shaw’s defeat, but from this moment forward, we’ve consistently cheered for his victory.
Hobbs & Shaw may have begun as enemies, and quite destructively so, as seen in their first encounter in “Furious 7”. However, their eponymous spin-off would force them to set aside their differences and join forces for the greater good. And while the fate of the world may be enough to at least get them on the same page (following an expletive-saturated initial refusal), they still can’t help but try to constantly one-up each other along the way.
That proves to be thematically appropriate for the film’s premise, and injects plenty of levity into the action scenes. Case-in-point – Hobbs & Shaw’s parallel hallway battles. Hobbs is tasked with taking out a single henchman, albeit one three heads taller than him. Shaw, meanwhile, has to maneuver through a dozen adversaries to get to the retinal scanner at the end of the hallway – which itself becomes the punchline of the set piece.
Which is a more impressive feat – taking down one huge opponent or a swarm of smaller ones? Hobbs & Shaw both think they know the answer to that question, but that, of course, is irrelevant to those of us in the audience, who are just along for the ride!
Yeah, pretty much everyone has addressed the fact that the finale of “Fast & Furious 6” takes place on what has to be the longest airport runway in the free world. And sure, Owen Shaw’s role and that of his brother, Deckard, would get a little morally convoluted as the series progressed. But, by this point, the “Fast & Furious” movies had abandoned their more grounded, B-movie roots, having not the slightest concern for anything other than giving the audience a great time at the movies.
Where Hobbs and Dom were enemies in “Fast Five”, they were now fighting side-by-side against terrorist masterminds and psychotic muscle men, akin to a WWE match in a cargo plane. Indeed, that’s actually about as apt an analogy as you can give here, as the design of the cargo hold showdown is predicated more heavily on The Rock’s WWE days than any other “Fast & Furious” fight sequence. Don’t think so? Look no further than how Hobbs and Dom double-team their opponent at 2:36, and then let’s talk…
“Fast & Furious 6” continued their series’ upward trajectory to new heights of sublime, ridiculous, and endlessly-captivating action-movie glory, with its runway showdown, an all-time Hall of Famer for the series.
There’s no shortage of reasons why 2015’s “Furious 7” will forever be a hallmark of the “Fast & Furious” series, but one of them needs no further explanation among action aficionados. Simply put, “Furious 7” has Tony Jaa!
2015 actually marked a bit of a banner year for Tony personally, as it saw him make the transition to both Hollywood and Hong Kong, with “Skin Trade” and “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences” also dropping that year, and Tony throwing down the gauntlet in each as pure Muay Thai royalty.
“Furious 7” would also see veteran horror director, James Wan make the leap to action filmmaking, as well, which he would later continue with 2018’s “Aquaman”, and it was a match made in heaven. Tony’s character ‘Kiet’ serves as the major opponent for series veteran, Brian O’Connor, played by Paul Walker. For their final showdown, there’s even a warm-up of sorts, with Tony’s engaging in a little parkour to catch up to his enemy, before he and Brian find themselves literally door-surfing into their exhilarating final battle.
Needless to say, Tony’s involvement in “Furious 7” only goes to show just how much martial arts action has been injected into the “Fast & Furious” movies, and how much the entire series has been strengthened as a result. Sadly, Paul Walker’s tragic passing in 2013 would be another of the major factors contributing to the legacy of “Furious 7” within the larger series. But the film is as fitting a send-off of one of its core leading men as one could ever ask for, and for Brian Connor’s swan song in the “Fast & Furious” series, there could truly be no greater honor than to go toe-to-toe with Tony Jaa!
Well, who doesn’t love a solid prison riot in an action movie? Even better, the prison riot in “The Fate of the Furious” brings Hobbs & Shaw face-to-face for more verbal sparring about who won their previous rumble, while laying the foundation for their later buddy-cop team-up in their eponymous spin-off.
After Hobbs is wrongfully imprisoned alongside his former adversary, both he and Shaw get a shot at escaping captivity during a prison riot, and Shaw is far from the only old enemy that Hobbs now finds himself in the big house with.
Indeed, one prisoner decides opportunity has come knocking for some payback against his arresting officer, giving way to another gem in Hobbs’ bottomless grab-bag of one-liners throughout the series.
Both Hobbs & Shaw make quick work of their captors and fellow inmates, but the film pulls that old “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Best Indie Fights anyone?) trick on anyone expecting a rematch. And frankly, with how great a duo Hobbs & Shaw really are, we’re better for it. Be sure to watch out for stunt pro extraordinaire Larnell Stovall among the inmates, and check out “The Fate of the Furious” prison riot on KFK’s countdown of the Top 10 Prison Fights, too!
2011’s “Fast Five” marked a major turning point for the “Fast & Furious” series. What began as “Point Break’ with street-racing” in its earlier installments transitioned into a globe-trotting heist film, and one of the best action movies of the new millennium.
There are a myriad of factors that contributed to “Fast Five” catapaulting the series to the heights it’s risen to today, but there was one that was absolutely integral to that equation. Two words – Luke Hobbs. The breakout character of “Fast Five”, Hobbs would become The Rock’s signature role over the series’ subsequent entries, and with good reason.
A mountain of muscle and a dedicated law enforcement agent, The Rock’s portrayal of Hobbs would blast the series right into the stratosphere. The stunts and chases in “Fast Five” – ranging from a cliffside train heist to a high-speed chase with our heroes towing a bank vault through the streets of Rio de Janeiro – are still among the best of the last decade.
However, the film would also completely blow the lid off with Hobbs’ blistering, and quite-literally wall-smashing smackdown with Dominic Toretto. The “Fast & Furious” movies had done precious little to dip their toes into fighting action by this point, but “Fast Five” dove in head-first with just how much Hobbs and Dom put each other through the ringer here. It’s worth the ticket price of “Fast Five” all by itself, and if you haven’t seen it yet, get on that ASAP!
If you’re a fan of “Hobbs & Shaw”, you have James Wan’s “Furious 7” to thank for it.
Our constantly head-butting reluctant buddy-cop duo first crossed paths on Hobbs’ home turf, and left the DSS headquarters in shambles by the time they finished laying each other out.
Jason Statham’s entry into the “Fast & Furious” series had originally been teased at the end of “Fast & Furious 6”, which jumped through a few hoops, and rather splendidly so, to reorganize the series’ continuity with a single post-credits kicker.
Where 2006’s “Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift” had once been more of a side-story in the larger franchise, it was now an integral fulcrum on which the whole series swung. Of course, none of that would’ve mattered if Deckard Shaw’s grand debut in “Furious 7” had landed with a thud, but fortunately, it got the show rolling with one of the best fights in the respective careers of both Jason Statham and The Rock.
Needless to say, it wouldn’t take long for Shaw’s role in the larger “Fast and Furious” story to do a complete 180, but audiences knew he was destined to become one of the series’ most beloved characters, whether as anti-hero or outright villain. And it all began with his fight with Luke Hobbs in “Furious 7”, with both combatants heavily debating the true victor later on in “The Fate of the Furious”.
Be sure to check out KFK’sTop 10 list of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Movie Fights, where Hobbs vs Shaw deservedly holds a place of honor!
…and in at #1 is….
Hobbs & Shaw vs Brixton Lore — Hobbs & Shaw
Back in 2014, stunt veterans Chad Stahelski and David Leitch made the leap to action filmmaking with their co-directing role on “John Wick“. Fast forward to summer 2019, and both are flying solo with “John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum” in May and “Hobbs & Shaw” in August.
Talk about the perfect way to bookend the summer movie season! Under David’s direction, “Hobbs & Shaw” brings our titular duo head-to-head against a literal supervillain in the form of the cybernetically enhanced Brixton Lore, played by Idris Elba.
The “Fast & Furious” series has seen its share of engaging villains, but none have been as much of a blast of scenery-chewing bluster and machismo to witness as Mr. Elba. Additionally, the chemistry of The Rock and Jason Statham as head-butting reluctant allies is worthy of Riggs and Murtaugh in the buddy-cop movie pantheon.
All three come to a head in the film’s climactic showdown on a rain-drenched rocky cliffside of Samoa, and never has the “Fast & Furious” series delivered a fight scene this glorious.
Hobbs & Shaw’s methodology for overcoming Brixton’s cybernetic advantages gives way to a veritable montage of money shots. David Leitch also amps up the action with speed-ramping to sell the power and awe-factor of each hit, a clear influence carried over from his work as a stuntman on Zack Snyder’s “300”.
Great minds truly do think alike, and the final showdown of “Hobbs & Shaw” taking the throne of the greatest fight sequence of the “Fast & Furious” series is iron-clad proof of that!