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Fast and Furious Villains Ranked From Worst to Best - Collider.com

Fast and Furious Villains Ranked From Worst to Best - Collider.com
Entertainment
Thats not to say that every antagonist in this series has been abysmal, but villains arent usually where the focus of these movies lie. Fast & Furious is about fast cars and family; villains are usually around to serve as obstacles to those qualities, not richly defined or campily entertaining creations in their own right. Still, that doesnt mean the villain roles in these features are entirely disposable.

For one thing, some enjoyable baddies have managed to emerge in later installments of this saga, and charting these villains reflects the overall evolution of this series. Just as these Fast & Furious films started with characters hustling DVD players before transforming into a globe-trotting action series, so too have its villains evolved from grounded gangsters to larger-than-life supervillains portrayed by A-list performers.

Villains may not be an essential part of this franchise but theyre still a fixture of Fast & Furious whose varying degrees of quality can speak a lot about the individual movies they inhabit. To explore this concept, lets look at the villains of Fast & Furious ranked from worst to best, starting with the first antagonist Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and company faced off against.

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It took a while for the Fast & Furious movies to really find their creative footing. So too did this franchises villains take their sweet time becoming memorable creations. Case in point: Johnny Tran (Rick Yune), the antagonist of The Fast and the Furious. Tran is one of many aspects of this movie suffering from the amateurish writing in this installment. Hes just not developed as anything remotely interesting either in his personality or in his relationship with Dominic Toretto.

Glimmers of potential dimensions, such as Yune expressing flashes of an enjoyable bad boy charm or an explicit depiction of him having a strained relationship with his father, end up going nowhere. The confidence that would inform this franchises best set pieces was not around yet in The Fast and the Furious, as seen in the woefully generic villain Johnny Tran.

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One of several drug-affiliated crime lords to square off against Toretto and company in early Fast & Furious installments, the most notable thing about Artur Braga is that hes played by John Ortiz. This character largely plays buttoned-up authority figures in projects ranging from Ad Astra to The Fallout, so its at least interesting to see him play against type here as what ends up being a smarmy gangster.

The novelty of such casting cant make up for the fact that Braga isnt all that memorable. Partially, this is because he has to keep his identity concealed for much of the movies runtime, with the character primarily going under the alias Ramon Campos. However, even considering this trait, hes still just not very compelling in either of his personas. Its cool that a talented actor like Ortiz got to play against type in a blockbuster movie like this, but he and the audience deserved a more fully rounded role.

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Fast Five villain Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) is clearly modeled after many classic heist movie antagonists, like Andy Garcia in Oceans Eleven. Hes rich, hes corrupt, and hes supposed to serve as an upper-crust foil to the more scrappy protagonists. Given that the creators of Fast Five have been open about making this installment in the mold of a heist film, it makes sense for Reyes to adhere to these traits. Unfortunately, hes a flat rendering of that archetype with the script failing to find time to give Reyes much of a distinct personality that can help him leave a lasting impression.

Part of the problem with Reyes is that hes not the only antagonist in this story. While hes the main villain everyone teams up to take down in the end, much of Fast Five sees federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) as the one that Toretto and his family have to square off against. Reyes can never emerge from the shadow of Hobbs despite being portrayed by a talented performer like de Almedia. The stars in Fast Five are the increased-in-scale automobile stunts and Johnsons charisma. Sadly, as a result of this emphasis, Reyes draws the short straw and never develops beyond being an imitation of classic heist movie villains.

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In Furious 7, moviegoers got two baddies for the price of one, with warlord Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) serving as an antagonist alongside principal adversary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Unfortunately, having to play second fiddle against Shaw ensures that Jakande doesnt leave much of an impact in his minimal amount of screentime. Hes only got a personal connection with one of the films heroes (Nathalie Emmanuels tech-savvy newcomer) and his presence in the climax is extraneous. Said presence consists of Hounsou stomping around in a plane and yelling in confusion as Toretto and company keep evading him. Hes not exactly the kind of character that captures your imagination.

Worst of all, the role is part of a larger trend of Hounsou getting underserved in blockbuster films. Between this, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Legend of Tarzan, A Quite Place Part II, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Hounsou cant seem to get a big-budget role worthy of his many talents as a performer. Jakande would have been an underwhelming villain under any circumstances but he proves especially frustrating considering how he reflects a broader troublesome trend in the kind of roles Hounsou is offered.

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Sometimes, you just need one scene to leave an impression. For Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) in 2 Fast 2 Furious, such a scene comes when he interrogates a detective by placing a rat trapped in a glass on his chest. As Verone brags about how the rat will tear through anything, including human flesh, to escape, one cant help but recoil at the creative gruesomeness this crime lord is capable of. A villain with a penchant for unique forms of torture is certainly one way to immediately make this guy stand out from other Fast & Furious villains.

Unfortunately, the rest of Verones screentime is much more pedestrian. For the most part, hes a criminal who could have wandered in from any movie. Even the way hes dispatched isnt anything to write home about. Instead of giving this sociopath a memorable death, hes merely arrested and sent off to prison. Verone really only comes alive as a character for one scene in 2 Fast 2 Furious, but oh what a scene it is.

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Universal

Hot off solidifying her action movie bona fidas in Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron joined the Fast & Furious franchise as new baddie Cipher. A figure from Dominic Torettos past with access to the kind of technology that makes Elon Musk look like Fred Flintstone, on paper, Cipher sounds like a recipe for a classic villain. While Theron brings an intimidating and assured screen presence, its strange that a movie this ludicrous produces a villain this restrained. The Fast & Furious franchises aversion to embracing truly stylized baddies, unfortunately, continues here and leaves Theron without much of a substantive character to play.

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Brian Tees Tokyo Drift character Takashi gets a boost from the more modest aims of this title. Despite being helmed by Justin Lin, the filmmaker who would take the Fast & Furious series to new heights of spectacle in subsequent installments, Tokyo Drift is content to play out as a classical fish-out-of-water tale about Lucas Blacks high-schooler coming into his own on the Tokyo racing scene. The traditional nature of the production means that Takashi functions as basically just an elevated schoolyard bully. Theres not much in the way of ambiguity or specific details to the character, but he fits the movie he inhabits, and Tee delivers a solid performance in the role.

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Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) marked a turning point for the Fast & Furious franchise. Rather than facing off against run-of-the-mill gangsters, Fast & Furious 6 antagonist Shaw would be a much bigger deala guy with goals as big as this blockbusters budget. He also had a more personal connection to the heroes thanks to one of his closest allies being a resurrected Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Oh, and hes also basically the mirror universe version of Dominic Toretto complete with a crew of doppelgangers for each member of Torettos family. Shaws got a lot more to offer than typical Fast & Furious baddies. Not all of these details get explored to their maximum potential, they do ensure he sticks around in your memory longer than your average adversary in this series.

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The Fast & Furious series fully embraces science-fiction material with the Hobbs & Shaw baddie Brixton (Idris Elba), a character whos been upgraded with a slew of robotic enhancements. This cyborg is the ultimate killing machine and makes for an imposing for the two titular leads to square off against. Brixton is far from a perfect antagonist. For one thing, hes yet another renegade environmentalist, a bizarrely common character trope in late 2010s blockbusters. Futhermore, giving him a mysterious superior to report to undercuts the characters presence in favor of tedious sequel set-up.

Still, Elba is having a blast in the role and that accounts for a lot. Plus, Hobbs & Shaw isnt afraid to lean into the inherently ridiculous nature of Brixton and give him some fun over-the-top flourishes. Not a lot of Fast & Furious villains use flamethrowers to interrogate people, but Brixton sure does. Similarly, prior foes in this series didnt have a self-aware motorcycle companion but guess whos right by Brixtons side throughout Hobbs & Shaw. The fact that Braxtons eventually dispatched by Hobbs & Shaw realizing they simply have to punch him simultaneously makes this guy the kind of endearingly goofy antagonist the Fast & Furious movies could use more of.

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Theres no one else that could occupy the top spot here. To date, Shaw is the only Fast & Furious villain whose been given the time to evolve over multiple movies. Even more than that, though, his presence in Furious 7 allows him to serve as one of the more thematically interesting villains in this saga. Shaws only motivation for hunting down Dominic Toretto and his family is out of vengeance for his brother, Owen Shaw. Like Toretto and company, Shaw is motivated not by wealth or power but by family.
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