1. Fast Five (2011)
The appeal is simple: What if The Fast and Furious were more like Ocean's Eleven? What if the ending involved the theft of a bank vault getting pulled by Dom and Brian's cars with cables and tossed around the streets of Brazil like a vengeful Rubik's Cube? And, uh, what if The Rock wore a tiny Under Armour shirt, carried a huge gun, and said "son of a bitch" a bunch? If you're a certain type of idiot, the answer to all these questions is: "Inject that shit in my veins right now." Fast Five is like a drug. A very loud, stupid, and joyful drug. Every Fast movie since has been an attempt to chase the high; none has succeeded. But we keep coming back. Speed kills.
By pivoting into heist-caper territory, opening up the series to bigger stars, and plucking the most charming cast members from the previous films, director Justin Lin and series writer Chris Morgan (who's penned every entry since Tokyo Drift) made their magnum opus here, an exploding Hot Wheels playset of juvenile comedy, lunkheaded melodrama, and eyebrow-singing action. The jokes mostly work. The scenes of characters talking are bearable, even poignant at times. Metal collides with metal in surreal ways that would make J.G. Ballard chortle in ecstasy. As a piece of market-savvy car porn, it's a cynical rebranding for a global audience. As a Fast and Furious movie, a macho fantasy, and a utopian vision of a world where The Rock is airlifted into every action franchise to provide a kick in the teeth, it's the ultimate family vacation. -- Dan Jackson