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Every Justin Lin Movie & TV Show Ranked, Worst To Best

Director Justin Lin has not only made numerous classic movies in the Fast & Furious franchise but also has some impressive small-screen efforts that earn a comparison to his big-budget blockbusters. Justin Lin is one of the foremost creative minds behind making the Fast & Furious franchise. Lin turned the racing movie series into an over-the-top action extravaganza, making the franchise into the blockbuster juggernaut it is now.

Since then, Lin has reaped the rewards at the box office, beginning with 2011’s Fast Five. However, before that, Lin also directed the more conventional Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious. The helmer also worked on numerous TV shows such as Community, Scorpion, SWAT, the Magnum PI reboot, and True Detective season 2.

Related: Fast & Furious 9: Will Luke Evans’ Villain Owen Shaw Join Dom’s Crew?

With the Fast & Furious saga’s two-part ending on its way, now is the perfect time to compare Lin’s earlier work with his recent outings. The director’s career trajectory has seen him move from indie comedies to earnest drama before finding a home in action, but not every project pre-Fast & Furious was an unquestionable success. However, Lin is now one of the biggest names in the action genre, something he has more than earned via the many movies and TV shows ranked below.

11. Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift
The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift

2006’s Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift was Lin’s first contribution to the franchise, not that anyone would know from its pedestrian action. Despite moving the action across continents, Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift is otherwise a by-the-numbers addition to the series that adds little not found in its pair of predecessors. The Fast & Furious movies succeeded where XXX struggled precisely because Lin later moved away from director Rob Cohen’s safe, bland action, and this ponderous sequel proves that the franchise would have been doomed if he wasn’t given more freedom to do so.

10. Annapolis
James Franco and Tyrese Gibson in Annapolis

Starring James Franco as a forgettable hero who hopes to join the Navy, Annapolis is a dull drama with little to recommend in its padded runtime. Self-serious and earnest military action is far from Lin’s strong suit, as proven by the critical mauling Annapolis was met with upon release. Unfortunately, most of the ire was earned by this bland and predictable outing, which ended up disowned by even the real-life Navy.

9. Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious

There is objectively not a lot wrong with 2009’s Fast & Furious, save for the fact that it isn’t Fast Five. The fourth movie in the franchise will forever pale in comparison to its followup, which allowed Lin to reboot the series as a larger-than-life, surreally silly chase series. With Justin Lin’s trademark sense of fun held back, Fast & Furious is just fine, which makes for a passable addition to the series but means it can’t hold a candle to the later, more shamelessly silly sequels.

Related: Every James Cameron Horror Movie Ranked

Shopping for Fangs

It is hard to fault the 1997 indie comedy Shopping For Fangs for ambition. A rom-com/thriller/sort-of horror, Shopping For Fangs tells the bizarre intersecting stories of a man becoming a werewolf, a frustrated housewife, and an LGBT affair. As the above synopsis implies, it’s a messy affair, but Lin’s debut has energy and style to spare and John Cho is typically charismatic in his first major role.

7. Finishing the Game
Finishing the Game 2007

Savaged by critics upon release, 2007’s Finishing the Game is evidently a passion project for Lin and one where the director’s enthusiasm for the subject matter shines through its admittedly patchy elements. A mockumentary about Bruce Lee’s final unfinished movie, Finishing the Game is mostly Lin’s chance to take Hollywood and the movie industry to task for racism. The project pulls its punches when it should get serious, but there’s a lot to like about this underrated 2007 release nonetheless.

6. F9
Fast and Furious F9 John Cena Dwayne Johnson

F9’s flaws aside, the long-awaited Fast & Furious sequel is an undeniably fun romp. Charlize Theron’s villain Cypher is wasted in the franchise outing, but there are a string of inventive action sequences to cover up that fact and the cast is as game as ever. F9 is unlikely to be any fan’s favorite installment of the series but, divorced from the hype, it is a fun sequel and feels fresher than any eighth sequel has a right to.

5. Better Luck Tomorrow
Better Luck Tomorrow

Comfortably Lin’s darkest effort to date, Better Luck Tomorrow is a stylish teen thriller. The familiar plot of a good kid getting in with a bad crowd has been before and better, but Better Luck Tomorrow is more believable than Brick and less unwatchable-y harsh than the comparable Bully. It is not as gripping as the superficially similar Alpha Dog, but this is a tense and effective effort that marked Lin out as a talent on the rise.

Related: Every Tim Burton Horror Movie Ranked

4. Warrior
Warrior tv series

HBO Max’s Warrior is Lin’s most ambitiously dark effort since Better Luck Tomorrow, and fortunately, it is even better than that early outing. Set in 1870s San Francisco, Warrior tells the tale of a martial arts fighter who comes to America in search of his sister and finds far more. Unfortunately for protagonist Ah Sahm, “far more” here translates to the most brutal fighting contests since Tony Jaa’s movie heyday. Brutal and bruising, Warrior is also a compelling if sometimes heavy-handed character drama that balances action and quieter moments with grace and finesse.

3. Star Trek: Beyond
Spock and Chekov in Star Trek Beyond

While not as fun as Tarantino’s proposed “Star Trek gangster movie,” Star Trek: Beyond is a more than serviceable addition to the long-running franchise. Lin’s ambitious sequel manages to outdo earlier Star Trek reboots with its focus on fun, although a sprawling cast makes the focus of Star Trek: Beyond a touch too all over the place. Still, as a slice of blockbuster sci-fi action, Star Trek: Beyond more than delivers, and is proof of Lin’s talent for combining propulsive action, humor, and heart even outside of his most famous franchise.

2. Fast & Furious 6
Vin Diesel and Fast and Furious 6 Poster

After the critical success of Fast & Furious 6 in 2013, Lin graciously stepped aside for his frequent collaborator James Wan (master of the jump scare and car chase alike) to direct Paul Walker’s franchise swan song. The emotional impact of Furious 7 often overshadows its immediate predecessor, but Fast & Furious 6 is a wild, cartoony romp that deserves to be seen as one of the best in the series. A demented heist movie filled with ever-more-ludicrous stunts, Fast & Furious 6 is a funny, action-packed, and memorable contribution to the franchise.

1. Fast Five
Dom leading his men into battle in Fast Five.

2011’s Fast Five saw Lin take a major risk by switching the focus of the Fast & Furious movies. After four installments of racing drama, Fast Five reignited interest in the series by turning the Fast & Furious movies into goofy, outrageous heist movies whose escalating action made for addictive viewing. While one star often got credit for saving the series, Jungle Cruise’s failure to replace Pirates of the Caribbean proved that the Rock alone was not responsible for Fast Five’s success. Behind the camera, it was the director’s assured vision for the series that saved Fast Five, making this Justin Lin’s most assured and enjoyable effort so far.

More: Sigourney Weaver’s Sci-Fi Movies Ranked Worst To Best

Key Release Dates Fast X Poster

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The 69-Year Story Behind The Fast And Furious Name


The Fast & Furious franchise started with the 2001 movie The Fast and the Furious and went through several major changes in its sequel titles. The title for the original movie was almost different, with options like Race Wars, but the producer fought for The Fast and the Furious.

As the Fast & Furious series has one of the most recognizable franchise names in cinema, some may be curious as to where its origin came from. The multi-billion-dollar franchise started with 2001’s straightforward street racing movie, The Fast and the Furious, but following that, the series went through several major changes, and that was mirrored in the Fast & Furious sequel movie titles. 2 Fast 2 Furious introduced numbered titles, then The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift immediately dropped that format. The fourquel confused things further with the title Fast & Furious, and it only got more confusing from there. However, every title is still a play on the original 2001 title.

The Fast and the Furious came to fruition following a Vibe magazine article called “Racer X”. Universal had the incredible foresight of seeing how popular street racing would become in the 2000s, and the studio quickly grabbed the movie rights to the article. However, while the movie was originally titled after the article, the studio wasn’t totally satisfied with that name, and many other titles, including Race Wars, were considered. The movie even went into production under the title Redline, but producer Neal Moritz had his mind set on one title that seemed unachievable to get; The Fast and the Furious.

RELATED: Fast & Furious Movies In Order – How (& Where) To Watch By Release Date & Chronologically

The Fast And The Furious Is Named After A 1954 Movie
Dom and Brian sitting on a car with their friends in The Fast and the Furious

Another movie titled The Fast and the Furious already existed, and it was released almost half a century before the 2001 street racing film was released. 1954’s The Fast and the Furious, written by Roger Corman, has nothing to do with street racing as it exists today. The movie follows a prison escapee who kidnaps a rich woman and steals her Jaguar, then ends up in an epic road race that ends in Mexico. While the title perfectly fits the 1954 film, Moritz was desperate to use the title for his own movie that he was producing, having learned about it after seeing a Roger Corman documentary (via Entertainment Weekly).

Moritz detailed how Universal didn’t seem to be completely on board at first. The producer explained, “I called up the head of marketing at Universal the next morning and said ‘Okay, I’ve got the title: The Fast and the Furious!’ And there was just silence on the other end. I was like, ‘Oh, I guess that is the worst title he’s ever heard.’ However, after mulling it over, Universal agreed, and it worked out perfectly, as the whole world now knows that name and it’s synonymous with the Vin Diesel-led franchise. Movie titles are extremely important, and it’s less likely that the movie would have become a billion-dollar franchise if it was titled Race Wars.

Paul Walker smiles in Dom's garage in The Fast and the Furious

Moritz revealed, “we made a deal with Roger to give him the use of some stock footage that Universal owned.” It isn’t clear if Corman ever benefited financially from that footage. In hindsight, he undoubtedly got a terrible deal. The Fast & Furious name is extremely important to the franchise and has made Universal billions. The name has even been used for spinoffs, and Fast & Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw wouldn’t have made $760 million without the name attached to it. However, there was no knowing how huge the franchise became. After all, The Fast and the Furious was originally just a scrappy crime movie based on a magazine article.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Fast X Video Reveals BTS Of Real, Practical Fights In OTT Sequel


The Fast X fight between Letty and Cipher was filmed using practical effects, resulting in a well-choreographed hand-to-hand combat sequence full of emotions. Cipher’s decision to team up with Dom and “La Familia” was out of necessity, but spending time with Letty after escaping prison could lead to her becoming a member of the family. Cipher’s unexplored history with Giselle and her association with Letty could help in mellowing down the former villain and potentially setting up a redemption arc or even a Cipher spin-off.

A new Fast X behind-the-scenes video shows how Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Cipher’s (Charlize Theron) intense fight scene was filmed. Dom and his “La Familia” returned on the big screen in 2023 for the tenth main installment of The Fast Saga. In a major twist, however, instead of butting heads again with Cipher, the primary villain of the franchise for several recent entries, Letty had to team up with her. That didn’t stop Letty from expressing her true feelings about her when they were both captured by the Agency.

Courtesy of Collider is a behind-the-scenes clip from Louis Leterrier’s Fast X that offers a look at how Cipher and Letty’s one-on-one fight scene was filmed. Check out the video below:

The Fast X fight is arguably one of the best choreographed hand-to-hand combat in The Fast Saga, and it’s all because they filmed it with practical effects. The result, coupled with the history between the pair, is an effective action sequence full of emotions.

How Cipher & Letty’s Relationship Evolves In Fast & Furious 11
Cipher wearing a coat in Fast X

Granted that Cipher’s decision to team up with Dom and “La Familia” came from necessity after she was targeted by Jason Momoa’s Dante, spending more time with Letty after escaping prison can lead to her becoming a proper member of “La Familia.” There’s precedent to this, with a few of the recent The Fast Saga villains ending up being redeemed and joining Dom and his crew. This has been the case with Deckard Shaw (despite his attempted murder of Han Lue), and more recently, John Cena’s Jakob, who sacrificed himself in Fast X to save Little B.

Increasing the chances of this happening is Cipher’s unexplored history with Giselle. After she and Letty finally escaped the Agency’s bunk prison, they found themselves in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, Giselle came to the rescue after Cipher notified her of their escape plan. There has never been any indication that Cipher and Giselle know each other before the massive Fast X twist. Making this more surprising is that Giselle has been believed to be dead for several years now. Her association with Giselle could help Letty mellow down on the former villain when they all return for Fast and Furious 11.

RELATED: Fast X Cliffhanger Ending Explained

Perhaps, this unexpected turn could be a set-up for the in-development Cipher spin-off. Specific plot details about the project are currently scant, with Universal still not announcing a tentative release date. Nevertheless, the events of Fast X could be the start of her redemption arc, with her relationship with Letty functioning as a barometer of whether viewers can finally forgive her for all of her transgressions.

Source: Collider

Key Release Dates Fast and Furious 11 temp poster

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10 Characters Who Should Be In It


Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty is the franchise’s biggest female character and the obvious pick to lead the all-female spinoff. Jordana Brewster’s Mia deserves a big role in the spinoff to expand on her character and showcase her growth. Brie Larson’s Tess is needed in the spinoff to explore the mystery surrounding her character and add her engaging screen presence to the team.

The Fast & Furious saga is meant to continue with an all-female-led movie, and casting the returning characters presents exciting options. An all-female spinoff could be the perfect way to continue the Fast &Furious story, as it will be able to retain the elements of the franchise that make it iconic while offering a new perspective. From the beginning, the franchise has been very male-dominated, and told male-centric stories, so offering the high-octane thrills of a Fast & Furious movie from a female perspective could be a welcome change of pace.

The series is known for having an all-star cast, so any female spinoff will have to match the previous films. Thankfully, the franchise already has several incredible female movie stars. Fast X, the latest film in the franchise, introduced and reintroduced some exciting female characters, setting the groundwork for the upcoming Fast & Furious movie. Obviously, whatever happens in the next film will determine who will be on the team and what side they will fight for. The franchise already has a healthy supply of female characters, both good and evil, who can factor into a Fast & Furious female spinoff.


Related Fast X Proves How Great A Fast & Furious Female Spinoff Would Be The idea of an all-female spinoff is more exciting than Fast & Furious 11, with Fast X providing the blueprint for just how well it could work.

10 Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Can Lead The Fast Spinoff Ensemble
She’s the franchise’s biggest female character

Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty has been a key member of the Fast family since the first movie, and no female spinoff would feel right without her leading the team. Dominic Toretto’s wife is one of the fastest drivers in the world. Letty has made her way from street racer to international woman of mystery, becoming one of the franchise’s best characters in the process. Rodriguez is an incredibly engaging screen presence thanks to her charisma and action pedigree. An all-female action movie is right in her wheelhouse, making her the obvious pick for the lead in the movie.

9 Jordana Brewster’s Mia Deserves A Big Role
The Toretto family member has been sidelined recently

Another extension of the Toretto family tree, Jordana Brewster’s Mia is Dom’s brother and the wife of Paul Walker’s Brian. Since Walker’s tragic death, as well as the introduction of countless new characters, Mia has been sidelined in recent films, which is a shame because she is one of the best parts of the earlier films. A spinoff with just the women could be a great time to expand on Mia’s character and see how she has grown over the past couple of years, especially now that she is the mother of two. Brewster is an underrated talent, and Mia should be heavily involved in whatever spinoff the filmmakers plan.

8 Brie Larson’s Tess Is Needed After Fast X Introduction
Mr. Nobody’s daughter has a bright future
Brie Larson as Tess firing a gun in Fast X

Fast X introduced several new faces to the franchise, but perhaps most notably was Brie Larson as Tess “Nobody”, a secret agent on a quest to protect Dom and his family. Larson had relatively little screen time in the movie, and her introduction felt like it was mostly included to set up a future spinoff. The Oscar winner is the perfect name to include in a spinoff. Larson is an incredibly engaging and vulnerable screen presence and a great addition to the team. As her family name would imply, there is still a lot of mystery about Tess that this spinoff could explore.

7 Ramsey’s Return Can Give Nathalie Emmanuel A Major Role
The hacker has a growing set of skills
Nathalie Emmanuel in Fast and Furious 7.

After her first appearance in Furious 7, Nathalie Emmanuel’s Ramsey has been the Fast team’s resident hacker and tech wiz. The Game of Thrones star has mostly been used for exposition and comic relief since joining the team, but Ramsey has a distinctive style and skill set that would make her a great addition to the female spinoff. While Mia and Letty are great drivers, Ramsey has skills in the digital realm that could help the team on whatever mission they are on. It would also be interesting to see how Ramsey functions outside the trio of her, Tej, and Roman.

Cars and an image of Vin Diesel looking surprised in the Fast & Furious franchise Related Fast & Furious Showed How To Continue The Franchise After Vin Diesel 17 Years Ago (With A Catch) Fast & Furious finds itself at a crossroads with the end nearing, and Universal should look to the franchise’s most underrated movie for inspiration.

6 Daniela Melchior’s Return As Isabel Gives The Spinoff More Legacy
Isabel is the sister of Elena
Isabel (Daniela Melchior) in a car at a street race in Fast X

For a while, Elsa Pataky’s Elena was viewed as an obvious candidate to appear in a Fast & Furious female spinoff. However, after her untimely demise in The Fate of the Furious, her younger sister can fill that void. Another new female protagonist introduced in Fast X, Daniela Melchior’s Isabel also felt like she was included mostly to set up this future spinoff. Melchior is one of the more promising young actors to pop up this decade, and her work in The Suicide Squad proves she is more than ready to have a large part in a team-up action movie.

5 Gal Gadot’s Place In The Fast Spinoff As Gisele Is Likely
Fast X confirmed Gisele is still alive

Gal Gadot made her return to Fast and Furious in the final moments of Fast X’s ending, which confirmed that Gisele is alive after Fast & Furious 6. The character’s return had been speculated for a long time, and audiences should see much more of her now that her fate is confirmed. A Fast & Furious female spinoff can answer lingering questions about Gisele’s life, such as how she survived falling from a plane or what she’s been doing for the last several years. The movie can also finally give Gisele a prominent role in the franchise once again.

4 Charlize Theron’s Cipher Could Play Both Sides In The Spinoff
The franchise’s villain is not to be trusted

In both The Fate of the Furious and F9: The Fast Saga, Charlize Theron’s Cipher served as the franchise’s primary antagonist. While Fast X puts her allegiance into question, she is still one of the best villains in all of Fast and Furious and would make an excellent baddie for the all-women team to go up against. While Cipher could be a reluctant ally to the team, Theron is just much more fun hamming it up as the bad guy, and the film could serve as a fitting conclusion to her movie-spanning scheme.

3 Eva Mendes Can Return As Monica Fuentes At Long Last
She hasn’t been seen since Fast Five
Monica Fuentes pointing a rifle in 2 Fast 2 Furious.

The Fast & Furious female spinoff would also be a great opportunity to finally bring back Eva Mendes as Monica Fuentes. Following her debut in 2 Fast 2 Furious, she returned briefly in Fast Five’s post-credits scene. Eva Mendes has since mostly retired from acting, leaving audiences without a chance to see Monica’s story continue. A Fast X Easter egg did provide a reminder of her presence in the franchise. This could be to help set up her appearance in Fast 11, but a return alongside the franchise’s biggest female characters would be more fitting.

2 Vanessa Kirby’s Hattie Needs To Crossover With The Main Franchise
She’s from the franchise’s only current spinoff
Vanessa Kirby in Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw

Only appearing in Hobbs & Shaw, Vanessa Kirby’s Hattie is the third sibling in the Shaw family and one of the most dangerous women in the Fast universe. She was a scene-stealing presence in the previous Fast & Furious spinoff movie that left audiences wanting more. It would be great to see Kirby return for an even bigger role in the franchise spinoff, allowing her to interact with some of the other prominent characters along the way.

1 Helen Mirren’s Queenie Should Be The Female Ensemble’s Mentor
She’s become a frequent face
Dom Toretto and Queenie Shaw in Fast and Furious

With her appearances in the past four movies, including Hobbs & Shaw, Helen Mirren has become a surprising mainstay of the Fast & Furious franchise. Her role as British gangster Queenie is such a fun role for the Dame, and her time in the universe should continue especially in the all-female spinoff. Mirren’s roles in the movies have mostly been one-scene cameos, so this film could be a great space to expand the character and give her a chance to interact with more actors than just Vin Diesel.

Fast X Poster Fast X Release Date: 2023-05-19 Director: Louis Leterrier Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Brie Larson, Scott Eastwood, Jason Momoa Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 141 Minutes Genres: Action, Adventure, Crime Writers: Justin Lin, Dan Mazeau, Gary Scott Thompson Budget: $340 Million Studio(s): Universal Pictures Distributor(s): Universal Pictures Sequel(s): Fast and Furious 11, Fast & Furious 12 prequel(s): Fast & Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Fast And The Furious, Fast 5, Fast and Furious 6, Furious 7, Fast and Furious 8, F9: The Fast Saga1 Franchise(s): Fast and Furious

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