The Fast and Furious franchise has been around for over 20 years now, inundating viewers with everything from neon street racing to exploding submarines. Throughout that time, the franchise has introduced a crowded and colorful rogues’ gallery worthy of Batman’s. These antagonists admittedly vary in their effectiveness in each installment, but it seems that each evil character is able to provide just enough opportunities for destruction to uphold a nitrous-fueled action franchise. With Fast Xthe franchise is bringing in yet another big name with Jason Momoa, who plays the film’s villain. Momoa’s Dante Reyes marks one of many villains to challenge the Fast crew, and he has some big shoes to fill.
The Fast and Furious franchise has never been renowned for creating compelling villains, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely forgettable. With bigger movies come villains played by more well-known actors like Charlize Theron. In more than 10 movies, a few villains in the Fast franchise stand above the rest and deserve proper recognition for their entertainingly evil ways.
10. Johnny Tran (The Fast and the Furious)
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While The Fast and the Furious kicked off an unbelievably successful franchise, it sure wasn’t because of its main villain. The movie features Rick Yune as Johnny Tran, a small-time criminal who oversees a gang similar to Dom’s own. Tran is no doubt a great driver, and Yune plays the character with a certain bad-boy charm, but this villain mostly feels forgettable.
There’s not much there in the script for Tran, likely because the movie focused on the Dom-Brian relationship (for good reason). There was a lot of potential with Tran, but The Fast and the Furious just doesn’t seem to care enough about the generic character to make him at all compelling.
DK “Drift King” Takashi kicks off Tokyo Drift with a pretty awesome drift-heavy race sequence in a parking garage, but Takashi as an overall villain falls short in this installment. The Yakuza gangster is set on maintaining his status as Tokyo’s best drift racer, but Takashi comes off more as a spoiled brat than an intimidating villain.
His uncle, the leader of Tokyo’s mafia organization, has more ideas than Takashi himself, and all DK tries to do is impress him. DK, played by Brian Tee, doesn’t have much ambiguity or complexity, but he serves Tokyo Drift fine enough.
Arturo Braga (John Ortiz), the drug-trafficking antagonist of Fast & Furiousis a standard villain who never really rises above his dastardly role. The character is largely forgettable, but he does have some nice moments in the fourth film, which serves as a sort of turning point for the franchise. Fast 4 marks the second time Justin Lin’s sat in the director chair for the franchise, and the rest of the series no doubt took what Lin did in this movie and ran with it.
The film feels much more like the newer movies as compared to the street racing vibes of the first three installments, and Braga’s role has much to do with that shift to action. Braga’s villainy is proved early on with his (supposed) killing of Letty, but his viciousness isn’t illustrated much after that point. His sidekick, Fenix, has some intimidating moments, but Braga as a whole serves more as a vehicle for the plot than an interesting character in his own right.
Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) is a perfect match for 2 Fast 2 Furious‘ slick Miami setting thanks to his suave, yet coldly intimidating nature. Verone is a drug lord looking to dominate Miami’s black-market drug trade, and he’s obviously in charge of his operation. He punishes those who cross him with viciousness, and his constant on-edge vibe perfectly works with the film’s undercover plot.
However, Verone is in large part just a standard drug lord villain. He’s a limited character by design, but it’s easy to leave 2 Fast 2 Furious wanting just a bit more from our antagonist. The scene with the rat in a bucket, though, is a great — and chilling — example of how to showcase a villain’s utter disregard of humanity and emotion. From that point, the viewer knows this guy is a wild card.
Fast Five takes the Fast franchise to new heights with a banging, awe-inducing action flick for the ages. The series really takes a turn toward the absurd here, and it never looks back. Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) serves the film perfectly as the kind of no-brainer evil guy that everybody wants to see taken down.
Reyes, a Brazilian politician who uses his political power to aid his drug-dealing enterprise, is an irredeemable character who has enough firepower to force Dom’s crew to go into full-on action hero mode. While I wouldn’t expect anybody to be screaming from the rooftops about how great a villain Reyes is, his villainy allows Fast Five to go all-out in its action and intensity. Hopefully, Momoa’s Dante Reyes, Hernan’s son, can do that and more for Fast X.
Charlize Theron has played Cipher in each of the franchise’s last three movies, including the upcoming Fast X. Her introduction in The Fate of the Furiousthough, sees her at her most villainous. This tech wizard can do seemingly anything behind a computer, and she really represents an upping of the stakes for the Fast franchise. Cipher essentially wanted to start World War III and reap the rewards from it, and she was even able to turn Dom on his family by taking his son hostage.
She’s undeniably cold and an impressive villain, but that coldness harms her ranking among the franchise’s best villains. She is so evil that it makes it impossible to relate to or truly care for her. Thanks to Theron’s performance, though, Cipher is still a compelling enough villain to merit a sizable amount of screen time; I’m just not so sure we need to keep seeing her reappear in every single Fast adventure.
It’s still unclear to me how Jakob and Dom are related, but that doesn’t negate the allure of John Cena’s villain. Cena is such a perfect fit for the wild and not-too-serious action of Fast and Furiousand Jakob is a welcome addition to the family. In F9Jakob is intent on activating a device capable of controlling the world’s computer and military systems.
He’s deeply jealous of Dom, leading him to do some utterly twisted stuff. Jakob’s relationship to Dom and Mia makes for an antagonist that hits closer to home than many of the series’ villains, but he frankly just isn’t as cool as the villains above him on this list.
Owen Shaw marked the first time that the Fast franchise introduced a villain with some intense goals that could wreak havoc on the entire world. Traditionally, the movies opted for drug kingpins looking to uphold their empire; now, Dom and his crew are dealing with a whole new level of evil. Shaw, played by Luke Evans, is a scary antagonist who seems ready to enact cruelty at any moment.
Shaw is also able to separate himself in the hall of fame of villains because he is essentially the anti-Dom. He has a crew of his own, he’s highly capable in fighting and driving, and he’s hell-bent on achieving his goals. While his brother still tops him on this list, Owen Shaw is a Fast villain who offers a bit more than your traditional baddie.
Brixton Lore is self-described as “Black Superman” for good reason. This former MI6 agent was cybernetically enhanced to be a killing machine, and he’s one of the most physically imposing antagonists in the entire franchise.
Lore is played by Idris Elba in the Fast spinoff Hobbs & Shawand it’s Elba’s performance — along with Lore’s general coolness factor — that bring this character up to a different level. Elba is perfect as the evil super-soldier, providing the character with a charisma that makes it hard to hate the guy — except for his evil plan to wipe out most of the world’s population with a viral biological weapon, that is.
Who else could top this list other than Jason Statham himself? Statham’s Deckard Shaw makes the fight personal, blowing up the Toretto house in an attempt to kill Dom’s family. The opening of Furious 7 introduces Shaw in a highly effective fashion, showcasing that he is a one-man army capable of taking down swarms of armed personnel.
Deckard is suave, cool, and deadly, and it’s impossible to hate the guy. Shaw’s transition in movies 8 and 9, as well as Hobbs & Shawmake his “villain” title a bit complicated, but there’s just no doubting that this guy is an untouchable character in the Fast franchise. He’s not a hero nor a villain; he sure is a badass, though.