With ten mainline films and one spinoff, the Fast & Furious franchise has introduced an arsenal of villains that have tried to take down the Toretto family for one reason or another. As the series continues, it becomes increasingly ridiculous, with the stakes being heightened for every movie, and the same can be said about the villains. Dom and his family were once accustomed to going up against everyday street criminals, but now they fight international supervillains.
Over the course of 20 years, many incredible actors have joined the franchise as villains, from award winners like Charlize Theron and Djimon Hounsou to huge movie stars like Dwayne Johnson. Many of the villains in Fast & Furious do end up being redeemed and joining the family, but they will always be remembered first and foremost as villains. There have been 13 major bad guys spanning 11 movies, but some have proven to be much more memorable than others.
The only spin-off so far in the Fast & Furious universe, Hobbs & Shaw, makes a lot of mistakes, but its biggest one is wasting the talents of Idris Elba. Brixton is a biological-advanced superhuman who is out to destroy the world. That is a fun enough premise for a bad guy, but it doesn’t match the tone of the franchise, and Elba’s chiasmatic qualities are buried under boring exposition and an unmemorable plan. As one of the few Fast & Furious villains to die, Elba was truly wasted by the franchise.
12 Johnny Tran
Rick Yune’s Johnny Tran gets some credit for being the first villain in the series, and while he serves the story well, he is not all that interesting as a character. The Fast and the Furious is a movie focused on the relationship between Paul Walker’s Brian and Vin Diesel’s Dom, and most other elements of the film are just window dressing for that story, including Johnny Tran. Yune does his best with the material, but Johnny Tran is a type of villain the franchise has done infinitely better since.
Outside of reuniting the core cast, Fast & Furious doesn’t offer much that the other films don’t. John Ortiz delivers a threatening performance as Campos, a drug lord whose operation Dom and Brian must infiltrate, but nothing is separating the character from most of the villains in the first four films. Campos isn’t very memorable, to the point where his return in Fast & Furious 6 comes off as convoluted.
10 Carter Verone
As is the case with Campos, Cole Hauser’s Verone is just a standard drug kingpin that the heroes have to take down. However, with some personal ties to Eva Mendes’ Monica and some intense forms of torture, he comes out as the more interesting bad guy of the two. Verone doesn’t have a grand plan or any unique personality traits that make him stand out, but he fits the goofy tone of 2 Fast 2 Furious and fits the franchise better than some of his contemporaries.
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Djimon Hounsou is an underappreciated actor who has spent years putting in great work in smaller roles. His brief turn as the evil Jakande in Furious 7 is a perfect example of him elevating substandard material. Jakande is a terrorist who wants to use God’s Eye, an all-powerful surveillance system, to wreak havoc on the world. There isn’t much to Jakande’s character outside of being generally diabolical, but Hounsou is always a delight to watch and makes what would be a substandard secondary villain into an enjoyable antagonist.
8 Owen Shaw
Fast & Furious 6 is one of the most fun entries in the franchise. With incredible action set pieces, and a great emotional core, it has all the hallmarks of a solid Fast & Furious movie, with Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw being a big part of what makes it work so well. While this is the type of role Evans could play in his sleep, the idea of an evil team that mirrors the core family is such a delightfully silly and cartoonish setup that it makes up for all the clichés of the character. While Owen may not be the best Shaw, he is one of the most entertaining villains in the franchise.
7 Hernan Reyes
Not only did Fast Five completely reinvent the franchise, but it still stands as the high watermark for the series and 2010s action cinema. Joaquim de Almeida’s Hernan Reyes isn’t a particularly deep character, but he is a descipable baddie, and seeing the Fast Family get one over him is one of the most satisfying climaxes of the entire series. Reyes is about as corrupt as they come, paying off almost all the law enforcement in Rio, and running the town with an iron fist. Fast Five hits the perfect note of silly and sincere, with Reyes’s evil and threatening presence being just what the movie needed.
Most villains in Fast & Furious are either killed off after one movie or quickly switch sides, becoming part of the family. That just makes Cipher all the more interesting as an evil mastermind who has stuck around for a few entries. While Fast X saw Cipher forced to work with Dom and company, she spent the last two movies scheming and hacking her way across the world. Charlize Theron is having a blast in the role, and while she might not be in the best movies, her charisma and commitment to the role make up for some lackluster plans.
The Fast & Furious family trees are tangled and confusing. Almost every entry introduces some long-lost sibling or new child to one of the extended families, but John Cena’s Jakob is one of the best examples of this. Jakob first appeared in F9 as Dom’s scorned brother, and while his existence still doesn’t make much sense, he made for an excellent villain and one whose redemption felt earned. Cena is one of the best wrestlers turned actors, and while Jakob was more fun as an ally in Fast X, his presence in F9 elevated the entire movie.
Director Justin Lin has reinvented the franchise on several occasions, but his first movie in the series, Tokyo Drift, is still one of the best and uses its smaller scale to its advantage. DK, short for Drift King, isn’t as evil as some of the more cartoonish villains that would appear later in the series, but he is a great antagonist and a cocky driver who the audience wants to see loose. The nephew of a mob boss, DK is one of the best street racers in Tokyo and an all-around bad guy who needs to be taught a lesson.
Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs is more known for being a force for good in the Fast & Furious universe, but when he was first introduced in Fast Five, he was a no-nonsense force of nature determined to bring Dom and his family to justice. As a villain, Johnson got to flex his acting chops much more, and the Hobbs in Fast Five is much more compelling than the softer, nicer one that appears in later entries. What’s more, Hobbs is one of the few antagonists who feels like he could take down Dom.
2 Deckard Shaw
Another villain who has come around to being a protagonist, Jason Statham Deckard Shaw was first introduced in the end credit scene of Fast & Furious 6, where it was revealed that he was the one who killed Han to get revenge for his hospitalized brother. While that twist has since been retconned twice over, Shaw was a menacing threat to the Fast Family, and his turn in Furious 7 as the main villain is still one of the franchise’s best. Shaw plays to Statham’s strengths as an actor, and even as an ally he adds a wonderful presence to the series.
1 Dante Reyes
In many ways, Jason Momoa’s Dante Reyes is a repeat of villains the series has done before. Like Deckard Shaw, he is a vengeful family member of a previous villain going after Dom’s loved ones. However, Momoa’s performance as the absolute bonkers Dante makes him not only stand out but become the best bad guy in Fast & Furious. Fast X had a troubled production that is reflected in the movie, but Momoa’s performance makes the entire movie worth it. He’s not just scary, but also funny and a joy to watch. It would seem that the franchise saved the best villain for last.