BLU-RAY REVIEW: Fast Five
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy hits retail and impresses fans and critics...
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What do you get when you combine a South American crime kingpin, lots of guns, drugs, millions of dollars, fast cars, Vin Diesel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and even more fast cars? Yup, you guessed it: Fast Five.
Though chronologically Fast Five happens before Tokyo Drift, the movie makes for an awesome addition to the on-going franchise starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to the mix and bringing back to the big screen a variety of characters who've been featured in past films, this go-round adds an amazing, action-packed story that's more crime/heist movie than street racing movie.
Following the last film, Fast & Furious, which saw Dominic Toretto (Diesel) arrested and in jail, Fast Five finds Brian O'Connor (Walker) and Dom's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) breaking Dom out of jail and getting out of the country. Thus, the crew heads to Rio de Janeiro to get away from the heat and take some time off. Of course, when you're a convicted felon like Toretto and your best friend is a federal office-turned-car thief like O'Connor, the US government spares no expense getting you back in custody. Enter U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team of agents, who are after the entire crew, who've been brought in by Toretto and O'Connor to steal the local crime boss' money.
By far the best film in the series, Fast Five combines sharp dialogue, dynamic stunts, impressive driving, an intriguing story, and non-stop action and suspense to bring fans an excellent take on the heist/action film. With a solid cast of actors and actresses from previous films, including the previously mentioned Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto, and Dwayne Johnson as Special Agent Luke Hobbs, the film's supporting cast also includes Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce, Ludacris as Tej Parker, Matt Schulze as Vince, Sung Kang as Han Lue, Gal Gadot as Gisele Harabo, Tego Calderon as Tego Leo, and Don Omar as Rico Santos, Fast Five is ripe with an impressive amount of talent. Each character brings to the screen a much needed character type, be it the hooligan, the brawler, the wiseguy, the thief, the hustler, the prankster, or the patriarch. Thankfully, no one character seems dominant and each is given their chance at the main stage, ensuring characters who've been featured in the decade-long franchise get their fair share of screen time.
As for the blu-ray itself, the video and audio are impressive. The 1080p hi-def transfer is gorgeous with sharp lines, bright and dark colors, and beautiful motion which never blurs or smears. The sun-drenched streets of Puerto Rico are perfectly captured in Fast Five and there's no doubt fans of previous films in the series will enjoy this new locale and the action it brings. Likewise, the hard-hitting DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers plenty to smile about. Every bullet fired, every explosion that blows up, and every car engine that roars to life is delivered through the speakers with impressive intensity that'll have fans with a quality surround sound system enjoying the ride.
As for special features, the disc includes BD-Live Functionality and My Scenes bookmarking on both a 130-minute long theatrical and 132-minute extended edition of the film. Likewise, the film is available here both on DVD and digital copy. Blu-ray special features include Second Screen Interactive Viewing, which allows viewers to use a networked tablet or computer to "control, interact with and explore" the movie; U-Control Picture-in-Picture Track with director Justin Lin, producer Neal H. Moritz, supervising stunt director Mike Gunther, actor Vin Diesel and others discuss the film's many facets, including production, casting, action scenes, stuntwork, and more; a 26-minute Scene Explorer, which allows the film to be finished film, film dailies, and "behind-the-scenes" info.
Other special features include audio commentary with director Lin, an 8-minute "The Big Train Heist" featurette looking at how the car heist scene was made; a 10-minute "A New Set of Wheels" featurette which looks at the film's various cars; and a 5-minute "Reuniting the Team" featurette which introduces actors from past films back to the franchise. Even more featurettes include a 5-minute "Dom's Journey" featurette which focuses on Dom's new role in the franchise and various, character-specific featurettes including the 6-minute "Brian O'Connor: From Fed to Con," the 6-minute "Enter Federal Agent Hobbs," and the 8-minute "Dom vs. Hobbs" featurette.
Even more special features on the disc include a 9-minute "Inside the Vault Chase" which focuses on the film's climactic action scene, a 9-minute "On Set with Director Justin Lin" featurette which shows viewers a bit of what the director does daily, a 7-minute "Tyrese TV" follows Gibson cracking up, a 4-minute gag reel, and 2 minutes of deleted scenes.
Overall, Fast Five is an excellent addition to any home video collection, especially if you're a fan of high speed action and adventure and heist films. The decision to take the franchise away from the street racing genre and make it a heist movie is brilliant and helps not only bring more characters into the fold, but bring a much needed overhaul to the general idea overall.
Fast Five is available now on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley