Fast & Furious Review

Vin Diesel is pretty smart. He can calculate – on the fly – the trajectory, speed, and height of a bouncing, flaming fuel tanker coming at his car. Then, he can tell the exact timing he’ll need to push his car underneath it instead of becoming a part of the exploding metal. That’s impressive for a guy dumb enough to recklessly drive cars through city streets at high speed.

Oh, and Vin Diesel is tough too. So tough, he can take a bullet to his shoulder, barely flinch, and continue using that arm to punch the guy who shot him. Maybe that tanker wouldn’t have killed him after all.

This is the fourth The Fast & The Furious movie, although the creators are so completely out ideas, they couldn’t even think of a clever title, sticking with a confusing Fast & Furious, eliminating “The” to create a new sequel. That’s not clever.

Then again, nothing about this movie is. The characters and their backstories are so paper thin, it doesn’t matter what Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) did to Dominic Toretto (Diesel). All you need to know is that O’Connor angered Toretto in a previous movie. How is never important. What does matter is that they get into a fight where O’Connor can be spectacularly thrown through conveniently placed breakable objects strewn throughout a house.

The story, which barely holds any of this together, concern Mexican drug dealers, all of whom own fancy street racing cars so they can careen around corners for the camera. Good thing, or else this might have become a legitimate movie outside of the series.

Car fans will get plenty of what they wanted, including crashes and numerous blatant advertisements for a certain oil company. If you’re going to drift around city streets putting countless innocent lives at risk, use Castrol!

Fast & Furious opens with the above mentioned tanker truck chase, and ironically runs out of fuel when the gas goes up in flames. Nothing can match the excitement, stunt work, or pyrotechnic display of the opening ten or so minutes, leaving the rest of film dry and familiar. This franchise is running on fumes.

Movie ★★☆☆☆ 

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Universal delivers a stunning VC-1 encode for this release. Black levels are rich, deep, and load the frame with depth. Colors are nicely saturated with no bleeding. Flesh tones do come away slightly bronzed, partially due to fake tans, and partially due to the movies color timing.

Detail is superb, rich with facial textures in every scene. Shadow delineation is flawless. Contrast is surprisingly under control without blowing out details like numerous other modern action films. There are no moments of noise, grain is handled well by the encode, and sharpness remains firm throughout. This is fantastic.

Video ★★★★★ 

Likewise, a powerful, deep DTS-HD mix is appropriately loud. Bass is clean and punishing, making each crash worthy of being replayed. The surrounds capture pieces of strewn debris in all channels. The opening tanker theft captures cars pushing through the soundfield with wonderful accuracy as do any of race sequences.

Non-action scenes deliver an expansive surround experience, including the rather obnoxious hip-hop soundtrack blaring regularly. A club meeting is particularly impressive, capturing highs and lows as the characters move into different parts of the club.

Audio ★★★★★ 

Extras kick off with a solo commentary from director Justin Lin, followed by a standard (albeit funny) set of outtakes. Los Bandoleros is a short film directed by Vin Diesel, that leads into the opening sequence of the film. It at least provides some back story instead of jumping into the action like the feature.

Around one hour of nine featurettes cover the usual ground, although given how short some of them are, these should have been combined into one piece. They cover the expected pieces, from a breakdown of the chase scenes to the cars themselves. All standard, all predictable, but serviceable in terms of what they set out to be.

A wasted, dull Video Mash Up requires BD-Live to create a music video around your own selection of footage. It’s not easy, fast, or worth the effort. A Virtual Car Garage collects various factoids about the cars in a picture-in-picture track. This leads to one of the better features on the disc, a virtual commentary (one was also included on Watchmen).

Paul Walker and Justin Lin step into the movie to point out various aspects in far more detail than a typical audio commentary. They pause the movie, pull up pop-up features, and generally have a good time discussing how this came together. Some music videos and generic BD-Live connectivity are nothing in comparison.

Extras ★★★★☆ 

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