Written by John Delia
The action thriller Fast Five with its hot rod theme leaves the past four episodes of Fast & Furious in the dust. Now on Blu-ray the high-on-energy, exhilarating plot and amazing chase scenes make this a must-see adrenaline pumper. Within the opening 20 minutes it gets so wild it took my breath away.
This episode called Fast Five finds Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) on the run after breaking Dom out from a prison bus on the way to the lock-up. Looking for more action and going into hiding they end up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where they set up a new scheme to knock off a corrupt businessman who controls the city. The plan set up by Dom seems foolproof until FBI agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) takes a stab at bringing him and his crew down.
The directing by Justin Lin is creative, expensive, and daring, putting his cast and stuntmen in some intricate positions while blowing up a train, toppling a huge bus, and destroying a plethora of cars and other vehicles. But that chancy move brings an explosive film to the screen, and that’s one of the reasons I highly recommend Fast Five. If he tried to outdo his dynamite-enhanced 2009 Fast & Furious, he succeeded.
Although the acting’s nothing to write home about, after all we are dealing with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster who are best known for their looks and not their acting talent, their presence does make the film worth seeing. But what saves the talent end, however, comes from Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tego Calderon, and Don Omar who provide a comical touch and Dwayne Johnson causing a lot of mayhem during their screen time. Add to this the hot chicks in the form of Brewster, Elsa Pataky and Gal Gardot, and with your Blu-ray system you have a recipe for sight and sound.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes two versions of the movie, an extended version, and the original theatrical version. Being a true believer in getting all I can out of a film, and having seen the original in the theater, I jumped into the extended Fast Five immediately. But don’t get too excited, as the extended version only adds a minute to the film. Being a Fast & Furious fan from the very beginning, I can’t get enough of the awesome auto action and crazy stunts. It was cool to be able to slow some of the chases down and watch the crashes frame by frame, especially the car heist on a train scene in the beginning of the movie.
Now to the ‘techie’ information:
For all you ‘techie’ people let’s look inside the box and find out about the cool technical aspects of this baby.
By now most of you know the clarity and sharpness of Blu-ray, and with Universal’s the quality is there. However I was a little disappointed that the video has the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The high definition image is provided by an AVC/MPEG-4 codec with a respectable bit rate. The color afforded my LG Blu-ray player/LG HD Television is magnificent when combined with Universal’s Blu-ray quality of contrast and black levels.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio worked well with my system, giving clear sound and very little noise. Since 60% of Fast Five is the sounds of explosions, cars revving, strong dialog, … well you know what I mean. In an action film the “feel” of the film is sometimes more important than the visual effect. During the heist on the train I jacked up the sound a bit for enhancement, and it provided an awesome chilling feeling as the scene played out.
The Fast Five bonus features make the purchase of this film a great buy. The Blu-ray is loaded with interesting, exciting and entertaining additions to the film. Most of the specials include shot-for-shot action and excellent commentary. It’s the kind of stuff that gets into the nitty-gritty of the film showing special camera work, incredible stunts, creative sets, specially designed vehicles, green screen applications, and a whole lot more.
Here is a list of the bonus features by disc:
The Blu-ray Exclusive features include…
DOM VS. HOBBS, ON THE SET WITH DIRECTOR JUSTIN LIN, INSIDE THE VAULT CHASE, TYRESE TV and a whole lot more.
But it doesn’t stop here. The NEW ‘pocket BLU’ for tablets and computers features Universal’s Second Screen. It’s a special treat for those who have the technology like iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android smartphones tablets, PC and Mac. Some of the perks include things like Advanced Remote Control, Video Timetable and Mobile-To Go.
BD-LIVE: Access the BD-Live Center through your internet-connected Blu-ray/DVD player to access the latest trailers, exclusive content and more.
UHEAR: Never miss another line of dialog with this innovative feature that instantly skips back a few seconds at your command on your Blu-ray disc and turns on the subtitles to highlight what you missed.
Take out the DVD from your Blu-ray + DVD and slide it into your player for more bonus surprises: There’s DELETED SCENES, GAG REEL, DOM’S JOURNEY, BRIAN O’CONNER: FROM FED TO CON, ENTER FEDERAL AGENT HOBBS and more.
Both discs have the option of feature commentary by Director Justin Lin (Extended Version only), and it’s worth seeing the film again as he expertly tracks you to the reasons why and how he keeps the action going. I was amazed at the costs of production, time it took for each special scene, breakdown of scenes, how each of the characters from past sequels was inserted into the film, and a whole lot more.
Fast Five on Blu-ray/DVD becomes more than just a movie when you can control the film, special bonus features and other unique apps. The movie is definitely a repeat thing in my house, and I can see myself watching it over again from time to time. If you like your action like I do, than Universal’s Fast Five should be in your library.