Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, none
• Audio Commentary with Director Justin Lin and Actor Paul
• Los Bandoleros – in HD (20:23)
• Under the Hood: Muscle Cars & Imports – in HD (6:55 +
• Getting the Gang Back Together – in HD (9:50)
• Driving School with Vin Diesel – in HD (3:50)
• Shooting the Big Rig Heist – in HD (9:47)
• Gag Reel – in HD (5:00)
• Races & Chases – in HD (11:01)
• High Octane Action: The Stunts – in HD (11:22)
• BD-Live 2.0
• Fast & Furious Video Mash-Up (video game)
• Trailers for Fast & Furious franchise in HD (x3) & SD (x1)
• U-Control Picture-in-Picture
• Digital Copy Disc
The latest in the Fast & Furious franchise picks up where
the first two left off. The director is Justin Lin, who
helmed F&F3 Tokyo Drift though, chronologically, the new
movie precedes the third – not that it matters very much.
You'll remember that undercover cop Brian O'Connor (Paul
Walker, still pretty with or without the light beard) lets
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel, possibly stiffer, but still
determined) escape at the end of the first movie. While
O'Connor heads for Miami in F&F2 to work out his differences
with the agency, Dom (offstage) heads for Central America,
where we catch up with him at the start of the new movie.
His girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) eventually joins
him for one last big heist. But the polizia are closing in,
and Dom, in his infinite wisdom, leaves Letty behind to
better protect her. We can see this is not going to end well
– and it doesn't – sooner than expected, which leads Dom
back to L.A. where O'Connor is on the trail of a new drug
lord (John Ortiz). Are we surprised that O'Connor and Dom
find themselves chasing down the same bad guy? Nah. Are we
surprised that, to get into his circle, they need to enter a
street race – in this case, one that plays like a video
game? Nah. Are we surprised that the action comes faster and
furiouser? Nah. Are we surprised that some of the threads
from the original movie are picked up with a modicum of
emotional and dramatic sensitivity? Yeah – I think so.
Dom's sister, Mia (a very hot Jordana Brewster) takes center
stage as the female of interest. Laz Alonzo plays Fenix with
all the ultra-cruelty PG-13 will allow. The cast is
generously supported by your usual bevy of Latina beauties
and racy cars.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Depending on the locale and time of day, Fast & Furious
is deliberately, if not uniquely, filtered. South of the
border, the tint is decidedly golden – sometimes intensely
saturated, other times grainy and thin. Night and club
scenes have their share of color and contrast palette. The
mountain tunnel shots are evidently computer-generated as
are critical moments in the opening big rig heist sequence.
All of this appears to have been transferred without a hitch
in bit rates averaging around the mid 30s. No adverse
artifacts, specks or enhancements that I was aware of – not
that I would have noticed much – the action maintains a
Note: All of the bonus caps are taken from Los Bandoleros,
whose Spanish subtitles are in yellow and English subs are
Audio & Music:
What would Fast & Furious be without a kick-ass audio track?
Wile E. Coyote, maybe, without the girls and the metal. Rest
assured: all the growls, snarls, roars, screeches, and
metal-to-metal contact you see on screen is ably amplified
in DTS-HD MA, placing us right in the driver's seat.
Dialogue is nonetheless clear and crisp. Atmospherics are
not shortchanged either. There are even some subtler moments
that add a lifelike presence to the proceedings. Brian
Tyler's music is fairly crash and burn generic, but supports
the action as it should.
The menu is laid out like other Universal Blu-rays. Arrows
tell you which way to direct your remote, and the bonus
feature instructions are detailed and intuitive. The chapter
menu includes buttons for U-Control in case you want to
approach those functions from that point. And, there are the
usual number of U-Control opportunities to invite, struggle
with and dazzle our brain.
Most of the bonus features are familiar territory for those
following the Fast & Furious franchise on Blu-ray, and are
more or less self-explanatory by title. The U-Control
Picture-in-Picture includes "Take Control" with Paul Walker
& Justin Lin and the Virtual Car Garage. Note that all of
the bonus items except the Pitbull music video and one of
the F&F trailers (the original) are in HD. The commentary
brings along Paul Walker for the first time (if I remember
right), but the most interesting bonus item is the short
film "Los Bandeleros" (18 minutes, plus 2 minutes of
credits) "written & directed by Vin Diesel." Not bad, Vin.
It's kind of lacking a coherent story, though it derives
from Costa Rican poverty and a presumed reliance on gas,
which, somehow, leads to a life of drug running. Letty and
Han join Dom in this vignette, whose high contrast and
appropriately grainy image, though rendered in 1080p, isn't
any better than a decent DVD. One thing it has for certain:
an outstanding soundtrack of local color.
When I think of this movie and Vin Diesel in particular, I
can't help but be reminded that the Blu-ray is coming out at
the start of the American federal government Cash for
Clunkers program – and that one of the reasons this programs
exists, we are told, is to get gas guzzling cars off the
road. I shall say no more?
For fans of the Fast and the Furious series, the new movie
on Blu-ray is a must-have.
August 6th, 2009