Review: Fast Five Blu-ray/DVD

Fast Five Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Justin Lin | CAST: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Dwayne Johnson
RELEASE DATE: 10/4/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $34.98
BONUSES: featurettes, Second Screen, deleted scenes, gag reel, commentary
SPECS: PG-13, Not Rated | 131 min./132 min. | Action | 2.35:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Fast FiveTen years on, the franchise that began with The Fast and the Furious is still rocking. Fast Five takes the series back to the beginning again, reuniting the old crew and showcasing cars that aren’t as flashy as some of the more recent movies.

In this story, Paul Walker’s (Takers) Brian O’Conner is a former FBI agent and helps break Vin Diesel’s (xXx) Dominic Torreto out of the prison bus. Reuniting in the colorful and dangerous Rio de Janeiro, the gang quickly gets into trouble again when they agree to help their old friend Vince (Matt Schulze, Extract) steal three high-profile cars from custody on a high-speed train. Let the action begin…

Writer Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin, who teamed up on the last three films in the series, up the ante again in Fast Five. In fact, the story is almost an after-thought for the action sequences. Barely five minutes goes by before the gang are involved in a car chase, shooting, fleeing on foot over the rooftops of Rio, etc.

And about that uping the ante — cars get yanked out of the side of a train, Diesel and Walker survive a Thelma & Louise-style getaway, and there’s the bank vault that’s dragged around the streets behind two Chargers. Yep, a bank vault! Probable? No, not really. But it is a lot of fun.

The film does have some corny lines and a cringe-worthy performance from Dwayne Johnson, who acts more like his former wrestling nickname, but these can be forgiven. The action is still hot.

On Blu-ray, the high-definition action looks great, but the highlight is the sound. The roaring engines, the gun shots, the explosions — they rocket out of the speakers and pound the subwoofer, pulling viewers right into all that, yes, action.

The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes full of special features, led by a collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes that expose the film’s production secrets. We go inside the train heist and the vault chase, get a close-up look at the cool cars, watch Tyrese Gibson joking around and more. Judging by the footage, the movie’s production was a party.

The disc also has a few featurettes on the characters, one on Walker’s O’Conner “From Fed to Con,” one on Johnson’s Federal Agent Hobbs, one on the relationship between Hobbs and Diesel’s Dom, and another called “Dom’s Journey.” In each, the actors talk about their characters as well as how they worked with each other. As Johnson says in his featurette, he wasn’t on the set to make friends. Okay!

There are two deleted scenes, but they don’t add much, and a funny gag reel showing the actors messing up — even Gibson picking his nose! (He says a mosquito flew up there … right!)

As well as being in the other featurettes, Lin hosts an “On Set With…” piece with even more behind-the-scenes footage and speaks about the movie’s making in a lively commentary.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.