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Fast Five - Blu-ray Movie Review

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Fast Five - Movie Review

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4 stars

When a successful franchise hits film number five, it’s time to pay it some well-earned attention.  Finally graduating from the street racing culture, Fast Five, reinvigorated by a return of nearly all the cast members involved in the series and Director Justin Lin’s wicked sense of capturing all-things action, is an attempt to give the ongoing series a bit of bank-heist integrity.  Fun, charismatic, and with a devil-may-care attitude, the film works on nearly all levels and kicks off the summer season of filmgoing with a dynamic BANG for your buck.  Easily the best of the series, Fast Five is sure to get gear-heads and adrenalin junkies in the cinema seats as it satisfies the mythos of the series and those in need of some The Expendables meets Ocean’s Eleven action.

Busted from his prison-bound bus, family-minded Dom (Vin Diesel) is let loose upon the world.  His choice of residence?  Rio, of course.  Do you blame him?  Hiding out with him are Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) who – based on the recommendation of a family friend not seen since the first movie (no spoilers here) - take on a high-stakes job stealing cars from a moving train through the arid Brazilian desert.  You already know things don’t go as planned, but, man, is it ever exciting.  Ending with a silent 200-foot dive into a river from the back of a speeding car, the job gets them some more unwanted attention from the FBI (Dwayne Johnson) and local authorities (Elsa Pataky) and a rather one-dimensional drug lord (Joaquim de Almeida).

To be honest with you (and myself), the movie is filled with bloated lines of hokey dialogue but never does it cross the fine line of camp and become too ridiculous or too over-the-top to be intolerable.  It’s pure fun.  Sure, we all know that Paul Walker can’t act.  He never could, but he sells his lines without becoming laughable.  And Diesel – never one to become the emotional softy – is the emotional softy at the film’s center.  He’s the dynamic member of the team; the one you want to see have a happy ending (Author’s note: Sorry, though, you’ll have to wait for the 6th Fast and Furious film for that to happen.  Don’t worry.  It’s already planned.) and we hate to see him constantly have to sacrifice to make his family of crooks, speedsters, and thieves feel secure.  Yet, without Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) he’s adrift.  Johnson, still rolling like a thug from his meaty performance in Faster, is easily Diesel’s super-sized doppelganger and when the titans of muscle clash...Damn; the earth shakes.

Lin’s slick direction makes Fast Five a solid little potboiler of steely action.  It’s a breeze to watch and enjoy, while presenting some dynamic scenes of car-chases and a royally cool bank heist which defies logic and gravity but is still pretty damn cool.  That’s what screenwriter Chris Morgan – who has been with the series for the last two films – brings to the table: a perfect balance of the awesome and the ridiculous.  Dialogue is low-key throughout and when familiar faces return to the fold [Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang (not dead yet- Tokyo Drift chronologically happens after the next movie) and Gal Gadot] the jabs and barbs traded become fast and furious in themselves.

Fast Five, full of energy and attitude, is a fun family reunion for the audience and the cast.  If nothing more, as hinted by the after credits sequence with yet another star returning to the fold, the extended ending will definitely leave you with the knowledge and the gut feeling that there is still enough gas in the tank to fuel at least one more exciting race through the streets.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Fast Five - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
Director
: Justin Lin
Writer
: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Cast: Vin Diesel; Paul Walker; Jordana Brewster; Tyrese Gibson; Ludacris
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
Fast Five
Memorable Movie Quote: "Chances are sooner or later, we are gonna end up behind bars or buried in a ditch somewhere. But not today. "
Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Theatrical Release Date:
April 29, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
Details not available.

Synopsis: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead a reunion of returning all-stars from every chapter of the explosive franchise built on speed in Fast Five. In this installment, former cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) partners with ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) on the opposite side of the law. Dwayne Johnson joins returning favorites Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon and Don Omar for this ultimate high-stakes race.

Since Brian and Mia Toretto (Brewster) broke Dom out of custody, they’ve blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom. As they assemble their elite team of top racers, the unlikely allies know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he’s not the only one on their tail.

Hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) never misses his target. When he is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault to capture them. But as his men tear through Brazil, Hobbs learns he can’t separate the good guys from the bad. Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey…before someone else runs them down first.

{2jtab: DVD/Blu-ray Review}

Fast Five Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 4, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (as download); DVD copy; Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features

Speeding its way onto bu-ray after it kick-started the summer season with an exhilarating bang, Universal’s 1080p transfer is a steely cool one.  The sun-kissed locations are rich with vibrating warm colors and perfectly tanned skin tones.  Black levels are consistent and focused without any inky drawls.  The cars are smooth; the tight edges clean, and are as boldly presented as the pores in the faces of all its returning characters.  The sound – presented in a dynamically proud DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track – is full of horsepower.  The car engines and the many on-screen spectacles are full of noise and wild, wild life.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Returning series director Justin Lin may not be the smoothest of all commentators, but – for fans of the series – his occasional narration is full of good information.  He doesn’t say a lot and probably takes one too many pauses in the delivery, but it is serviceable.

Special Features:

Offering a two-minute longer version of the film, Universal’s treatment of their latest Fast & Furious installment is pretty solid.  It’s full of great supplementals that never seem to run out of gas…well, the gag reel is a bit much…but the Scene Explorer feature (highlighting the opening sequence) is a fun moment where you can see the action from many different angles.  Could this be a hint at things to come from Universal?  There are a lot of featurettes that mark this release and highlight just how far the characters have come in their journey and their maturation from this ongoing series.  The contents also include an interactive feature – Second Screen Viewing – that opens up even more content.

  • Scene Explorer (26 min)
  • The Big Train Heist (8 min)
  • A New Set of Wheels (10 min)
  • Reuniting the Team (5 min)
  • Dom's Journey (5 min)
  • Brian O'Connor: From Fed to Con (6 min)
  • Enter Federal Agent Hobbs (6 min)
  • Dom vs. Hobbs (8 min)
  • Inside the Vault Chase (9 min)
  • On Set with Director Justin Lin (9 min)
  • Deleted Scenes (2 min)
  • Tyrese TV (7 min)
  • Gag Reel (4 min)

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