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Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.
For more about Fast Five and the Fast Five Blu-ray release, see Fast Five Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on September 27, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Elsa Pataky
Director: Justin Lin
» See full cast & crew
Fast Five Blu-ray Review
"She's running on all eight. Checks out fine..."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, September 27, 2011
The prevailing sentiment seems to be "Fast Five is the best in the series!" And I can't say I really disagree. Still, I wasn't exactly smitten with the previous entries in the Fast and the Furious franchise, guilty pleasures as they were, so I'm not about to guarantee fans of the earlier outings will be so quick to toss Fast Five on top of the five-film pileup; especially since it drifts so far from the street racing scene that dominated the first four. It's bigger, badder and ballsier, no doubt, and faster and more furious to boot. It certainly offers action junkies everything they could want and then some: full-throttle car chases, spectacular high-speed heists, drool-worthy roadsters and racers, and more axle-snapping action, more wheel-whipping gunplay, more chassis-crushing 'splosions, and more death-defying leaps and crashes than ever before. More, more, more, more. It even throws in an F-bombing Dwayne Johnson for hard-hitting measure. Ultimately, Fast Five may not be the greatest flick on the block, but it is a whole lotta fun, and when it comes to The Fast and the Furious franchise, fun goes a long way.
Fast Five picks up, literally, right where Fast & Furious left off. Dom (Vin Diesel) is on his way to prison when his partner, former undercover detective Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), and his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) stage a daring (albeit highly unlikely) prison-bus break. On the run from the police, the FBI and the media, the three hightail it across the border and head even further south, all the way to Rio de Janeiro. There, they decide to lay down, lay low and avoid any unwanted attention. Nah, I'm just kidding. They do what any international fugitives would do: rob a train, double cross a local crime lord named Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) and his right-hand man Zizi (Michael Irby), put themselves on the radar of a ludicrously musclebound U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent (Dwayne Johnson), and set out to steal untold millions from Reyes. That's right, it's One Last Heist for Dom and Brian. Not that anyone should be foolish enough to think this is the last we'll see of the led-foot duo; not after Fast Five revved up $600 million at the worldwide box office. (Be sure to sit through the first chunk of end credits for a nice little surprise.)
Director Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious) walks a fine line between over-the-top, roids-popping action, dazzling on-road and off-road stunts, and snarky ensemble-heist comedy. And, for the most part, he pulls off a fearless, sure-handed balancing act. The resulting round of testosterone-fueled road rage is much too long -- Michael Bay long if you factor in Fast Five's 132-minute extended cut -- and has more in common with Bad Boys II than other entries in the Fast and the Furious series. But it rarely drags (notice I didn't use the word never) and the influx of fresh blood and a bold new direction keeps things interesting. Johnson is Lin's not-so-secret weapon, tearing through Rio with wild eyes, oversized guns and a squad of heavy hitters ripped out of a movie starring, well, Dwayne Johnson. ("This guy is Old Testament. Blood, bullets, wrath of God... that's his style.") He doesn't have as much screentime as unruly Rock zealots may be hoping for, and his Luke Hobbs has the emotional depth of a bulging bicep, but he's far more threatening an adversary than de Almeida's crime lord. (De Almeida essentially reprises his Desperado role and rides it all the way to the bank.) Rio is Lin's true secret weapon, though, and shifting the series to Brazil prevents the Fast and Furious formula from growing stale.
Add to all that a semi-dream team of returning grand theft automobilers -- in addition to Dom, Brian and Mia, we get Matt Schulze's Vince from The Fast and the Furious, Tyrese Gibson's Roman and Ludacris' Tej Parker from 2 Fast 2 Furious, Sung Kang's Han Seoul-Oh from Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious, and Gal Gadot's Gisele, Tego Calderón's Leo and Don Omar's Santos from Fast & Furious -- and you can start to see why Universal is so eager to keep Lin in the series' driver's seat. Even so, it isn't as smooth a ride as it could be. The film's biggest action beats defy the laws of physics and good sense (let me tell just how a chase with two cars dragging a bank vault would really go), Diesel and Johnson's battles to the constant draw are straight out of the genre playbook, Dom and Brian are near-invincible demigods, aimless subplots clog up the injectors, Brewster is wasted and Gibson is wooden, some of writer Chris Morgan's quips and one-liners are primed for groans rather than laughs, and there are so many warring factions and competing interests that the second act lags and the third act borders on downright silly. None of it spoils the experience per se, at least it won't for those who are able to switch off the critical regions of their brains, but miraculously empty roads, last-minute saves, bulletproof heroes and a complete neglect for "equal and opposite reaction" requires a willingness to roll with anything. If you can do that, chances are you'll have a blast with Fast Five.
Fast Five Blu-ray, Video Quality
Fast Five tears around every corner with a fierce 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer and doesn't miss a single turn. Lin and director of photography Stephen F. Windon transform Puerto Rico into a reasonable facsimile of Rio de Janeiro and Universal's presentation nails every sun-seared primary, blown-out white, police cruiser black, twice-baked earthtone and high-contrast hue Lin and Windon employ. Skintones are overheated but surprisingly lifelike, saturation is spot on, and delineation is relatively natural and altogether satisfying. Moreover, detail is as precise and exacting as it should be. Edges are as sharp as sheared metal, fine textures are as fine-tuned as Dom's 1970 Dodge Charger, closeups are as revealing as a quarter-mile race, and the Rio nights and dark warehouses rarely put a damper on the spectacle that unfolds. Look no further than Dwayne Johnson; the stubble, the pores, the beads of sweat trickling down his neck, the individual hairs in his eyebrows, the weave of his muscle shirts, the tiniest chip on his tooth or line in his tattoos. You'll be hard pressed to find a single shot out of sorts, and the rest of the presentation follows suit. (Yes, there are a number of filmic inconsistencies, but each one traces back to Windon's photography, nothing more.) Universal's encode is nearly flawless; I didn't catch sight of any significant artifacting, banding, aliasing, smearing or ringing, and the film's grainfield is intact and well-resolved. Regardless of where Fast Five ranks among the Fast and the Furious flicks, most will agree that Fast Five's high definition transfer is one of, if not the series' best to date.
Fast Five Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Fast Five roars through the streets with a throaty, full-throttle DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that doesn't stall, slip or slide. Dialogue is clean, crisp and intelligible regardless of how loud or chaotic the car chases and street races become, and voices are nicely grounded in the train- jacking, vault-dragging, bullet-riddled madness. Meanwhile, gunfire packs a hearty kick kack, punches have visceral weight, wrecks upend every channel and LFE output is extraordinary. The rear speakers aren't far behind either, if at all. Rockets whiz past the listener, drifting street beasts whip across the soundfield, explosions erupt across the stage, cars dart from channel to channel, and the Brazilian cities (and Puerto Rico locales) complete the incredibly immersive experience. Directionality is dead on and dynamics are impeccable; pans are frighteningly smooth and howling engines bring every Charger, GT40 and Gurkha F5 barreling into the confines of your home theater. In a word, it's arresting. Fast-lane actioners and their lossless audio tracks don't come much better than this.
Fast Five Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
If you don't have a healthy love of Fast Five, you won't get much from its special features. Series fans, though, will be ecstatic with the sheer number of extras at their disposal. Brace yourself for two cuts of the film, a U-Control Picture-in-Picture experience, a director's audio commentary, Second Screen interactivity, and a generous lineup of quick-hit featurettes and other goodies.
Fast Five Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fast Five. It's just fun to say. Fast Five. And it's just fun to watch. No need to think, no need to analyze, no need to do anything other than sit back, strap in and enjoy the ride. Luckily, Universal's Blu-ray edition makes it that much easier to Let Go and Let Lin. Its video transfer is outstanding, its DTS-HD Master Audio track rockets toward the finish, and its eight-cylinder extras top off an already excellent release. Fast Five won't win over every franchise fan, but the faithful racers who follow Dom and Brian to Rio won't be sorry they did.
Fast Five: Other Editions
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Fast Five Blu-ray, News and Updates
• 'The Lion King' and 'Fast Five' Drive Blu-ray to a New Sales Record - October 18, 2011
The successful Blu-ray release of The Lion King and the home video debut of Fast Five resulted in a new weekly Blu-ray revenue share record. For the week ending 10/08/11, Blu-ray's market share of total package media sales was an all time best 40%. The new mark ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: October 4-10 - October 4, 2011
Arguably the best animated film of all time – and easily the pinnacle of the Disney Renaissance - The Lion King arrives on Blu-ray today after pulling in nearly $80M over the past three weeks during its theatrical re-release as a 3D feature. Disney is offering ...
• Fast Five Blu-ray (Updated w/Bonus Clips) - August 18, 2011
On October 4th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will release the 2011 action blockbuster Fast Five on Blu-ray. Word of the release comes from Amazon, which is currently accepting pre-orders for the film in a Blu-ray combo pack with DVD/digital copies. A SRP ...
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