"FAST & FURIOUS"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    BLURAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Vin Diesel as DOMINIC TORETTO
    Paul Walker as BRIAN O’CONNER
    Jordana Brewster as MIA TORETTO
    Michelle Rodriguez as LETTY
    John Ortiz as CAMPOS
    Laz Alonso as FENIX RISE
    Gal Gadot as GISELE HARABO

    Rated PG-13
    Studio: Universal

    Directed by: Justin Lin

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
“Fast & Furious” has taken the original parts (being Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner) from the first film and made a new model. In this installment, Toretto is running heists in the Dominican Republic while Brian O’Conner is trying to track him down to topple a drug trafficking ring. When Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) returns to America and is found dead, Dom reunites with O’Conner to go after the thugs that killed her.

WHAT I LIKED
A film like “Fast & Furious” is pretty easy for me to boil down as a critic. While it has a relatively convoluted plot, the plusses of this film are easily identifiable.

First, I liked the copious amount of scantily clad women in the flick. That’s just me as a red-blooded American male. I respond to this sort of thing. And while actors like Israeli model Gal Gadot can’t act any more than axle grease, she is quite fun to look at. Also, director Justin Lin seems to have a bit of a lesbian fantasy, so we are treated to more than one scene of hot chicks making out, and I’m okay with that.

Also, say what you want to about Paul Walker (and I’ll probably agree with you), but I really do like Vin Diesel as an action star. After he returned for this film, it gives me some hope that we’ll actually see another Riddick film and another “xXx” film (without Ice Cube, that is) get completed.

But the real showpiece of “Fast & Furious” is the street racing. The cars are slick, and the action elements are incredible. Most notable is the opening action sequence in the Dominican Republic featuring the heist of a five-tanker gasoline truck. Sure, you’ve seen it in the trailers, but on Blu-ray, it looks brilliant... and it runs longer with more action.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My biggest problem with “Fast & Furious” was the needlessly convoluted storyline. While the action sequences were awesome, the film came to a screeching halt whenever there were extensive dialogue scenes. Additionally, the movie is achingly predictable. It’s as if it didn’t even try.

The death of Letty happens off-screen, and if you haven’t seen the first film to know who she is and how significant she is to Dom, you’re left in the dark. For as basic as the story is, the writing could have been much, much better. Of course, the street racing fans who threw down $70+ million at the box office during its opening weekend didn’t really care about that.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
In addition to the film simply being a sight to view (and hear) in high definition, the Blu-ray comes with a nice collection of special features.

There’s a slate of behind-the-scenes featurettes that examine the various elements of the film. These include “Under the Hood: Muscle Cars and Imports,” “Getting the Gang Back Together,” “Driving School with Vin Diesel,” “Shooting the Big Rig Heist,” “Races and Chases,” “High Octane Action: The Stunts” and “South of the Border: Filming In Mexico.”

Justin Lin lends his voice to a commentary track, there’s a gag reel, a virtual car garage which gives the specs of the hero vehicles, a music video by Pitbull and Vin Diesel’s short film “Los Bandoleros” (which is really quite dull even though it sets up the characters for the film).

The U-Control feature includes behind-the-scenes details with Paul Walker as well as a virtual car garage.

Similarly, the BD-Live feature allows for a do-it-yourself “Fast & Furious” mash-up, as well as sharing your favorite scenes.

A second disc is also packaged with the Blu-ray for digital copy to portable video devices.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Car nuts, fans of the first film and action junkies.

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