Zoom zoom! Hear that? That’s the sound of “Fast Five”, the latest entry in the never-say-stop car racing franchise arriving on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Studios on October 4th, 2011. The fifth in the series, “Fast Five” surprised a lot of people by speeding away with the box office to the tune of $609 million worldwide. No surprise, then, that a sixth entry with everyone returning, including director Justin Lin, is already in the works and being fast-tracked. Until then, though, check out what Vin Diesel and company have in store for you on DVD and Blu-ray.
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker head up an all-star reunion of the explosive Fast franchise set in sultry Rio de Janeiro. Former cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker, Fast & Furious, Takers) and his girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster, Fast & Furious, “Dallas”) bust Mia’s brother Dom (Vin Diesel, Fast & Furious, The Chronicles of Riddick) out of prison, blasting across South America to elude the authorities. Finding themselves backed into a corner in Brazil, they assemble an elite team of top racers to help pull off the one last job that could mean freedom for them all. But hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Faster, The Other Guys) is hot on their trail, and so is a corrupt and powerful businessman who wants them dead. When Hobbs and his strike force launch an all-out assault to capture the Torettos and their team, he can’t separate the good guys from the bad. Instead, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey…before someone else runs them down first.
The stacked cast includes a lot of old and new faces, led by Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Elsa Pataky, Gal Gadot, and Matt Schulze.
The film picks up immediately after the events of “Fast & Furious”, with Dom (Diesel) in police custody and being transferred via a prison bus. Dom’s sister Mia (Brewster), with assist from former fed and boyfriend Brian (Walker) decides to intervene. Soon, the trio have high-tailed it down south, where they lay low in the wilds of Brazil as all of America searches for them. That search is led by Hobbs (Johnson), a fed that is all bulging muscles and bad attitude. It isn’t long before the good guys run afoul of local kingpin Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), setting the stage for a high-stakes crime caper involving millions of Reyes’ ill-gotten fortune.
“Fast Five” was always intended as a jumping off point — a break, if you will, from the series as a car racing franchise. Sure, there are plenty of cars still around, and they still go pretty fast (including a spectacular, if completely illogical and nonsensical final 30 minutes or so of car action), but the idea was to slowly veer fans toward a more heist film-based direction. That was the plan, and it sort of worked … until Lin and the screenwriters decided it was too hard, and ended up, well, with the aforementioned final 30 minutes of car action. Mind you, not that that’s a bad thing, but it is rather hilarious, in a, “Huh, didn’t see that coming” sort of way.
Without a doubt, one of the reasons why “Fast Five” proved to be such a crowd-pleaser was the return of almost every familiar face from the franchise up to this point. Heck, even the dead came back for this one (and apparently, for the next one, too). Even for non-fans, there are plenty of thrilling action sequences, including an elaborate and white-knuckle chase along the alleys and rooftops of Brazil’s favelas. The car stuff is still pretty intense, and as mentioned, the final 30 minutes is essentially one huge car chase that manages to demolish pretty much most of Rio’s downtown district. So yeah, boredom won’t be one of your problems here. Issues with the script, on the other hand? Well, just keep reminding yourself that this started out as a car racing movie franchise, and you’ll do fine.
Blu-Ray Combo Pack Review:
The Combo Pack features the film comes in two versions — the theatrical cut that you already saw, which already runs an exhausting 2 hours and 11 minutes, and an “extended” version, which runs about two minutes longer, give or take a few seconds. Even if you were to round the extra footage out to a generous two minutes, you’re only getting extended versions of what already exists in the theatrical cut, which means a couple of more seconds here and there, but nothing that would alter how you already feel about the movie. If you didn’t watch the two versions back-to-back, you’d be hardpressed to notice, and even then, you’ll have to really pay extra attention.
For bonus contents, you get a feature length audio commentary track with director Justin Lin, along with your usual assortment of deleted scenes (two minutes worth, give or take) and gag reel (4 minutes of line flubbing, gratuitous crotch grabbing, and Tyrese Gibson messing up more than enough for everyone in the entire film). The film is also packed with a slew of featurettes, including a breakdown of the film’s throwdown between Dom and Hobbs (and of course, their stunt doubles), the secrets behind that insane vault action sequence, and for those of you who couldn’t get enough of him, Tyrese Gibson’s very own feature, called, of course, “Tyrese TV”. In all, you get about an hour and ten minutes (or thereabouts) worth of behind-the-scenes goodies.
And for those who didn’t get the memo the first time around, stay after the end credits for an extra dose of Hobbs and a familiar looking fed with great legs.