21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2011
Movie - 4.5
So I hadn't seen a single Fast & Furious movie prior to this. But I was browsing through Best Buy for my copies of other titles that came out that day when I saw the BB exclusive SteelBook edition. So for the first time in a while, I made a blind-buy based solely on the aforementioned packaging and the fact that The Rock was in it. I expected the preconceived notion that the other films had established (fast cars and hot girls), but was very surprised at how great of an action-heist-thriller this turned out to be. The story starts with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) being sentenced to prison (I'm guessing from F4), and then breaking out. Meanwhile, former federal agent turned fugitive, Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker), and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) are on the run in Rio de Janeiro. They agree to take a job to steal some federally-impounded cars belonging to Brazilian crime boss Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). During the robbery a couple of DEA agents are killed, in which the U.S. government then sends DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to apprehend Dom and O'Connor. Like I said, I've not seen a single film in the series, so whatever character-building there was I don't know about it. I just thought it would be interesting for once to take a movie this far into the lineup, watch it, and see if I'd like it (which I really did). Oddly enough, there wasn't as much street racing as I thought there'd be considering that's what I heard to be the draw. The action in this particular entry, however, is pretty exhilarating. I've been wanting to see The Rock in another action flick since The Rundown and Faster, and it's good to see him back doing what he does best (can't wait to see him in G.I. Joe either). And from what little I'd seen of Vin Diesel, I thought he was a pretty good action guy himself. But to see both he and The Rock duking it out (quite viciously, too) was very cool to watch. On top of that, the last half hour with the vault heist and all the stunt work they had to coordinate is among the best I've seen from a production standpoint. If you haven't seen any of the Fast & Furious yet, I can wholeheartedly recommend you at least start here.
Video - 5.0
- Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
- Video resolution: 1080p
- Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
- Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Fast Five is another one of those movies that was filmed on 35mm then digitally processed, and it looks perfect on this transfer. I was convinced after just the first few minutes when they were stealing the cars from the train that the image would be a stunner. Contrast displays itself best during this sequence showing a lot of fine detail throughout the interior shots of the train when O'Connor and Mia are walking through the passenger car, down to the car car (it sounds weird saying that), and to the point when they cut the walls out to take the cars. In particular, the details I'm talking about are the shadow delineation amongst the lighting, the fact that you can see many of the grains of sand blowing through the air, and even some of the hairs on O'Connor's arms when he jumps out and hangs on the escape truck. Furthermore, when things get darker (from a lighting perspective) the detail remains just as immaculate. For me, it was the articulation of Hobbs' sweat running down his head and all the way to his beard. You can see each individual bead even when its dark outside. Colors are also handled extremely well, most notably in the scene with the car congregation where all the flashy cars, lights, and colorfully scantily-clad women make for some great eye candy. There are no instances of any tinkering whatsoever and the picture is as clean as can be. From a cinematographic view, I was very impressed with a lot of the footage they were able to get or integrate using as little CG as possible. A lot of the overhead shots of Brazil and the favelas add a nice exoticism to the feel of the movie itself, and I hope DP Stephen F. Windon gets more work in the future. My favorite scenes for reference are the chase in the favelas for its overall balance in detail amongst all the chaos, the police Charger street race in the middle for some great black levels, the aforementioned car congregation for all the colorfulness it exudes, and of course the scene where Gisele is getting Reyes' hand print because it's detailed, colorful, and I'm a guy and thinks she looks really hot in a bikini.
Audio - 5.0
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- French: DTS 5.1
- Spanish: DTS 5.1
- English SDH, French, Spanish
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track here is every bit as captivating as the video. Oddly enough, Jon Taylor, the re-recording mixer, has worked on mostly romantic comedies or dramas in his career. He has a few horror and action titles under his belt, but considering how aggressive the sound is for Fast Five, I'm surprised his talents have been so underused. With that being said, though, whether you're a fan of the series or a complete newbie like me, the audio alone makes up a good third of the enjoyment. As I've noticed with a lot of other car-involving sound designs (particularly The Transporter series), a really good car can make for some cool sound effects. The first one you really get to hear is Dom's 1970 Charger. And holy crap, is that thing loud. Its first appearance comes in from the rear left and not only packed a floor-shaking rumble, but even managed to rattle the driver in my dinky old Yamaha tower speaker. And then you have the revving of the engines of the cars they steal off the train, and even the train itself, making for lots of noise. Dynamic range is especially proficient with a lot of the vehicles because of the various engine types, car builds, and the way in which they're used (some for racing, some for ramming, and others for towing). In addition, there's also a lot more gunfire than I expected for the supposedly racing-oriented film I thought I was going to get. When the chasing and shooting ensue, directionality and separation are outstanding. Much like the various number of vehicles shown in the movie, there are also various weapons as well. Something like 150 different guns were made for the film, and while I couldn't keep track of all the calibers and makes, I'll take their word for it based on what I heard. LFEs are a given if you haven't associated everything else about the sound design with bass already, which should also be apparent if you're familiar with the work of composer Brian Tyler (who puts a lot of bass into his music). My favorite scenes are the favela chase, the shootout with Hobbs' team, and that crazy vault heist sequence at the end that destroys and damages things all over the place.
Extras - 4.5
- Audio Commentary (Director Justin Lin)
With this being both the first F&F and Justin Lin-directed film I've seen, I was very surprised at how informational it was. Lin has a very candid tone and talks about a lot of the filming, the production, the themes he wanted to portray with the characters, the evolution of the franchise from the first to the fifth, and what it was like working with everyone involved. And for a director I'd never heard of prior to this, I have to say he sounds like he has a pretty good grip on things.
- Deleted Scenes (HD; 1:40)
- Gag Reel (HD; 4:17)
- The Big Train Heist (HD; 7:37)
Deconstructing the production and stunt work of said heist. Particularly how they wanted to use as little CG and visual effects as possible and to outdo action sequences from the previous films. I think they succeeded.
- Reuniting the Team (HD; 4:59)
The casting of the characters and actors from previous F&F films. Again, not having seen any of the previous incarnations I have no idea who's supposed to be who and what kind of emotional baggage they're carrying. But I'm glad they got Gal Gadot!
- A New Set of Wheels (HD; 10:09)
Talking about all the cars they used here in F5 and how they sort of represent some of the characters. It's a pretty interesting take on car-to-character symbolism, especially in the case of the main characters.
- Dom's Journey (HD; 4:55)
A look at the motivations and evolution of Vin Diesel's character. I never took Diesel seriously as anything more than just another action body playing the tough guy, but this feature actually sheds a good deal of light on the character of Dom Toretto.
- Brian O'Connor From Fed to Con (HD; 5:55)
A look at Paul Walker's character across the series. Weird to see how much of a West Coast, middle class ricer he seemed to be in F2 with the blond hair and super Caucasian attire. Hard to think he progressed so much up to this point.
- Enter Federal Agent Hobbs (HD; 5:50)
A look at The Rock's character. I love the fact that they even have him in this film. The guy is charismatic and brings a lot to the table with his natural ability to look, act, and be tough in any kind of action role he gets, yet appears so humble off screen.
- Dom vs. Hobbs (HD; 7:31)
A breakdown of the big fight and the challenges faced in filming it. Both Diesel and Johnson talk about how they really respect each other and have wanted to work together for a while. Well, they got their chance, and boy did they give a good show.
- On Set with Director Justin Lin (HD; 8:36)
A look at filming the Porsche test-drive scene. He seemed a little annoyed at the fact that the stunt coordinators and driver weren't giving him what he wanted. They did quite a few takes and had a lot of talk in-between. Thankfully, they got what they needed to.
- Inside the Vault Chase (HD; 9:20)
A great look at how they put the logistics and production together for this thrilling sequence. This is one of the coolest action/heist sequences I've seen in a while. Some of it is visual effects, but a lot of it actually isn't. If you're interested in film-making in general, definitely check this one out.
- Tyrese TV (HD; 6:35)
The actor goofing around on set. He talks to the camera, goes around and talks to Justin Lin and Ludacris, and then hypes himself up like only he can. If you like his personality and sense of humor, this is worth a look.
A P-i-P commentary featuring 17 segments of behind-the-scenes footage NOT seen in the other features averaging about 3 minutes per segment totaling to another 50-ish minutes of total bonus features. There's also an option to turn on Scene Explorer during U-Control to show 3 versions of the train heist in PreVis, Dailies, and B-t-S all at the same time or just one a time (in which the single view will take up the entire screen). The U-Control feature is a little more cumbersome to sit through and navigate than Warners' Maximum Movie Mode or Lionsgate's Bonus View, but is still pretty informational.
Overall - 5.0
I've heard the F&F franchise is something of a mixed bag. Some people say it's good entertainment and others say it's a waste of time. Not having seen any of the previous films, I can't tell you what I think yet. But based solely on F5 alone, I have to say I'm pretty damn interested in seeing them now. F5, in particular, is a great heist flick with lots of action and style that ironically and apparently also has some of the long-rumored elements of The Brazilian Job (as in, the sequel to The Italian Job) in it. For whatever reason The Brazilian Job never made it out of production hell, nobody knows. But if the F5 crew did manage to sneak it in here, all the better. The video and audio are easily reference quality and the extras amount to well over 2 hours plus a great commentary. So if you're a fan of the franchise (I guess) or at least a fan of this installment, don't hesitate to pick it up and enjoy the ride.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2011
This one was different from the rest. There was a lot more drama, and talking, mixed with some action. I guess I had high hopes for even A LITTLE more racing scenes is this whole movie. It was more of an action movie with guns and muscles than what the original The Fast and The Furious started with. Even though the director said they're trying to "evolve", get away from the racing stuff. It was a little disappointing to only see one real race, which wasn't exciting at all. Then when you think there's going to be a race, they edit it out completely. Probably because we know whose going to win in the end, sure, but it's still fun to watch. "The Rock" (Dwayne Johnson) was a great addition to the movie. His character in this playing "Hobbs" was hunting down Dom, Brian and the team. Also bringing back some of the other characters from the four movies before his one was a great addition.
I don't know, you be the judge. If you like action movies with guns blazing mixed with some standard cars and destruction. Then you may like this movie. If you only liked the other other fast and furious movies before this because of the street racing, cars, or feel of it. You may or may not be disappointed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Remember back in the day when you were all wistful for Stallone and Schwarzenegger to be in the same movie or, on a subservient level, for Seagal and Van Damme to do something together? FAST FIVE is the best - and biggest - in the Fast & the Furious franchise for any number of reasons, but a big chunk of the hells yeah! stems from the Rock stepping into the series. You knew, you just knew, he and Vin Diesel would be champing at the bit to claim head chair in the pecking order. Adrenalin junkies are accordingly put on alert.
FAST FIVE opens by replaying the closing sequence of the previous (and fourth) installment, with Dom Toretto's (Vin Diesel) being sprung during his transit to penitentiary. This prison - or, more accurately, prison bus - break is masterminded by former cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) who has now irrevocably crossed that line. This marks the first time that Walker and Diesel's characters are working on the same side for the entire length of the film. And yet that streak of competitiveness is still there. O'Conner is still earnestly obsessed with proving that he's the superior wheel man. Dom continues to humor him, probably trying not to smirk.
Awesomely, FAST FIVE reunites the core cast of the previous four flicks, and I soaked in the cool factor of seeing Tyrese Gibson, Luda, Sung Kang, Don Omar, and Tego Calderon rub elbows with Diesel and Walker. Now fugitives from justice and finding stateside too hot for comfort, Dom, O'Conner, and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have fled to parts unknown. But when a daring Brazilian train caper goes south and ends up with Dom and O'Conner accused of murdering three DEA agents, in comes a relentless U.S. strike force ramrodded by the determined and growly Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). And right away you can feel the ferocity the Rock brings to his role. Oooh, I was anticipating the inevitable butting of heads.
But that's just one of the story threads. The central one concerns our likable rogues' planning and orchestrating of one final huge score. Dom and O'Conner have aimed with ambition and with brazenness, targeting the primo drug kingpin in Rio de Janeiro. Except that this Big Bad is one careful, meticulous sumbitch, his stash of $100 million cached in ten holdings spread throughout the city and guarded by an army of corrupt cops on his payroll. The trick is how do you get to all ten stashes without ruining that element of surprise? It's pretty clever how Dom gets around this complication.
FAST FIVE does present several good character moments which ground our cast, sort of. I say "sort of" because, honestly, this franchise's enduring global popularity is built around high-octane, wildly improbable, tremendously entertaining action sequences (oh, and hot cars and hot chicks in skimpy clothing). But the franchise's stabs at a richer emotional tonality allow the viewer to accept the film's more absurd stunts or at least view them with a more expansive eye. We're treated to three audacious action set pieces (the epic train heist, the chase across the rooftops of a Brazilian slum, the runaway bank vault). We see the brutal, no-holds-barred Rock vs. Diesel fighty fight. We note the film's scorn of the laws of physics. It pays never mind to the logistics involving our heroes surviving a two-hundred-feet plunge into the drink or two cars hauling a bank vault while engaged in a car chase with a troop of police cars. It scoffs at the impossibility of fingerprints being lifted from a bikini. Except that these flaws don't bug me. I only point them out to demonstrate that I'm no wide-eyed daisy. I'm aware of the implausibilities, the ridiculousness of the stuff that goes down, as is director Justin Lin, if you listen to his audio commmentary. This film ain't for nitpickers; it'll be like target practice for them. For my money, FAST FIVE delivers enough solid character interactions, but, no, this isn't a Merchant Ivory production. Instead, it's all about the larger-than-life characters and their dangerous attitudes and it's about the stupendous wall-to-wall action. It's sheer escapism. And, also, maybe you should stick around for the closing credits.
The DVD's bonus stuff: Director' Justin Lin's Audio Commentary; 2 Deleted Scenes (totaling 00:01:39 minutes); Gag Reel (00:04:17 minutes) and three featurettes focusing, respectively, on Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson and their character arcs: "Dom's Journey" (00:04:53 minutes long); "Brian O'Conner: From Fed to Con" (00:05:53); and "Enter Federal Agent Hobbs" (00:05:47).