Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Fast and Furious 6
As a franchise, Fast and the Furious appeared burnt out in 2009. Tokyo Drift bombed failing to match its production budget domestically and likely losing a ton worldwide. Fast and Furious saw the return of the original cast, which helped it return to previous heights in terms of box office dollars, but critics eviscerated it. Then, defying logic, Fast Five became the biggest hit in the franchise and earned the most critical praise. Can Fast and Furious 6 maintain this momentum? Or was Fast Five just a fluke?
I'm not looking forward to this review. Very recently, Paul Walker died in a car crash where the cops stated speed was an issue. I'm not in any way blaming his death on these movies, but it is also impossible to watch these movies and not think about what happened. Also, as I mentioned in my review of the previous film, I'm not a fan of the acting in this movie, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel specifically. I have to be honest with my review, but I also don't want to speak ill of the dead.
The film begins with Brian and Dom racing along a beautiful stretch of road. They are trying to get to a convent where Dom's sister, and more importantly, Brian's girlfriend, Mia, is about to give birth. Because Brian is about to be a father, the four of them (including Elana, Dom's girlfriend) are planning on retiring. So Brian's becoming a father, Dom's becoming an uncle, and these two are retiring from the only life they've known. And yet, there's no real emotion displayed by these two. The wooden acting from these two continues.
Next, we see the aftermath of a violent heist where some Russia satellite equipment was stolen. The investigating officer is Luke Hobbs, who has a new partner, Riley Hicks. Hobbs knows there's only one person skilled enough to pull off this heist, and it's not Dom and Brian. It's an ex British Special Forces soldier, Owen Shaw. Hobbs is going to need help to catch Shaw, and he turns to Dominic. At first Dominic has no interest in coming out of retirement, but then Hobbs shows him a recent picture of Letty Ortiz, Dom's old girlfriend, who died years ago. While he's with someone new, he's got to go to find out what happened to Letty.
With that, Dom and Brian assemble the team and they are back together. However, they want one more concession out of Hobbs. They will get him Shaw, but in exchange, they all get pardons. The first attempt to get Shaw goes poorly, with Shaw getting away. Dom does see Letty, but she shoots him.
There is some good news. Despite not catching Shaw, there's plenty of evidence to go over and many leads to follow. This includes the bullet Letty shot Dom with, and he and Brian begin to unravel that mystery.
Any details about said mystery are spoiler territory, so that's enough of the plot summary.
So how does Fast and Furious 6 compare to the rest of the franchise? Well, it's not as good as Fast Five, but it's better than every other film in the franchise. On the positive side, there's still good action scenes with incredible car chases, fighting scenes, etc. and of course the scene with the tank was appropriately over the top. (That's not a spoiler. It's in the trailer.) I especially like the addition of Gina Carano. This is only her third movie, but she can not only kick ass in a fight scene, but she has good scene presence. She's not as good as Dwayne Johnson in that regard, but she's got time to learn. On the other hand, this is more of a mystery than an heist film, so there are more slow moments in the movie and more times where acting is needed by the two leads, and that's never a good thing. Also, the film has some of the same flaws the previous film had, including issues with suspension of disbelief and the inability for anyone to fire a gun and hit a target. There were more attempts at humor that fell flat and this hurt the overall energy.
The extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track with the director, Justin Lin. There are also three deleted scenes, a really short behind-the-scenes featurette and a four-part making of featurette. However, calling it a four-part featurette makes it sound more impressive than it is, as its total running time is under 30 minutes.
The Blu-ray has the original version and the extended version. The extended version is two hours and eleven minutes compared to two hours and ten minutes for the theatrical version. Take control is a nine-minute featurette with several of the cast and the director talking about what the movie means. Hand to Hand Fury is about the fight choreography. It's All About the Cars has two featurettes about the cars (plus one of the short featurettes from the DVD). Planes, Tanks, Automobiles has a few featurettes on the stunts. Finally there's a look at Fast and Furious 7, which was only partially completed before Paul Walker's death and it has since been pulled from the schedule.
The technical presentation is just as good this time around as it was last time. There's plenty of detail in the scenes, even darker ones. The colors pop and the contrast is strong. There are no compression issues or digital artifacts. The 5.1 surround sound audio track uses all speakers well, especially the bass, which is needed every time an engine roars.
The DVD costs $17, while the Blu-ray comes in at $20. This is an excellent price for a Blu-ray that includes plenty of exclusive extras, as well as the DVD.
Fast and Furious 6 is not as good as its immediate predecessor, but it is still entertaining in an over-the-top way. The DVD has enough extras that it is worth a rental, while the Blu-ray Combo Pack is the better deal.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-12-10