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Click above to purchase "The Fast And The Furious: Collector's Edition" from DVDEmpire.com
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Violence, Sexual Content and Language)
Running Time: 107 minutes
Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Ted Levine
Screenplay by: Gary Scott
Thompson and Erik Bergquist and David Ayer
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Retail Price: $26.98
Features: The Making Of "The Fast And The Furious", Audio Commentary with Director Rob Cohen, Racer X Article, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary, Multiple Camera Angle Stunt Sequence, Movie Magic, Editing For The Motion Picture Association of America, Visual Effects Montage, Storyboards-To-Final Feature Comparison, Music Videos, Production Notes, Cast and Filmmakers Bios, Recommendations, The Fast and The Furious Special Offers, Theatrical Trailer. DVD-ROM: Weblinks, Supercar Street Challenge Demo, Newsletter
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Scenes (20 Scenes)
Released: January 2nd, 2002
When "The Fast And The Furious" opened in North American theaters during June 2001, no one expected the impact it would have on audiences and that particularly summer. True, critics panned the movie, but audiences ate it right up, making well over 140 million dollars to everyone's surprise (and even coming in first during its first weekend with about 40 million dollars). The marketing on the film wasn't anything really special, I just suppose it opened at the right time (after being delayed from March 2001) and something with the ads or the actors just clicked with a mass audience (and it once again proves hardly anyone cares what critics think these days). It seemed a new franchise was born for Universal. Yet what made the movie so appealing? A strong, stellar cast? Loads of cars people love to drool over? The action? The fun? Probably all of that and more. It was a great success story for the once fledging Universal, who has had well over a half-dozen movies make over 100 million in 2001, not to mention so many of their movies opening in first place and having strong takes. I missed it in theaters, and despite reading a load of reviews, everyone I know who saw the movie raved about it. So, now it was my chance to check it out...
"The Fast And The Furious" follows rival car gangs in Los Angeles. As cars have been used time and time before to show power, the gangs race in souped-up vehicles that seem to be down to a science. As the cars blaze across the city streets, a story actually develops involving the gangs, particularly two rivals: Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Toretto has been suspected of stealing a load of nice items (including DVD players!) that are worth a lot of money. That's where Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) comes in. He's a detective who's on the trail of Toretto, however, as Brian gets in with the gang, his loyalty is soon tested between his job and himself.
Let's be honest here: the plot to the movie isn't complex, the characters are fairly limited and I found a lot of the aspects to the story to be nothing new and predictable. However, what I did like is how well the themes are conveyed and how essential they are to the movie. It truly is not all about action as themes of family and loyalty are placed and told well through out the movie. While it may not seem like it at first, the film really has those aspects and makes them work rather well.
The script from Thompson, Bergquist and Ayer is pretty decent. This isn't Shakespeare here, but the strength of the movie aren't the predictable aspects (Brian falling for Dominic's sister Mia, Brian getting closer to the gang), the cheesy fun lines or even all the action sequences. I think what makes their script work so well and what moviegoers loved so much about it is how they establish a whole deal of characters and a setting, sorta like a mini-universe. They keep things going, and while some of those things are for fun and don't add on to the plot, the important thing is that they do work.
Rob Cohen, who's done a variety of films before ("Dragonheart" and "The Skulls" come to mind), perhaps creates his most visually stunning work yet. Despite some "Matrix" like moments, he makes the film flow and keeps up with it all. There are some really nice edits here and action sequences (more on that in a moment), as well as some fantastic camera work that really does amaze me and got me caught up right in the action. His work here really did impress me, creating some great visuals that are a joy to watch and where you can feel the effort that were put into them. Like the script, he just keeps things going.
The action sequences... wow. The stunts in the movie and how they were accomplished are also pretty amazing to me. Personally, I felt these were used as filler in some parts, but there is no doubt that these are enjoyable and make the movie a blast. From the giant finale involving a truck, the opening race and all in between (oh, and the last fifteen minutes that is non-stop action), you can't help but admire the work put into these stunts and how much they are to watch. In a way, they do make the movie and are rather impressive. It works, as they are immersive and add to the film. Very entertaining and some of the best I've seen in a bit, as they are more "classic" in a sense.
The acting here is really likable and the actors fill the parts well, which is also another reason the film works. The actors share good chemistry. Breakout star Vin Diesel is really good here, and Paul Walker seems to be growing as an actor. Add in the reliable Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune (good to see he's been acting more) and Michelle Rodriguez, and you have a pretty strong cast.
Personally, I think critics were too harsh and audiences were to kind to the movie. I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting, but I didn't like how some characters weren't really given any direction, and I didn't like the ending so much, it felt a bit tacked on, not to mention leaving room for a sequel (which Universal is currently planning out now) and didn't quite wrap things up the way I would have liked. In either case, if you're looking for a movie where you won't have to think and want to be entertained, "The Fast And The Furious" is worth looking into.
DVD Deleted Scene: Various car gangs race to see who can escape the screening of "Battlefield Earth 2" the fastest.
"The Fast And The Furious" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and after being a bit disappointed by some recent Universal transfers, this really ranks as one of the best I've seen from them lately, or any studio period for a live action film. My complaints are small and don't affect the picture too much. There are some times where the image looked a bit soft, and I did notice some blemishes, shimmering and noise here and there. Some grain is visible too. Other than that, this transfer is pitch perfect. A lot of times the image pops right out at you, giving off a great effect as there is so much sharpness and three-dimensionality to the image. The exterior scenes during the night and day look incredible. I feel it is a bit hard to capture scenes like this when transferring them, but Universal shows it off with ease. The scenes have a distinct look and feel to them. Detail and black levels are some of the best and boldest I've seen in a long time, while colors and rich and vibrant. No disappointments here!
Paul Walker, star of such movies as "Meet The Deedles" and "Tammy and the T-Rex."
Whew! Even though you'll be sitting in your seat for the whole time, you'll really feel like you've been in an intense car ride after listening to the 5.1 tracks. These tracks actually gave me quite a rush and really, really puts you directly in the action, perfectly capturing the adrenaline-driven moments of the film. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English DTS 5.1 tracks will surely give your sound system a work out. As this movie has so much action that is rather constant throughout, your speakers won't have much time usually to breathe... or yourself in act since considering how caught up you may be. The tracks are incredibly intense, with excellent dynamic range, wonderfully strong and great use of bass extension as well as high fidelity. What amazed me so much is how many sounds scenes do pack, and how you are able to hear everything in good balance. Car roars, cars speeding and racing, gun fire, car crashes and the variety of music... they're all really well mixed. However, I must say the DTS track is stronger than the Dolby Digital. It has more zing to it, and in the end, I found it stronger, more satisfying and much more fuller than the Dolby Digital. Still, the Dolby Digital is great and you won't be disappointed with it. Overall, there is some real prime sound here that is rather mesmerizing. Also included are English captions and a French Dolby Surround track.
Can we get bin Laden in there?
Considering the film's success, it would only make sense for Universal to do a souped-up Collector's Edition (will there be an Ultimate Edition). The supplements here are pretty damn cool. Before I go into them, a big kudos to Universal, as before the movie, you're treated to a sponsored PSA from Paul Walker who cautions about dangerous driving (seeing how people have seen and will see the movie, and some of those people are influenced).
In anycase, The Making Of "The Fast And The Furious" is your above average promotional featurette. Running a little over eighteen minutes, it provides a solid look at many aspects of the film. It talks about the actual car subculture that inspired the movie, the origins of the film, interviews with fans and extras, how they hired people directly involved in the car culture, talks about the actual cars and has a slew of interviews with Rob Cohen, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, producer Neal Moritz and quite a few more. It has a lot of behind the scenes footage, clips from the film and is well done. It's in full frame too.
The Audio Commentary with Director Rob Cohen is also rather strong. Cohen talks about getting the project and reading the original article, and how he didn't see potential as a film at first until he actually saw an illegal street racing. Cohen is a bit dry, but he talks friendly and offers a load of information that all fans of the film will really want to hear. He talks about the challenges in making some of the stunts, computer work to alter some settings and the themes of the movie, and why he thinks it works so much. It's a well done track, and it seems Cohen has a lot of pride for the movie, which he should. He doesn't describe action on screen (I hate that) and he doesn't offer pauses, which is very good.
The article that inspired the movie, Racer X is here to read. It's actually quite a nice, informative and well written article that Kenneth Li wrote for Vibe magazine, capturing a load about this whole car subculture that exists today. While the movie was inspired by this, you can seem some similarities and learn about the whole driving force (no pun intended) behind it. Very cool, very informative, very long and really worth reading.
We are treated to no less than eight Deleted Scenes. When you first click the menu, Cohen is introduced by audio only, and explains a basis of why there are deleted scenes. In anycase, some of these scenes are extensions or edits. The quality of these are a bit rough, and are presented a bit weird. Most of scenes are also quite short, but Cohen provides strong commentary for all of them. But fans of the movie will enjoy "Brian and Mia walk to her car," "Tanner and Brain in police house," "Brian and Jessie outside Toretto's garage," "Trading driving stories," "Hector and Brian at The Racer's Edge," "Brain and Mia at the Beach," "Original Edit of the Ferrari Scene" and "Extension of Race Wars fight scene." You have the option to watch them separate or play them all too.
The really cool Multiple Camera Angle Stunt Sequence is a bit disappointing, but worth checking out. The final stunt scene was filmed with eight different cameras, and here you can view the final sequence or watch each camera individually. What I found disappointing is how you can't switch between the cameras, even though the sequence is a bit short.
In Movie Magic, you can view three different points of view for part of the finale: the train point of view, front angle cars and side angle cars. There are original "plates" (footage) of them, and then the final composite. Pretty good, though short.
The Featurette On Editing For The Motion Picture Of Association Of America is a bit under five minutes, and features Rob Cohen and his editor, Peter Honess, hard at work editing one of the action sequences so they can get a PG-13 rating for the movie. I wish it was a bit longer, but as they trim shots and make cuts, we do get a greater feel of how strict the MPAA can be.
The Visual Effects Montage is a montage set to music of film footage, rough footage, CGI work and blue screen work. It lasts for nearly four minutes. There's also two Storyboards-To-Final Feature Comparisons. You can view the scene and storyboards together or just the storyboards separate for "The First Race" and "Final Crash Stunt. There's also a trio of music videos: Furious by Ja Rule featuring Vita and 01, POV City Anthem by Caddillac Tah (which is edited for language) and Click Click Boom by Saliva. There's also a Soundtrack Spot to watch, plus Music Highlights where you can jump to a point in the film where a song is played (there are 19 highlights).
Rounding it all out are Production Notes, Cast and Filmmakers Bios, Recommendations, The Fast and The Furious Special Offers, the Theatrical Trailer (in non-anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1) and some DVD-ROM materials like the usual newsletter, weblinks, a demo of the game Supercar Street Challenge and more.
Secret Alternate Ending to "Dude, Where's My Car?"
"The Fast And The Furious" is going to be a stellar seller for Universal on DVD. While this is a fun movie, this DVD is incredible and is quite a package deal, so fans of the film won't be disappointed. With 5.1 tracks that are truly demo material, a great transfer and supplements that are really superb, "The Fast And The Furious" is a must for your collection if you're a fan of the film.