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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2013

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"Fast & Furious 6" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Christian Eberle

Fast & Furious 6 (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

Uber-cop Hobbs (Johnson) returns in this sixth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. Instead of chasing Dominic (Diesel) and his crew, he comes asking for help to apprehend a dangerous international criminal. It seems Shaw and his associates are stealing parts to build a weapon that can take down military communications; a caper potentially worth billions. To entice Dominic, Hobbs shows him a picture of Lettie who everyone thought was dead. She's working for Shaw and has no memory of her past or her love for Dominic.

Dominic assembles the old group, including former FBI agent Brian O'Conner, to go after Shaw and rescue Lettie. After a series of failed pursuits, they finally catch up with their prey as he attempts to flee England with the final part. The epic battle takes place in and beneath a Russian cargo plane streaking down the runway as Dominic and his crew try desperately to capture Shaw and potentially save millions of lives.

It is appropriate to mention here the unfortunate passing of Paul Walker, who played the role of Brian O'Conner in this and four other Fast & Furious films. He and a friend were killed in an auto accident in Los Angeles on November 30. His talent was part of the very fabric of these and many other films and he will be much missed.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2013, Color, Rated G (PG for 3D version), 10 Hrs, 33 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson
  • Directed by Justin Lin
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Although the plots of the Fast & Furious films have always been thin, chapters five and six center on crime caper themes; which is far more entertaining than the morality play framework used in the first four movies. As always, it's about the cars and car chases; and there are more of these packed into two hours than you'd think possible. The laws of physics are pretty much ignored but it's all in good fun right? Seriously, the stunt work; both vehicular and otherwise, is stupendous. The stunt people are the real stars here. A lot of the vehicular mayhem is CGI but you can't tell the difference between real and computer-generated effects. And car buffs will especially appreciate the Jensen Interceptor drive by Lettie. It's a real tip of the hat to old-school nuts like me!

Technical

The image is sharp and detailed throughout with deep contrast and excellent color saturation. The only flaw here is the palette tends too far towards warm tones, especially during daylight scenes. The color leans towards cartoonish at times but is mostly natural in tone. There is no evidence of edge enhancement or excessive digital scrubbing. In fact, there is just enough film grain to give things an appropriately gritty appearance.

The DTS-HD Master Audio track is presented here in 5.1. The overall soundstage is extremely wide and deep with constant and proper use of the surround speakers. The subwoofer has plenty of opportunities to shine as well. Dialog is nicely balanced and detailed as is the music which ranges from hard-hitting rap to techno funk. There is plenty of detail to be heard in the loudest and quietest scenes. It's reference-quality all the way.

Extras

Bonus features include four making-of featurettes, a preview of Fast & Furious 7 which is currently in production, audio commentary by director Justin Lin, deleted scenes, and interviews with cast and crew members. There is also an extended version of the film which adds less than a minute of footage. The package I received had the Blu-ray, a DVD, and a digital copy of the feature film.