The Fast and Furious franchise is one which has millions of fans the world over. Fast cars, fast women, great action and a stellar cast has ensured that every new release has an instant following. Still it was a big surprise when earlier this year the fifth movie in the franchise, Fast & Furious 5 (or Fast Five depending where you live), has become the highest grossing movie in the entire franchise. So what's it all about then...
Former cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) partners with ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) on the opposite side of the law. Since Brian and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) broke Dom out of custody, they've blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom. As they assemble their elite team of top racers, the unlikely allies know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he's not the only one on their tail. Hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) never misses his target. When he is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault to capture them. But as his men tear through Brazil, Hobbs learns he can't separate the good guys from the bad. Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey... before someone else runs them down first.
Having said that while the fights between Dwayne and Vin's characters are brutal and highly entertaining it's the shift in focus for the franchise from street racing to a heist movie that had many questioning the minds at Universal, but it works superbly well and offers something completely fresh.
One final interesting note is that while the movie is tilted Fast & Furious 5 on the cover of the Australian packaging the encoding has the title Fast Five which was the same in cinemas here too (again, despite the marketing having the longer title).
We must point out that on the retail packaging for this disc it states there is Italian and Spanish audio, and subtitles in Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish - this does not appear to be the case on the retail disc we reviewed.
Filmmakers Commentary: We almost missed this as it's hidden away on the second page of the Extras, but this commentary from Justin Lin is quite an impressive effort with plenty of detail about the production of the film including discussion about the stunt work, creating sequels, filming in Brazil, and so much more.
The Big Train Heist (7:37/HD): This featurette has plenty of on-set footage about how they filmed the train heist sequence including building the vehicle, setting up the train, and using real locations.
Reuniting the Team (4:59/HD): As the titles suggests this featurette looks at bring back many of the characters from the previous movies.
A New Set of Wheels (10:09/HD): This featurette looks at the cars used within the movie, how they were modified, and how the car manufacturers supported the movie.
Dom's Journey (4:55/HD): This brief clip looks at Dom's story through the franchise, and Vin's popularity, particularly in Brazil where they filmed this latest movie.
Brian O'Connor From Fed to Con (5:55/HD): This short clip looks at the change of Brian from a cop to a criminal and now working with Dom. There's also a look at how much of the stunt work Paul Walker actually performed for the film.
Dom Vs Hobbs (7:31/HD): This clip looks at the fight sequence between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson including plenty of on-set footage.
On Set with Director Justin Lin (8:36/HD): This featurette focuses on the director working on-set during a car sequence. Justin wants more aggression in the driving, but there are concerns about damaging the cars.
Inside the Vault Chase (9:20/HD): Probably the most interesting featurette this looks at all the stunt work that went into the vault chase sequence. Plenty of on-set footage, as well as a drivable vault!
U-Control (HD): Universal's U-Control makes an appearance on this disc with a Picture-in-Picture video segments which contain on-set footage and interviews, or the Scene Explorer where you can see scene being played as a Pre-Viz sequence, the Dailies, or on-set Behind the scenes footage. I still think this is a clunky interface, but still, there's some great behind the scenes footage here well worth your time.
Review By: Dave Warner