THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Review by Michael Jacobson
Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune,
Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Ted Levine
Director: Rob Cohen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 107 Minutes
Release Date: January 2, 2002
live my life a quarter mile at a time…for those ten seconds or less, I’m
about your unfortunate timing…The Fast and the Furious should have been
released on DVD a week or two before Christmas. It might have been the go-to disc for every guy who was led
around by his wife or girlfriend from store to store trying to find just the
right gifts for that distant aunt or grandmother. This is the kind of film that will replace any man’s
depleted testosterone supply in about the same amount of time it takes one of
the movie’s street racers to cross the quarter mile mark.
mean, within the first half hour you have 1) an amazing truck hijacking, 2) a
pumped up race, 3) a fist fight, 4) gunplay, 5) sexy scantily clad women and 6)
more excruciatingly loud rock and rap music than most other action films have
from start to finish!
your brain on cruise control and your foot flattening the adrenaline pedal, The
Fast and the Furious delivers what you’re probably expecting…and I
seriously doubt anyone who picks this movie up will be expecting the wrong
thing. It’s over-the-top machismo
from start to finish, where characters speak in a language as foreign as the
pseudo-science babbling on Star Trek, and makes you think if these kids
really know all this and can do what they do with cars, they must be only a few
weeks’ worth of study away from an engineering degree!
stars the likeable Vin Diesel as Dominic, the cool, intense master of the
underworld of street racing, described by one as having “nitrous oxide for
blood and a gas tank for a brain”. He
and his team have been playing the sport a long time, and few, if any, do it
better. Paul Walker plays Brian
O’Conner, a young wannabe with the car knowledge, but possibly not the racing
skills, to compete.
ends up in a raucous four car race through the streets of Los Angeles with his
own set of wheels on the line. Before
the night is through, however, the cops will have descended on the illegal
sport, and only Brian’s quick thinking and moves saves Dom from a trip to the
slammer. Brian earns Dom’s trust,
and starts to find himself closer and closer to the inside of the street racing
spoiler ahead, even though the back of the box gives it away.)
as it turns out, is an undercover cop assigned to investigate the aforementioned
truck hijackings. Given the souped
up nature of the autos involved, it can only be concluded (at least for the sake
of the film) that the criminals are street racers.
Dom knows all the players in the L.A. area; so Brian figures if he can
get close to Dom, he’ll be able to work his way through the system and figure
out who is behind the crime wave.
doesn’t count on a couple of things, though.
One, he begins to fall in love with Dom’s beautiful sister Mia
(Brewster), and two, he begins to like and feel a sense of loyalty toward Dom.
We get a little closer to a guy like Dom in this movie than we would in
most action pictures. His story about his father’s death, for example, is a nice
moment that brings us closer to a reclusive character.
as far as I want to tread story-wise…I’d just like to add a praise that a
botched hijacking scene near the end is perhaps the movie’s most exhilarating
set piece, and is alone worth the price of admission.
is the kind of movie with low standards, and it easily achieves them.
Is it entertaining? Yes.
Are the action sequences worthwhile?
Mostly…personally, I was a little distracted during the first big
racing scene where loudly obvious CGI effects were constantly thrown in.
The fact that they were so noticeable kind of took me out of the element
from time to time.
story is frankly no more than a flimsy clothesline strung from one end to the
other to hang a few big scenes on. The
crime aspect could have actually been another movie altogether, and one can’t
help but think when you see the way the bad guys do their thing that there HAS
to be an easier way to score some electronics.
And speaking of easy, why do the semi drivers never simply bash the
little Toyotas into oblivion? We
may never know.
dumb, but it’s mostly fun. The
Fast and the Furious works as a guy’s movie to a certain extent, appealing
to the base instincts but getting nowhere near the brain.
film is indeed fast and furious in its never ending assault of color, motion,
and detail, and this Universal DVD delivers the goods from start to finish with
this splendid anamorphic transfer. Every
car is a bright, beautiful work of art and lovingly photographed, whether
standing still or racing at breakneck speeds. These colors and tones are all very natural looking, and play
in extreme lighting and motion schemes with integrity and strong, solid detail.
Images are razor sharp and crystal clear throughout, and no matter
whether scenes are light or dark, there are no instances of noticeable grain,
bleeding, shimmer, or other artifacts to spoil the presentation.
only aspect of the disc better than the video is the bombastic assault of a
soundtrack. Dolby Digital or DTS,
just pick one and buckle up. All
stages open ferociously during the racing and action scenes, in which crossovers
rip from front to back and side to side with speed and smoothness. Your .1 channel may have never gotten so constant a workout,
either. Whether accentuating the
low droning of the engines, or adding bass to the constant music, or rumbling
with the explosions and gunplay, you may have to give your subwoofer the rest of
the night off after this disc. You’ll
be grabbing this one to show off your system with!
Collector’s Edition discs mean features galore, and you sure get them here.
It starts with a very good commentary track by director Rob Cohen, a good
speaker with plenty of knowledge to share about how the film came to be, working
with and watching real street racers, the cast, the stuntmen, and of course, the
cars…everything you’d want to know is covered here, with enthusiasm and a
bit of humor. There is a featurette
containing some cast and crew interviews, a very cool 8 angle interactive
presentation of the final stunt scene, a special effects montage for the first
race sequence, an effects featurette detailing the final race, the “Racer X”
article that inspired the movie, an interesting look at how certain scenes were
edited in order to bring the MPAA rating down from R to PG 13, storyboards, a
trailer, three music videos, and some DVD ROM extras.
A nice package all around.