Release Date(s)2013 (December 10, 2013)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B+
Watching Fast & Furious 6 on Blu-ray takes on a different meaning with the sudden passing of Paul Walker, which makes the movie’s exploration of family all the more poignant. Yes, the film is an action movie but what separates it from many of its counterparts is the interplay between the characters. They do feel like a family by now, including “brothers” Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Walker).
Fast & Furious 6 never fails to entertain despite the over the top action sequences, one involves a tank on a highway and another has several cars chasing an airplane. There’s also plenty of fisticuffs, including a couple between Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano. One of the highlights is watching Dwayne Johnson fighting an even bigger guy in Kim Kold.
The fact that you care about these characters elevates Fast & Furious 6. The movie opens with a brief chase scene as Dom and Brian race to a hospital where Mia (Jordana Brewster) is about to give birth. We later see the couple with the baby as uncle Dom comes for a visit. The characters have come a long way since the original movie. It’s interesting to see how Dom and Brian now respect each other.
There’s plenty of humor as the characters tease each other, none better than Tyrese Gibson’s Roman. He gives as much as he gets (what big forehead?). The cast play against each other to great effect, highlighting their distinctive personalities, which range from Johnson’s straight arrow to Ludacris’ dry humor. In the world of Fast & Furious, they’re either kicking ass or teasing each other.
Fast & Furious 6 does a great job of tying strands from other movies in the series, in particular Tokyo Drift in which Han dies, setting Jason Statham as the antagonist for the next movie. Fast & Furious 7 even cast Kurt Russell, Snake Plissken himself, as some sort of mentor to Dom and Brian. It will be interesting to see how the cast and crew resolve the unfortunate death of Walker for the next movie but for now, this is an opportunity to see the gang all together one last time in an entertaining movie that pops a little corn(y).
The Blu-ray offers two versions of the movie, theatrical and extended, even though both versions are essentially the same length. The disc features a great 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer free of any significant issues. Colors are warm, the contrast is excellent and the details look natural with fine textures. The movie sounds awesome with Universal’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which is powerful and immersive. You can really feel and hear various vehicles across the channels or the roar of the cars. You can almost feel the explosions while watching the movie. Dialogue is clean and clear at all times, even in the midst of any of the action sequences. Not much to complain about the visual or audio quality on this disc.
The extras start with three short deleted scenes adding to less than two minutes. Take Control is the longest and best feature at over 19 minutes, allowing the cast and director Justin Lin to share their thoughts and secrets while behind the scenes footage plays in the background; a picture-in-picture done in a concise 19 minutes. The Making of Fast & Furious 6 has four featurettes (approximately 26 minutes): The Fastest of Them All chronicles the series from the first film, touching on plot points and changes in the characters while the other three featurettes, Reuniting the Team, Letty’s Return and The Mastermind and the Mole focuses on the actors and their characters. Planes, Tanks and Automobiles (somebody is a fan of the John Candy movie) has four featurettes (approximately 24 minutes) that explore the action sequences beginning with The London Chase, which introduces the Flip Car; Highway Heist: The Convoy Attack goes behind the scenes of tanks versus cars at extreme speed; The Antonov Takedown has cars racing to stop a huge plane from taking off in the film’s climax, and Dom and Letty Race Again highlights the two characters meeting after her “demise” in the fourth film. Cars enthusiasts will really love the It’s All About the Cars section (approximately 15 minutes) with three featurettes, On the Set with Vin, Gearhead’s Delight and The Flip Car. Hand to Hand Fury, the last featurette (almost ten minutes), showcases the various fisticuffs in the movie, especially between Rodriguez and Carano, which Lin wanted to make it the best fight ever. Hey, the guy’s got enthusiasm to spare and that comes across in his interesting and never boring feature commentary. The last extra is a two minute preview of Fast & Furious 7, showing a scene from Han’s funeral. Unfortunately, the scene takes a different meaning with Walker’s unexpected death. Universal adds a nice touch with a special video (streaming and available online) tribute to Paul Walker, showing him in scenes from the five Fast & Furious movies he appeared in. It’s surprisingly touching and also fascinating to see how he and the cast have grown older over the 12 years of Fast & Furious movies.
- Mario Boucher