Fast & Furious (2009)
By: J.R. McNamara on December 19, 2009  | 
DVD
Universal (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.40:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 107 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez
Screenplay: Gary Scott Thompson, Chris Morgan
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
In the cinema, vehicles and violence go together like sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Some great cult films use both the vehicular fetish and bloodshed to tell tales that make your average action film fan sit up and take notice: Mad Max, Death Proof, Wanted... nothing makes an action sequence better than some tough guys, their supercharged automobiles and good ol' fashioned carnage!!

Fast and Furious is the fourth film in The Fast and the Furious series (but chronologically the third, but I shall come back to that) and brings back some of the original elements that made the first film so much fun: the four main cast members. In this film, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez re-team to give us the more of the same vehicle action, but with the familiar taste that was missing from 2Fast2Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Sure the second was all Walker (and unusual surname for a guy in films about cars) and the third had Vin Diesel (the perfect surname for a guy in films about cars) at the end of it, but there just wasn't that same spark.

An average script for a TV show or a film can be saved by an excellent cast synergy, and the first film had that with these four people.

This outing, Fast and Furious, has us follow Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) who, after the events of The Fast and the Furious, has found his way to South America and has been committing a variety of vehicular related crimes across the continent, including a rather daring petrol heist at the beginning of the film.

Unfortunately, his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) informs him that his girlfriend, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) has been involved in 'a situation' that resulted in her death. Dom decides there is only one thing to do: return to the states, and risk being captured by the police to try and find out what happened to her, and exact any revenge that needs to be exacted. After some investigations he discovers that she was murdered while working for a mysterious drug trafficker who is constantly on the lookout for drivers good enough to move his merchandise across the border from Mexico into America, and they need to be good as the way across is a dangerous series of tunnels that require excellent driving skills to properly traverse.

In the meantime, FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is hot on the trail of a drug dealer which through similar channels leads him to the same race that Dom is involved in. Sure enough the two race and eventually both of them end up working for the trafficker, and have to learn to trust each other to eventually reach their goals: revenge and justice, but who will get what they want? Will Brian's judiciary ending meet to Dom's satisfaction, or will Dom's bloodlust overcome Brian's lawmastery and lead them all to a bloody end?

All I can tell you is that they get there by racing and wrecking a boatload of cars.... and I mean a container boat load!!!

Sure enough this is mindless action pablum for the masses, but I apologise, sometimes I just like being entertained without having to worry about the moral ramifications of the protagonists plight over his troubles: sometimes I like to watch things move fast and go BOOM!

Fast and Furious is one of those films.

Going back to a chronological point I made earlier, one thing about this film is that it actually is the third film in the series if taken by the characters involved. The character of Han dies in the third movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, yet appears here, and then mentions that he is thinking about going to Tokyo. I am not sure if it is because of this anachronism that the title The Fast and the Furious 4 was dumped for Fast and Furious, but it could be likely.

Anyway, these are your instructions to enjoy this film: sit on lounge, open beer, open Doritos, open salsa, start movie, enjoy.  Lovers of the first three films will get more of a kick out of it, and if you didn't enjoy any of those films, well I doubt if you would even be reading this review, let alone hiring it from your local DVD outlet.
Video
This film has an absolutely outstanding 2.40:1 anamorphic presentation, and is crystal clear and blemish free!
Audio
An absolutely butt smacking Dolby Digital 5.1 that shook me like I was driving one of these sexy vehicles myself. Awesome!
Extra Features
What we have here is 2 discs. Tricked out and full of special features up to the hilt.

Disc 1

There is pretty much no doubt that if you love cars, that you will dig most of these extras.

Gag Reel: Quite possibly the most unfunny gag reel I have ever had the misfortune of wasting my time on. Paul Walker seems to be easily amused and a master at screwing up his lines.

Driving School With Vin Diesel: Shows a day on a race track with Vin Diesel and the stunt team mucking about in cars. Diesel learnt a lot of his stunt work while working on The Fast and the Furious, but he still seems to enjoy the brush up course.

South of the Border: Filming in Mexico: Lin takes us through the decision to film the 'Mexican' scenes in a small town just south of the US/ Mexico Border. This doco also shows some great footage of Diesel meeting and greeting the township, and offering them his advice about life.

Director's Commentary with Justin Lin: An interesting if not a little strained commentary as some solo ones can be. Lin is informative, but on occasion is quiet; I much prefer a double act on a commentary as I find one speaker will spur on the other.

Disc 2:

Los Bandeleros: A short film written and directed by Vin Diesel that introduces us to the fuel hijacking team that Dom ends up working with. I must say that I wouldn't mind watching a whole feature with Diesel behind the camera as this wasn't a bad piece of work at all.

Under the Hood- Muscle Cars: We take a look at all the American muscle cars from the film, and how they relate to the characters driving them.

Under the Hood: Imports: Same as above, but change 'American Muscle Cars' to 'Imports'.

Getting the Gang Back Together: Takes a look at the decision process that the original key four cast members from The Fast and The Furious went through to choose to do this film.

High Octane Action: The Stunts: This is a quite interesting documentary about the stunts and the guys who execute them. Mad, the lot of them!!!

Shooting the Big Heist: Much like the 'High Octane Stunts' extra except this one focuses on the opening sequence with the Petrol Truck Heist.

Races and Chases: This is a quite interesting piece that looks at how a director and his crew have to turn an eighth of a page of script, like 'there is a big car chase' into a thrilling five minute action sequence. Filmmakers will find this look at creativity fascinating.

There is also a film clip for a tune called Blanco by Pitbull and Pharrell, and a classic Easter egg that shows the demise of several cameras during the shooting.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
While I did enjoy this film, I just didn't find that it had the same heart as the first in this series. It was certainly a step up from 2Fast2Furious and The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, but it seemed to me to be a more flash and a lot less substance than that first one. However, I will saythough that both the cars and the girls were superhot!!

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