Fast Five appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked great.
At all times, the film boasted excellent clarity. Only the slightest smidgen of softness ever appeared, as 99 percent of the flick provided crisp, precise images. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge enhancement never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.
Like most action thrillers of this sort, Armored went with a stylized palette. Given the Brazilian setting, colors looked warmer than usual for the genre; a tan tint dominated but we got a lot of full, rich hues. Blacks were dark and full, while shadows demonstrated nice clarity and smoothness. I felt quite pleased with this presentation.
I also thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Fast Five worked fine. Various vehicular elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. That’s to be expected, of course, and the car sequences zipped and zoomed around the spectrum. Other action tidbits were similarly exciting, such as train and bus crashes; a gunfight also kicked in a lively sequence. The track exhibited a high level of activity that made it a nearly constant kick.
Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. This was a consistently strong soundtrack that made it to “A-“ level.
We get plenty of extras here, including two editions of the movie. In addition to the film’s theatrical cut (2:10:28), we find an extended edition (2:11:35). That’s not much extra material, is it? The Blu-ray represented my initial screening of Fast Five, and I went with the extended cut. That means I can’t tell you what the latter added, but I wanted to mention that both versions appeared here.
The extras launch with an audio commentary from director Justin Lin. He gives us a running, screen-specific look at what drew him back for a third Fast flick, sets and locations, stunts, action and vehicles, cast and performances, story and character issues, visual design, editing, and a few other topics.
Lin provides a pretty solid chat here. He keeps the track moving well and delivers a good overview of the appropriate subjects. He seems oddly defensive at times – he often comments on criticisms that the Fast series lacks realism – but he’s still an engaging, informative subject.
A staple of Universal Blu-rays, Fast Five includes U-Control. This interactive feature offers two options. “Picture-in-Picture” provides footage from the set and interviews. We hear from Lin, producer Neal H. Moritz, supervising stunt coordinator Mike Gunther, stuntman Oakley Lehman, military advisor Armando Egurrola, director of photography Stephen F. Windon, armorer David Fencl, screenwriter Chris Morgan, costume designer Sanja Milkovic Hays, picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy, production designer Peter Wenham, special effects coordinator R. Bruce Steinheimer, 2nd unit Puerto Rico 1st AD James Larocca, 2nd unit stunt coordinator Jack Gill, and actors Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Geoff Meed, Yorgo Constantine, Fernando F. Chien, Alimi Ballard, Matt Schulze, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Paul Walker, Gal Gadot, and Elsa Pataky.
The participants discuss the movie’s stunts and action scenes, cast, characters and performances, locations and photography, cars, costumes and weapons, some effects, and a few other production areas. We get a decent array of details here, though they don’t pop up as often as I’d like. If you’re patient enough to sit through the dead spots, though, “Picture-in-Picture” works reasonably well
“U-Control” also presents a feature called “Scene Explorer”. This only appears once during the movie, as it accompanies the train sequence near the flick’s start. We can watch a pre-viz version of the scene, dailies from the shoot, and behind the scenes footage from the set. It’s a fun way to check out aspects of the movie, though it’s too bad it only comes with this one scene; I’d have liked to see more of it.
Two Deleted Scenes run a total of one minute, 40 seconds. The first (0:17) offers a very quick intro to Vince‘s family, while the second (1:23) shows a bit more of Hobbs and his team at work. Both are negligible and wouldn’t have added anything to the film.
Next comes a Gag Reel. This piece goes for four minutes, 17 seconds and shows the standard assortment of goofs and giggles. It’s fine for what it is.
A slew of featurettes follow. Normally I’d discuss these separately, but we find so many of them that it’s more efficient to view them as one long documentary and chat about them all at once.
The featurettes fill a total of one hour, 11 minutes, 27 seconds. They include The Big Train Heist (7:37), Reuniting the Team (4:59), A New Set of Wheels (10:09), Dom’s Journey (4:55), Brian O’Connor: From Fed to Con (5:55), Enter Federal Agent Hobbs (5:50), Dom Vs. Hobbs (7:31), On Set with Director Justin Lin (8:36), Inside the Vault Chase (9:20) and Tyrese TV (6:35).
Across the featurettes, we find notes from Lin, Diesel, Gunther, McCarthy, Lehman, Walker, Gibson, Gadot, Kang, Brewster, Bridges, Moritz, Johnson, Morgan, Gill, Steinheimer, SFX coordinator Matt Sweeney, stunt driver Corey Eubanks, visual effects coordinator Michael J. Wasser, Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles, SPFX set supervisor Rick Thompson, SPFX foreman Richard Stutsman, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos and stuntman/vault driver Henry Kingi. The clips look at stunts and action, various effects, cast, characters and performances, the movie’s vehicles and driving, and a few other production areas.
Expect a series of quick and breezy pieces, some of which work better than others. The run from “Dom’s Journey” through “Dom Vs. Hobbs” tends to be pretty fluffy, but the others usually fare better. We don’t find tons of hard data, but the featurettes usually deliver good shots from the set and enough info to make them worthwhile.
The disc opens with ads for Scarface and “Jurassic Park: The Ultimate Trilogy”. No trailer for Fast Five popped up here.
A second platter presents a DVD Copy of Fast Five. This delivers a full retail DVD, so expect some of the Blu-ray’s extras.
After 10 years, the Fast and the Furious franchise continues to rake in the big bucks – and I continue to feel somewhat befuddled by its appeal. Fast Five became a sizable hit but it never goes much of anywhere, as the characters, story and action all remain somewhat pedestrian. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio along with a strong roster of supplements. As a Blu-ray, Fast Five excels, but it’s not a particularly compelling movie.