A DVD REVIEW: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS - COLLECTOR'S EDITION (Universal) [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums



07-02-2005, 03:55 AM
Don't even bother with John Singleton's (Boys N The Hood, Higher Learning) awful sequel to this film, dubbed 2Fast2Furious because it doesnt even approach the same kind of atmosphere, intensity or accurate subject matter director Rob Cohen created with this picture. As a matter of fact, Singleton's sequel is already finding its way onto lists of "the worst sequels of all time" among the ranks of Grease 2 and Exorcist II: The Heretic.

I can remember walking out of the theater when The Fast and the Furious debuted, back when I was living in New York, and when everyone left the theater, they were all driving like absolute maniacs because of the stunts seen in this film --- it was pretty frightening, to be honest, because everyone was being blatantly reckless, and there were reports in the newspaper and on local television stations back in New York about dozens of deadly races that lead to crashes and deaths after this picture came out. This is one of the cheesiest films you will ever lay your eyes on ---- but it is GOOD cheese, if you know what I mean; The Fast and the Furious is to men what Dirty Dancing is to women. THAT kind of cheese factor.

But this is just SUCH a cool motion picture to watch, and Universal did a GREAT job on the DVD release. So great, in fact, it was considered the demo disc when it debuted, for the time, but I'll get into that later. Forget the horrendous acting --- because there's plenty of that here, especially from Vin Diesel (who did not appear in the sequel).....instead, concentrate on the world director Rob Cohen has tapped into; sure, there is this ridiculous plot which I will cover in a moment, but the underlying theme here is a look at the underground world of import car street racing --- a phenomenon growing out of control throughout the country, but born in California. The cars themselves become characters in this film, and Cohen had a polish and handle on this material and this world MUCH better than Singleton did on the sequel, which was just horrendous compared to this one.

Paul Walker plays undercover cop Brian O Connor, working in conjunction with the FBI to break up a series of truck hijackings by a team working in the street racing scene; they know this because of the souped-up Honda Civics that are being driven during the truck hijackings (why these guys cant simply hold the drivers up at gunpoint when they reach a rest area or just shoot their tires out instead of climbing into the cockpit and knocking the driver out with a dart gun is beyond me). Inside the trucks are thousands of dollars worth of goods, including DVD players and such. It's a shallow plot, to be sure, but it mixes the world of car racing with this ridiculous storyline quite well. Walker must go undercover and pretend to be a novice street racer in order to figure out who is robbing these trucks before the truckers take matters into their own hands and become vigilantes themselves --- which happens at the end anyway in a pretty intense scene. While undercover, he befriends Dominick Turretto (Vin Diesel), the local scene's most respected street racer and a guy with a lot of respect from his own "crew" and others in the street racing world. The FBI suspects Turretto is behind the hijackings, and unless you're really stupid, the plot sets this suspicion and evidence up right away --- like I said, you wont be watching this because of its great plot.

To get into Diesel's good graces, Walker enters a street race in which he looses his car to Diesel because he raced for ownership papers; its probably the best race scene in the film, and comes early on, with Cohen using awesome close-up then pull-back camera angles to show the cars racing down a street at over 120 miles an hour. This film also introduces the world to the chemical known as "Nitrous Oxide" or as its called in the street racing world, "NOS," which is a filtered down version of what puts you to sleep at the dentist's office and used in car racing through the fuel system to make a car go INSANELY fast. There are many references to Nitrous Oxide during the film, and most of the cars depicted in the film are NOS-equipped. Ultimately, Walker loses his Mitsubishi Eclipse in the race, but becomes friends with Diesel, which is his mission, while at the same time falling in love with Diesel's character's sister; this silly love backdrop was unnecessary, but at least its not NEARLY as bad as in Pearl Harbor.

Eventually, after witnessing some really cool car races (which you are watching this film for anyway), Walker admits to Diesel's sister that he is an undercover cop, and she admits to him that it is indeed her brother and his crew pulling off these truck robberies. As Diesel's crew attempts one last "mother load" of a score by robbing one last truck at the end, the attempt goes horribly wrong when one of the guys trying to get into the truck to knock out the driver gets a shotgun blasted at him, as the truckers have now armed themselves and are fighting back against these robberies. At the end of this intense scene, where the truck driver is willing to kill anyone around his truck, taking shots at the black Honda Civics of Diesel's crew with his shotgun, Walker finally arrives in in the nick of time to save Diesel's crew member friend hanging off the side of the truck, trapped, but also has to admit in front of Diesel that he is an undercover cop when he radios for a helicopter to transport the injured friend of Diesel's, who was trying to pull off the robbery. After a final shootout scene with Walker and some rival Chinese gang members in the racing world (another silly sub plot), Walker finally goes after Diesel for being the mastermind of the robberies, and of course, one final race between the two men ensue --- why Walker couldnt just take him into custody right there and then is beyond me, too, but a kick-ass race scene heats up the final moments of the film, where Diesel is racing his late father's American muscle car with 900 horsepower, and Walker is in his souped-up Toyota Supra equipped with a NOS system. After surviving a wild turnover by hitting a truck that came out of nowhere after their race, Diesel emerges from the wrecked muscle car not that injured ---- but Walker lets him go free by handing him the keys to his Supra in order to escape.

The acting in The Fast and the Furious is just horrendous, so try and look past it as you watch this film --- the lines are stupid, and most of the time are delivered in such a hammy, unprofessional way by these actors that its laughable. But its Cohen's vision of this subculture of the import car racing scene that makes this film so memorable.....and he hits the mark here with shots of sexy cars, sexy, scantily-clad women and everything that makes this world what it is. It is a subculture that has hit the world like wildfire, like I said, beginning in Southern California and now seen everywhere --- mostly Honda products that are equipped with so many aftermarket parts some of them can smoke most Corvettes and some Ferarris off the line (there is a cool scene in this film where Walker, after being insulted by a Ferrari driver at a red light, SMOKES the Ferrari in his souped-up, Nitrous-equipped Toyota Supra).

But to compare John Singleton's completely unnecesary sequel to this film --- which has Paul Walker in it once again as a cop stripped of his badge but now operating undercover once again for the DEA in Miami to bring down a drug lord or something like that (the film is actually more a copy of Bad Boys II than a sequel of The Fast and the Furious) --- is completely unfair because the second film captures NONE of the magic Cohen captures in this original with regard to the subject matter. The race scenes are even horrible in 2Fast2Furious and Walker's acting seems to have gotten much, much worse in the sequel, as well. I guess there was a demand for a sequel to The Fast and the Furious because of the outrageous success it had in the theaters and to the aftermarket car industry as a whole, and the public was willing to accept just about anything as a sequel --- much like Warner Brothers thought when making a sequel to The Exorcist, which also horrendously flopped. Before we know it, there will be a third installment to this franchise for Universal, or so I predict......

Universal has actually released another deluxe version of this DVD after this Collector's Edition had been on the market for awhile, called "The Tricked Out Edition" which simply added more behind-the-scenes info on the making of the film; to be honest, THIS one-disc version is all you'll ever need to enjoy this DVD. It comes in a standard "keepcase" box with gold stripes on top and bottom of the cover, claiming it is a "Collector's Edition" and that it's in widescreen.


An absolutely beautiful transfer here from Universal --- colors are rich, there is no grain or dirt on the print, and the letterboxing seems accurate at 2:35:1 when playing this back on a 16X9 set. Nothing negative to say. Fleshtones seemed accurate and lively to me, as well, and I noticed nothing that distracted from the picture quality. Nice job here from Universal. A Full Screen edition is available on the "Tricked Out" edition for those who want it.


Forget completely the Dolby Digital track on this DVD altogether and skip right to the DTS mix --- this DVD, even years after its release, remains one of the hottest full-bitrate running DTS titles available today. When the DVD first debuted, it was considered THE demo disc at home theater installation outlets; it still wows people today.

Loud, aggressive and outrageously active, THIS is how a surround mix should be done. The roars of the car engines, the bass punches when a driver presses his "NOS" button on the steering wheel, the overall ambience ---- EVERY speaker in your system will be given a workout with this mix. There is also memorable touches like directionality on this mix that is missing from almost every DVD soundtrack out there --- for example, when you hear someone talking offscreen, you can HEAR that character's voice in one of the surround or left and right channels and then pan into the center as the scene shows the people talking onscreen --- it is a VERY accurate procedure and should be done by every studio when authoring DVDs instead of what they usually do, which is drop ALL dialogue into the center channel, no matter what is going on in a scene. The DTS mix on this DVD is just downright awesome --- mastered at a VERY hot level, again, I will contest and claim that this is how ALL DVD soundtracks should be done, whenever possible. The wicked sounds of the cars flying by fill the surround channels, while gunshots ping all over the soundstage, making you duck for cover in your living room. An AWESOME DTS mix by Universal that deserves applause right next to their stellar U571 DVD.

As I said, you need to go no further with that redundant "Tricked Out Edition" of this DVD, because there is PLENTY of extra bonus material on this disc, including:

-Interactive Eight Camera Angle Stunt Sequence: Get Behind the Camera From Eight Different Locations and Witness as Never Before the Final Stunt
-Movie Magic Interactive Special Effects: A Unique Look at the Train and Car Footage Shot Independently and Then Merged to Create the Final Film Sequence
-Visual Effects Montage Featuring the First Race
-Racer X: The Article that Inspired the Movie
-The Making of The Fast and The Furious
-Feature Commentary with Director Rob Cohen

And Much, Much More!

07-02-2005, 04:30 AM
I agree with what you said in the begining. I also agree with what you said at the end. But I'll have to agree with everything inbetween also. You didn't leave much left to say eccept maybe that Diesel's character's sister is smokin'!

07-02-2005, 09:58 AM
I agree with what you said in the begining. I also agree with what you said at the end. But I'll have to agree with everything inbetween also. You didn't leave much left to say eccept maybe that Diesel's character's sister is smokin'!

No.....not smokin......DOWNRIGHT ****IN' HOT!!!!! LOL.

And how much HOTTER was Diesel's character's sister than his GIRLFRIEND who was butt ugly???

Thanks for reading the review and for your kind words, man!

07-02-2005, 01:00 PM
There were 3 thing I liked better in the sequel...

1. the Nissan Skyline R34 (the R33 in the first just was not featured like it should have been)
2. the Mitsubishi Evolution
3. Eva Mendes (Jordana Brewster was hot, but Eva, in my opinion, is just incredible)

07-02-2005, 02:51 PM
"There were 3 thing I liked better in the sequel...
1. the Nissan Skyline R34 (the R33 in the first just was not featured like it should have been)"


"2. the Mitsubishi Evolution"

Ehhhh....I could have taken or leaven both cars Tyrese and Walker were driving; I thought the purple Eclipse looked SO CHEESY and cheap, and the EVO didnt do anything for me either; did you know that an EVO is pretty much a dressed up Mitsubishi Lancer? The orange Supra that Walker uses to smoke the ******* in the Ferarri in the first film is SO MUCH SWEETER than any of the vehicles used in the sequel.

"3. Eva Mendes (Jordana Brewster was hot, but Eva, in my opinion, is just incredible)"

And I HAVE to agree with you there ---- Mendes is one piece of ass, for sure....you gotta thank the Lord for making things like that......I agree......wow, remember her in that white bikini at the pool?

But overall, Singleton just didnt have the right grasp on this material like Cohen did in the first version --- both films have TOTALLY different feels, and the sequel, as I said, plays more like a Bad Boys sequel than a follow up to Rob Cohen's picture.