The Bonus Disc:
20 years after the 2001 debut, the Fast & the Furious franchise continues to go strong. Delayed by COVID, a ninth movie will hit in 2021 – maybe - and this package includes all of the series’ first eight flicks.
Though this article covers the set as a whole, I want to concentrate mainly on the package’s final platter. Called “Bonus Disc”, it includes featurettes under 11 sections.
Fast Cars! presents three segments that go for a total of 30 minutes, 39 seconds. Across these, we find remarks from picture vehicle coordinator Dennis McCarthy, 2nd unit director Spiro Razatos, director Justin Lin, Motor Trend associate editor Scott Evans, 2nd unit stunt coordinator Andy Gill, Motor Trend editor-in-chief Edward Loh, producer Neal H. Moritz, senior SFX technician Jason Marsh, writer Chris Morgan, stunt driver Mark Higgins, picture car mechanic Brian Louis, and actors Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans and Paul Walker.
To my shock, “Fast Cars!” discusses… fast cars. We get a decent overview of the vehicles of a few movies, though it becomes a little too full of hyperbole for my preference.
With Back Under the Hood, we locate a six-minute, 16-second featurette with Walker, Moritz, Rodriguez, McCarthy, vehicle owner David Freiberger, and actors Don Omar, Laz Alonso and Gal Gadot.
“Hood” strongly resembles the content of “Fast Cars!” but with an emphasis on the vehicles from the 2009 Fast. Like “Fast Cars!”, this one feels a little too heavy on hype.
Mapping Fast & Furious runs seven minutes, 11 seconds and offers a comparison between the pre-viz work for the 2009 film and the final product. It provides a fun look at the planning work.
Next we find an International TV Special. This 21-minute, 49-second show includes Walker, Diesel, Rodriguez, Lin, Moritz, Morgan, Alonso, Gadot, McCarthy, stunt coordinator Mike Gunther, costume designer Sanja Milkovic Hays, producer Michael Fottrell, stunt driver Kenny Alexander, stunt double Oakley Lehman and actors Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang and John Ortiz.
“Special” promotes the 2009 movie. It offers a handful of production details, but it exists as an advertisement, so don’t expect much from it.
Director’s Vault offers four segments: “The Ear That Almost Took Down the Movie” (2:40), “Airplane Showdown” (5:23), “Shaw’s Intro” (6:37) and “Tank Rampage” (3:59). Oddly, unlike other domains on the DVD, we get no “Play All” option here.
In these, we see rough effects footage and get some insights related to them. Lin chats over all four, while previz supervisor Alex Vegh and action sequencer David Chan accompany him for all except “Ear”. These give us a good look at a mix of factors related to the filmmaking processes.
We follow with A Home In Ruins, a 10-minute, 21-second featurette that offers material with Brewster, Diesel, models supervisor Alex Faulkner, production supervisor Sadie Wilson, miniatures 1st AD Robin Wilson, miniatures DP Alex Funke, miniatures SFX coordinator Scott Harens, and miniatures video operator Jason Naran.
Here we learn about the work devoted to the Furious 7 scene in which we see the destruction of the Toretto house. It becomes an informative look at this sequence.
From Pre-Viz to Final spans eight minutes, 30 seconds and brings comments from visual effects supervisors Kelvin McIlwain and Michael J. Wassel. They take us through various stages of effects processes in this useful overview of scenes from Furious 7.
Next comes Shooting in Abu Dhabi, a seven-minute, 31-second reel that provides notes from Diesel, Moritz, Morgan, Rodriguez, political consultant Richard Klein, locations Sameer Al Jaberi, director James Wan, location manager Lyall Gardiner, and actors Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel.
As implied by the title, this featurette takes us to the parts of Furious 7 shot in Abu Dhabi. It mixes decent facts with happy talk.
Up Close and Personal fills five minutes, 43 seconds with info from fight stunt coordinator Jeff Imada. He gives us some notes about his work on Furious 7, but the gold here comes from the raw footage of fight rehearsals, as those offer great material.
After this we get Retrospective, a collection of six clips. These occupy a total of 12 minutes, 17 seconds and feature themed clips from the first six movies in an attempt to promote Furious 7. They’re not especially interesting.
Cast Favorites delivers five more segments, and these run a total of six minutes, 54 seconds. Across them, we hear from Brewster, Gibson, Diesel, Bridges, and Rodriguez.
Like “Retrospective”, these exist to promote Furious 7, and they look back at the prior movies. Like “Retrospective”, they lack a lot of value, though they’re more informative than that compilation of film snippets.
A rare movie franchise that got more popular as it went, this package includes the first eight Fast & Furious flicks. I don’t quite get the series’ success, but clearly it enjoys a huge fan base. The 4K UHD discs boast solid picture most of the time along with excellent audio and a slew of bonus materials.
With a list price of $99.98, this boxed set seems like a steal for Fast & Furious fans. One can easily find it for barely half that list online, so it’s not a tremendous challenge to pay an average of barely $6 a movie.
Of course, this implies the viewer wants to own all – or most – of the eight films. Still, even if you only like three or four, the set makes sense, as the titles sell for much more on their own. Universal priced this sucker to move, and it becomes a tremendous bargain for fans.