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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
James Wan
Cast:
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Statham
Writing Credits:
Chris Morgan

Synopsis:
Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.

Box Office:
Budget
$190 Million.
Opening Weekend
$147,187,040 on 4,004 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$351,032,910.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Video Service
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 138 min. (Theatrical Cut)
140 min. (Extended Cut)
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 9/15/2015

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical Version and Director’s Cut
• Deleted Scenes
• “Talking Fast” Featurette
• “Back to the Starting Line” Featurette
• “Flying Cars” Featurette
• “Snatch and Grab” Featurette
• “Tower Jumps” Featurette
• “Inside the Fight” Featurette
• “The Cars of Furious” Featurette
• “Race Wars” Featurette
• Music Video
• “Making of Fast and Furious: Supercharged Ride” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Furious 7 [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 30, 2015)

14 years down the road, the Fast and the Furious franchise continues to crank out the big box office returns. Actually, after the first movie did well, the second and third entries showed notably diminished returns.

This pattern reversed with 2009’s Fast and Furious. Despite a title that sounded an awful lot like the first flick’s moniker, that one did very well financially. 2011’s Fast Five made even more money, and 2013’s Fast and Furious 6 earned more than Five.

Amazingly, 2015’s Furious 7 continues this trend. Its $351 million was the most any of the series’ films made in the US, and not by a little. Furious 7 outperformed the prior champ - Fast 6 - by $113 million in the US, and it earned more than $1.5 billion worldwide, or basically twice the total gross of Fast 6.

All of this despite the well-publicized demise of a series star! That factor makes the franchise’s future path intriguing, and clearly there will be more movies. When a flick takes in $1.5 billion worldwide, it seems unstoppable.

We’ll have to wait until 2017 to see how Furious 8 does. Furious 7 starts with Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) – the main baddie from the prior film – comatose in the hospital. His brother Deckard (Jason Statham) swears to get revenge on those who caused the injury to Owen.

Deckard starts with federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), and a fight between the two leaves Hobbs severely injured. Deckard then follows with attacks on the crew led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Because of this, Dominic reunites the remaining members to go after Deckard.

Has any movie series morphed as much as Fast and the Furious? Probably, but it still seems like the situations have changed an awful lot over the 14 years between the first film and Furious 7.

The 2001 flick was essentially about a street racing culture. Sure, it involved law enforcement/criminal exploits, but these still felt like part of the real world.

Along the path between 2001 and 2015, the franchise turned into an action extravaganza that shared more with the world of James Bond than with the street racers of the original flick. Furious 7 zips to exotic locations all over the globe as it indulges in wild mayhem and craziness. Perhaps if I watched all seven movies in sequence, this shift would make sense, but on the surface, it seems illogical that a small street crew would end up living these lives.

As ridiculous as the situations become, I have to admit that can offer entertainment – to a moderate degree, at least. Parts of Furious 7 seem nearly perfunctory, as if the filmmakers wanted to check off expected boxes.

This becomes especially true in the movie’s lackluster first act. The film’s opening feels like little more than predictable fights and Alpha Male posturing. These segments set up the story reasonably well, but they lack excitement.

As Furious 7 progresses, it becomes more interesting. Perhaps not coincidentally, the flick turns more dynamic when it gets more ridiculous.

I feel like I should protest the franchise’s embrace of the absurd. Shouldn’t I prefer more reality-based adventure? After all, the Bond series became less effective the more it indulged in insanity.

Whatever the case, the over the top material works in Furious 7. I’d need a bigger hard drive to catalog all the impossible action on display here, but damn if those moments don’t succeed. The more ridiculous Furious 7 goes, the more fun it becomes.

Perhaps director James Wan makes the difference. Justin Lin led the franchise for quite a while, as he made films three through six. Obviously he helped turn this into a hit series, but I don’t think he did a great job with the flicks, especially in terms of the action. Lin’s Furious efforts had the requisite parts but they lacked flair or vivacity.

Known for low-budget horror tales like Insidious and The Conjuring, Wan seemed like an odd choice for a hugely expensive action franchise like this, but he pulls off the material better than anyone since… well, ever. I don’t want to overstate Wan’s work and turn him into the new James Cameron, but he does add life to the material.

All of this allows Furious 7 to become arguably the best of the series. After a slow start, it delivers a lot of exciting, over the top action and stunts. Nothing here seems likely to convert non-fans, but I still think the flick works reasonably well.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Furious 7 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie came with a terrific visual presentation.

At all times, definition looked great. The film showed solid delineation, with nary a soft spot to be found. I witnessed no shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes failed to appear. Of course, print flaws also didn’t occur, so this was a clean image.

In terms of colors, Furious 7 emphasized teal. Some amber and orange also appeared, but that bluish tint dominated. While predictable, the hues seemed well-rendered. Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots offered nice smoothness and clarity. Everything about the image worked.

In addition, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Furious 7 presented an exciting experience. One would anticipate a high-octane blast from a movie like this, and that’s what the mix delivered.

The soundfield boasted a lot of activity and used the channels well. Cars, vehicles and various forms of mayhem came from logical spots all around the room and meshed in a smooth manner. All the speakers became active partners to turn this into a vibrant, engrossing track.

Audio quality also seemed strong. Music was lively and full, and speech appeared natural and concise. Effects dominated and appeared solid. Those elements came across as accurate and dynamic, with fine low-end response as well. I felt pleased with this sizzling soundtrack.

The Blu-ray provides both the film’s Theatrical Version (2:17:26) as well as an Extended Cut (2:19:54). What does the extra two minutes, 28 seconds bring us?

Not much, obviously. The “Extended Cut” adds about 90 seconds to the opening sequence at the hospital; this gives a little more background to the relationship between Deckard Shaw and his brother Owen.

The remaining minute or so comes from a few short additions. These come from elongated fight sequences, as the “Extended Cut” brings us more violence. I assume those snippets got cut for ratings issues; the “Extended Cut” doesn’t bring us graphic violence, but the MPAA may have wanted less of that kind of material to leave Furious 7 in “PG-13” territory.

In addition to the additions, we find a few changes. Some of the scenes offer different dialogue or score. The longer opening sequence remains the movie’s most substantial change, though.

Does the “Extended Cut” work better than the theatrical version? Not really, but it also doesn’t seem any worse. The two editions remain so similar that the changes make little impact. I’d go with the Extended Cut in the future, but it doesn’t really matter – both offer nearly identical experiences.

Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 59 seconds. We see “Letty at Clinic” (2:08), “Ramsey/Dom” (2:13), “Dressed Up” (0:56) and “Letty Call from Nurse” (0:42). Three of these provide some basic exposition; they’re not bad, but they’re not particularly useful. “Dressed Up” gives Michelle Rodriguez a little glam time and not much more.

A sort of abbreviated audio commentary, Talking Fast runs 31 minutes, 47 seconds and offers info mostly from director James Wan; we also get some moments with actors Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Michelle Rodriguez. “Talking” mixes remarks with movie shots and behind the scenes footage. Wan chats about his approach to the material, cast and performances, story/character areas, cast and performances, camerawork, stunts and effects, sets and locations, and related areas.

While not a substitute for a full commentary, “Talking” acts as a fairly informative piece. Sure, some of the material seems fluffy, but the participants cover various subjects to a good degree. This becomes a breezy and mostly engaging program.

After this, we get six featurettes about Furious 7. These include “Back to the Starting Line” (12:11), “Flying Cars” (5:42), “Snatch and Grab” (7:31), “Tower Jumps” (6:53), “The Cars of Furious” (10:42) and “Race Wars” (6:34). Across these, we hear from Rodriguez, Brewster, Bridges, Wan, Gibson, producer Neal H. Moritz, writer/executive producer Chris Morgan, 2nd unit stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Jack Gill, 2nd unit stunt coordinator Andy Gill, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, production designer Bill Brzeski, picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy, W Motors CEO Ralph Debbas, and actors Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Nathallie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Iggy Azalea. Noel Gugliemi and Tony Jaa.

The featurettes look at story and characters, cast and performances, Wan’s work on the production, stunts, action and vehicles. We get a fair amount of info here, especially in terms of vehicles/stunts. Those moments work fine, though I’d prefer featurettes that came with a less breathless tone; these pieces tend to be more hyper than they need to be. Still, they’re interesting enough to maintain our attention.

Inside the Fight splits into four sub-featuirettes. We see “Hobbs Vs. Shaw” (3:15), “Girl Fight” (3:20), “Dom Vs. Shaw” (2:52) and “Tej Takes Action” (1:36). In these clips, we find notes from Moritz, Wan, Johnson, Statham, Rodriguez, Bridges, stunt fight coordinator Jeff Imada, supervising stunt coordinator Joel Kramer, and actor Ronda Rousey. As implied by the title, these clips examine physical fight sequences. Like the prior featurettes, these become informative but I could live without the over the top tone.

Next comes a Music Video for “See You Again” from Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth. This mixes lip-synch footage with material intended to remember Paul Walker. The segment that ends Furious 7 does that well enough, so the video feels redundant.

Finally, we take a look at the “Making of Fast and Furious: Supercharged Ride”. This eight-minute, 15-second featurette offers comments from Diesel, Rodriguez, Johnson, Gibson, Universal Creative’s Mark Woodbury, Chick Russell and Thierry Coup, director of photography Tony Cutrono and actor Luke Evans. We learn about the new Fast and the Furious attraction at Universal Studios. It’s nothing more than a long commercial.

The disc opens with ads for Back to the Future, Dope, Pitch Perfect 2 and Tremors 5: Bloodlines. No trailer for Furious 7 shows up here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Furious 7. It includes “Back to the Starting Line”, “Snatch and Grab”, “Race Wars” and “Supercharged” but lacks the other components. The DVD also features only the movie’s theatrical cut.

14 years into the franchise, Furious 7 shows a well-oiled machine. While the flick doesn’t alter the established template, it manages to give us a pretty good array of insane action scenes, so it musters reasonable entertainment. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. Fans of the series should enjoy this crazed action romp.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6315 Stars Number of Votes: 38
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main