Fast & Furious 7 (Blu-ray) (2 Disc Limited Collector's Edition) (2015)

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Released 27-Aug-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Talking Fast
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Back to the Starting Line
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Flying Cars
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Snatch and Grab
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Tower Jumps
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside the Fight
Featurette-The Cars of Furious
Featurette-Race Wars
Music Video-"See You Again"
Featurette-Making of Fast & Furious Supercharged Ride
Featurette-A Home In Ruins
Featurette-From Pre-Viz To Final
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Shooting In Abu Dhabi
Featurette-Jeff Imada: Up Close and Personal
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 137:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By James Wan
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Vin Diesel
Paul Walker
Jason Statham
Michelle Rodriguez
Jordana Brewster
Tyrese Gibson
Ludacris
Dwayne Johnson
Kurt Russell
Tony Jaa
Djimon Hounsou
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Brian Tyler


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
Spanish dts 5.1
French dts 5.1
German dts 5.1
Italian dts 5.1
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French for the Hearing Impaired Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Spanish
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Hindi
Icelandic
Italian
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††††Franchise fatigue is beginning to set in with 2015ís Fast & Furious 7 (or Furious 7, continuing the tradition of confusing and inconsistent titles), the latest entry in this long-running series of car-based blockbusters. After the franchise received a fresh boost of life with the unbelievably great fifth instalment in 2011, the cookie-cutter formula is becoming stale once again, even though thereís fresh blood in the form of Australian horror luminary James Wan replacing series mainstay Justin Lin. Itís impossible to review Furious 7 without discussing its troubled production - originally set for release in 2014, less than a year after Furious 6 hit multiplexes, the team lost star Paul Walker to a fatal car crash before filming wrapped, leaving Wan and returning screenwriter Chris Morgan to figure out how to complete the picture without its long-time lead. Furious 7 is fundamentally review-proof since it fulfils all thatís required of it, but at this point in the series, a little more effort would be appreciated.

††† After his brother was paralysed and left in hospital following the last adventure, master black ops assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is determined to exact revenge on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew. Shaw makes his presence known with a bang, putting Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in critical condition and sending Han (Sung Kang) to the morgue, before setting off a bomb in L.A. that almost kills Dominic, his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), and his old pal Brian (Walker). Into the fray soon steps Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), an enigmatic government agent who enlists the help of Dominic and co. to retrieve the powerful Godís Eye program designed by a hacker named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel). If they help out Mr. Nobody, they can use the Godís Eye to find Shaw. Thus, Dominic and the usual suspects - including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Tej (Ludacris) - head overseas, but they are unable to escape the shadow of Shaw, who enlists the help of terrorist Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) and his team of gunmen.

††† Statham is a tremendous villain who represents a major threat to the cast, and his abilities are showcased in a vicious early brawl against the behemoth Hobbs. But Morganís screenplay doesnít trust in the standard revenge formula, concocting an overly convoluted storyline involving a high-tech device and a team of terrorists led by the vaguely-defined Jakande, whoís naturally out to kill Dominicís crew and obtain the Godís Eye. Such secondary content was evidently included to allow for high-speed heist sequences and other sorts of car mayhem that we have come to expect from the series, but it feels too forced and leaden as a result, in need of snappier pacing and a stronger sense of urgency. (And seriously, the car stuff may be this franchiseís bread and butter, but it is starting to get old.) Plus, the crew are only out to retrieve the Godís Eye to make it easier to track down Shaw, which seems superfluous since heís perpetually showing up wherever they go.

††† Furious 7 is the longest entry in the franchise so far, clocking in at a colossal 140 minutes, and it certainly feels its length. Morgan, who has written all instalments since Tokyo Drift, sticks by all the proverbial franchise chestnuts, giving the cast ample time to grunt atrocious dialogue at each other (every second word is still ďfamilyĒ) in between all the big action sequences. Diesel takes the lead here and does most of the heavy lifting, which may have been out of necessity after Walkerís death, paving the way for the actor to take over the franchise.

††† The major selling point of this saga has always been its reliance on practical effects and real car stunts. If anyone was to continue this tradition, it would be Wan, a man from the school of low-budget filmmaking whose previous action outing, Death Sentence, was vehemently old-fashioned. Unfortunately, Furious 7 is more reliant on CGI, which detracts from the sense of excitement. Sure, there are still impressive car stunts here, and people are still risking their lives for various shots, but there are also digital effects here, and they are obvious.

††† Thankfully, there are nevertheless some entertaining action sequences to behold, most notably when Wan leaves the cars and allows for the characters to engage in fisticuffs and shootouts. Statham is a gifted fighter, and heís well-matched with both Johnson and Diesel. To Wanís credit, the fights are not one-sided - Statham is not some untalented patsy, but a genuine threat who matches his opponents every step of the way. To spice up the action, Thai martial artist Tony Jaa shows up as an enforcer for Jakande who mostly brawls with Walker. Itís a bit of a throwaway role, and Wan doesnít take full advantage of Jaaís immense talents as a fighter, often burying the action in edits and frenetic camerawork. It defeats the purpose of casting Jaa, really. MMA star Ronda Rousey shares a similar fate, and to make matters worse, she is a truly terrible actress, showing once again after The Expendables 3 that she cannot cut it as a thespian.

††† The big question on everyoneís lips is how Walker is treated, with scenes filmed following his death featuring body doubles (most notably Walkerís brothers) sporting a digital face. To the credit of the filmmakers, it is seamless and itís never entirely clear when weíre seeing a CGI Paul, but his presence is definitely dialled down; heís mostly in the background, or shrouded by low lighting or restrictive camera angles. Luckily, Wan and Morgan have devised a fitting, respectful exit for Walkerís Brian, with a loving tribute to the actor which closes the feature that may leave some with damp eyes. Some have decried that itís impossible to watch Walker in precarious scenarios driving real fast due to the circumstances of his tragic death, but Walker would likely be insulted by such haters - this is what he loved doing, and itís an appropriate end for his career.

††† Furious 7ís cast is genuinely tremendous, with a lot of big names to stir up interest. Beyond the usual crew, thereís Statham, Russell, Hounsou, and the aforementioned Jaa and Rousey. Say what you will about Stathamís acting abilities, but he excels as an action star and has a strong screen presence. As the villain here, Statham is perfect, with a steely, cold demeanour making him spot-on as a ruthless military-trained killer. The Stath is so perfect, in fact, that you could be forgiven for rooting for him. Russell, meanwhile, is ideal here, showing that he still has what it takes to be a badass despite his advanced age. As for the returning cast, the likes of Walker, Rodriguez and Brewster are just fine. Tyrese Gibson, however, once again shows up as the try-hard comic relief, and heís awful. Surely thereís sufficient funds in the budget for an actual comedian? Meanwhile, despite being such a major presence in the past couple of instalments, Dwayne Johnson is side-lined for most of the proceedings here, leaving us to suffer through scene after scene of Diesel, who is not an overly interesting or competent actor. Since the movieís events are tied into Tokyo Drift, Lucas Black returns as Sean Boswell, but his presence is mercifully short, amounting to a mere cameo. Black was intolerable in Tokyo Drift with his exaggerated American drawl, so itís a relief that he doesnít join the team or become a lead here.

††† Cars go real fast, explosions are big, and action is, well, furious, but Furious 7 is only intermittently thrilling and never hugely involving at any point due to its complicated, leaden storytelling. Itís a flat, workmanlike Hollywood blockbuster, and though itís not as abominable as Michael Bayís regular output, it looks all the more subpar compared to the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. It would seem that Fast Five, in the long run, is more of a lucky fluke than genuine franchise revivification.

††† Universalís Blu-ray contains both the theatrical cut and an extended edition, which adds a whole extra three minutes of footage. Viewing the extended cut, I found the inclusions hard to notice, or care about.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††††Furious 7ís 1080p, AVC-encoded HD transfer is...a bit underwhelming, but I believe thatís mostly attributable to the source, having viewed the picture at the cinema on two occasions.

††† The big issue, as with most Universal Blu-rays, is that thereís no grain structure here. Thus, the presentation looks thoroughly digital, but not the razor-sharp, beautifully-detailed digital; rather, the muddy, flat digital. Detail and sharpness are strictly mediocre, and it looks like some shots were hit with digital noise reduction (DNR) which erases the fine detail.

††† At the very least, colours are strong and vibrant, and I detected no bothersome black crush or any other encoding anomalies. Some shots do fare better than others. On the whole, though, Furious 7 is nothing to write home about on Blu-ray.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††††The audio, however, is reference-quality, as to be expected from a blockbuster of this scope and budget. Furious 7 is given a very generous 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which emphasizes every explosion, punch and gunshot, and is brimming with dynamic range, with surround channels used wisely.

††† Fans of the movie with good quality speakers will be in heaven listening to this loud, aggressive track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††††A meagre selection of bonus material is included here. The majority of the extras are on the main film disc, but the JB Hi-Fi exclusive 2 Disc Limited Collector's Edition contains an extra DVD with four additional featurettes.

Menu

††† A standard Universal menu, with some clips set to Brian Tyler's bombastic score.

Deleted Scenes (5:59)

††† Four deleted scenes are included here, which can be selected individually or via ďPlay AllĒ: Letty at Clinic (2:09), Ramsey/Dom (2:15), Dressed Up (0:57), and Letty Call from Nurse (0:38). Worthwhile for fans, but I found them of limited interest. The filmmakers were wise to jettison them.

Talking Fast (31:47)

††† Director James Wan leads this meaty featurette which breaks down several key scenes from the film, offering up behind-the-scenes footage and the thought process behind the writing and execution. Ultimately, though, the featurette feels pretty fluffy, with everyone speaking in clichťs, and itís too slight to offer much worthwhile insight into the production. Whatís especially irritating is that the topic of Paul Walkerís death is outright avoided, and even when Wan discusses scenes clearly shot after the star died, the topic of stand-ins and CGI is awkwardly eschewed. Plus, itís actually quite amusing hearing the actors talk seriously about depth, character and meaning in this franchise.

Back to the Starting Line (12:11)

††† A brief behind-the-scenes featurette which mainly looks at the actors and the sense of family (thereís that word again) which exists among them. Paulís death is briefly discussed towards the end, with the other performers talking enthusiastically about their co-star. Still, I would have much preferred to see an in-depth look at how the movie was finished after Paulís tragic accident.

Flying Cars (5:42)

††† A short look at the creation of one of the filmís signature action scenes. Thereís some pretty nice on-set footage and insight into the logistics of having cars dropped from a cargo plane.

Snatch and Grab (7:31)

††† Another short behind-the-scenes featurette, this time looking at the massive mountain chase sequence. This is actually fairly fascinating, with the stunt coordinators walking us through the heavy reliance on practical effects, and the difficult conditions they faced during shooting.

Tower Jumps (6:53)

††† In keeping with the previous featurettes, this particular segment examines another big set-piece from the film: the Abu Dhabi tower sequence. Pretty interesting, with some nice interviews, raw footage and behind-the-scenes.

Inside the Fight

††† Four short featurettes concerning the filmís various fight scenes: Hobbs vs. Shaw (3:15), Girl Fight (3:20), Dom vs. Shaw (2:52), and Tej Takes Action (1:36). There is no "Play All" function. Some cool stuff here. But noticeably absent are behind-the-scenes glimpses of the fights between Paul Walker and Tony Jaa, which I wouldíve liked to see...

The Cars of Furious (10:42)

††† An almost customary featurette concerned with the cars used in the film, and why they were chosen for specific moments or characters.

Race Wars (6:34)

††† A look at ďRace WarsĒ and how it has grown since the first movie. Nothing much of interest to see here.

"See You Again" Official Music Video (4:05)

††† Music video for ďSee You Again,Ē by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.

Making of Fast & Furious Supercharged Ride (8:15)

††† An EPK-style look at the new interactive rollercoaster at Universal Studios Hollywood.

A Home In Ruins **Limited Edition Exclusive** (9:56)

††† This is actually quite cool; a ten-minute featurette which looks at the miniature component of the destruction of the Toretto house, carried out by Weta Workshop all the way over in New Zealand. A worthwhile watch.

From Pre-Viz To Final **Limited Edition Exclusive** (8:09)

††† This featurette is also quite interesting. Mostly concerned with the climax, this piece looks at how various shots were achieved, with practical and CG elements merged together.

Shooting In Abu Dhabi **Limited Edition Exclusive** (7:13)

††† A look behind-the-scenes at shooting in the beautiful United Arab Emirates. The filmmakers are quick to point out that thereís a tremendous car culture in Abu Dhabi and they are huge fans of the Fast & Furious franchise.

Jeff Imada: Up Close and Personal **Limited Edition Exclusive** (5:29)

††† And to round out the package, we have a profile of fight coordinator Jeff Imada. Itís good stuff, with some behind-the-scenes insight into the choreography process.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† ††The standard single disc Blu-ray edition appears to be identical worldwide, and America also received a Walmart exclusive with bonus disc, presumably with the same extras on this limited edition. Buy local.

Summary

††††I like brainless action movies as much as the next guy, and I enjoyed the last two entries in this franchise (though the first three were dreadful and the fourth was dull as hell), but Furious 7 didn't work for me, even though the emotional finale is extremely well done. The whole enterprise is ultimately fairly blah, with main star Diesel grunting his way through dialogue (every second word being "family") while Statham steals the show in his criminally limited screen-time.

††† Fans of the movie should be fairly pleased with this Blu-ray release. Video is so-so but audio is top-notch, the extras on offer here are reasonable, if a bit too fluffy for my taste. Rent before buying.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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