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4K UHD/Blu-ray Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Jul 10 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

The Fate of the Furious is the eighth film in the Fast and the Furious franchise. It picks up shortly after the events of the previous film, as Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodrigue) are enjoying their honeymoon in Havana. Dom’s cousin Fernando (Janmarco Santiago) finds himself in some money trouble, and Dom steps in to help, suggesting a drag race for pink slips in exchange for wiping out his cousin’s debt. However, instead of using his own car, Dom must race his cousin’s hunk of junk against the fastest car on the island. But that shouldn’t be an issue for someone like Dom!

Later, as Dom is walking back to his hotel, he comes across a woman (Charlize Theron) who is seemingly having car troubles. When Dom stops to help her, he discovers that the woman knows his name and a lot about him. She tells him he is going to turn against his friends and help steal something for her, but he cannot tell anyone about this. She then hands him a phone containing some kind of disturbing information, which causes him to agree to her terms.

Meanwhile, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) receives a visit from a man who tells him that the government needs him to go on an unofficial mission to steal a dangerous EMP device before the class 4 WMD falls into the hands of a cyber terrorist known as Cipher. So Hobbs calls in the best team he knows for assistance—Dom and his crew. The mission in Berlin is a success. However, as they are driving back with the weapon, Dom goes rogue, stealing the EMP device from Hobbs, and leaving him to be arrested and sent to Federal prison. The group is stunned. Letty is sure that there is something wrong and that Dom was forced to betray them, but some of the others aren’t so sure.

The government needs to get this EMP device back, and so Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) calls upon the only group that would know how to find Dom—Hobbs and the rest of Dom’s team. He arranges another unsanctioned mission to locate Dom and stop Cipher from unleashing the weapon. However, Hobbs and the rest of the group aren’t too happy when they meet some of their new team members—former nemesis Deckard (Jason Statham) and Mr. Nobody’s young new protege, Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood).

Why did Dom turn on his team? And can this ragtag group once again save the world, this time without their usual leader?

 

I really enjoyed this latest installment of the franchise. It starts off with a scenic, action-packed nod to the themes that the franchise was originally built upon—a simple high-speed drag race for pink slips. This opening scene reminded me of why I first got hooked on this franchise.

The film then moves into the territory that has kept this franchise going for so long—an action-packed mission to save the world (or at least some part of it). We soon learn, that the woman they are up against isn’t just any villain. The writers have done an excellent job of tying Cipher into the plot lines of previous two films, so even though we never saw this character before, she still feels like she has had a long-standing presence in this world. Charlize Theron does an excellent job playing this evil hacker who has Dom under her control.

There are a lot of fun moments as the team tries to work out issues with their new, unwanted members, and discovers their new toys—a collection of the coolest of high tech vehicles like nothing we’ve seen before in the series. Their mission will take them in the air, and on high speed chases through the streets of New York, and ice and snow of Iceland. It’s a non-stop thrill ride, with a nice blend of action and humor. There are some incredibly-impressive action sequences in the second and third acts of this film that should not be missed! This was easily one of my favorite films of the franchise.

This 4K UHD comes with both the theatrical cut of the film as well as an extended director’s cut that runs about 12 minutes longer. However, the latter is only available via a digital copy, and is not contained on either the 4K or Blu-ray disc. For the purposes of this review I stuck with the on-disc theatrical cut as the Vudu UHD streaming option did not offer HDR or Dolby Vision, and only offered Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio.

The quality of the Blu-ray already looks fantastic with a nearly-flawless, crisp, clean picture, but the 4K UHD release steps things up even more. There is increased detail in faces, and in materials and surfaces such as the curtains in Dom’s hotel room, and the threads on his linen shirt. In the opening scene in Cuba, there is increased detail in the ripples of the water and in the city skyline. Havana looks absolutely breathtaking under the orange glow of the sunset. This extended palette also makes explosions look incredibly rich. Darker and underwater scenes also remain detailed and easy to see. The fast-moving action sequences also look spectacular.

The audio is also quite impressive. As the film opens, beautiful Cuban music surrounds the viewer. Once the action starts, every rev of an engine roars out of the speakers and can be felt by the subwoofer. But that’s only a sampler for when the bigger, badder action kicks in by the film’s exciting third act. There is one scene when some concussion grenades go off, and there is this excellent use of echoes bouncing around the surround and stereo channels, making the viewer feel the same disorienting effect the characters are experiencing. There is also some nice use of the height channel to provide overhead sounds. And throughout the entire film, dialogue remains clear and easy to understand.

This release contains about 75 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes and extended fight sequences as well as an entertaining feature commentary from the directory. The featurettes give a nice behind-the-scenes look at some of the incredible action sequences that appear in the film. All of the bonus material can be found on the Blu-ray disc. The commentary is the only supplemental material that is also available on the 4K disc.

The two discs come packed in a standard UHD keepcase along with a square-cut glossy slipcover with an embossed title. The case also contains UHD digital copy codes for both the theatrical cut and an extended director’s cut of the film, as well as a code for a bonus digital film (from a selection of 6 titles).



What’s Included:

Film: (2:15:59 theatrical; 2:28:01 extended director’s cut, digital only)

    4K Ultra HD:

    • 2160p / Widescreen 2.40:1
    • HDR
    • Audio: English DTS:X Master Audio, English DTS Headphone:X, English DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, French DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

    Blu-ray:

    • 1080p / Widescreen 2.40:1
    • Audio: English DTS:X Master Audio, English DTS Headphone:X, English DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, French DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Digital HD (for redemption deadline, see NBCUcodes.com):

    • UHD Digital Copy of Original Theatrical Movie
    • UHD Digital Copy of Extended Director’s Cut
    • Digital Copies are redeemable via UltraViolet (Fandango Now, Vudu or Flixster Video) OR iTunes
    • Additional bonus digital movie (expires 1/7/2018), redeemable at www.upherewards.com. The list of available titles currently includes The Darkness, Hail, Caesar!, Intolerable Cruelty, Notting Hill, and Somewhere in Time. This list is expected to change to 6 new titles on 7/23/17.

Extras:
The only bonus feature that also appears on the 4K disc is the audio commentary, the rest only appear on the Blu-ray disc.

  • The Cuban Spirit (8:04)
    Go behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew as they head to Cuba to shoot the country’s first American studio movie. The participants talk about the challenges of shooting a movie this size in Cuba, working with the local crew, the local sights, and the local car culture. Includes interviews with director F. Gary Gray, producer Neal H. Moritz, gaffer Vladimir Martinez Gomez, writer/executive producer Chris Morgan, and actors Vin Diesel (“Dom”/producer), Michelle Rodriguez (“Letty”), Janmarco Santiago (“Fernando”) and Celestino Cornielle (“Raldo”). Introduction by Michelle Rodriguez.
  • In The Family
    Collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast and crew. Those interviewed include director F. Gary Gray, producer Neal H. Moritz, writer/executive producer Chris Morgan, and actors Charlize Theron (“Cipher”), Dwayne Johnson (“Hobbs”), Vin Diesel, Nathalie Emmanuel (“Ramsey”), Michelle Rodriguez, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (“Tej”), Luke Evans (“Owen”), Helen Mirren (“Mrs. Shaw”), Scott Eastwood (“Little Nobody”), Kurt Russell (“Mr. Nobody”) and Tyrese Gibson (“Roman”). Select from the following (there is no Play All option):

    • Betraying the Family: Cipher and Dom (6:35)
      A look at creating and casting the film’s hacker villain Cipher, how she connects to the rest of the franchise, and her relationship with Dom. Introduction by Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges.
    • Leaderless: A Family Lost (5:00)
      A look at Dom going rogue and how that affects the rest of the team. Introduction by Tyrese Gibson.
    • Shaw Family Values (3:56)
      A look at whether Deckard Shaw is really a bad guy, and casting Helen Mirren as his mother. Introduction by director F. Gary Gray.
    • Meet the Nobodys (5:45)
      A look at Mr. Nobody and his new young protege. Who are they, and can they be trusted? The cast also talks about working with Scott Eastwood & Kurt Russell. Introduction by director F. Gary Gray.
  • Car Culture
    Collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast and crew. Those interviewed include director F. Gary Gray, picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy, production designer Bill Brzeski, producer Neal H. Moritz, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, 2nd unit stunt coordinators Jack Gill & Andrew Gill, special effects supervisor J.D. Schwalm, vehicle manufacturer Geoffrey Howe (Howe & Howe Technologies), stuntman Erik Betts, and actors Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges. Select from the following (there is no Play All option):

    • The Hero Cars of Fast (10:24)
      A look at building and sourcing some of the unique and amazing vehicles used in this film. Plus, the challenges involved in driving the cars on snow and ice. Introduction by Tyrese Gibson.
    • Zombie Cars (5:35)
      A look at filming the “Zombie Cars” scene involving a fleet of computerized cars driving and crashing on their own, and raining from a parking structure. Introduction by Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges.
    • The Ripsaw (5:22)
      A look at the impressive vehicle Tej drives in Iceland—the Ripsaw is a hybrid of a tank and a Sno-Cat. Introduction by Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges.
  • All About The Stunts
    Collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast and crew. Those interviewed include director F. Gary Gray, stunt coordinator Jack Gill, stuntman Tony Carbajal, assistant location manager Miguel Tapia, picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy, producer Neal H. Moritz, writer/executive producer Chris Morgan, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, safety coordinator Vernhard Gudnason, special effects supervisor J.D. Schwalm, 2nd unit stunt coordinator Andrew Gill, stuntman Erik Betts, and actors Vin Diesel & Tyrese Gibson. Select from the following (there is no Play All option):

    • Malecón Street Race (6:15)
      A look at going back to the roots of the series with a pink slip race, and what it took to put this high-speed dash through the streets of Havana together. Introduction by Michelle Rodriguez.
    • Iceland Stunt Diaries (6:45)
      A look at putting together the film’s climactic action sequences. Introduction by Tyrese Gibson.
    • The Streets of New York (5:27)
      The challenges of shooting a high speed car chase in New York City and how they were able to push the limits. Introduction by Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges.
  • Extended Fight Scenes (5:03)
    Extended versions of two of the film’s big fight scenes starring Jason Statham & Dwayne Johnson. Play All or select from:

    • Extended Prison Fight (3:01)
    • Extended Plane Fight (2:00)
  • Feature Commentary with Director F. Gary Gray (2:15:58)
    The director provides an entertaining and informative commentary throughout the film. You can sense the excitement and love he has for the project and his crew. He shares a lot of behind-the-scenes stories about how the production came together.

 


Final Thoughts:

My Rating
Film:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Highly Recommended

The Fate of the Furious is a welcome addition to the franchise, and one of my favorite installments thus far. I found it more approachable than the seventh film, and I think it will also appeal to those who may not have seen all/any of the previous films. From start to finish, there are some truly spectacular action sequences, and the nearly-flawless 4K UHD presentation captures it all wonderfully. The picture is crisp, clean and extremely detailed, while the DTS:X audio track really immerses the viewer in the action. The release includes a nice selection of behind-the-scenes featurettes as well as an extended cut of the film via digital copy. This release comes highly recommended for both fans of the franchise as well as those just looking for a fun action flick!