Director Justin Lin and actor Vin Diesel return with the Bugatti Veyron of action blockbusters
Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (the late Paul Walker) and the rest of the Fast & Furious gang are brought back out of 'retirement' when Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) asks for their assistance in taking down a criminal mastermind with his own team of ace drivers. The kicker? One of those drivers appears to be Dom's believed-dead former lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).
Director Justin Lin faced what appeared to be an insurmountable challenge with Furious Six (as it is called on screen). Not only did he have to top his breathtakingly brilliant Fast Five, but he also needed to finally tie-up all of the chronological issues that had built up around the films.
That he not only achieves his goals, but does so with as much verve and style as Furious Six has to show, is a credit to his skills as a director. And while it's gutting to see him go after taking the franchise to such insane heights – part seven is being overseen by James Wan (Saw, Insidious) – he does it in fine style and leaves us with the most tantalising post-credits cliffhanger imaginable...
Picture: Like its predecessor, Furious Six was shot on Kodak 35mm film using Arriflex cameras, so it's no surprise to discover that it retains a very similar look and feel on Blu-ray.
Presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio courtesy of an AVC 1080p encode, this is near-enough reference quality stuff. Colour reproduction is particularly impressive, filling the screen with hot, vibrant hues. This slightly amplified nature of the palette does result in a few orange skin tones, but this is pretty much par for the course with modern Hollywood blockbusters, and is counterbalanced by the astonishingly vivid primaries in evidence whenever the brightly-painted automobiles take centre stage.
Supporting this are strong blacks that reveal reams of shadow detail as well as very impressive detailing in close-ups and wide shots. Together with the rich colour palette, they give the hi-def imagery a genuine sense of depth and space that helps sell the fast-paced driving scenes.
Picture rating 4.5/5
Audio: Brum-brum, neeeyoun, screech, ka-boom! Furious Six roars through the streets of London with a terrifically powerful and unceasingly dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. From the expected car sounds to gunfire, explosions and plane crashes, the mix makes exemplary use of the entire soundstage.
Each of the cars on show is given its own audio signature in the mix, enabling you to track their movement in a three-dimensional space via sound placement alone. And while subtlety doesn't really get much of a look in, the 5.1 soundtrack also proves particularly adept at highlighting the macho dialogue, keeping it front and centre at all times. Our only complaint? We want 7.1!
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: As its title hints at, this 'Extended Action Packed Edition' Blu-ray sports a brand-new cut of the movie alongside the theatrical release version. However, before you get too excited, it's worth noting that the re-edit only runs 56 seconds longer than the original cut, and mainly consists of alternate versions of existing material and some minor scene extensions (the most obvious being Michelle Rodriguez's scrap with Gina Carano).
The longer cut also features an exclusive commentary by director Justin Lin, which is as open and interesting as we've come to expect.
The 19-minute Take Control featurette seems like it was originally produced for a picture-in-picture track, but instead fast-forwards through the film, stopping every now and again for Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Justin Lin and Michelle Rodriguez to cut into the action and discuss the making of the movie. The four-part The Making of Fast & Furious 6 provides a good overview of the production, while eight further behind-the-scenes featurettes shine the spotlight on shooting the action scenes, the film's cars and the fight choreography. Finally, there's a reel of three short and inconsequential deleted scenes.
Extras rating: 3.5/5
We say: Pure blockbuster escapism of the best kind on a killer Blu-ray. Buy it now!
Fast & Furious 6: Extended Action Packed Edition, Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 4.5/5
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