Universal's biggest film franchise stalls when asked to race away in 4K
We're not privy to the reasoning behind Universal's decision to release two Fast & Furious movies on 4K Blu-ray, and not the other five – collectors will be hoping the rest screech around the corner in due course.
Still, it's picked a good pair to kick things off. The fifth instalment remains the franchise's crowning glory, but these two sequels are rock-solid action spectacles, with a surfeit of outlandish set-pieces, scene-stealing villains (played by Luke Evans and Jason Statham) and, at the heart of it all, the continued plotline about Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) trying to keep his 'family' together. F&F 7 also features a surprisingly poignant send-off for its late cast member Paul Walker.
Picture: Both movies sport stable H.265 encodes, apparently hewn from 2K digital intermediates. In car terms, they're more Ford Fiesta ST than Focus RS – there's nothing here that you'd obviously choose to demo to the 4K HDR curious. They're better than the previous 1080p releases, offering a touch more sharpness and contrast, plus splashes of HDR brilliance, but lack the sheer clarity and dynamism of the best UHD platters. Worth upgrading for? Maybe, but...
Picture rating: 3.5/5
Audio: Universal has made a car-crash of this F&F 4K debut, bizarrely choosing to piggy-back new DTS:X soundmixes atop DTS-HD HR streams, rather than lossless DTS-HD Master Audio. Those with compatible systems will no doubt appreciate the extra dimensionality; those without have to make do with technically inferior audio mixes, regardless of whether the difference is readily discernible. Even worse, the extended cut of F&F 6 features a regular last-century DTS 5.1 mix; the extended version of F&F 7 offers DTS-HD HR 7.1. Confused? We are.
Audio rating: 3.5/5
Extras: Credit due to Universal for porting Justin Lin's worthwhile director's commentary for F&F 6 onto the UHD platter (all the other extras – the Making of... doc, deleted scenes, ogling at cars – are found on the 1080p disc, as well as DTS-HD MA...). With the follow-up flick, there is no commentary, so the 4K disc is barebones. Best of the 1080p bunch is director James Wan's Talking Fast analysis.
Extras rating: 3.5/5
We say: A frustrating beginning to the fast-driving franchise's 4K adventures
Fast & Furious 6/Fast & Furious 7, Universal Pictures, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-region BD, £40 each
HCC VERDICT: 3.5/5
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