Action Blu-ray Review

'Furious 7' Blu-ray Review: Supercharged sequel takes the 'Fast & Furious' franchise to new heights

September 15, 2015Ben Mk





FEATURE: 
Judging from the sheer immensity of the on-screen action in Furious 7, the last thing director James Wan and screenwriter Chris Morgan want is for the film to be defined by the fact that it was Paul Walker's last movie. Sure, its closing moments contain a touching tribute to the late actor. But above all else, Furious 7 is simply an insanely fun roller coaster ride, full of all the trademark thrills and pedal-to-the-metal vehicular mayhem the franchise has become known for.


Part revenge flick, part heist caper, the storyline for this seventh installment in the Fast & Furious series revolves around Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), big brother to Fast and Furious 6 villain Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), whom you might remember was taken out of commission by Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew in the last movie. Now the older Shaw wants payback, and he'll stop at nothing to get it. In fact, just to prove he means business, he does the seemingly impossible — puts agent Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) in the hospital — then proceeds to blow up Dom's house, leaving him no choice but to go after Shaw with everything he's got.

That's the revenge half of the movie. Next comes the heist portion of the film, which has Dom and his gang — amnesiac girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), former cop Brian (Walker), jokester Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and tech-head Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) — trying to recover a highly-advanced surveillance device called "The God's Eye," and rescue its creator, a hacktivist named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), from a group of heavily armed mercenaries (led by Djimon Hounsou) in the process.

Assisted by a shadowy government figure calling himself Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), who's offered to help them catch Shaw in exchange for The God's Eye, the five of them embark on a high-octane, globetrotting journey — parachuting cars out of the back of a cargo plane high over the mountains of Azerbaijan, sending a supercar flying between the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, dueling with a Predator drone through the streets of LA, and doing battle with such martial arts heavyweights as Tony Jaa and Ronda Rousey along the way.

All in all, it makes for one of the most — if not the most — entertaining entries in the Fast & Furious franchise, which, if you think about it, is something of a miracle. For most film series would have already run out of steam by their fourth installment. Yet this one just keeps on growing more ambitious, more action-packed, and more star-studded. And even seven movies in, it still keeps on getting better and better. Of course, going forward, Paul Walker's absence will most definitely be felt; but with co-stars like Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson keeping his spirit alive, you couldn't ask for the franchise to be in more capable hands.

AUDIO & VISUALS: 
Furious 7 charges onto Blu-ray with an audiovisual presentation that has all cylinders firing. In other words, picture quality is crystal clear, colors are robust, black levels are rock solid, and contrast is spot-on, with an abundance of fine detail to be found within every inch of the frame. Whether we're racing through the sun-soaked California desert or speeding through the moonlit streets of LA, it's virtually impossible to find anything to complain about when it comes to this hi-def image. Not that there are any flaws with the movie's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack either. With ample LFE to bolster both the action and the film's thumping score, every explosion, every burst of automatic gunfire, and every screeching tire and revving engine is a treat for audiophiles.


EXTRAS: 
Universal's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a DVD and an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy. The Blu-ray includes both the Theatrical and Extended versions of the film, plus the following extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (5:59) - Four deleted scenes ("Letty at Clinic," "Ramsey/Dom," "Dressed Up" and "Letty Call from Nurse").
  • Talking Fast (31:47) - Director James Wan and cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges share their insight on the making of the film, discussing such things as key moments from the movie, the relationship between Dom and Letty, familiar locales from past installments, the new characters, the action and the visual effects, and, of course, saying goodbye to their co-star, Paul Walker.
  • Back to the Starting Line (12:11) - The cast and crew talk about returning to the franchise for the seventh time, touching on the story's emotional stakes, the new characters, and what director James Wan brought to the movie.
  • Flying Cars (5:42) - A piece about the film's airborne action, specifically the effects and the stunt work that helped make the Azerbaijan mountain sequence a reality.
  • Snatch and Grab (7:31) - A continuing look at the making of the Azerbaijan mountain sequence, this time focusing on the high-speed chase that ensues once the cars land on solid ground.
  • Tower Jumps (6:53) - A look at the execution of the Etihad Tower sequence.
  • Inside the Fight (11:03) - Fight stunt coordinator Jeff Imada takes viewers behind the scenes of four of the film's key combat sequences ("Hobbs Vs. Shaw," "Girl Fight," "Dom Vs. Shaw" and "Tej Takes Action").
  • The Cars of Furious (10:42) - Picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy gives an overview of the movie's cars, from Brian's Subaru and Roman's Camaro to Dom's Dodge Charger and Shaw's Aston Martin DB9.
  • Race Wars (6:34) - A look at the filming of the Race Wars sequence and what it means to the fans and the franchise.
  • "See You Again" Official Music Video (4:05) - A video for the song featured in the film's closing sequence, as sung by Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa.
  • Making of Fast & Furious Supercharged Ride (8:15) - A promo piece for the new ride at Universal Studios Hollywood framed around the franchise, including a peek into its creation.


Furious 7 is available from Universal Studios Home Entertainment as of September 15th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish and French DTS 5.1, and English 2.0 Descriptive Audio (Theatrical Version Only) tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 17 Mins. (Theatrical Version) and 2 Hrs. 20 Mins. (Extended Version).






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