Fast & Furious is the fourth installment in the franchise which sees the return of both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in the same film since The Fast and the Furious. Fast & Furious revs up the action and melodrama that fans have come to love, with its convoluted plot and high-octane action sequences, it delivers exactly what audiences expect from the series. This true sequel to the original movie takes the race to the physical media Ultra HD border, offering a visually appealing 4K HDR10 presentation and an outstanding DTS:X soundtrack. However, despite some enhancements, the overall package remains similar to the previous physical media 4K UHD in this franchise.
Let’s start with the visual presentation. The fourth installment runs to the Ultra HD border, utilising a HEVC H.265 encode that adds a few nice modifications and enhancements to the already stellar Blu-ray release. While the upscaled transfer, derived from a 2K digital intermediate, doesn’t provide a significant leap forward compared to other franchise entries on UHD, it does showcase a slight improvement, particularly in the daylight sequences. You can now appreciate the small details, such as minor scratches and imperfections on each vehicle and the streets of the city. Facial complexions are highly revealing, with lifelike textures that expose pores, wrinkles, and subtle blemishes during close-ups. However, there are still noticeably soft and poorly-resolved sequences, especially at night and in wide aerial shots of the city’s skyline.
The Ultra HD release of Fast & Furious showcases the film’s thrilling sequences with better definition and clarity. The 4K HDR10 presentation brings out the smallest details, allowing viewers to appreciate the intricacies of each vehicle and the vibrant city streets. The facial textures are remarkably lifelike, revealing every pore, wrinkle, and blemish during close-ups. However, it’s worth noting that some scenes, particularly those shot at night or featuring wide aerial shots, still suffer from occasional softness and lack of resolution. The contrast levels in the transfer are strong, adding depth to the visuals. While the overall improvement in the color palette is not drastic compared to its HD SDR counterpart, the HDR10 presentation enhances the richness and vibrancy of the primaries. Cinematographer Amir Mokri’s stylized approach is evident in the heavy earth tones, amber browns, and warm golden yellows that dominate the film’s visual palette. Additionally, the darker blacks and improved shadow delineation contribute to a more immersive viewing experience.
Despite these minor flaws, the source material remains in great shape, featuring strong contrast levels. Although the 4K video doesn’t offer a dramatic boost, there is a slight improvement in crispness and brilliance, particularly in the colour white, clothing, and various light fixtures. Specular highlights also benefit from a tighter glow, enhancing explosions, headlights, and sunlight reflecting off chrome trim. The color palette, while not dramatically different from the HD SDR counterpart, does appear slightly richer and fuller in the HDR10 presentation. The cinematography by Amir Mokri predominantly features heavy earth tones, varied amber browns, and warm golden yellows. The blacks show the most improvement, offering inkier and silkier shadows, albeit at the expense of some average delineation in the darkest corners. The transfer is bathed in a thin layer of natural grain, providing the 2.39:1 image with a lovely film-like quality that fans will appreciate.
Visuals Review: 3.5/5
The audio of this 4K physical media UHD is just as good as the previous installments. The film furiously roars into home theaters with an excellent DTS:X soundtrack. While it boasts a couple of welcomed modifications, it doesn’t quite deliver the turbo-charged upgrade over the DTS-HD version we’ve expected from the franchise. The design, however, remains a great listen, with a few enveloping enhancements across the ceiling channels. Sounds of engines echo all around, and the music reverberates through the speakers, creating an immersive experience. Certain scenes, like a helicopter sequence, fluidly pan from behind to the front overhead, and the rumbling of rocks crumbling from above adds to the atmospheric effects. Unfortunately, these moments are sporadic, failing to generate a truly satisfying hemispheric sound field. The majority of the audio work is carried out by the front soundstage, which provides outstanding balance and layers the visuals with plenty of background activity. The mid-range is clean and detailed, capturing every crunch of metal on metal, while the hip-hop tunes benefit from superb clarity and warmth. Dialogue is precise and well-prioritized, even during the loudest, ear-piercing moments. The low-end, although not demanding or as robust as in other films of the series, still delivers a weighty, growling presence to the action and car scenes.
One of the standout aspects of this Ultra HD release is the inclusion of an excellent DTS:X soundtrack. While it doesn’t deviate significantly from the previous DTS-HD version, it still delivers an engaging audio experience. The surround channels effectively capture the sounds of engines roaring and music reverberating throughout the scene, creating a sense of envelopment. Certain moments, such as a helicopter sequence, showcase fluid panning and atmospheric effects that add to the overall immersion. However, the film primarily relies on the front soundstage, where the balance and precision of the audio shine. The detailed mid-range allows every collision and impact to be heard distinctly, while the dialogue remains clear and well-prioritized. Although the low-end presence is not as robust as in other films of the series, it still adds weight and intensity to the action sequences.
Audio Review: 3.8/5
Fast & Furious marks a crucial turning point in the franchise’s evolution. With its introduction of a more interconnected universe, it paves the way for future installments and spin-offs. The Ultra HD release enhances the viewing experience with its improved visual presentation and impressive DTS:X soundtrack. While the upgrades may not be revolutionary, they do add an extra layer of excitement to the already thrilling and action-packed film. If you are fan of this franchise and a fan of collecting 4K UHD physical media discs then Fast & Furious is a must own for you
|Format||Two-Disc UHD Combo Pack|
|Disc Type||UHD-66 Dual-Layer Disc / BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc|
|Video Resolution/Codec||2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR10|
|Release Country||United States|
|Audio Formats||English DTS:X, English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, Portuguese DTS 5.1|
|Subtitles/Captions||English SDH, French, Spanish|
|Movie Studio||Universal Studios|