Fastlane: The Complete Series (2002)
|Genre(s): Action / Crime / Drama|
|Warner Brothers || NR - 965 minutes - $59.98 || July 8, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-07-20|
Writer(s): McG & John McNamara (created by)
Cast: Peter Facinelli, Bill Bellamy, Tiffani Thiessen
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Well, Warner continues to release short-lived series on DVD for fans after giving them “Birds of Prey” and, on 7/29/08, “Witchblade”. And while I don’t care for the treatment they have “Birds” with a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer, the fact that either of these series are seeing the light of day, you have to give props to WB for doing it.
“Fastlane” aired on Fox from 2002-03. It was a cross between “Miami Vice” and The Fast and the Furious with the guilty pleasure aspects of “Las Vegas” thrown in for good measure (even though “Vegas” came out a year later). The series stars Peter Facinelli -- doing the best impersonation of Tom Cruise I’ve ever seen --, as Van Ray, an LAPD Undercover Detective whose partner is killed while on the job and Bill Bellamy as Deaq Hayes, Ray’s dead partner’s brother, who also happens to be a detective from New York.
First, Van is recruited into a new secret division of the LAPD working for Billie Chambers (Thiessen). This division isn’t officially on the radar and they work without badges, members go undercover to infiltrate drug lords and other criminal organizations. Soon enough Deaq is also invited to join. This division also has access to confiscated hot cars, cool tools, money and even drugs from busts and is stored in what is known as “The Candy Shop”, their headquarters.
“Fastlane” was created and developed by flashy director McG (Charlie’s Angels and the upcoming Terminator Salvation) and John McNamara, executive producer of “The Fugitive” remake series and a consulting producer on “Jericho”. “Fastlane” has a lot in common with “Las Vegas”: hot babes and overly stylized visuals with inane storylines. It is guilty pleasure to the max and although entertaining as hell, it is hard not to overlook the spotty acting by Facinelli and Bellamy (Thiessen is hot enough that I can overlook some off moments).
Most of the stories are the same: Van and Deaq go undercover, almost get killed but prevail at the end of the day (for the most part). However, there were a couple of darker episodes which do break the mold (a friend getting killed, letting a suspect get away, etc), so that alone I have to give the show some props.
I also give props for the number of recognizable guest appearances, including: Paul Gleason, Isaac Hayes, Terrence Howard (pre-Crash), Robert Forster as Van’s incarcerated father, Jaimi Pressley as a sultry villainess who gets it on with Thiessen, Jakes Busey, Jay Mohr, Jenny McCarthy, Naomi Campbell and many more.
Any fan of The Fast and the Furious or its sequels will probably have a blast watching this show. Overall, it is a fun series that never really got off the ground, but at least the fans can now watch all 22 episodes on DVD. Now, if only CBS/Paramount would do the same for my favorite short-lives series, “Robbery Homicide Division” starring Tom Sizemore and created by Michael Mann...
Warner has actually compiled a decent amount of bonus material missing out only missing a commentary or two. First up is Fastlane: Road Kill (9:40) which are deleted and extended scenes from the pilot episode. As McG and a producer explain, these scenes were cut as the original runtime of the pilot was over 70-minutes and they needed to trim it down to 40-minutes.
Warner also has several featurettes with a mixture of old and new interviews. Hot Stuff: Inside the Candy Store (8:01) starts off with just a rundown of what “Fastlane” was about before focusing on the Candy Store, the place filled with exotic cars and other cool gadgets and then going back to talking about the show. Not sure why they added “Inside the Candy Store” since a good portion did not... Next, Stunning Rides (8:04) gives focus on the muscle machines and kit cars. This was more on point as we get to see the cars that appeared on the series. Smoking Stars (12:15) shows the guest appearances as well as the main cast with more interviews. Sizzling Action (9:02) examines the stunts and chases from the series and how incredible each one was.
The last feature is Fastlane: Junk Yard (6:01), a compilation of outtakes. But the use of junk yard for this one was spot on...
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“Fastlane” is presented in full frame and looks pretty good overall. The colors aren’t especially bright but I think it is more than suitable for most people. However, my biggest gripe is that the deleted scenes were shown in widescreen (non-anamorphic) so it would seem a widescreen transfer was at least available. I believe any action series like this deserves to be seen in widescreen...
A Dolby Surround Stereo track is offered and though it won’t blow your ears away, it’s still good enough. But, as with the video, this is an action show so one would hope the explosions would have more impact.
Also, according to the back cover, “Some music differs from original televised version.” According to what I’ve read on the Net, the theme is gone, replaced with something generic and I would guess other songs were removed/replaced. Sorry folks.
“Fastlane” has everything a young guy wants: fast cars, sexy chicks and big time action. I found some episodes to be too similar to one another but throwing in some darker episodes really went a long way to keep it edgy and interesting. It’s nice that WB finally released this on DVD for the legions of fans. Of course, these same fans will not be happy that some music has been replaced, and not that I blame them, but be happy it finally made it where other failed series remain in the wasteland.