Fastlane: The Complete Series
R1 - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Rob Fields (28th June 2008).
The Show

When it comes to the three principal cast members of the title in review, I’m no stranger to them. Let’s start with Peter Facinelli, first. The very first time I encountered him in “Can’t Hardly Wait” (1998). People have said he looks like a younger-looking version of Tom Cruise. Still, he was Mike Dexter, a high school bully who kept making life hell for many people. After that, he moved on onto other roles. Facinelli would appear in an independent film called “The Big Kahuna” (1999) alongside Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito. Once I saw this movie, It was apparent that Facinelli could act. In 2000, I had seen him in “Supernova”. I didn’t really care for this movie, but I never forgot Peter Facinelli. Then I came to find that he was doing a TV series that was to air on FOX, which is the one up for review. This wasn’t a series that I decided to take an interest in originally. I guess it was because I was moving into my ‘I don’t watch TV’ phase. When it comes to Bill Bellamy, I’ve only seen him in one movie, which was “Love Stinks” (1999) where he was alongside French Stewart as his best friend. Finally, we get to Tiffani Thiessen. Who could forget seeing her in the later years of “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990-2000)? I also remember her cameo in “From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money” (1999). She also worked with Bellamy in “Love Stinks”. Then there’s the sleeper horror-comedy “Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th” (2000) – what a terrible movie, by the way. Anyway, it’s interesting to see Thiessen playing other characters besides bad girls. It will be interesting to see how these three characters gel together. But more importantly, I wonder if this is going to be one TV series that I should have seen. Read on and find out...

“Fastlane: The Complete Series” – Synopsis: Van Ray (Peter Facinelli)and Deaq Hayes (Bill Bellamy) are cops, but they don’t carry badges. They’re more likely to carry a case full of Benjamins. Everything they need to fight high-end crimes, they get from the Candy Store – the armory of toys and bling confiscated from busted crimelords and used to help the cops pass as legit criminals. From creators McG (the “Charlie’s Angels” movies (2000 & 2003)) and John McNamara (TV’s “The Fugitive” (2000-2001)) comes the undercover overdrive of "Fastlane". Van and Deaq, who may have different ’tudes about movies, tunes and hotties but agree that what’s good is taking down the bad.

So far, I’m liking the fast-paced storylines and the premise of the series. It looks like a series that pushes the envelope in terms of its stories and the characters. To me, “Fastlane” plays out like a series of PG-13 action films – from the language, sexuality, and the special effects. I’m wondering of this is what went into the decision to cancel the series after only one season. According to The Internet Movie Database, the series was canceled due to the high production costs. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really sure of the combination of Facinelli, Bellamy, and Thiessen. However, they managed to surprise me. I especially enjoyed the chemistry between Van and Deaq. They are always there for one another.

The downsides? Other than what I’ve noted in the Video section of my review, the only other downside I have is that they canceled the series. Sigh...this is definitely another series that I should have watched, but didn’t. Still, at least it wasn’t canceled because of lack of viewing. At least it has found its way into the realm of DVD where true fans of the series can enjoy it better. Too bad there were no episode commentary tracks. It would have been interesting to have had some technical insight into some of the episodes. Still, I’m sure fans of this series will take what they can get at this point.

My final word: Do I REALLY have to give you my final word in spite of what you’ve read?! Just go out and buy it, already...


This collection includes all 22 episodes of the series:

- "Pilot" (44:12) Van and Deaq swap fist sandwiches, become partners, load up at the Candy Store and go after the killers of Deaq’s bro.

- "Girls Own Juice" (44:08) Grrrls bring da bling. The guys’ plan to name femme jewel thieves hits a snag: other cops who are on the case!

- "Gone Native" (43:28) Cop or con: Has an ATF officer investigating Russian mobsters turned dirty? Van and Deaq find out.

- "Things Done Changed" (43:52) Stay detached? Not Deaq. His emotional involvement in a casino-heist case puts him in grave personal danger.

- "Ryde or Die" (44:02) Step beyond the velvet rope. The guys open L.A.’s hottest club in order to target a big-time Ecstasy dealer.

- "Ray Ray" (44:26) They need funny paper and plenty of it. Van relies on the counterfeiting expertise of a convict – his father.

- "Wet" (44:27) Courting danger: Van romances a lovely assassin who aims to take down a key anti-gang witness.

- "Mighty Blue" (44:26) A drug ring bust blows the cover of an inside cop who’s Billie’s friend.

- "Get Your Mack On" (43:26) Two aggressive, ambitious pimps move in on a mack daddy’s turf. Their names: Van and Deaq.

- "Dogtown" (43:26) Life’s a beach for our heroes when an operation inside a surfer-dude drug circle goes wrong.

- "Strap On" (43:24) The guys are as useless as a fish on a bicycle. It’s up to Billie to infiltrate a theft ring run by lesbians.

- "101" (43:27) Ace pupil. A green rookie cop trained by the duo proves his stuff after Van is taken hostage.

- "Defense" (44:10) A kingpin has his hands in many setups and his finger on the trigger – he puts hits on cops. Internal Affairs eyes the Candy Store.

- "Offense" (43:18) Internal Affairs has the Candy Store in lockdown, Billie is held for murder . . . and our heroes have 72 hours to make everything right.

- "Popdukes" (42:32) Safer inside. Van’s father is released on parole...and targeted by a revenge-minded crimelord.

- "Slippery Slope" (44:18) If looks could kill: When two femmes from Van’s past resurface, things get complicated. And deadly.

- "Simone Says" (44:15) The teen daughter of an ex-arms dealer wants nothing to do with the dudes assigned to protect her...at first.

- "Monster" (44:10) To catch a murderous madman, think like one. Van and Deaq scramble to nab a killer – and stop a gang war.

- "Overkill" (44:16) Gone, never forgotten. Memories of his brother prey on Deaq as he and Van work a gun-smuggling case.

- "Asslane" (44:10) Working a myth-porn ring, Van has a skinspiration: He and Billie will pose as...porn stars.

- "Dosed" (44:08) Do or die. The team must spring an inmate or it will never get the antidote to the poison slipped into Van’s cocktail.

- "Iced" (43:09) Ratcheting up the stakes. Billie’s protégé from the start-up of the Candy Store continues the blackmail.

Video

Each episode is presented in its original full-screen format (1.33:1 ratio). At times the picture shifts into widescreen letterboxed format when certain details need to be emphasized. There are no chapter selection menus, but there are chapter stops. Also, you can have episode marathons on each disc by utilizing the ‘Play’ option on the Main Menu. If not, then you can select which episode you want to watch by selecting the ‘Episodes’ option, also on the Main Menu. At times I notice DVD grain during the early morning scenes – and some night shots – in some of the episodes. This doesn’t bother me since I’m used to it. Chances are that it won’t bother others, either. Not unless they’re among those people who have lots of issues. Other than that, the picture looks great. It definitely has the feel of watching a FOX series – without the commercial breaks.

Audio

Each episode is accompanied by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack. There are optional English (hard-of-hearing) subtitles available. The mix sounds great. I forgot to look at the receiver to even see what kind of audio track it was until I got down to this part of the review (I’m in the second episode, by the way). I had guessed it was either Dolby surround or a really great Dolby stereo mix. Guess I was right, huh? Looking on the back cover and the slipcase, I found a piece of fine print that states: “Some music differs from original televised version.” Having never seen the series, I do not know what music has changed and what has stayed the same. At least Warner Brothers is honest in admitting this, like Paramount Pictures on many of their TV seasons releases. There are no audio commentary tracks present for any of the episodes. Our loss...

Extras

Warner Brothers have included 6 featurettes that make up the extras in this set. Continue on for insight into these featurettes. Do note that there no optional subtitles for these features. Also, these features may contain spoilers, so it’s advisable to not watch them before watching the series itself (if you’re new to the series).

DISC ONE:

There is a featurette called "Road Kill: From the Un-Aired Pilot" that runs 9 minutes and 41 seconds. You can access this featurette in the Features menu. Or you can go into the Episodes and select the scissors to the right of the "Pilot" episode. The featurette starts out with interview footage featuring series co-creator/director/executive producer McG. Then you will see some deleted scenes from "Pilot". Between some of these, you will be taken to some interview footage featuring producer Stephanie Savage. This featurette closes with final statements from McG.

DISCS TWO, THREE, FOUR & FIVE:
There are no features on these discs.

DISC SIX:

The featurette "Hot Stuff: Inside the Candy Store" runs 8 minutes and 1 second. Here, you will see members of the cast and crew give their insights into the caliber of show that “Fastlane” was meant to be. But most of all, the base of operations for the cast is touched on – The Candy Store. This place is basically the keys to a crime-fighting kingdom. Oh, and you get some insight as to the partnership between Van and Deaq. You will see some behind-the-scenes shooting

The featurette "Stunning Rides" runs 8 minutes and 5 seconds. Here, you will get comments from the cast and crew about the many hot cars that were part of this series. Many of which were seen in The Candy Shop. Facinelli and Bellamy definitely give their 2 cents on driving some of these cars. You also see some clips from the series to emphasize.

The featurette "Smoking Stars" runs 12 minutes and 17 seconds. Here, you will get hear from the crew about casting the three main characters of the show. You may be interested to know that Bellamy wasn’t really interested in doing TV (he’s a silver screen actor). You will also get to hear comments from the three main stars themselves, including giving insight on their own characters. Oh, and you can’t forget about the other starring roles of the series – the hotties seen every week. There are even cameos by music and sports stars, including Isaac Hayes (you may know him as Chef from the “South Park” series from 1997 to 2006.

The featurette "Sizzling Action" runs 9 minutes and 3 seconds. To start off, you will see how some of the action sequences were shot (green screen). Then you will hear from the cast and crew about some of the action scenes. There is always the problem with the stars wanting to do their own stunts, but is emphasized that stunt people are paid to do them. Are the stars doing the stunts? Or are the stunt doubles? The gun scenes are also touched on. There are scenes from the series and behind-the-scenes footage to emphasize some of the points.

The featurette "Fastlane: Junk Yard" runs 6 minutes and 2 seconds. Here, you will see nothing but bloopers and outtakes, accompanied by time-code.

Packaging

“Fastlane: The Complete Series” is a 6-DVD set with all 6 discs all placed into an oversized clear Amaray keep case, with 3 dividers holding 2 discs each. The case is accompanied by a cardboard slip cover and an insert with the episode titles, original airdates, and the synopsis for each. There is also artwork on the inside of the cover art.

Overall

The Show: A+ Video: B+ Audio: A- Extras: A+ Overall: A-