Case Number 14020

FASTLANE: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Warner Bros. // 2002 // 965 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 9th, 2008

The Charge

The cars, the cool, the cops.

Opening Statement

Fox's one-and-done cool-cop series hits DVD, peels out, accelerates to 80 mph, shoots its gun out of the driver's side window in slow motion with an accompanying throbbing techno beat, slams on the breaks, pulls a 180, and stops to stare at boobs.

Facts of the Case

Fastlane tells the story of two undercover cops, Van Ray (Peter Facinelli) and Deaqon Hayes (Bill Bellamy), partners tasked to infiltrate the heaviest of heavy-hitters. And to do that with a modicum of believability, they've been assigned to a unique investigative unit. Billie Chambers (Tiffani Thiessen, Saved by the Bell) runs the "Candy Store," a phat crib stuffed with all the sweet gear seized during arrests -- Sports bikes, Ferraris, helicopters, pool tables, Kelly Kapowski in form-fitting leather; essentially the wet dream of middle school boys across the country.

So off go our two heroes in their awesome cars, leather pants, and bling, taking down the big guns with as much style and gunfire as possible. Sure the arrests may not stand up in court after all that stylistic gunfire, but no one really gives a @#$%.

The Evidence

I dub Fastlane the hippest cop show ever...by far. What other police procedural that you've seen features Tiffani Thiessen and Jaime Pressly making out in a hot tub? This series is a cocktail of Michael Bay hopped up on Red Bull and MTV's Pimp My Ride.

Now, as well-dressed as the detectives may be, as cool as their cars are, and as slow as the motion is, I just can't quite get to the point of recommending these discs to anyone but those of you with the shortest of attention spans and raging hard-ons for sports cars and breast implants. The glitz is poured on so thick and the coolness level has been artificially inflated to levels not seen since Lorenzo Lamas's break dance epic Body Rock, that Fastlane hums along as a soulless, superficial, testosterone bonanza, with little success logged in as a TV show one can take seriously. Well, maybe it's possible to get into it during its 40-odd minute-per-episode runtime, but it's the ultimate junk food: an all-you-can-eat Ring Ding buffet of broadcast television; tasty, sweet, loaded with empty calories, leaving you unfulfilled and just a wee bit lightheaded afterwards.

The episodes typically involve Van and Deaq and sometimes Billie shacking up with some goons with inestimable amounts of hair product on their scalps, talking trash, making connections with that week's special guest stars, and finishing the investigation with a large-scale shootout or car chase. There's playful banter between the two male leads, a hip-hop/techno hybrid soundtrack, and Billie makes snide marks while baring her midriff. These parts are as interchangeable as the respective show dictates, but you can count on them going down in some order.

And what about our three actors in charge of delivering dialogue between lingering closeups on Fiats? As far as stand-up comedians go, I'd place Bill Bellamy somewhere between Gallagher and this guy I saw in a Utica bar one night ten years ago on the Make Me Laugh meter, but the guy is adequate in his cop role. He still talks smack, but he looks smooth doing it and is at least semi-charismatic enough to make me not hate his character. Plus, he and Peter Facinelli have forged some good chemistry. A lot of that could also be chalked up to Facinelli, who is definitely the highlight acting-wise. Sure his character is named after a recreation vehicle, but he's funny (the scriptwriters give him the best one-liners), cool without trying hard, and a badass. As for Tiffani Thiessen...sorry, but as hard as she tries to act tough, I just can't take her seriously as a hard-ass cop. Maybe I'm a chauvinist. Or maybe I've just watched way too much Saved by the Bell.

The series is presented in full frame, 2.0 stereo. Picture quality is fine, though the ultra-warm colors the filmmakers use to over-stylize the episodes might cause brain aneurisms. A handful of extras keep the set from being pigeon-holed as a total bare bones effort: making-of featurettes detailing the formation of the series, the cars used during filming, the cast members, the stunts and chases, and a blooper reel.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Be warned. If for some reason you find yourself transfixed by the series, a cliffhanger with no future resolution awaits.

Closing Statement

This set should come with a complimentary Ritalin prescription. The hyperactivity on display is brain melting, but the script is playful and the leads have charisma. So if you like your television laced with PCP, here you go.

The Verdict

I'll get back to you. I've got a migraine.

Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 80
Extras: 80
Acting: 80
Story: 70
Judgment: 74

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 965 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurettes
* Extended Scenes
* Outtakes

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0320000/combined