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"It's about as dangerous as Cheltenham.",
This review is from: Top Gear - The Great Adventures 4 [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
So, Jezza, Hammond and May return for a fourth round of great adventures in `The Great Adventures 4'. Like the previous release, this set contains three adventures; with one main, big adventure on the first disc and two slightly smaller ones on the second. In this case we have the two specials shown over Christmas (the US Road Trip and the Middle East Special) and one from the main series that has just aired on TV (the Albanian Road Trip), and as usual we get witty banter from the trio as they cross several countries.
Unlike the previous releases, all the adventures receive director's cuts, with a total of more than 30 minutes extra footage. For anyone who saw each adventure upon transmission it's very obvious where the extended sequences are and some of it really adds to the fun of the episodes. My favourite added sequence is one during the Middle East Special when Jezza decides to do some donuts and drifts at the Turkish Border.
`The Middle East Special'
In the main adventure in the set, the presenters recreate the story of journey of the Three Wise Men in the modern age, where they travel across the Middle East to get to Bethlehem.
This is arguably the best Top Gear Special to date, as instead of buying second-hand cars to see if they get travel over different kinds of terrain, we see the trio in second-hand cars trying to make their way through man-made barriers, which makes the episode all that more refreshing to watch. There are also far more areas the crew cover and it feels more of a long journey as well, in comparison to previous adventures. This is also actually one of the most fascinating specials too as its very interesting to see how different countries in the Middle East are compared to here in the UK.
For me, this is the best and my favourite special to date, because it feels like it has more of a purpose beyond simple entertainment and is one of the most immersive Top Gear challenges yet.
`The US Road Trip'
For their third trip to the US, the trio set out on another road trip, this time through NASCAR country and end up in New York, where one of them appears on a US television.
This certainly the weakest of the three US trips, because many of the laughs and jokes had been used up in the two previous adventures to the US of A, so you don't get that same sense of mischief and fun as you get watching the other two, but along the way the lads have ago at a drive-by shooting course, come across a dancing mayor and James May has to do some yoga, and fortunately for them this time they were able to be `entertaining'.
The special has many highlights, but the best of the bunch is easily the drive by shooting challenge, because it's a real boys and their toys moment and seeing Jezza during the training session is just hilarious.
`The Albanian Road Trip'
In this adventure, the boys are set the task of finding a new getaway vehicle for the Albanian Mafia, but not everything goes according to plan when testing the three cars in question.
The originally transmitted version of this adventure for me didn't feel like one of these great adventures, most likely because it was shown as part of Series 16, rather than as a special, so when I found out this would be on this released I was very surprised. However, when I watched the director's cut of it it suddenly felt more grand and more of what you'd get from a typical Top Gear adventure, albeit a very short one.
This is probably one of the better challenges from Series 16, because it's far more exciting and doesn't feel like it's a rehashed challenge. Jezza deciding a Bentley Mulsanne is exactly the same as a Yugo is just brilliant and really adds to the enjoyment of this adventure, as it's a bit of a cross-between one of the second-hand car challenges and one of the new car challenges.
The extras are pretty much the same as the previous Great Adventures release and James May once again returns for an audio commentary on the main special, along with some of the crew; although for some reason the commentary is only on the originally transmitted version, which does beg the question `why didn't they included both versions of the special?'. The commentary itself though is very typical of a TV audio commentary, with the commentators all having a nice conversation about the production of the special and it's also great to hear May bring up many points that aren't necessarily apparent on the actual episode. There are also several deleted scenes for each special, which are very interesting as well.
The only criticism I'd have is the way the adventures are edited onto the release, as it excludes any opening titles or credits, but more importantly the `settled' £5 bet Jezza and May have on the US Special is edited out after the main feature has ended.
All in all, this is a good typical Top Gear release, apart from a few small niggles. The two smaller adventures do show how the incident with Ben Collins may have meant they probably didn't have much time to put together a strong number of challenges and adventures. However the Middle East Special redeems all the faults of the two mini-adventures and the price alone is worth just that special; so think of the USA and Albanian trips as bonuses. I can't rate this set highly enough and if you're a Top Gear fan then you'll undoubtedly buy it anyway.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 May 2011 01:17:54 BDT
Mark Hendrie says:
Thank you for a top class review.
Posted on 27 Dec 2011 15:37:15 GMT
Mrs. A says:
excellent review. very thorough,
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