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Keanu (Blu-ray Review)

KeanuTo save what you love, you must become what you fear when “Keanu” arrives onto Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, a.k.a. the hugely popular comedy duo Key & Peele, star in New Line Cinema’s action comedy “Keanu.” The two play Clarence and Rell, cousins who live in the city but are far from streetwise.  The film also stars Method Man (“The Fast and the Furious,” “Red Tails”) as the menacing gang leader, Cheddar; Tiffany Haddish (“Real Husbands of Hollywood”) as the stone-cold gangster, Hi-C; with Luis Guzmán (“We’re the Millers,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”) as the Mexican cartel kingpin, Bacon; Nia Long (“The Best Man” films) as Clarence’s beautiful wife, Hannah; and Will Forte (“The Last Man on Earth,” “Nebraska”) as the eccentric drug dealer, Hulka.  Peter Atencio (“Key and Peele,” “The Last Man on Earth”) directed the film from a script written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens (“Key and Peele,” “Community”). Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Peter Principato, Paul Young and Joel Zadak produced the film, with Ben Ormand serving as executive producer.

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Film 

When Rell’s beloved kitten, Keanu, is catnapped, the hopelessly straight-laced pair must impersonate ruthless killers in order to infiltrate a street gang and retrieve the purloined feline. But the incredibly adorable kitten becomes so coveted that the fight over his custody creates a gang war, forcing our two unwitting heroes to take the law into their own hands.

Comedic and television standouts Key and Peele upgrade their talents to the big screen in their first big movie together (And hopefully there is more).  Based around the silliest of premises, the childish nature of the simple narrative works overwhelmingly  to boast the comedic sketches and improvised fun that carries the film from start to finish.  The movie is basically the journey to find ones’ cat and retrieve it while going incognito with a local gang called the “Blips” (Outcasts from the Bloods and Crips).

One thing I thoroughly enjoyed about Keanu, is that I’m getting a Key and Peele film, and the movie actually allows it to be a Key and Peele film.  A lot of comedies nowadays, especially a launching pad one like this, tend to get wrapped around in supporting cast choices as well as being littered with cameos.  This sort of stuff is like a crutch and really doesn’t give us “the goods” as to what the comedic talents that brought us here in the first place are.  The only real big piece of stunt casting (If its even that) is SNL alum and Last Man On Earth star Will Forte.  And Forte never takes over any scene he’s in, he lets our leads do the work.  That’s really it.

The film wraps itself around little bits, but primarily revolves around just having a setup and letting the comedic talents just bounce off around everyone in the room.  It keeps a free spirited, loose nature to its comedic strengths and just lets everyone involved play.  Key and Peele are obviously the most talented men in the room, but people like Method Man and Nia Long are able to hold up with them.  The strength of the humor forms around perceptions of culture and racial stereotypes.  If that’s a fragile, floating balloon in the room, Key and Peele run over and just pop the damn thing.

My apologies if this review feels a tad generic and straying away from plot points, but I just want you to see Keanu with the freshest eyes possible.  Its really really funny.  Key &  Peele have been making people piss their pants with laughter and innovative comedy on the small screen for years and now transcend to the big screen (Or…big screen movie on your small screen here).  The film does rehash some of the humor and jokes from their show, but I ddin’t find it overbearing or tired.  Check it out.  If you hate it, sorry.  If you love it, you’re right!

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  Keanu features a good crisp image in this Blu-ray transfer.  Details run abundant, from the cat’s fur to being able to see the “Allentown Boys” facial features through heavy darkness.  Its a sharp, strong image that is about what you’d expect from a modern movie coming to Blu-ray.

Depth:  Depth is pretty strong with clear foreground imagery spaced from the background which is still plenty detailed.  Slow motion sequences, especially during a car chase in the third act, really bring on some good 3 dimensional work in the image.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and deep throughout.  No crushing witnessed.  Some really good shading in dark sequences with a minimal loss of detail.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are fun and plenty strong with different tints and shades on this palette.  Club lighting looks really vivid and strong.  Clothing and such take on a strong, natural appearance.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the runtime of the film.  Facial features like wrinkles, stubble, scuffs, scars, moles and pores look great throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics:  Keanu features a rock solid 5.1 track that really gets in there with deep sounds and booms.  However, the volume on this one feels a hair low for the mix in terms of effects and vocals.  Music is up, but the rest isn’t quite balanced to that.  However, its a fun track that really gets in good with its action and layered effects sounds.  Above average, but could have been a bit better of a blend.

Low Frequency Extension:  Gun blasts, car crashes, engines revving and rap music bass drops all boom from your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Plenty of action making a 360 degree loop around your room.  Club scenes and some of the shootout sequences featuring your spacing being fully occupied by uniquely placed sounds and movement.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.  

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Extras 

Keanu comes with an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.

Keanu: My First Movie (HD, 3:05) – A little video of actors talking to the cat POV style about working on the film.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 15:13) 

Gag Reel (HD, 5:39) 

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Summary 

I found myself laughing pretty hard consistently throughout Keanu.  Definitely something I’ll recommend for people.  This Blu-ray provides a rock solid audio and video performance.  The extras are honestly a hair worthless (Most comedy movies do), but aren’t overbearing.  Maybe you’ll want to rent this one first to be safe (Comedy is different for everyone), but I dug it quite a bit.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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