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The Hangover Part II (Blu-ray Review)

Unbeknown to anyone else beside myself, at the beginning of the year I decided there were a total of three movies I was really looking forward to in 2011.  The first, not a critic’s choice by any means, is the Independence Day sequel (joking), Battle: Los Angeles.  Unlike the majority of critics, I was able to enjoy myself immensely throughout the film.   Wait!   That doesn’t sound right.  LOL.  Anyway, the second was Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  Why was I looking forward to this?  Well, being a huge fan of the first film, I was really curious to see if Michael Bay could knock this one out of the ballpark and totally redeem himself for that POS he put out in 2009 or if he would fail miserably much like most of his horror produced films do. And needless to say, I would rather not converse about the outcome in this format.  However, neither one of these two flicks compare to the loving endearment and the overwhelming anticipation I had reserved in my heart for The Hangover Part II.  You know how people always warn you to get your hopes up?   Well, let’s talk about that some more here.

Film  

The Hangover: Part II stars the infamous Wolfpack members Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis.   In addition, many familiar faces return such as Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Bryan Callen, funny man Ken Jeong and even the notorious Iron Mike Tyson.   Todd Phillips once again helms this project directing a script written by himself, Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong.  Don’t all these names already sound like a recipe for instant success?

I’m still trying to get over the fact that this film was green lit for a sequel two months before the original Hangover film was even released.   That’s kind of unheard of, in my opinion, for a film that no one has even seen yet.   How did they know?   In all honesty, the trailer of the first film didn’t even sell me on it.   For me, it was really just word of mouth.   But for whatever reason, the stars perfectly aligned and test audiences ate up the original’s recipe for disaster and comedic mayhem and nevertheless, here we are today!  I’m definitely not complaining by any means.   There’s nowhere else I would rather be in this moment and time then to be writing about this second adventure in a foreign land I know little about, but does that make this a good movie?

The problem with a sequel, in this case to the number one grossing R-rated comedy of all-time, is the fact that you somehow have to live up to the original film and unless your production is titled The Empire Strikes Back, that’s usually very difficult to do.  So the ultimate question must have been addressed at some point or another.   How do you do it?   Do you play it safe and go with a carbon copy formula that made the original so successful or do you depart from that recipe and drop the Wolfpack into some new kind of hectic dilemma?   Ultimately, the producers felt that in the case of The Hangover Part II, it was best to let the boys romp in a tried, tested and already played out scenario, but maybe shake up the terrain a bit.   But did the safe road pay off?

The Hangover Part II finds our three leading guys traveling to Thailand for Stu’s (Helms) wedding.  However, after the debacle they went through in Vegas a few years back, Stu has opted for a safe and low-key brunch outing before their departure.  This is his bachelor party, nothing more and nothing less.  If only things were that easy for the wolf pack.   Of course I don’t wish that!   Bring on the mayhem and comedic hijinks already!   Ha ha, rest assured you will find precisely what you are looking for when things don’t go exactly as planned for the guys and they lose the 16-year old brother (Mason Lee) of Stu’s fiancée, Lauren (the gorgeous Jamie Chung), and somehow wakeup in Bangkok.   Alright!   That’s more like it.   Here’s where things really get good…oops…I mean bad for the guys (service with a smile).

But here’s the deal.  A lot of critics already said this so I’m sorry if I sound a wee bit repetitive in my delivery here.   If you did not like the first Hangover film, then this second outing is not going to convert you into an instant fan.  However, if you were a fan of the first one, like me, then I can see you at least appreciating this for what it is.   What is it?  It’s a romping crude and offensive good time through the streets of Thailand like only we can expect from the Wolfpack we all know and love.   Did you expect anything less?   Well, I think the important thing to note here is not to expect anything more.  What I mean by that is the following.   Remember me asking how do you top the original film and ultimately telling you how the producers dropped these three lovable fellows into a similar scenario?  Well, that’s just it.   It’s too familiar.   It’s too familiar to the point where it’s literally just a master replica of the first film with all the exact same twists, turns and plot points intact.   Everything is executed in duplicity.   Even the resolution!  While that might be okay with simpletons like me, that’s going to drive most promising filmmakers and movie fanatics into a feverish up rise.  I mean, who gets the chance to make the same movie twice?  Someone that has the highest gross R-rated comedy ever…that’s who!

Let’s be honest.  It really all does come down to how much you liked the original film as to whether you will somewhat like this one and be forgiving of its repetitive nature.  All the players are the same.   The Wolfpack is still the same lovable bunch of guys you relished in the first film.   Phil is suave as ever.   Alan is as dumb, or dumber, as he has always been.  And Stu is still a dentist…LOL…who calls himself a doctor.   Although, we cannot forget Doug.  He’s still MIA as usual.   That’s a shame too.   I would really love to see his character utilized more the next time around.   Yep, that’s right…you heard me right.   It’s not a question as to whether a third installment will happen; it’s when will it happen.   I can only hope soon.   As repetitive as this sequel is, I still hold a warm place in my heart for the misfit adventures of these instantly likable characters.   And as a storyteller, that’s all we care about, right?   If someone has nothing but fondness for your characters, you can do and place them anywhere you want, no matter how repetitive the situation is.   You have a fan base that’s not going anywhere.   While I challenge Todd Phillips to stray a little bit in the third outing, I know as long as Phil, Stu and Alan are there…so will I.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high going into this theatrically, but I can’t help feeling like my second visit was a little more warm and welcomed.   I knew exactly what to expect and I didn’t have near the high expectations as I initially did.   Some of the jokes also function better on a repeat visit like where we are first introduced to Mr. Chow.   Don’t fret.   I won’t ruin it here for anyone who has not seen this flick yet.  I may not laugh as hard as I do with the original, but maybe a repeat visit is just what the doctor ordered for anyone going through what I am currently in my life.  For me, it really all comes down to this.  With this being my second visit with the Wolfpack to Thailand, I feel that The Hangover Part II didn’t land the necessary jabs, punches and body blows to beat the magic and innocence of Insidious this year, but I feel pretty confident in the fact that it will get many repeat visits from me (on Blu-ray) and will ultimately end up being one of my favorite comedies of 2011.  So with that being said…let’s talk Blu-ray!

Video  

Warner Bros. brings the Wolfpack 2.0 to the Blu-ray format with a sweat stained MPEG-4 AVC codec gorgeously framed in a widescreen 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio.  I’m not kidding about the perspiration either.  I sweated just watching these guys perspire in 1080p within the Thailand landscapes.  It just looks insanely hot.  Kudos to this transfer!  Although the colors are hot and oversaturated most of the time, you would be hard pressed to find any faults with this presentation.  Every bead of sweat, monkey hair, blot of blood and more is brilliantly captured and rendered throughout.  If you are familiar with the appearance of the first film on Bl-ray, then you know what to expect here.  The picture can be intentionally muted and dark at times, but never at the expense of texture and sharp detail.  And let’s not forget we are in exotic Thailand.  Some of the landscapes are breathtaking and you will find out firsthand that yeah…you probably don’t want to be in downtown Bangkok for too long.  There’s very little fault to nitpick here so let’s move on.

Audio  

It’s always nice to marry a stellar video presentation with an equally impressive audio selection and that ladies and gentlemen is exactly what we have going on here.  I love it!  Warner releases a dragon of a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track with this Blu-ray release.  Probably the thing that will instantly stand out the most to viewers will be the prime cut song selections as the bass and pumped up moments of volume really intensify the zany action and do a satisfactory job in getting you intimately involved in the story, or as least as much as possible.  However, what I love most about this department, as opposed to the first film on Blu-ray, is the dialog levels.  I have to crank the volume and levels way up to hear the dialog appropriately in the first film’s Bluray release (I remember it sucking in the theaters too), but that’s not the case here.  All spoken words are loud, clear and intelligible…just the way I like them to be!  Bam!  And last but not least, although most comedies hardly ever utilize the rear channels to their maximum potential, I’m very glad to see this track make appropriate use of dimensions, pans and engaging atmospheric moments of mayhem.  This is a winner!  There are also French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks included as optional selections as well as English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Special Features  

This is going to be the toughest department to sell people on with this Blu-ray release because there’s not much to be found here.  Boo!  But oh well, do you buy a disc for the film itself and it’s presentation or its bonus features?  LOL.  I truly don’t care to hear your answer.  Only mine counts.  I prefer the film, but oh well…can’t we agree to disagree?  So without further ado, let’s dissect the minimal amount of extras that you can find on this release.  But at least everything is in HD, right?

  • Unauthorized Documentary: The Documentary About The Documentary They Dont Want You to See About the Making of The Hangover Part II (HD) – That’s kind of a mouthful for a title, huh?  That’s what she said.  No, but really.  This 25-minute documentary is pretty hysterical and if you are going to watch anything on this disc, then you are going to want to make sure this extra is seen.  I had fun with it!
  • Behind the Story (HD) – Totaling 13 brief minutes, three featurettes can be found here.  They include “The Comedy Rhythm of Todd Phillips,” “Not Your Everyday Monkey” and “Bangkok Tour With Chow.”
  • Gag Reel (HD) – If you didn’t enjoy the film itself, then maybe you can at least enjoy the actors having fun in this 5-minute reel.  I did!
  • Action Mashup (HD) – They did this on the first film’s Blu-ray release too.  This one is very very short.  Enjoy the minute long action montage!
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy (SD) – You know how your mom always told you if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say at all?  I’m going to practice that here.  However, if you don;t believe me…read the user reviews here (they say it all).

Final Thoughts  

It kills me to see this Blu-ray release finish here with such a low cumulative score, but let’s be honest.   There are many things that are not perfect here and need to be scored accordingly.  I’m not saying this is a perfect movie by any means.  I’m not saying this a great movie.  I’m just saying that I enjoyed it because I’m in love with this comedic cast and the high stake elements throughout, but in no way, shape or form am I ever saying this one came close to capturing the magic of the first one.  No way!  This is a rare case where the writers played it too safe and stayed too close to the original’s successful formula to the point where it ultimately backfired on them, but not where it counted.  It still went on to become a box office success and I’m proud to say that I’m STILL looking forward to seeing where the next chapter in this franchise will take us.  This Blu-ray has exceptional audio and vide.  It’s up to you to decide whether the story is to your liking or not.  I say buy it, but to err on the side of caution, there are always those stupid big red boxes outside of grocery stores too if you want to waste your money there.  You choose.  But I think the logical choice to be made is by clicking below.

The Hangover Part II Releases on Blu-ray December 6th!

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

7 Responses to “The Hangover Part II (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    Awful. One star. This movie tried way too hard to be the first film (which was great) all over again.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Rental.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    I feel more like talking about how bad Revenge of the Fallen was, but if anything, I’ll wait til H2 is really cheap at Best Buy during Christmas

  4. Brian White

    Lol. Aaron made it funny. Don’t worry A, I’m sure you can bring the subject matter back up when Gregg delivers his top ten of the year 🙂

  5. Brian White

    @Gregg….Shawn Edwards of Fox-TV says the Wolfpack delivers again! He can’t be wrong, right?

  6. Matt Blu-man

    I hate hate HATE Ultraviolet!

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    I also hate the movie Ultraviolet 🙂