Central Intelligence (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Central Intelligence 4KCentral Intelligence is a movie that came and went theatrically that I cared nothing about.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see it, but I just didn’t want to see it theatrically if that makes any sense.  I believed Central Intelligence to just be one of those throwaway films that we merely deem mediocre or passable.  I guess looking back I was dead wrong.  Not only was Central Intelligence favorable with most critics, but it was also very strong in the box office.  That’s where it counts anyway, right?  Absolutely!  A movie’s not made for art.  It’s made for one purpose only.  Well, okay two!  Films are produced like packaged lunch meat to pack those seats in the theaters and make a profit.  Money makes the world go around and that’s Hollywood for you.  I got a little off topic, eh?  So Central Intelligence

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Central Intelligence is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the MillersDodgeball).  We’re already off to a good start!  Ha ha.  The comedy film stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as two old high school friends, one who’s in the CIA,  team up to save America.  After the past two seasons of Ballers, I’m a huge Rock fan.  So we’re up to two positives going in now.  Central Intelligence also stars Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Aaron Paul (TV’s “Breaking Bad”), Danielle Nicolet (TV’s “The Game”) and a man that needs no introduction, Mr. Jason Bateman.  Holy crap I just said Jason Bateman!  That’s a home run with this cast.  Now what’s this film really about?

The story of Central Intelligence follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob Stone (Johnson).  Can you believe The Rock was once a bullied fat child?  Well, you know this movie is fiction!  He grew up to be a lethal CIA agent and is coming home for his high school reunion.  Bob claims to be working a big case and ends up enlisting the help of former “big man on campus,” Calvin “The Golden Jet” (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days.  Don’t we all, brother.  However, before Calvin realizes what he’s getting into, it’s too late to get out as his loved one becomes intertwined in it all too.  His unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than Calvin can count.  Get it?  Ha ha!  Calvin’s an accountant and that joke is funny!  Laugh dammit!

What I like most about Central Intelligence is that for an action comedy there’s plenty of double crossing to go around.  It never seems to end at times.  You’re left guessing to the very end who is what they say they really are.  I don’t know about you, but I’m all about that kind of unpredictability in my movies.  I mean it’s not The Usual Suspects, but it’s a nice touch that beyond the forced comedy of it all there’s something to embrace here.  That brings me to my next point.  My girlfriend and I did not laugh as hard as we thought we were going to with this one.  That’s kind of sad considering it’s an action/buddy comedy film, but it is what it is.  There’s still a lot to enjoy with this one so instead of focusing on all the negatives let’s dish on both the good and bad down below here.

First of all, the cast “rocks” here, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  It’s a bit uncomfortable when we first start out with Dwayne and Kevin, but their chemistry grew as the film trudges along.  This is important because early on their dialogue feels pretty wooden, but I quickly was able to settle in and enjoy myself.  Since the story is kind of so-so it also helps that there’s some double crossing going on throughout not to mention lots of stunts and action.  The latter is much appreciated because without the action we would be talking about a much lower score here.  Like I said you have to take the good with the bad and there’s a lot of both in here.

So I want to say so much more, but that’s all I really have.  Sure we have some good Aaron Paul and Jason Bateman moments, but Johnson pretty much carries the weight of this one on his hulking shoulders.  I didn’t really rally behind Hart (rather have Tucker in this role), but there’s no stopping The Rock.  His charisma is larger than life and I truly believe he’s the sole reason why Central Intelligence did not sink.  He’s sincerely the unicorn here (just plain silly at times) and despite his oddity he manages to keep the sun shining through the familiar waters here.  And because of all this, I tip the odds in favor of The Rock and Central Intelligence.  This could have easily been scored a 2.5.  Are you feeling me?

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The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Central Intelligence.  However, I did partake in a viewing of the film in 1080p for the extras and commentary below and I make reference to the differences in color between the two presentations in this section.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: This one has a very natural appearance to it that’s never too flat or dull.  Everything is pretty chiseled and on display here including moles, pores, acne scars, skin imperfections, etc.  Textures in furniture, clothing and building structures are very tactile in appearance and the background sets pop with razor sharp clarity and detail.
  • Depth: Depth field is rather remarkable to take in here.  Take any given bar scene for example. The backgrounds are blurred and the main character’s POV pop with three-dimensional qualities.  My personal favorites also include the many nighttime shots too.  You’ll see!
  • Black Levels: The black levels look dark and natural throughout.  Depending upon your 4K set’s picture settings your results may very.  For example, on the Samsung KS8000’s out of the box settings the black levels are deep and inky like a real life comic book.  However, on a properly calibrated set the HDR takes over and the dark moments, nighttime scenes, etc. all look natural and authentic with lots of details found in the darkest of shadows.
  • Color Reproduction: For this one there’s what I call the Rock’s Yellow Shirt Test.  For example on the 1080p Blu-ray (as played through a PS4) it’s pretty bright, but on the same calibrated set you pop in the 4K Ultra HD presentation of the film and the same shirt is a more natural yellow.  That’s HDR and WCG at work, folks.  I would say overall the HDR presentation of Central Intelligence is a very natural looking one, color-wise, and while the colors pop with vibrancy it’s never over exaggerated.
  • Flesh Tones: The temperature of the flesh and overall skin tones appear very natural looking throughout the presentation.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There’s absolutely nothing to nitpick about here, but I wouldn’t be doing my job effectively if I didn’t critique even the most minute of details here.  So with that being said I do want to mention there’s a very thin, veneer layer of source noise to be found here at times, but nothing that will ever distract you.  Trust me!  I won’t lead you astray.

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Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Central Intelligence.  Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come armed with a pretty loud DTS-HD MA surround track.

  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (this is the only choice for audio when watching the Unrated version of the film), English Descriptive Audio 5.1, French (Quebec) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • DynamicsCentral Intelligence comes packed with a very loud, aggressive DTS-HD MA surround track.  I demoed it on both of my 4K home theater setups and in both scenarios I can guarantee you that I had it dialed down compared to my usual listening volumes.  We need more of these on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format.  However, don’t let the master volume levels fool you.  It’s not all about the wallop here, but rather the prioritization of events as they transpire all around you.  The one thing that stood out to me throughout here was the directionality of everything.  You’ll find out what I mean when you see/hear all the bullets flying and cars/motorcycles zooming by you.  You’re in the driver’s seat here.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel never lets you rest here from the thumping and bumping of the hip hop music throughout to the thuds, punches, slams, motorcycles, gunshots, breaking glass, etc.  You get the idea!  This one’s action packed at times and the LFE channel is there to give oomph to every single moment.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: This is where Central Intelligence keeps me in the game.  Sure it helps the subwoofer is constantly knocking me down in this one, but it’s the surround presentation here that truly engulfs you in the middle of all the action not to mention little moments like vocal echoes in the gymnasium, chanting in the monastery, crowds cheering and more.  Of course there are also the usual ones to write home about like the car chases, helicopters and even the score.  You picking up what I’m dropping.  The combination of the LFE and surround channels makes this not your typical comedic surround track.  I like that!
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog is loud, clear and prioritized throughout.  I don’t think you’ll have a problem at all here.

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The Central Intelligence 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the unrated version and the theatrical version in 4K with HDR and a Digital HD copy of the theatrical version (redeemable as UHD in VUDU).  The unrated version of the film contains more than 8 minutes of previously unseen footage, which is mostly just an excuse to drop F-bombs.  In addition, the included 1080p Blu-ray disc also features the unrated version and theatrical version of the film in Hi-Definition plus the below extras in both forms of the movie too (weird).  So that’s exactly what I want to briefly talk about below so you all know what to expect here.

  • Director Commentary – On both the unrated and theatrical versions of the film you’ll find an audio commentary with Rawson Marshall Thurber and Mike Sale.
  • Gag Reel Rated (HD, 5:38) & Unrated (HD, 6:18) – This is your typical gag reel.  There are some really funny moments and others you can do without.  There was a reference to Seinfeld‘s Kramer in this one so it’s not all bad.  LOL.
  • Alternate Scenes – Rated (HD, 18:07) & Unrated (HD, 01:09:51) – This one takes you through all the alternate scenes and the Unrated version is quite lengthy as you can see from the runtime.
  • Line-O-Rama – Rated (HD, 2:27) & Unrated (HD, 2:31) – If you’re familiar with these from other Warner Bros. titles, these consist of particular scenes and the many different takes on certain lines.
  • Couch Time Lapse (HD, :41) – You could skip this one and not miss much as it was just how they filmed one interior scene.
  • Dance-Off (HD, 2:26) – This one starts off with the actor who portrays the young Rock in the opening shower scene and then he shows off in front of the Rock as he takes him on one-on-one with a dance off on the gymnasium’s dance floor.  This one is short, but it’s my favorite extra here by far.

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In summary I just can’t help but use this tag line to end things here for this Central Intelligence 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review.  “See how saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson when Central Intelligence arrives onto Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD September 27th.”  You like it?  A little Hart and a big Johnson…LMAO.  I sometimes pride myself in having a wicked sense of humor and I think it’s hilarious.  Ha ha.  However, let’s get ultra serious as we recap things here.  The movie may be hit or miss with you, but there’s no denying the video and audio are pretty damn good.  I have one regret though.  I really wish they could have employed an Atmos surround track.  There were many moments throughout that would have really benefited from the extra punch a true heigh channel would have added.


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified A/V gear found here.  Make sure to check out all out 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


Don’t Get Caught When

Central Intelligence Spies

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Central Intelligence 4K


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).

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