The Hangover: Part III (Blu-ray Review)

Let’s see…where did we last leave off with the Wolf Pack?  Oh yeah!  SECOND FILM SPOILER ALERT!  When we last saw them, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) had just surprised Dr. Stu (Ed Helms), I mean the dentist, with Mike Tyson at his Thailand wedding (read all about the good times here and here if you need a quick refresher).  Now I don’t know about you, but wow!  What a friend Alan is!  I need a friend like him, and of course the mad cash necessary to have an exotic wedding like Stu did in Thailand wouldn’t hurt either.  And now that two years have separated us from Part II’s bitter reception in 2009, I had hoped a lot of the complainers would have at least given this one a chance and come into this with an unbiased attitude.  However, that didn’t happen.  This film was a stinker at the box office (at least not living up to the studio’s expectations).  Now let me back up a moment and say that Part II is like fine wine to me.  The more I watch it, like the more wine ages, the more I enjoy and relish it.  I know I’m in the minority here, but after the stinker that was Iron Man 3 (in my opinion), The Hangover Part III, along with Man of Steel, Kick-Ass 2 and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (this one unfortunately got pushed back to 2014), were my most anticipated films of this year.  I heart these Wolfpack boys more than anything.  I practically said prayers and begged Todd Phillips not to let me/us down.  I’m sticking my neck out for you here defending Part II against all the haters out there (you know who you are) and this how you repaid me Todd (insert unhappy face)!  Argh!


This third and final installment reunites my beloved Wolfpack, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, along with returning stars Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Jamie Chung and Heather Graham.  This time around we also get treated with visits from John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy and a few more that I’ll leave as surprises as not to spoil anything for anyone still wanting to see this one.  The mighty Todd Phillips returned to helm the project and drastically changes the rules and formula he so tightly clanged to in the first two outings, based on a script he wrote with fellow screenwriter Craig Mazin.  Does Hangover III really depart from the beat down script we saw rehashed again in a different setting in the second outing?  Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss today as I’m sure that’s burning in everyone’s minds that has yet to see this one.  So grab your favorite beverage, find your favorite recliner and let’s talk in great detail about the new adventures of the brothers Wolfpack and friends.

You‘re probably thinking now maybe this Hangover Part III thing really can’t be that bad, right?  Well, I hate to constantly be the bearer of bad news, but I need to stop any forward progress or momentum I have gained so far in this review and perform a reality check for everyone.  The reality is the following.  Remember how disappointed we all were when we first watched The Hangover Part II and thought to ourselves “wow, that was a play-by-play reenactment of the first film, except in a different setting?”  I know I said it and I’m willing to bet you also said it too.  So keeping that in mind, why do I find myself saying that I wish The Hangover Part III was a play-by-play reenactment of the first two films?  Simple.  That formula WORKED!  And well…because The Hangover Part III is very much a departure from the formula of the first two films and I feel like I’m ruining Santa Claus for every 5-year old when I say it ain’t that good…at least not Hangover good.

The film picks up two years after the events in Thailand.  Ah.  Remember Thailand?  After you see this one you’re going to say I really wish we could be back in Thailand with Mike Tyson singing that wedding rap song again.  So where were we?  Oh yeah…two years later.  We find Alan still at odds with himself and now off his medications.  Uh oh.  That’s big trouble!  That means no boundaries for Alan.  He’s outside his mind’s prison walls.  If you’re a fan of the films, I’m sure you know where I’m going with my metaphors and descriptions here.  So what needs to be done to help Alan out?  How about an intervention?  That sounds like a good idea.  And so it happens, the Wolfpack, immediate family and a little boy stage an intervention for Alan.  Phil tells Alan that he loves him and Alan melts like he’s holding a puppy dog.  Aw.  Too cute.  So it’s off to sun drenching Arizona as the boys, this time including white Doug (Bartha) too, hit the road one last time to escort Alan to New Horizons, a rehab facility.  But like usual, things never go as planned for these lovable gentlemen.  Enter John Goodman’s character (I’m purposely leaving out his name as to avoid any spoilers)…

I guess you can say this is the point, where the Wolfpack sh1t usually hits the proverbial fan, but not in the way we are accustomed to in the first two films…and I’ll say and emphasize here the word unfortunately.  The Wolfpack is sent on a mission, more like forced to complete a mission in order to save someone.  Can you guess who?  I don’t think you should have a problem guessing that.  Chow (Jeong) is up to no good as usual.  Familiar faces re-unite from the first film and new faces emerge.  But what it all boils down to is one heck of a boring narrative  at times instead of the backwards, Memento-like, let’s trace our steps caper we are by now used to.  And that brings me to my next point…Craig Mazin.

So what happened?  I mean, where’s the over-the-top humor we are accustomed to from the previous two installments?  This one’s much more darker than the previous two installments and granted Alan is a nut-cracker whenever he speaks, but you can’t carry the film squarely on his shoulders, can you?  Well, since you are not here in person to answer that question I’ll answer it for you.  No, you can’t.  I will say this, after watching this one a second time I warmed up to it a bit more and even had more fun with it (which is why my film score is higher than my initial theatrical one), but it’s still a far cry away at number three not only in chronological order from the previous two films, but also in quality too.  It just doesn’t feel the same despite the filmmakers’ attempts to take this one back to the beginning to come full circle with the not so complex story lines and end it once and for all.

I left The Hangover Part II years ago not feeling great about it, but ended up loving it after subsequent viewings so I’m hoping the same goes for this one after some more watches.  We’ll see.  No promises.  I love spending every waking moment I can with the irresistible Wolfpack and Cooper’s dreamy eyes (ha ha I’m kidding), but are you freaking kidding me?  You ended it this way (wait to you see what happens to Stu after the film’s main ending credits)?  Give me more of that!  You set it up for more.  Watch it and you will see what I mean.  The premise could be hysterical if done “right” with a douse of the old classic formula.  What can I say?  You got to keep the faith and y’all know that it ain’t no secret…I love my Wolfpack boys.


If the movie’s not your choice of prime meat, then there’s no disputing the fact that Warner Bros. pulls out their big guns here for a pretty impeccable 1080p presentation.  The AVC MPEG-4 encode sees itself framed within a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio.  Ladies and gents, I hate to admit it, but this video department steals the show here.  It’s perfect!  From the natural lighting to the jazzed up contrast when intentionally needed, this one looks like a million bucks with it’s chiseled definition, clarity and razor blade sharpness.  Not a scruff on Cooper’s chin, whisker in Alan’s beard or a drop of perspiration on Stu is unaccounted for here.  And for all you critics of low black levels, rest assured everything’s deep, dreamy and inky here.  Ain’t nothing but a good thing, partner.   The Blu-ray disc’s picture is also free of any blemishes, macroblocking, banding, unwanted noise and artifacts.  In other words, it just looks pristine like the first film will feel after watching this (sorry couldn’t resist at least one low jab).


Along with the reference video, the audio’s not too shabby on this one either courtesy of an aggressive and boastful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track from Warner Bros.  The beginning scene alone could fool you into thinking you are watching the latest summer blockbuster on your HDTV between the prison riot action elements and the rousing score by composer Christophe Beck.  I know one thing’s for sure, you never have to strain to hear a word.  The dialogue takes center stage here and is ALWAYS loud, clear and intelligent throughout.  This is a very loud and engaging surround track and it kind of makes up for the lack of comedy on screen, in my opinion.  The subwoofer is always booming and the rears stay alive with energy and pizazz in times of need.  The dynamics and ambient effects are presented logically throughout the channeled soundscape.  Unlike the film again, this department scores with a major rousing punch.  I like it.  That means Mikey must like it too!  FYI…languages and subtitles are also presented in Latin, Spanish and French.


On the surface if you look at the list of special features on the back of the box there looks like there can be some wealth of substance here, but buyer beware.  There’s really not much here that will keep you entertained and enthralled past 30-minutes unless you feel like watching the film over again in the back of the mini-van or on a portable devices toting the Flixster app.  But you buy the Blu-ray disc for the movie, right?  Well, at least I hope you do.  So let’s stop stalling and take a closer look at the supplemental package here.  All the extras are housed on the film’s main Blu-ray disc unless otherwise noted.

  • Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions (6:09) – Here you have a spoof featurette courtesy of Todd Phillips where he claims the beauty with shooting a trilogy is with this third film he has a chance to fix stuff that’s wrong with the first two films, mainly the casting of Zach Galifianakis.  Watch other actors audition for the role…or not.  This one is skippable in my opinion.
  • Outtakes (HD, 7:51) –  Y’all know what this one is.  However, there’s some funny stuff here, some of which I wish could have made it into the feature film.
  • The Wolfpack’s Wildest Stunts (HD, 5:10) – Wow!  I’m impressed.  Ken Jeong actually made that jump in the film’s intro.  We also learn that Bradley Cooper hates when he hears the word stuntman where Zach wishes his stuntman could do it all for him.  So in essence we have a little bit of everything here from the fighting and set pieces to the demanding aerial hang gliding shots in the Vegas night skyline.
  • Zach Galifianakis in His Own Words (HD, 2:32) – Words of wisdom from the actor that range from Dickies to Dockers, Solid Gold to monkeys and even John Goodman.
  • Pushing the Limits (HD, 3:36) – Find out how using animals poses some of the biggest problems to the production crew from filming a real giraffe to animatronic cock fighting roosters.
  • Action Mash-up (HD, 1:09) – Here we have sequential moments of action sequences.
  • Inside Focus: The Real Chow (HD, 5:24) – This one is stupid in my opinion.  Here we have yet another spoof documentary trying to confuse you as to whether Leslie Chow really exists or if it is the real Ken Jeong behind the mask.  Are you confused?  You should be.  I want you to stay away from this extra.
  • Extended Scenes (HD, 2:03) – “Iv’e Been Kicked out of the Burning Man Twice “(where Alan buys drugs from Black Doug), “Not Tonight Miguel” (a guy propositions Mr. Chow) and “Was That Sarcasm?” (the scene where Alan complains about how much time it would take to re-download apps on a stolen phone).
  • DVD (SD) – Here you have either a small Frisbee to throw around in the backyard or a flick for the kids to watch in the back of the mini-van.
  • UltraViolet – Bring back the iTunes Digital Copy, PLEASE!!!  Redeem yours with the included code on the loose leaflet inside the Blu-ray case.

Hangover 3


So there you have it…the conclusion to the brothers Wolfpack trilogy.  No it’s not Return of the Jedi or even the closing saga to the Cornetto Trilogy, but hey at least it got made and it’s better than a Paranormal Activity 4 or The Purge.  Will there ever be a fourth?  Only time will tell, but don’t hold your breath.  I think there’s still another adventure there.  I would love to visit these guys every three years or so and check in, but like is always the case in life, all good things must come to an end.  Sadly, that happens prematurely in the second film of this trilogy, but if you are a completist like me…you MUST own this third one.  It’s your disease.  To the rest of the population out there, even if you are a diehard fan of the first two films, you maybe better off with a rental first.  It’s quite a different and shocking contradiction from the previous two installments and I hate to get your hopes up with my high score of a 3 here.  I’m in the minority.  If you want to join me, great!  If not, I completely understand.  It wasn’t the way I wanted to send my Wolfpack boys off, but we can’t all ride away on horses into the sunset or blow up a death star.  Sometimes, we just need to give the audience what they want, whether if they know it or not.  Unfortunately, The Hangover Part 3 doesn’t fire on all cylinders and that’s a shame, but it is what it is (and I still hate that saying).

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2 Responses to “The Hangover: Part III (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth


  2. Gerard Iribe

    A 3-star? You gotta be kidding me. Didn’t you say this was a POS?