Never leave Judge Patrick Naugle alone in Las Vegas. Ever.
The Wolfpack returns.
The epic Hangover trilogy (and I'm using the word "epic" very loosely) comes to an end with the third and final (?) film now available on Blu-ray from Warner Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Things come full circle in The Hangover Part III when Phil (Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook), Stu (Ed Helms, We're the Millers), Doug (Justin Bartha, The Hangover), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis, Out Cold) head back to where it all began: the Vegas strip. After Alan goes off his medication and his father passes away from a heart attack, Stu and Phil try to help out by taking him back to Las Vegas. But what is supposed to be a placid getaway becomes a wild ride when international criminal Leslie Chow (Ken Joeng, TV's Community) steals millions from a crime lord named Marshall (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski) and the Wolfpack gets forced into helping lure Chow out of hiding. With poor Doug held as collateral by the psychotic Marshall, it will take all of their willpower and friendship skills to get out of Sin City alive!
I can still remember hearing all the buzz about The Hangover when it was first released to theaters. Viewers found it hysterical…so funny, in fact, that it quickly became the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. What made the film such a success? It certainly had a unique twist: instead of following a group of bachelors through a debauchery-laden night in Las Vegas, the film instead focused on the aftermath of the bachelor party and the mystery of what happened to the soon-to-be groom. The film featured a funny script, spirited performances (especially by the eccentric Galifianakis), and some truly classic comedic moments.
Of course, with the amount of money The Hangover raked in, a sequel was inevitable and in 2011 moviegoers got The Hangover Part II. However, unlike the first film which had felt like a breath of fresh air, the paltry sequel essentially rehashed the same storyline to far lesser success. Both critics and audiences balked at a movie that felt darker, weirder, and a lot less funny. Yet, The Hangover Part II still went on to out-gross the first film worldwide and paved the way for the inevitable second sequel. Fans wanted to see the return of the Wolfpack, and they paid for it, both with audible groans and their hard earned cash.
So now we come to The Hangover Part III, written and directed by Todd Phillips (who helmed the first two entries), which is not only the worst of the three Hangover movies, but also one of the most inexcusable comedies of the last five years. I found hardly anything to laugh at during this dark and depressing cinematic stinker. When a movie leaves you almost totally stone silent throughout—and you're watching talent like Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis—something has gone terribly and irreconcilably wrong.
The Hangover Part III tries desperately to recapture the lightening in a bottle feel of the first film by going full circle back to Las Vegas. However, instead of this being a fun party movie like the original film, this one quickly becomes far more mean spirited and sinister than the previous films. The Hangover Part III introduces us to a new villain, Marshall (John Goodman, in full bad guy mode), who would be better served in a Quentin Tarantino snuff flick than a light hearted comedy. Also back is the diminutive Leslie Chow, played by the game-for-anything Ken Jeong. Jeong is an actor of considerable comedic talents, but his Chow is a character who works only in small doses. Chow is used quite frequently and, by the time he saunters in for his final scene, I couldn't have been happier to see him leave for good.
All three of the main characters return, though they look as if they're just sleepwalking through the film for a paycheck. Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper is the least interesting of the bunch, given little to do buy scowl at Alan's shenanigans. Helms and Galifianakis get the biggest laughs here, although "laugh" is a very subjective word. The fact of the matter is, The Hangover Part III's biggest gut-buster comes not during the main story but after the credits have started rolling—you'll know it when you see it. The scene is so brazenly silly and out-of-nowhere that I couldn't help but wish that the rest of the movie had been as carefree and wild. There are a few others familiar faces in the movie—including Heather Graham's return as Stu's ex-wife stripper and Melissa McCarthy as a shop owner who exchanges inappropriate sexual innuendo with Alan—but none of them are able to lift the movie beyond being a pale imitator of the first film.
I know that I'm not the only one who despised The Hangover Part III; Warner projected the film would make $80 million in its first five days and it only cleared $109 million in its entire theatrical run. Even though this was a financial success for Warner Bros, I have the sneaking suspicion we won't be seeing The Wolfpack back in theaters anytime soon. In my opinion, that's a true win-win for everybody.
Presented in 2.40:1/1080p HD widescreen, unlike the content of the movie, Warner Bros' work on this transfer is top notch. The image is crystal clear without any obtrusive defects or dirt, the colors are bright and shiny, and the black levels effectively solid. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is equally as good, with a lot of directional effects—so many the film seems to teeter on being an action flick—and the music crackles through all five speakers. Also included are 5.1 mixes in Spanish and French, as well as English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles.
Bonus features include a few short featurettes ("The Wolfpack's Wildest Stunts," "Zack Galifianakis in His Own Words," "Pushing the Limits," "Inside Focus: The Real Chow"), a secret audition tape of famous faces reading Alan's part ("Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions"), an action mash-up of the film's action moments, some extended scenes, a few improved outtakes from the production, plus a DVD and digital copy of the film.
This one is guaranteed to leave you feeling as sick and tired as the film's namesake.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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