I remember hearing about this project around 2015 or so when they announced that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was cast in a new Kevin Hart movie called "Central Intelligence" with the director of "We're the Millers", Rawson Marshall Thurber co-writing and directing the project. I wasn't exactly enthused about the movie, but I decided t watch the film when it was released on my birthday in 2016 (June 17th, 2016 to be exact). My fiancee & I had a fun time, as did the rather large crowd in the theater, laughing hard and having fun. But, I knew there were problems with the movie itself, but I'll get to it in a bit.
Starting in 1996, Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart), is the most popular kid in school, who is widely beloved for his academic skills, athletic skills and just an all-around good guy. Bobby Wierdick (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is probably the least liked kid in school, being overweight, into unicorns and just an easy target for bullies. During the last assembly before graduation, Bobby is taken from the men's locker room while showering, and tossed out stark naked in front of everybody, with everyone, even the teachers, laughing except for Calvin. Showing his kindness, he hands Bobby his letterman jacket to show him at least a little dignity, and was never seen again.
Zoom forward to 2016, and Calvin is stuck in a rut. He married his high school sweetheart after college, and has a decent job, but he is stuck in a rut, with him being passed up for a promotion, marital issues and his upcoming 20th high school reunion making him miserable. One day, he gets a Facebook friend request by a Bob Stone, asking to meet up and grab a few drinks. Later that night, he meets up with Bob Stone, with him actually being Bobby Wierdick, who lost weight and got muscular.
They reminisce about high school, and later Bob stays with Calvin, but the next morning, the CIA knock on the door looking for Bob Stone. The CIA believe Stone to be a rogue agent who is supposedly selling satellite codes to the highest bidder. Stone, having escaped the house, meets Calvin at work and tells Calvin about him going after a criminal known only as the "Black Badger" who stole the codes and is trying to stop him. Calvin is forced to join forces with Bob to nab the bad guys and save the world.
Well, to make a long review short, my fiancee & I laughed hard and often throughout. First of all, the casting of Hart & Johnson is a stroke of genius, with Johnson ably and willingly delivering laughs and having terrific chemistry with Hart, who plays it more restrained and straight and it works while Amy Ryan as CIA Agent Harris also is very fun as the hard nosed agent. Danielle Nicolet as Maggie Joyner gives a good performance and Aaron Paul is also good, yet predictable, as Bob's deceased partner Stanton. Thurber's direction flows fairly well with keeping the comedy in check, but his choices in using shaky-cam is a huge bummer during the action scenes, but still flows pretty well.
The story is my main concern, with the story being a hackneyed, lazy rehash of a plot that barely tries to tell a coherent action-comedy story revolving around secret agents and espionage. Despite the shortcomings with the story and some character deficiencies in certain characters, this is a fun film with a great comedic duo that I hope continue to make more films in the future.
Moving on to the BluRay, the PQ is terrific for a regular BluRay, with it being shot digitally, has a lot of detail in the sets, fine details on skin tones and facial features and clothing being ale to make out every fuzzy pill and stitches in the clothing. The AQ is also pretty good, with decent surround activity throughout, mainly filling out during the action scenes with nice bass response with car crashes, bullets and explosions in the film.
The extras are pretty decent, starting with 2 cuts of the film: Theatrical 107-minute version, and the 116-minute Unrated cut, featuring a little more adult language and some additional scenes. Moving on, there is an audio commentary with the director and the editor (Available on both cuts), deleted scenes split into both cuts, the theatrical having around 18-minutes of deleted and/or alternate scenes, while the unrated has well over 70-minutes of different material (!). Next up is a Judd Apatow favorite, Lino-O-Rama, which, yet again, split into two cuts being 2-minutes and 3-minutes, respectively. A gag reel, yet again (!!) split into two cuts, last 5 and a half minutes, and the unrated lasts 6 minutes of missed cues, messed up lines and et cetera. Two short featurettes complete the features, the first titled "Dance Off", a 2-minute look at the actor/dancer who portrayed Robbie as a younger teen, and "Couch Time Lapse", a 1-minute look into how they shot the scene when Bob stays the night. No DVD is included, but a Digital HD code is included for the rated cut only.
Overall, a funny film with some flaws, but with a top-notch BluRay, 2 cuts and some decent extras, it is a must buy for any fan of comedies, of the stars or action-comedies in general.