Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan
Release Date: September 27, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
The story follows a one-time bullied geek, Bob (Johnson), who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent, coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, Bob enlists the help of former “big man on campus,” Calvin (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into, it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly 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.
‘Central Intelligence’ tells the story of two old schoolmates with both drastically different high school experiences and current lives who are thrown together decades later by chance just prior to their high school reunion. Without a word spoken between them since one unforgettably painful day in high school, Bob Stone (Johnson) suddenly appears out of nowhere and enlists the unwilling help of Calvin Joyner (Hart), upsetting Calvin’s quiet married life as he is dragged along on Bob’s quest to prove a wild conspiracy theory. In no time at all Calvin is being interrogated by federal agents claiming Bob is a traitor to the government and being attacked and throw into danger with Bob at every turn. Now Calvin must decide whether he is crazy enough to see this dangerous quest through with the quirky Bob or run for the hills before it ends up costing him his life.
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re The Millers, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) from a script he also co-wrote along with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen (TV’s The Mindy Project), Thurber does a solid job at the helm of ‘Central Intelligence’ guiding this goofy action comedy along with perfect pacing and tone. The film also owes a large share of credit to the talented and comedic individuals who comprise the cast including the stellar pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart who work together brilliantly, as well as a capable supporting cast including Amy Ryan (Bridge Of Spies), Danielle Nicolet (TV’s The Flash), Aaron Paul (TV’s Breaking Bad), Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses), and Ryan Hansen (TV’s 2 Broke Girls) along with a number more.
‘Central Intelligence’ is a surprisingly fantastic action comedy that delivers a barrage of laughs and nonstop fun from start to finish. It also offers a splendid pairing in Johnson and Hart and the two simply ooze charisma as they naturally bounce off one another nary missing a beat. The general storyline may not be exceptional and while perhaps not the most original or brilliant script overall, it’s also by no means terrible and many of the exceedingly generic moments almost feel intentional in tone as opposed to simply lazy. Regardless of whether that may be the case, the talented and well balanced duo of Johnson and Hart in addition to the notable supporting cast and the capable guidance of director Rawson Marshall Thurber make it work tremendously and always keep things from becoming too stale or repetitive. Anyone who enjoys a simple, hilarious and just downright entertaining buddy action comedy will likely want to make sure and give ‘Central Intelligence’ a whirl; chances are you won’t want to miss out on this one.
The Unrated cut of ‘Central Intelligence’ also offers a unique treat for fans who caught the film in theaters, as well as for those experiencing it for the first time on Blu-ray such as myself. As opposed to so many unrated cuts we see released, ‘Central Intelligence’ offers an extended and more R-rated cut of the film throughout, including a number of new and extended jokes and no holding back with the language as the F bombs fly surprisingly often in this version. I would definitely urge anyone who enjoyed the theatrical cut to make sure and check out the Unrated version when you have the opportunity to do so, this more vulgar and thoroughly extended cut should be more than worth the time and cost of a rental. I would also suggest those who are checking the movie out for the first time go ahead and jump directly to the unrated edition as well should you have the option to do so; it’s undoubtedly the superior cut of the film.
Overall, ‘Central Intelligence’ is a thoroughly amusing buddy action comedy featuring the truly fantastic pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart whose polar opposite characters play off of each other wonderfully. Perhaps not a perfect film and painfully predictable at times, it nonetheless delivers ample fun from start to finish, along with some goofy action and more than enough laughs to leave your face sore. The Unrated cut of the film also brings a more vulgar, fleshed out and very R-Rated version of the film that only contributes even more fun. ‘Central Intelligence’ definitely comes highly recommended to anyone who appreciates either of the stars, as well as just a solid overall buddy comedy with tons of laughs and a bit of action thrown into the mix for good measure.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Central Intelligence’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio on both included editions of the film. The video presentation looks fantastic and provides a sharp, clean and detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up admirably even during the numerous fast paced and heavily populated sequences, and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation from Warner Bros. that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on both the Unrated Version and the Theatrical Version. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a consistently crisp and clean audio presentation that isn’t afraid to hit hard when needed. Frequently utilizing all five available channels in order to send bullets and debris whipping throughout the various speakers during the action sequences, along with contributing some crowd chatter and more, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required and also adds even more fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Central Intelligence’ includes a number of enjoyable extras, a few of which include both Rated and Unrated options. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and Editor Mike Sale’ on both the Rated and Unrated versions of the film, in addition to a number of Alternate Scenes from the film which are separated into two sections: ‘Unrated Alternate Scenes’ (running approximately 70 minutes in length altogether), and ‘Rated Alternate Scenes’ (running approximately 18 minutes altogether). We are additionally treated to both an ‘Unrated Line-O-Rama’ (approximately 3 minutes), and a ‘Rated Line-O-Rama’ (2 minutes), as well as both an ‘Unrated Gag Reel’ (6 minutes), and a ‘Rated Gag Reel’ (6 minutes). An amusing ‘Dance Off’ video (approximately 2 minutes), and a video exploring the ‘Couch Time Lapse’ (1 minute) are also included.