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Rawson Marshall Thurber
Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul
Writing Credits:
Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen and Rawson Marshall Thurber

After he reconnects with an awkward pal from high school through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$35,535,250 on 3,508 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13/Unrated.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio (Theatrical Only)
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Only)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Only)
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 107 min. (Theatrical)
116 min. (Unrated)
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 9/27/2016

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• Audio Commentary with Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and Editor Mike Sale
• Alternate Scenes
• Line-O-Rama
• Gag Reel
• “Dance Off” Featurette
• “Couch Time Lapse”
• Preview


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Central Intelligence [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 25, 2016)

Two of today’s hardest-working movie stars pair up for 2016’s Central Intelligence. Back in high school, Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) was the most accomplished and popular guy in his class. However, Calvin’s life didn’t work out to the level of success all anticipated, and he feels disappointed that he failed to match those expectations.

Despite the urging of his high school sweetheart/now wife Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), Calvin doesn’t want to go to their 20-year reunion. He does meet up with one old classmate, though, as a Facebook friend request leads him to Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson).

Known as “Robbie Wheirdicht” in his youth, Stone was an overweight nerd who suffered humiliation from bullies back in the day. To Calvin’s surprise, Bob now presents a muscular, imposing presence – and works as a CIA agent. Bob recruits his old high school classmate to assist on an important case, and this takes them down wild paths.

It’d be easy to dismiss Intelligence as a comedy built around nothing more than sight gags. The film’s ads played up the radical size difference between Johnson and Hart, so I figured we’d get plenty of jokes that followed that line.

Happily, Intelligence avoids those traps, as it rarely plays on the “Mutt and Jeff” nature of its leads. Granted, I won’t claim the movie avoids easy gags the whole time – and a wink-wink reference to Johnson’s 2014 role as Hercules caused me to roll my eyes – but most of the comedy skirts around potential problems.

The actors do most of the heavy lifting here – without them, Intelligence might flop. In particular, Hart and Johnson show immense chemistry and carry the story for long periods of time.

Intelligence gets off to a slow start, largely due to all the exposition it throws at us. I think the movie uses more time than it needs in this regard, as it comes with fairly simple situations and doesn’t require such an extended period to introduce them.

Once Johnson and Hart meet as adults, though, matters improve, and the stars carry the film. It’s unusual to see Hart as the straight man, but he handles that role well and still gets more than enough moments that allow his comedic chops to shine.

Johnson fares best, though, mainly because he gives Bob such a goofy feel. Rather than turn Bob into a standard slick/tough secret agent – like his part in the Fast and Furious franchise - Johnson retains the character’s inner nerd. This allows Bob a vulnerability rare in a part like this.

To his credit, Johnson doesn’t overplay Bob’s traits. He still allows us to believe that Bob can be a trained killer/super spy but he delivers a delightfully earnest take on a character who still suffers from the wounds of high school. Johnson helps the movie immensely.

Intelligence comes with a stellar supporting cast as well – and a handful of fun cameos. I don’t want to reveal who appears, but we get some big stars in small roles, all of which add to the movie’s charm.

At its heart, Central Intelligence doesn’t offer anything particularly special, but the movie works anyway. Buoyed by some funny performances and great chemistry between its leads, the film does enough to make it enjoyable.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Central Intelligence appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became a satisfying presentation.

Overall definition remained good. A smidgen of softness affected the occasional wide shot, but not to a substantial degree. That left this as a mostly accurate, distinctive image. No shimmering or jaggies appeared, and I saw no edge haloes or print flaws.

To my surprise, Intelligence went with a fairly cool palette – which meant it didn’t opt for the usual teal and orange. Oh, it came with a minor blue/amber feel, but not the cartoony orientation typical of so many modern movies.

Given the visual choices, the colors didn’t stand out as great but they achieved their goals and looked fine. Blacks seemed dark and deep, and low-light shots offered positive clarity. I felt happy with the transfer.

While the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack started slowly, it kicked into life well as the story progressed. The story’s early moments concentrated in character beats but after the first act, the action became more dominant.

Those sequences brought excitement to the mix. Gunshots, explosions and various vehicles zipped around the room and created a fine sense of place and action. General ambience also remained fine, and music showed nice stereo spread.

Audio quality seemed good. The score was lively and full, while speech appeared natural and concise. Effects came across as accurate and dynamic, with nice low-end response. This was an above-average soundtrack.

The Blu-ray includes two versions of the film. We get both the theatrical (1:47:37) and unrated (1:56:26) cuts of Central Intelligence.

Because the Blu-ray marks my first viewing of the movie, I can’t detail specific differences. I’m guessing the longer version offers more explicit violence, and it definitely comes with additional profanity. In any case, I wanted to note the presence of the two cuts even if I can’t list all the changes.

Alongside either version of the movie, we get an audio commentary from director Rawson Marshall Thurber and editor Mike Sale. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas and editing, cast and performances, stunts, sets and locations, music and related areas.

With Sale in tow, editing/story construction issues come to the fore, and those topics become fascinating. Thurber and Sale dig into their choices with gusto and explain these decisions well. Add to that a good dollop of details about other areas and this becomes a terrific commentary.

The disc provides two collections of Alternate Scenes: “rated” (10 sequences, 18:07) and “unrated” (18 segments, 1:09:51). No, I didn’t goof – that 69-minute running time for the unrated compilation is correct, so we really do get 50 minutes more from the “unrated” set than from the “rated” package.

How do the two collections differ? The 10 “rated” sequences also appear in the “unrated” area, and they’re identical there. This means there’s no reason to watch the “rated” package, as it includes nothing not found in the “unrated” set.

As for the material itself, the scenes tend to amuse. Even though we get more than an hour of footage, I can’t point to any major narrative/character areas that fail to appear in the final movie.

Instead, we get a lot of additions and minor comedic beats. These wouldn’t add to the story but they’re often entertaining, so I’m happy with this extensive collection of scenes.

In addition, we get two flavors of Line-O-Rama. Again, we locate “rated” (2:27) and “unrated” (2:31), both of which offer alternate takes. They’re nearly identical except for a little more profanity in the unrated one. Some funny material arrives in these collections.

Should you expect two version of the Gag Reel as well? Yup – once more, we see “rated” (5:38) and “unrated” (6:18) compilations. Most of the time, we see goofs/giggles, but we also get some alternate lines, and those make the “Reels” better than average. The unrated package uncensors some comments and adds a few bits not found in the rated version.

Two featurettes follow. Dance Off goes for two minutes, 26 seconds and shows footage of Sione Kelepi as “Young Robbie” before face replacement effects were used. We also view a “dance off’ between Kelepi and Dwayne Johnson that took place at the end of the shoot. “Dance Off” provides a forgettable reel.

Finally, we locate a Couch Time Lapse. It lasts 41 seconds and shows how the crew rapidly cleaned a room in real time. This makes more sense if you see the film first – it’s a minor but fun little extra.

The disc opens with an ad for Sully. No trailer for Intelligence appears here.

Due to the chemistry of its lead actors, Central Intelligence manages to deliver a moderately amusing experience. It lacks a lot of creativity but still capitalizes on the connection between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture and audio as well as a nice set of supplements highlighted by a great commentary and a slew of deleted scenes. Intelligence doesn’t dazzle but it entertains.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
3 3:
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