HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Bad Santa 2: Unrated
HTS Overall Score:65
I’ve actually got a lot of respect for Broad Green Pictures. They’re a fairly new studio, but they’ve put out some great dramas and Indie films that have left me wildly impressed with the film choices they make. They’re not a giant studio, and they don’t skimp on their encodes on home video, and along with some shrewd film choices make for a pretty potent package, which is why I’m surprised that something so “mainstream” and lowbrow as “Bad Santa 2” made it into their lineup. I ‘m not going to say that I didn’t ENJOY the first “Bad Santa back in 2003 (wow, has it really been that long?), but it was your typical raunchy heist comedy filled with dirty jokes, more dirty jokes and Billy Bob Thornton being a lecherous creep. So, you can see why I might raise an eyebrow when I see it announced that last thanksgiving’s “Bad Santa 2” is being released on their label. I never went and saw “Bad Santa 2” during the 2016 Thanksgiving season (even though it’s billed as a Christmas movie), but form the box office records my going wouldn’t have saved this thing from swan diving off the proverbial cliff with a measly 23 million dollar take. Upon watching the film, I can kind of understand why. The production is fraught with re-used gags and pitfalls from the first movie, and dare I say it. I think “Bad Santa 2” is even MORE vulgar than its 2013 predecessor.
Let’s see, where do I begin. Well, if you remember from the first “Bad Santa”, Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton” is a boozed up lech who’s made most of his money from robbing places. He was almost killed by his partner Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) before gaining some sort of redemption in life with young Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly, who is the third person reprising his role from the original film). Now it’s 13 years later and Willie is still the same booze soaked scumbag he always was. Although he’s kind of gone straight after the last botched Santa suit robbery. Unfortunately, his money troubles haven’t gotten any better, and Therman Merman is now 21 years old and STILL following him around like a lost puppy dog. Change (or lack of change) comes in the form of Marcus showing up on his doorstep with an offer of a GIGANTIC multimillion dollar haul. The only problem is that he has to work with the one person in life that he TRULY despises. His own mother (played by Kathy Bates).
Combining forces for the common good (or bad, as the case may be), Willie, Marcus and his mother decide to rob the mother of all payloads…….a charity. However, This charity is not your average charity. Run by Diane (Christina Hendricks) and Regent Hastings (Ryan Hansen), it rakes in TONS of dough each year, only to have Regent embezzle most of the earnings and claim a loss unbeknownst to his wife Diane. All the trio of Santa suited thieves have to do is volunteer to play Santas for the organization and slip inside and steal the dough with Willie’s legendary safe cracking skills. That is if Thurman, Willie’s love of booze and sex, and his mom’s cantankerousness ruin the entire heist.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=91546[/img]I have nothing against raunchy comedies, and have quite a plethora of ones (no, not piñatas) that I love to pull out and watch when I’m the only one in the house (the wife will just roll her eyes and leave the room if I put one on when she’s there). Unfortunately, “Bad Santa 2” is just a rehash of the original film with updates characters and villains. Willie is still the same sleazebag he always was (and that may be a good thing), Marcus is a double crossing loser who is just there for people to make fun of his height, and Thurman is still following Willie around like a puppy dog after 13 years. Rinse, repeat a billion jokes about Willie’s love for the female behind, and random hot chicks hooking up with him for no apparent reason (at least Lauren Graham had a Santa fetish in the first movie, there’s no reason why Christina Hendricks or the security guard Gina would ever want that creepy old man). Again, pretty much a rehash of the first one.
With all of the ingredients the same between both films, you’d expect “Bad Santa 2” to at least be ALMOST as entertaining as the first one, but sadly that is not the case. The over the top vulgarity just seems more like a gimmick this go around and the addition of Kathy Bates as the foul talking mother does nothing of value for the production. Thurman was the stupid little kid in the first movie, but this time it feels incredibly painful to watch the kid grow up into a man-child. There’s some forced subplots part way through where you’re supposed to see some sort of “growth” in Willie, but it comes off as clichéd and, well, FORCED in the grand scheme of things. Billy Bob Thornton is PERFECT for playing the creepy Willie, as he knows how to exude that ambiance quite easily, but some of the rest of the characters really feel out of place. I have ZERO idea how they got Christina Hendricks, an award winning actress, to play against Billy Bob Thornton (my only idea is they offered her some odd million to just come in and phone it home and leave on a lunch break for another film), but her cold fish performance reeks of contractual obligation or else a cheap payday.
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some graphic nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=91554[/img]“Bad Santa 2” was shot digitally and given a 4K master from what I could track down (IMDB was no help, so I had to track down the cinematographer and give him a query on what was done to the film), but the 4K UHD by Broad Green Pictures is sadly missing HDR in the encode, instead leaving it as SDR. I’ve always been curious how a major motion picture would look without HDR (they’ve all been seen by me so far with the benefits of HDR), especially for those people who have an SDR only 4K TV set. The 1.78:1 framed image looks REALLY good, for 1080p encode. I mean, I could see some increase in textural details and some resolution bumps, but it goes to show you that most of the improvement we seen in 4K material is due to the use of HDR color changes, and it certainly shows. I’m not saying that the 4K UHD looks bad, not by any means, it’s just that my rating takes into account that it doesn’t look much better than a really good looking 1080p encode.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=91562[/img]The film is naturally a bit front heavy considering the genre that it embodies, but the movie still features a robust sound that fills out into the surrounds and LFE channels often enough to satisfy. Dialog is crisp and cleanly replicated in the center channel, with the mains handling a bulk of the surrounding works. The musical score fills out the surround channels with some solid activity, as well as the few gunshots and sounds of heavy traffic in Chicago. LFE is impressive, with moments that standout above the rest during the second half of the movie. It’s a comedy track at its core, and that means plenty of front sound stage activity with lighter use of the back end and low end, but “Bad Santa 2” manages to keep it active in those areas enough to give a full-bodied experience in the audio department.
• Thurman Then and Now
• Just Your Average Red Band Featurette
• “That’s My Willie” Original Animated Series
• Jingle Balls
• Trailers and Spots
• Gag Reel
• Alternate Opening/Ending
• Deleted Scenes
“Bad Santa 2” is just another attempt at riding off of the (mediocre) success of a previous entry, and falls far below the realm of acceptability for most people. The raunchiness just got overwhelming after a while, and the rehashed plot lines from the first movie left me feeling rather bored most of the movie. The 4K UHD is a minor improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray, but not by a whole lot. Interestingly enough, the 4K version of the movie is a Best Buy exclusive, so the only way to pick up the movie in 4K is to get it at Best Buy (duh), while the Blu-ray has been given the main stream release. I do have to say that I didn't have any problems with my player playing back SDR content naturally, but I have been seeing some reports from other reviewers claiming the SDR only content was playing hob with some of their players, making the movie blown out and washed out unless they manually adjusted the player to SDR. Just something to keep in mind when you start the disc up and something may not look right. Sadly I don’t’ think I can honestly recommend the movie unless you were a SUPER fan of the original “Bad Santa” and want some of the same old offerings warmed up as leftovers.
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Christina Hendricks, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly
Directed by: Mark Waters
Written by: Shauna Cross, Johnny Rosenthal
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Broad Green Pictures
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Buy Bad Santa 2 On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Bad Santa 2 On 4K Blu-ray at Best Buy
Recommendation: Skip It
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