HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Central Intelligence
HTS Overall Score:78
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (I’m sorry I still call him The Rock, even though that name is something he gave up with the WWE due to licensing issues) has become a go to actor when I look at a movie these days. If he’s in it, I’m there day one. Especially if it’s in an action movie or comedy. They’re not always good movies, but I can be guaranteed that he will be the highlight of the film. “Central Intelligence” was one such movie, and I knew that just by looking at the trailers. I LOATHE Kevin Hart as an actor, as his comedy is always the same angry little man child persona that he plays. Just watch the “Ride Along” movies to see what I mean. However, with the inclusion of The Rock I knew my butt was going to be there in theaters opening night. Even though I knew it was going to probably be subpar. Expectations were solidly met. Kevin Hart was annoying, as usual, but The Rock, was a complete blast. Every scene he was in he completely stole, and a generic boring movie was actually rather fun as a result.
Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) was the homecoming king of his high school 20 years ago. The “Golden Jet”. The most likely to succeed, and the most popular boy in class. As an adult he has kind of peaked, though. An accountant at a mid-level firm he is coming up on his 20th year reunion and realizing that he hasn’t made much of his life in comparison to those lofty ideals and dreams that he had as a teenager. He had married his high school sweetheart, Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), but still he feels a bit inadequate. The night before his class reunion he is contacted by an old classmate, Bob Stone (The Rock), who was the picked on fat kind in his class. Literally the polar opposite of Calvin. Agreeing to go out with Bob for a night of drinks turns into an international issue when Calvin finds out that Bob actually works for the CIA and is using his accounting skills to track down a dangerous criminal known as the Black Badger.
Bob is not your average CIA agent, though. He’s a bit clingy and a goofball who seems to be more interested in old 90’s slang and talking about the good old days when Calvin saved his dignity when the school bullies through him out naked into the gymnasium. Annoyed and slightly frustrated by Bob, Calvin doesn’t see the whole CIA agent thing until it’s too late and he’s in too deep. Simultaneously Calvin is torn when CIA agent Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) informs him that Bob is actually a burned agent who is being hunted down for killing his partner (Aaron Paul) and stealing state secrets, leading to a giant manhunt. Now Calvin has to choose which person he’s going to believe and whom he is going to believe in if he has a chance of getting out of this in one piece and make it to his reunion.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80769[/img]At its Hart (haha, I crack myself up) “Central Intelligence” is your basic buddy cop or love/hate relationship film just with different actors. We have all the major tropes of the one guy who is the total tough guy, and the other guy who’s the motor mouth who can’t shup up. Then there’s the misunderstanding with the higher ups, and lots of shooting bad guys and bonding at the end. It’s a tried and true formula, and one that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort to pull off. My only qualms had to do with Kevin Hart. He’s annoying and childish to the point of making me nauseated, but on the flip side I was EAGERLY loving the vibe coming from Dwayne Johnson when I watched the trailer. It is what it is, and that is basically exactly what the trailer portrayed. Kevin Hart is annoying and whiny as Calvin, while the Rock is hysterical as he plays an overly clingy CIA agent with a penchant for blowing things up.
There’s nothing inventive or ingenious about “Central Intelligent”, but it does the job moderately well, despite have Kevin Hart attached to the project. I laughed and giggled when Dwayne was onscreen, but winced more times than I care to admit with Hart shooting his mouth off. However, by the end of the day I had a good enough time to recommend the movie as a solid rental for those who like the action comedy genre. It won’t break any records, or plow new ground, but “Central” is a fun little popcorn movie that requires one check their brain at the door.
Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80777[/img]Shot using Arri Alexa cameras, “Central Intelligence” comes out with a VERY nice looking digital transfer that pops at every turn. Colors are warm and vibrant, with great color saturation (just look at the bright red Silverado at the end, or the yellow T-shirt that Bob sports throughout most of the action), and the detailing is amazingly clear without being overly glossy and “digital” looking. Clarity is spot on, and despite some digital looking cgi blood (I really miss the days of squibs) everything is razor sharp. Skin tones look really natural and there doesn’t seem to be a major push towards the teal or red color spectrum, which seems to have become a major fad recently. Black levels are deep and inky, with only a few minor instances of black crush to keep the image from being 100% perfect. A great looking modern day transfer that looks fantastic on Blu-ray.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80785[/img]“Central Intelligence” is a comedy, but it’s also an action comedy so the movie gets a bit more heated and excited than your average dialog driven comedy. Guns, explosions, helicopter blades, there’s plenty of room for lots of encompassing action and some wonderfully aggressive action scenes with heavy LFE. At the same time it’s also rather reserved and naturally dialog focused during the less upbeat moments of the movie. Dialog is naturally crisp and clean, with great localization in the center channel and balanced well with the more aggressive action oriented scenes. Dynamic range is solidly wide, allowing from quiet moments to coincide with explosive action at the drop of a hat, but it’s never a true powerhouse that just rocks you back in your seat. LFE is punchy and powerful, adding some nice ferocity to the fists and gunshots, but also decently mild when it’s not called for.
• Director Commentary
• Gag Reel
• Alternate Scenes
• Couch Scene
“Central Intelligence” is a generic, play by the numbers comedy that hits most of the right notes. But the saving grace of the film. The actual bit that makes it palatable is the inclusion of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s a personal favorite actor of mine and ALL the funny parts in the movie involved him in some way shape or form. It’s a generic comedy, but still funny enough if you’re a fan of The Rock. Combine that with some great looking video and excellent audio and you have a solid rental for the evening.
Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart, Aaron Paul
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Written by: Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1, English Descriptive Service 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 108 Minutes / 117 Minutes (Unrated)
Own Central Intelligence on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on September 27 or Own It Now on Digital HD!
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Recommendation: Decent Rental
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