HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
HTS Overall Score:70
The great Leslie Nielson was an incredible gift to dead pan comedy. The man acted for over 50 years, and actually didn’t start out as a comedian. He started out as a serious actor, playing around for 5 or 6 years in the early 50s until he was cast as one of the main roles in the classic “Forbidden Planet”. Someone somewhere saw his talent for slapstick comedy and soon enough he was getting laughs in dozens of movies. The “Naked Gun” series doesn’t lampoon any specific series like “National Lampoon” does, but rather is a cheeky comedy in the style of “Airplane”, just with cops and robbers, almost a little like “Lethal Weapon”, just with more stupidity and giggles. “Naked Gun” was an instant classic and still is up there with the greats like “Airplane”, and “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. The sequel of course suffers a bit from sequelities, but is still a great follow-up to the original with more than enough funny lines and scenarios to keep me giggling like a little girl.
Last time Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson) was saving jolly old England and the Queen herself, this time the bumbling sleuth is saving the world, or at least the environment in an offhanded way. After Dr. Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths), a speaker for green technology, goes missing Frank is pulled back into the world of espionage and stupidity as he must team up with his ex-girlfriend Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley) in order to save the President from making a horrible mistake. A complicated situation is made even worse when Drebin finds out that not only has Dr. Meinheimer been kidnapped, but it is by Jane’s new boy toy, Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet) who happens to be in the pocket of big oil. Quentin’s plan isn’t just to kidnap Dr. Meinheimer, but he has created a fake Dr. (also played by Richard Griffiths) to step in and give President Bush Sr. the wrong advice (e.g. to continue the interests of big oil). Now Frank has to do what he does best, take down a criminal by shooting as many people as possible, and stumble around like an idiot in the dark doing so. All while getting the girl.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60745[/img]“Naked Gun 2 ½” is pure stupidity, but it’s so purely stupid that you can’t help but laugh at it. Don’t go in expecting subtle humor. The first opening shot is of Frank Drebin walking into a building and smashing the door in Barbara Bush’s face without batting an eyelash or even noticing that he’s done so. Then he proceeds to pull the chair out from under her, throw a half sqeezed lemon in an African turban, and bang Barbara Bush’s head into the table no less than twice. While stripping it of all decorations. Leslie has always been the king of Dead pan comedy, and “Naked Gun 2 ½” plays to his strengths. Frank Drebin is completely ludicrous, and completely clueless at the same time. Without nary a smile on his face or a twinkle in his eye, Nielsen dances around the place like whirlwind of destruction, destroying everything he touches or even looks at. The audience laughs at the stupidity twice. The first time for the gag and the second time at themselves as they realize what they were laughing at.
While Nielsen is a master of deadpan comedy, director David Zucker fills his film with sight gags that make jabs at politics and good taste alike. The dialog reflects this too with lines like “So how are the children” ….”we didn’t HAVE any children Frank!”. Or Frank commenting on how he thinks the world is insane with his police chief (played masterfully by George Kennedy) just as their black suit and tie water walks by and you notice that he’s not wearing any pants or underwear upon exiting. It’s just plain slap you in the face and giggle cuz they slapped you type of humor. Fortunately it just WORKS as I was dying with laughter the whole time, the same as when I was almost falling out of my theater chair in 1991.
Rated PG-13 for crude behavior
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60753[/img]I can’t be deadly certain, but “Naked Gun 2 ½” looks like it’s taken from a fairly recent transfer. The film is surprisingly detailed without many flecks or film print flaws for the naked eye to see. There is a healthy layer of grain covering the picture, but it’s not intrusive or obnoxious in any way. Fine detail is very good, with long shots looking mildly soft, but close ups look incredible. You can see the little bits of glue and blending issues on Dr. Meinheimer’s facial hair as well as the little stray fiber’s on Frank Drebin’s suit. Black levels are very good, although some crush is noticeable, and a little noise is speckled throughout the darker scenes. Artifacting is pretty much nonexistent as the 85 minute movie has plenty of room to breathe on a BD 50 dual layer disc.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60761[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix is just as good as the video, with a nice front heavy mix that sprinkles in a few background noises to mix things up. The dialog is always crisp and clean, with no sounds of distortion or poor blending with the effects. Most of the time we’re listening to Frank make quips or the sounds of a few fisticuffs or balls bouncing off someone’s head as Frank tries to escape from his bonds. Simply put the majority of the work is in the front 3 speakers. That being said there is still some solid use of the surrounds as backup accompaniment, as you hear a scream in the background, the murmur of voices in President Bush’s press meeting and the score manages to liven up those back channels a bit. There’s some mild LFE usage to boost the biff, boom and bang effects as well as the score, but it is much more subtle than your average modern movie and not nearly as aggressive.
“Naked Gun 2 ½” isn’t as masterful or as shocking as the first “Naked Gun” movie, but it’s still a fantastically fun comedy that will have fans of “Airplane” in stitches every other line (or sight gag). It’s definitely a blast from the past as poor Leslie has gone on from this world and O.J. Simpson was still in the good graces of the public. The audio and video track look fantastic for the type of movie it is coupled with the low quality of releases many catalog titles are plagued with. The only real major disappointment is the fact that Warner decided to leave this disc completely barebones, as there is no special features whatsoever. Not even hold over extras from the DVD. Still the movie is what really counts in my personal opinion and this is well worth the buy for a comedy fan. Highly recommended.
Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, Richard Griffiths
Directed by: David Zucker
Written by: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 85 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 1st 2015
Buy Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Highly Recommended.
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