Steve Martin, murderer.
No, I'm not being melodramatic, the label applies. The comic genius (and inspired writer) slashed, hacked, eviscerated, and mutilated our memories of the great Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau when the 'Pink Panther' remake masqueraded around like Buffalo Bill in a suit made from the corpses of his victims. Now, a mere three years after that debacle, Martin plays the part of a serial killer, again butchering Clouseau and the 'Pink Panther' franchise.
Much to our collective chagrin, Martin is back, again sharing writing duties and starring as Clouseau, in a film that is more a shot to the head than 'A Shot in the Dark.' The bottom of the barrel lows experienced the first time around seem like comic dynamite compared to this fizzling dud.
A string of high profile thefts have plagued the world, with numerous historical artifacts going missing, all stolen by the mysterious "Tornado." The Shroud of Turin, the Magna Carta, the Imperial Sword, and the Pink Panther diamond have all vanished, each replaced with the calling card of the "Tornado." Classy.
A dream team of crime solvers is being assembled to solve the case, with Italy's Vincenzo (Andy Garcia), England's Pepperidge (Alfred Molina), Japan's Kenji (Yuki Matsuzaki), and Sonia Solandres (Aishwarya Rai), from India, all accompanying France's most decorated detective: Jacques Clouseau. Together, they must hunt down the "Tornado." With few clues to work with that aren't desecrated by the bumbling Clouseau, the team must attempt to rescue the numerous relics so they may be enjoyed by the world for centuries to come.
Since audiences didn't seem to enjoy this film at all upon its release, it's safe to say that 'Pink Panther 2' won't be enjoyed for centuries to come... most will simply try to erase it from their memories. And to paraphrase Clouseau himself, "if they do remember it, they must immediately forget it!"
Martin's partner in crime for the first film, Beyonce, isn't back with her amazingly high spoken word to cringe ratio, but a bevy of shameless former stars do their best to make up for her absence. Garcia stinks up the joint at every chance, while Molina shows he's best leaving the comedy to anyone, and everyone, else. Jean Reno returns as Ponton, Clouseau's subordinate, further damaging my love for his previous brilliant works with a performance that's too awful for words. Rounding out the cast of has-beens and sellouts is John Cleese, who here only muster one funny moment.
I won't lie...I did laugh a few times at this film. Aside from the obvious predictable jokes that are telegraphed from a mile away, there were a few gags so awful that they had to elicit a laugh...even if it was a self acknowledged snort of pity. Pity. A key word for my feelings concerning this release. I pity those in the crew who thought they were making a good film. I pity those who blindly bought this title as well. To call this comedy poor would be like calling Bill Gates rich...an understatement of equally staggering exaggeration on both ends.
'The Pink Panther 2' won't impress anyone, but the video encode on this Blu-ray might. Presented in an AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.85:1, 1080P), the picture is as sharp, vibrant, and colorful as the film itself wasn't.
Skin tones are authentic and varied. Colors are bright. Blacks are deep. There was a touch of aliasing in the opening credits cartoon sequence, while contrast isn't exactly strong. However, the film doesn't possess a real three dimensional feel, as it never really pops, even in the more cartoonish of sequences, so when an opening credit sequence takes the cake in terms of visual appeal, it's hard to sing praises for the rest of the picture, despite its solid presentation.
Presented with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, 'The Pink Panther 2' sounds as good as it ever will.
Dialogue is clear for the most part, and is always prioritized. I say for the most part, as a few early lines are a bit indistinguishable, and later banter between Reno and Martin can be a bit of a blur due to the flat awful accents. The score provides some solid oomph, including a solid bass level for the famous theme song that plays during the film, while this musical accompaniment spreads throughout the speakers more often than the film itself. Occasionally there is some rear ambiance, with busy rooms actually projecting to the rears to match the onscreen clutter, though streets are often barren in terms of real atmosphere. There were a few directional effects mixed in, as well, though they were quite ordinary. It's hard to label the sound mix as anything but acceptable.
An unnecessary and awful sequel to an awful and unnecessary remake. Solid video and acceptable audio don't make this one any more recommendable. Not even the extras package with the spiffy third disc makes this one worthwhile, though said disc does make this the version to buy (more so than the high def video and audio). When a bonus DVD is the best part of a Blu-ray release, you know something is wrong.
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