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The Brothers Grimsby (2016)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/21/2016

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/20/2016

When Borat hit cinemas in 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen helped to usher in a new kind of shock comedy which took the Candid Camera idea to new lows and pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and how far he would go to shock an audience. The film clearly struck a chord with American audiences, as it brought in over $128 million dollars at the box office. Since that time, Cohen has popped up in various places, and he's starred in two other films which placed him in the starring role. Each of these showed diminishing returns at the theater. His latest, The Brothers Grimsby, was DOA at the cinema. Has America finally gotten their fill of Cohen?

Cohen stars in The Brothers Grimsby as Nobby, a soccer hooligan who has a wild wife (played by Rebel Wilson) and a house full of children. They live in the area known as Grimsby, and Nobby spends his days watching soccer and drinking. Along with this life, Nobby has never stopped searching for his brother, as the two were separated years ago at an orphanage. That brother, Sebastian (Mark Strong), is alive and well, and working as a secret agent. One of Nobby's drinking buddies spots Sebastian and arranging for Nobby to attend an event with the hopes of running into his long lost sibling. Nobby does run into Sebastian -- literally -- and he causes the man to shoot an innocent person. Soon, the two are on the run from Sebastian's employers. The only way to redeem Sebastian is to stop a terrorist from releasing a deadly pathogen. But, will Nobby help or get in the way.

I get it. After building a career as a comedic performer, Cohen wanted to turn his sights to an action movie. It's marks perfect sense. However, being who he is, Cohen could not leave the comedy behind. Again, that's fine and that could certainly be a recipe for success. In my recent review for Mr. Right, I wrote about the appeal of action-comedies, but also about how difficult it can be to achieve the balance necessary to make this sub-genre work. When you throw in the subversive humor of Sacha Baron Cohen, things get even more difficult. Despite being 10 years older than he was when he made Borat, Cohen has not turned his back on gross, sophomoric humor and The Brothers Grimsby may contains his most bombastic sketches yet. I'm not going to go into any great detail here, but let's suffice it to say that you will see some things in this film that you probably don't want to see, a lot of it centering on bodily fluids and orifices, both human and animal.

To helm this action project, Cohen and co. have brought in action specialist Louis Leterrier, who has previously helmed films like The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans and Now You See Me. Leterrier is not necessarily a master filmmaker, but he knows his way around an action sequence and it can be argued that his skills have grown as he's matured. If nothing else, he makes fast-paced, action-packed movies. Which is what makes him an odd choice for this project. Cohen's comedy is definitely of the "Hey! Look at me!" variety and the film often comes to a screeching halt in order for the grosser moments to play out. Thinking back on the film, each of the "gross-out" set-pieces took what seemed like several minutes. So even with its 83-minute running time, the movie moves in fits and starts and never really gets off of the ground.

It seemed very weird to see Mark Strong at the Tony Awards knowing that he has just appeared in this incredibly immature film. With his other projects, Cohen was just as puerile, but there was also a winking cleverness to it as well. (Especially with Borat.) We certainly don't get that here, as The Brothers Grimsby is unabashedly stupid and only aims for the middle...or lower. I don't know, maybe you have to be British to complete appreciate this movie. All that I saw was a series of hackneyed jokes, that in the age of shows like Family Guy, don't seem as shocking as the movie wants them to be. There is a great joke in the epilogue at the expense of a 90s rock star, but otherwise, the movie is short on laughs. I think that we've learned that Cohen needs to stick to small roles in other people's movies.

The Brothers Grimsby is the worst commercial for the World Wildlife Fund ever on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is very good, as the picture has a nice crispness to it. The depth is also impressive. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The action sequences sound very good, delivering detailed surround sound effects in which individual sounds are obvious and stereo effects which bring us good separation. The subwoofer effects delivering a deep rumble without overpowering the other sounds. Overall, this is an impressive technical presentation.

The Brothers Grimsby Blu-ray Disc contains a number of extras. "The Making of The Brothers Grimsby" (12 minutes), which was shot under the title "The Curse of Hendon" (?), is a fairly standard featurette which offers comments from the cast and creative team, as well as some on-set footage and a clip from the table-read. "The Elephant in the Room" (4 minutes) takes us on-set to see how the most questionable scene in the film was shot. The Disc contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 9 minutes. These are three brand-new scenes. We also get three EXTENDED SCENES which run about 9 mintues. "Line O Rama" (2 minutes) offers alternate takes of various bits of dialogue. Finally, we get a 3-minute GAG REEL.

Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long