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The Hangover Part III (2013)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/8/2012

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/1/2013

In my recent review for Iron Man 3, I wrote about the nature of trilogies and how movie trilogies are supposed to follow a particular pattern. (In most trilogies, the hero reaches their low point in the second film, only to be redeemed in the third, but Iron Man 3 passed on that scenario.) But, some trilogies don't follow any set pattern. They throw caution (and the rules) to the wind and live by their own standards. While this straying from the norm can create a sense of unease in the viewer, it also good to see someone shaking things up every now and then. From the outset, The Hangover has been playing by its own rules, and as the series finishes with The Hangover Part III, we see they aren't ready to conform.

The Hangover Part III takes place some time after the events of The Hangover Part II. It seems that Alan (Zach Galifianakis) isn't doing very well, as he stopped taking his medication (which led him to purchase a giraffe (?!)). Following the death of his father, Alan really begins to spiral out of control. His brother-in-law, Doug (Justin Bartha), gets his old friends, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), along with the rest of the family together for an intervention and its decided that the "Wolf Pack" will drive Alan to a treatment center in Arizona. Once on the road, the group is attacked by a group of thugs who are working for Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall knows that Alan is friends with Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) and he wants Chow found, as the man stole a fortune in gold from him. When Marshall proves that he has an incentive, Phil, Stu, and Alan begin a journey to find Mr. Chow. Little do they know that once they find him, the adventure will really begin.

There are three Hangover films and this comprises a trilogy, but the movies don't follow any of the rules of a trilogy. This has to due with the content of the movies themselves. These dark comedies are full of both highs and lows for the characters, and even when they win, they really don't come out on top. In fact, each movie plays like a little trilogy as the story goes from triumphant to tragic and back again. One thing is for sure, Director Todd Phillips and his writers have never been afraid to push the envelope and show just how bad things can get for these guys. Rarely has there been a series of movies both as funny and as squirm-inducing as the Hangover trilogy.

As for The Hangover Part III, the movie is a mixed bag. It can easily be argued that it's the darkest of the series (again, bucking the normal story arc), as we have an unstable (well, more unstable than usual) Alan and some truly dangerous criminals. While the first two films felt like an exciting walk on the dark side, this movie offers more of a sense of real peril for the characters. We never think that anyone is truly going to get hurt, but there is an uncomfortable sense that the movie wants to keep us guessing.

The real crux in the quality of The Hangover Part III hangs in something which probably looked good on paper -- the movie gives us a lot of Alan. There's no doubt that Galfifanakis stole the show in the first two films and that he's become a crowd favorite. However, the reason why Alan worked in those movies was that he was the comic relief. While everyone else is trying to deal with the insanity going on around them, Alan would drop in oddball comments, some of which had nothing to do with the story at hand. In The Hangover Part III, Alan is front and center for much of the film, first because his situation begins the journey and then because he knows Mr. Chow the best. Putting him in this position is like eating nothing but stuffing at Thanksgiving -- it sounds like a great plan, but you soon find yourself getting sick of it.

All of this should not imply that The Hangover Part III isn't a funny movie, because it is -- it simply isn't as funny as the first two. Now, I know that some didn't like the second film, but I find it's unique locales and truly odd rhythms to be interesting and the finale has some great lines. The are certainly some quotable moments in The Hangover Part III and Phillips does a good job with some suspenseful moments. However, a series this audacious should go out with a true bang, and not with a movie which seems to be more concerned with showing how dark it can be instead of making us laugh. If nothing else, the movie should be applauded for not following the exact same story which was featured in the first two movies. (The coda, which feels very tacked on, seems to be there to appease more narrow-minded fans.) In some ways, The Hangover Part III is a little too daring for its own good, and for many fans, this wasn't the movie which they wanted to finish out the series.

The Hangover Part III shows that even in a desperate situation, choosing clothes is never easy on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The fact that the bright, desert scenes don't overwhelm us with grain are a testament to the clarity of this image. The colors look good and the picture is never overly dark or bright. We can see the pores on the actor's faces thanks to the detail here and the depth is nice as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are nicely done, especially in scenes where things move from one side of the screen to the other. The surround sound effects work well in crowd scenes, especially in the third act. The action sequences and some of the music (which, thankfully, isn't dominated by rap this time out) bring the subwoofer into the mix. Overall, a nice technical package.

The Hangover Part III Blu-ray Disc contains several extras. "Replacing Zach: Secret Auditions" (6 minutes) is a fake featurette where some recognizable actors (many of which are from the other Hangover movies) audition to play Alan, as Phillips wants to replace Galifianakis. "The Wolfpack's Wildest Stunts" (5 minutes) focuses on the various action scenes in the film, taking us behind the scenes to see how stunts and visual effects were mixed. "Zach Galfifanakis in His Own Words" (3 minutes) has the actor riffing on several topics, with segues which make little sense. The scenes involving animals and children, and hte challenges therein, are explored in "Pushing the Limits" (4 minutes). "Focus: The Real Chow" (5 minutes) is another faux featurette which posits that Ken Jeong is merely a cover for the real Mr. Chow. "Action Mash-Up" (1 minute) is simply a reel of clips from the movie. The Disc contains three EXTENDED SCENES which run about 2 minutes and add a few good lines. The final extra is a 8-minute reel of OUTTAKES, which also contains some alternate takes.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.