‘The Hangover III’
The Wolfpack is back, and unfortunately they have nothing new to offer. Granted, I didn’t think the first movie “The Hangover” was really that great – though I’m told it was. The sequel was worse. The third and final film “The Hangover III” falls right in the middle.
The boys are still up to their same old shenanigans. And though there isn’t a wedding or bachelor party, their tomfoolery continues as Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) convince Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to check himself into a rehabilitation center – a center in Arizona that apparently caters to wealthy, self-absorbed man children like Alan – after Alan’s father passes away and an incident occurs involving Alan, a giraffe and a short freeway underpass. But of course, they run into trouble along the way.
It appears their old friend Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) has ripped off wealthy mob boss Marshal (John Goodman) of roughly $21 million in gold bars. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, Alan is Mr. Chow’s friend and pen pal, so Marshal threatens to kill Alan’s brother-in-law, Doug (Justin Bartha), unless they find Mr. Chow. A series of unfortunate events and mishaps follows that involve Mr. Chow’s seemingly ruthless pursuit of money and humor.
The gang is able to contact Mr. Chow and meet up with him in Tijuana. However, they’re duped into helping Chow and get themselves into even more trouble with Marshal.
Chow, of course, is long gone by the time Marshal catches up with the Wolfpack, but they’re given another chance to save their friend’s life and find Chow.
Their adventure leads them back to the one place Stu swore he’d never return, Las Vegas. Fortunately for the audience, once the crew finally arrives in Sin City the movie becomes much more entertaining.
Alan falls in love with a pawn shop employee Cassie, played by the always hilarious Melissa McCarthy, and the pair show the world how not to flirt.
Finally, they locate Mr. Chow at Caesar’s Palace where he’s having a drug-induced, escort-filled party; however, they weren’t exactly invited. So, Alan and Phil devise a plan to gain entrance to the suite, and of course everything goes wrong.
After a chase worthy of soon-to-come “Fast and the Furious XI,” Stu is able to bring down Mr. Chow with the help of his limo.
Sure, “The Hangover III” had a few laughs, but really it wasn’t worth the price of admission.
The funniest part of the entire movie is after the credits are finished rolling. The humor no longer had the impact of the first movie, but rather it felt forced. Jeong was hilarious, but that was pretty much it. Galifianakis’ Alan was no longer the breath of comedic air that he had been, but instead his character was uncomfortable. I would certainly wait for this film to come out on Netflix.
“The Hangover III” is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity.
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’
I’m not a Trekkie, so I won’t delve into whether J.J. Abrams’ newest iteration of the beloved sci-fi franchise “Star Trek Into Darkness” strictly adheres to the pseudo-religious, fictional mythology of the USS Enterprise universe. But, what I will tell you is as a film this movie is thoroughly entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat for a 132-minute thrill-ride. This action-packed sequel is as much of an emotional rollercoaster as it is a visually-stunning marvel of modern 3-D technology.
The film is a sprint right out the gate as we find Kirk (Chris Pine) and his familiar crew simultaneously trying to save their lives and a distant planet on the verge of annihilation due to an erupting super volcano. Of course Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the original cast from the first reboot in 2009’s “Star Trek,” prevail in the opening sequence but that rush sets the tone for the rest of the film. Unfortunately, the brash Kirk violated multiple federation laws in helping the planet – they’re supposed to simply explore and observe.
So, Kirk is stripped of his command of the USS Enterprise and becomes the ship’s 1st officer, which doesn’t last long when a terrorist attack strikes the Federation in the heart of London. Soon thereafter, it’s discovered that it was an inside job made by a lone wolf federation officer – Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Khan is on a one-man mission to destroy the Federation and strikes a major blow by subsequently attacking the federation headquarters’ building shortly after the London attack, which results in the death of Kirk’s mentor Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood). So, naturally Kirk is hell-bent on revenge and soon takes over the reins of the USS Enterprise once again – Pike was the ship’s captain.
With the permission of federation boss Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) and armed with new missile technology, Kirk and his crew are sent on a top-secret mission to an enemy Klingon planet where Khan has escaped. However, once the Enterprise team encounters Khan they realize their situation is more complicated than a simple manhunt. Khan is not ordinary nor is he simply a blood-thirsty criminal – he is, however, incredibly ruthless.
Kirk and crew soon realize that Admiral Marcus’ reason for sending them to the far-reaches of the universe with secret missile technology isn’t really kosher. From here the plot centers on Kirk’s ability to do the right thing, or rather go with his gut as he tells Spock, which means he doesn’t always follow orders. I won’t spoil the movie for the few of you who have yet to see it.
Ultimately, however, the film stands out because we’re privy to the close relationship between Kirk and Spock. The “bromance” is well developed, and you’re left with no other choice but to feel for each of the characters.
It also helps that Cumberbatch’s Khan is outstanding. He’s perfect as the intellectually, physically superior super villain. His performance along with the well developed plot, at least in terms of big-budget summer movies, makes this film a must-see.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” is rated PG-13.