Friday, February 24, 2017

Bad Santa 2 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly reunite in Bad Santa 2, the funniest, raunchiest and most inappropriate film of the year. Fueled by cheap whiskey and greed, Willie Soke (Academy Award-winner Billy Bob Thornton), teams up once again with his angry sidekick, Marcus (Tony Cox), to knock off a Chicago charity run by curvaceous Diane (Christina Hendricks). But the arrival of Willie’s horror story of a mother, Sunny (Academy Award-winner Kathy Bates), and “the kid” – Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) – may upset their plan. Fueled by cheap whiskey and greed,

Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Taking place thirteen years after the previous installment, we quickly learn that whatever humanity and lessons the "Bad Santa" Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thronton) learned before have been either lost or discarded. The happy ending that he thought he had is now long gone. Sue (Lauren Graham) has moved on and Willie is contemplating committing suicide to escape it all when Thurman "The Kid" Merman (Brett Kelly) shows up with a package full of cash and instructions. Willie finds out that the package came from his former partner Marcus (Tony Cox) who tried to kill him earlier. Marcus apologizes for that and tells Willie that now that he's out of jail, they can go back to robbing places and he's already lined up a new target - a charity in Chicago.

Arriving in Chicago, Willie is even more upset to learn that his estranged mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) is the one planning the heist. He quits the team but reluctantly comes back once he sees how sick Sunny is now. Regardless, he still tells Marcus that once the job is done they are going to cut Sunny out of the profits. The plan is for the team to work at the charity and to rob the safe once the children's Christmas show starts. Keeping a job is hard for Willie whose drinking pretty much makes that impossible, which is noticed by one of the charity's founders, Diane (Christina Hendricks) who forces him to go to an AA meeting with her. Their time spent together is noticed by her husband Regent (Ryan Hansen) who tells his head of security Dorfman (Jeff Skowron) to keep an eye on him.

While Willie tries to figure our how far he can trust his mother and Marcus, he still has Thurman to deal with as the kid followed him to Chicago. Marcus and Sunny want him to get rid of the kid, but Willie does his best, but at the same time he still feels a shred of responsibility for the kid. It becomes even more complicated when Thurman joins the children's singing show at the charity and asks Willie to watch it. Willie will need to decide which path is more important to him - the heist or his relationship with the kid.

Bad Santa 2 isn't a bad movie but it's also not as good as the first. Billy Bob Thornton is still great in the role even though it seems like playing it takes zero effort. Kathy Bates is good as the abusive mother but it's all pretty predictable. Tony Cox provides some laughs too but it's hard to believe that Willie would work with Marcus again after almost getting killed by him. The rest of the cast are fine in their roles, although I think Octavia Spencer deserved better than three minutes of screen time as a prostitute. The tone for the movie, which is the trickiest part of movies like this isn't as finely tuned as it was for the first film. It has some laughs but there's less of the humanity and warmth that the first film had. This movie offered some laughs and I enjoyed it, but I think it could have been better. 
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
While included Blu-ray's video presentation isn't that great, the Ultra 4K UHD version looks very good with none of the issues of the Blu-ray. The clarity of the image is easy to see with fine detail in sharp focus. Colors are accurate and varied, and the flesh tones are accurate and detailed. The balck levels are suitably dark with no digital defects to complain about. 
Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Bad Santa 2's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is decent but nothing fantastic. It gets the job done as far as ambiance and dialogue go which is really enough for this movie. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand and the musical score is balanced well with the rest of the mix. 
Extras (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The extras included here are pretty bare bones and the longest of them doesn't even last four minutes long (except for the collection of trailers), so be prepared for disappointment. Both discs offer both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film..All of the extras are in high definition.
  • Thurman Then & Now - A quick look at Brett Kelly's transition from the first movie to this one. 
  • Just Your Average Red Band Featurette - A look at the bits that caused the film to have a red band trailer.
  • "That's My Willie" Original Animated Series - A collection of animated shorts from the Bad Santa films. 
  • Jingle Balls - If you ever wanted to hear "Jingle Bells" with more risque lyrics this is for you. 
  • Trailers and Spots - The longest extra here includes the various trailers released including, :the "Red Band Teaser Trailer (Uncensored),: "Red Band Trailer #2," "Campaign," "Pharma," "Bad Award," and "Walking Bad."
  • Gag Reel 
  • Alternate Opening 
  • Deleted Scenes 
  • Alternate Ending 
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
While the movie did make me chuckle on occassion, this film is nowhere as good as the first one. The Blu-ray offers some pretty bad video quality but the 4k UHD looks very good. The audio and especially the extras could be a lot better however. If you are a fan of the fist film you will probably enjoy this enough to see this installment, but if you didn't like it then you should probably pass on this one. 

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