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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Animation > Computer Animation > Drugs > Stand Up > Compilation > Action > Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie! (2013/Fox Blu-ray)/Comedy Zen (2006 – 7/Genius DVD)/Jim Jefferies: Fully Functional (2012/Inception DVD)/Shanghai Noon/Shanghai Knights (2000, 2003/Touchstone/Disney B

Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie! (2013/Fox Blu-ray)/Comedy Zen (2006 – 7/Genius DVD)/Jim Jefferies: Fully Functional (2012/Inception DVD)/Shanghai Noon/Shanghai Knights (2000, 2003/Touchstone/Disney Blu-ray)


Picture: B-/C/C+/C+     Sound: B-/C/C+/B-     Extras: C/C+/D/C-     Main Programs: C-/C+/C+/C-



Now for some comedy releases with few laughs…



The one-joke “pot” cycle that Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong created is long played out, but after decades of not working together, Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie! (2013) became their last project and it shows that some reunions are just for nostalgia at best.  However, this one is a novelty for die hard fans of the duo only.  The animation is definitely of the R-rated variety and despite being animated in a new way, goes out of its way in its 83 long minutes the counterculture art of the 1970s.


Created by The Chamber Brothers, we get a Slide Show, a piece on the medical use of their drug of choice and three feature length audio commentary tracks, including a “420” mode to listen to all three in a row.  Yup, you’d better be real skied out to handle that one!



Comedy Zen (2006 – 7/Genius DVD) is an older stand-up compilation that has some of the same raw humor, but offers 135 minutes of the best Asian comics today.  In addition, we get 90 minutes of bonus footage, so it is a pretty complete compilation package.  Comics include Joey Guila, Bobby Lee, Steve Byrne, Dat Phan and Dr. Ken.  Since I first watched this one, I am surprised none of the talents here had a breakthrough, but you never know.



Jim Jefferies: Fully Functional (2012) has the bold Australian comic (younger and shaven on the cover versus how he shows up on stage, older and with some facial hair) delivering a series of hit and miss gags.  Unfortunately, he starts doing an extended situational story joke about rape and the show never totally recovers, even if the story he says is based on a real incident would actually be true.  He is too talented to lower himself to this and that makes this a bit of a disappointment.


There are no extras.



Finally we have a double feature I could live without in Shanghai Noon (2000) and Shanghai Knights (2003) produced by its co-star Jackie Chan and co-starring a then on-the-rise Owen Wilson.  Trying to find its own way to cash in on buddy comedies, the first film was an inexplicable hit, so they made a sequel not understanding their success was pure luck and we get to suffer with both.  Disney issued these films through their Touchstone division and just slapped these two together on one Blu-ray disc.


Never good to begin with, they have not aged well either and are as unfunny as ever, with Wilson lucky he survived these duds and later duds like the idiotic I Spy remake.  I’m no Chan fan to begin with, so to say this is for fans only is an understatement and they never worked as Westerns or period pieces either.  Skip it otherwise.


Should you buy it, you’ll get the old DVD extras including feature length audio commentary tracks (two for the sequel!?!), Deleted Scenes, Music Videos and Making Of featurettes; the first film has several.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 27 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Cheech is remarkably the picture winner here despite its oversimplicity and limited animation.  Color is good and there is little noise.  The same kind of HD image on both Shanghai films have more noise and detail issues then they should have and are likely from older HD masters.  Add all the extras on the single disc and you can see why you would have issues.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the DVDs are softer, but Zen has digititis issues throughout, unfortunately.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix transfer on Cheech is towards the front speakers and the only lossless release on the list, but oddly, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on both Shanghai films are its equal.  Guess the Blu-ray had no room for any lossless sound since so much was crammed on there.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the DVDs is simpler and weaker, but Zen has additional sonic limits unfortunately, though the comics can be heard well for the most part.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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