I thought the 2006 remake of "Pink Panther" was a so-so effort, relying too much on broad slapstick and not putting the talent of stars Kevin Kline and Steve Martin to full use. The film was a moderate success at the box office and DVD, but I can't say I got the sense there was much demand for a sequel. Gone is director Shawn Levy and Kline, and in is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina and others (even Jeremy Irons and Lily Tomlin appear.) Unfortunately, with director Harold Zwart ("Agent Cody Banks 2") at the helm, the results are once again underwhelming, especially given the potential of the talent involved in front of the camera.
Martin once again returns to the role of bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin), who is once again - apparently the Powers That Be didn't learn their lesson in the first movie - when a master thief known simply as "The Tornado" comes out of the shadows after many years and starts nabbing priceless artifacts.
The thefts result in an international all-star team - Vincenzo (Andy Garcia), Pepperidge (Alfred Molina), Kenji (Yuki Matsuzaki) and Sonia (famed Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) - of inspectors being called together to solve the case. Somehow, Clouseau - despite the protests of the Chief (John Cleese) once again finds himself in the middle of another fine mess, joining the inspectors and managing to successfully both demolish property and international relations on his way towards solving the case.
The movie doesn't rely on slapstick as much as the previous film, but unfortunately, it doesn't have much else to offer, as debut screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber come up with a decent enough caper plot for Clouseau to solve, but forget to add much in the way of humor, even going so far as to pull iffy jokes from the first film (Clouseau's pronunciation of "hamburger" gets used once again here as a running gag.) A bit of romance between Clouseau and his secretary (Emily Mortimer) never really goes anywhere interesting.
Martin certainly gives the performance his all - and the 63-year-old Martin still has a remarkable amount of energy - but in the service of a script that only has a few chuckles (mostly thanks to Cleese.) Not sure why or how the likes of Jeremy Irons, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina and Lily Tomlin got involved with this script, but the talented cast at least gives a decent effort.
Overall, "2" is largely more of the same - while I would have hoped such a great cast would be given more to work with, I guess that would be expecting too much.
VIDEO: "Pink Panther 2" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are just fine. Sharpness and detail remained above-average throughout much of the proceedings, as while a few scenes looked a tad soft, most of the presentation looked well-defined. As for flaws, while a few hints of edge enhancement were seen, the picture otherwise looked clean and smooth, with no print flaws or other issues. Colors looked bright and natural, with no smearing or other faults. Although not really noteworthy in any regard, this was a pleasing presentation of the material.
SOUND: "Pink Panther 2" is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. As one might expect, this was primarily a "comedy mix", with limited use of the surrounds beyond some minor ambience and reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue, effects and music.
EXTRAS: "Drama Is Easy, Comedy is Dangerous" and "A Dream Team Like No Other" featurettes, an amusing gag reel and "Master Thief: Global Crime Showdown" trivia game. A more appealing bonus is offered on the third disc, where 27 (3 hours worth) of the classic "Pink Panther" animated cartoons are offered. The second disc offers a digital copy of the film.
Final Thoughts: While once again offering a great cast, the second "Pink Panther" movie doesn't manage to live up to the potential of the actors involved. The Blu-Ray offers fine audio/video quality, along with the very nice bonus of the classic animated shorts. A rental for those who liked the prior film.
The Film C