Naked Gun 2 1/2, The: The Smell of Fear (1991)

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Released 6-Jul-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Teaser Trailer-1.85:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:23)
Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:58)
Audio Commentary-David Zucker (Dir), Robert Weiss (Prod) & Peter Tilden
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 81:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Zucker
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Leslie Nielsen
Priscilla Presley
George Kennedy
O.J. Simpson
Robert Goulet
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Ira Newborn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Greek
English
Spanish
French
Italian
Hebrew
Portuguese
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

I suppose that given the relative success of The Naked Gun, it was inevitable that there would be a sequel to the film. It took a few years to come, but sure enough The Naked Gun 2: The Smell Of Fear duly arrived. Now every rule about sequels says that they are basically to be avoided, but this was a slightly different sequel - it actually did slightly better at the box office than the original, but was also an equally amusing film.

Once again, there is little in the way of a plot involved here, for this is really just a sequence of visual gags built around a fairly loose excuse for a framework. This is set a few years after the first film, after the beautiful Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley) has dumped the dour Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen). Things are not good as a result. Jane is mopey and hangs around the office on Saturday nights, whilst Frank still bumbles around making a mess of police work and succeeding despite all that. That bumbling has seen him kill his thousandth drug dealer, and he has been invited to dinner at The White House as a result. At the dinner, where he inflicts havoc upon the poor First Lady, the President announces that he will be supporting the independent report of esteemed Doctor Mannheim (Richard Griffith) regarding the energy future of the United States. Naturally, the non-renewable resource lobbies are not pleased about this and plan to way-lay the report by kidnapping Doctor Mannheim and replacing him with their own facsimile. So it falls to the bumbling Frank Drebin and his bumbling Police Squad colleagues Ed Hocken (George Kennedy) and Nordberg (O. J. Simpson) to do what they can to investigate the bombing of Doctor Mannheim's office, his eventual kidnapping and the stopping of the false Doctor from delivering the false report advocating the ongoing dependence upon non-renewable energy sources. All of these events of course basically revolve around Jane's current beau Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet).

Naturally the gags pile upon each other, some obvious and some subtle, as well as enabling digs to be made at several films - most notably Ghost (which is woefully overdue for release in Region 4) and ET (another film that is woefully overdue for release in Region 4). But beyond the gags that fill out the sails of this voyager through the realm of spoofs are in fact the other ingredients. Personally, I feel that this is a stronger effort by Leslie Nielsen who really seems to have the true gift of being able to play this sort of role with a better-than-straight face, which is more than can be said for Priscilla Presley, who whilst looking stunning seems to have some serious problems keeping an entirely straight face here. The rest of the cast do the fill-up job pretty well, even though not that much is really required of them.

If The Naked Gun was one of the very best spoofs around, then The Naked Gun 2 : The Smell Of Fear is not that far behind at all. I find it a slightly more palatable film on repeated viewings, but that is very much a personal view.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio 1.78:1, being just a slight matting of the original 1.85:1 theatrical release, and it is 16x9 enhanced.

One of the first things that jumped out at me when I sat down to watch the film is the fact that this is not a really terrific transfer. Whilst it is decently sharp throughout, it really does not shine as much as I would have expected for a film of this age. The transfer is at least consistent enough in this regard. Shadow detail is generally only reasonably decent and could have been somewhat better, although the slightly dark nature of the transfer does not aid this aspect of the transfer at all. The whole transfer has a distinctly grainy look to it. Clarity as a result is thus not especially good and this does detract from the overall film somewhat. There did not appear to be any low level noise problems in the transfer.

The colours are well-rendered, being well-saturated and with decent tonal depth, although a tad more depth to the blacks might not have gone astray had the transfer been a little brighter. It is a reasonably vibrant transfer but could have been better in this regard. The overall look of the transfer is quite natural. There is no real indication of oversaturation in the transfer and there is also no indication of any colour bleed.

There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, apart from a slight loss of resolution in pan shots (notably at 1:56). There were consistent problems with aliasing in the transfer but that is the extent of the significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There were a few film artefacts floating around in the transfer, but nothing was especially noticeable.

This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 56:24. It comes almost at the end of a scene, and as a result is just a bit noticeable. A better location could perhaps have been found, or the placement better hidden by being placed just a little later.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

There are five soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to the English and English Audio Commentary soundtracks.

The dialogue comes up very well in the transfer and there are no problems with the clarity and ease of understanding. There are no problems with audio sync in the transfer.

The music score again comes from Ira Newborn and is a nicely complementary soundtrack, albeit again without being overly distinctive.

There really is not much to say about the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. It is not an especially memorable effort and my notes draw a complete blank on any specific issues. The surround channel use, especially the rear channels, is not terrific but they provide a decent enough presence. The bass channel does get a fair degree of action and does enough to make its presence felt when really needed, but it really is a bassier sounding effort than that afforded the Region 1 release. It is pretty much free from distortion or other blemishes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Yet another not exactly stellar package from Paramount but at least better than average.

Menu

Nothing much special in this area, being themed in accord with the cover/poster for the film, but at least they are 16x9 enhanced.

Teaser Trailer (1:23)

A reasonable enough teaser, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing seriously amiss with the technical quality on offer. It thankfully does not give away every gag in the film...

Theatrical Trailer (1:58)

An awful trailer, typical of the 1990s, in that it literally gives away every gag in the film. If you have watched the trailer, you may as well forget about watching the film - there is nothing more to really see. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, is 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing too awry here as far as the technical quality is concerned.

Audio Commentary - David Zucker (Director/Writer), Robert Weiss (Producer) and Peter Tilden (Host)

I vaguely recall a hit song some years back called The Sounds Of Silence. That is probably a good way of describing this commentary, for there is plenty of silence here. Once again, the expectations going in are for a witty, entertaining effort but the reality is that this drags an awful lot at times. There is the occasional piece of interesting information but to get to it you have to wander through a lot of tedium.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

This is identical to the Region 1 release in most respects. A direct comparison between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases indicates that there is not a huge amount of difference between the two, but I have a slight preference for the Region 1 version as the sound is a little less bassy.

Summary

The Naked Gun 2: The Smell Of Fear is well up to the standard of its predecessor and is another good spoof that bears repeated viewings quite well. Unfortunately, the video transfer falls into the ho-hum category and I really feel that something better could have been served here. The audio transfer is good enough without being terrific.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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