“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Director: Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz / Actors: Beverly D'Angelo, Paula Garcés, Neil Patrick Harris, David Krumholtz, Jack Conley ... / DVD released 2008-07-29 at New Line Home Video / Features of the DVD: Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, PAL „
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Certificate - 18
Run Time - 107 minutes
Country - USA
Genre - Stoner Comedy
Rental - 99p per night@blockbusters
Bar the shoe and underwear bombers, all the terror plots discovered in America since 911 have been FBI stings, which begs the question is the continuing 'War on Terror' now totally dependent on the FBI planning the attacks? There have been plenty of crackpots and druggies set up with all manner of payments to keep the threat high in America but no actual attacks. One chap, 'Lyman Faris', an American citizen, was bizarrely charged and imprisoned for 'plotting to use blowtorches to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge??? So if the terror threat is being manufactured to keep FBI agents in work then is it time to poke fun at the 'War on Terror'? The answer for Harold and Kumar is a big fat yes, cult comedians John Cho and Kal Pen, South East Asian enough to not only have the appearance to get away with exactly that but the balls too. Amnesty International USA were not that happy though, saying that 'Guantanamo Bay is no Joke', pressing their members to hand out flyers to remind multiplex patrons before and after the film of just that. The cinema goers did not reciprocate and no doubt too stoned to care.
This film is a direct sequel to the first of the trilogy; Harold & Kumar get the Munchies (2004), carrying on immediately from where it ended. If you didn't see film one then the set up is basically that the boys like their weed and fast food and spent the whole film trying to get high and crown the Friday night off with a 'Whitecastle Burger', their favorite takeaway chain 'munchie', whatever that takes, getting into all manner of scrapes and racist episodes in the process. Although this one klaxons Guantanamo Bay on the dust cover the boys are not in the orange jump suits very long and so don't expect some sort of clever political comedy and statement on Americas apparent war on Islam here. This is an above average stoner comedy and not Fahrenheit 911.
John Cho ... Harold
Kal Penn ... Kumar
Neil Patrick Harris ... Neil Patrick Harris
Danneel Ackles ... Vanessa
Eric Winter ... Colton
Paula Garcés ... Maria
Raza ... Amir Talai
Rob Corddry ... Ron Fox
Jon Reep ... Raymus
Missi Pyle ... Raylene
Mark Munoz ... Cyrus
James Adomian ... George W. Bush
Beverly D'Angelo ... Sally
Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are back from Whitecastles after a very long night of drug abuse, racism, hallucinations and chasing the perfect burger. But in-keeping with their frantic lifestyle they are soon flying to Amsterdam to catch up with Maria (Paula Garcés), their next door neighbor, who, Harold has a huge crush on. At the airport they run into old college friends Vanessa (Danneel Ackles) Colton (Eric Winter), who are engaged to be married, but Kumar still carrying a flame for Vanessa as the two were an item at college and he always wandered if he can win her back. But, through a serious of unfortunate incidents on the plane, one involving Kumar's 'automated and portable bong', they are arrested by Homeland Security for being terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay.
But no prison can hold two love struck Asians in need of weed and they soon bust out after the prospect of felating the guards and reading the Koran everyday didn't appeal. With the help of a Cuban raft or two they pitch up in Miami and seek help from their wealthy computer hacker friend Raz (Amir Talai), who sorts them out with Hawaiian shirts and a sports car, not exactly appropriate for lying low from the FBI, the boys heading to Texas where Colton and Vanessa are to be married.
On their journey they take sanctuary with a hillbilly couple, Raymus (Jon Reep) and Raylene (Missi Pyle), with surprising tastes in décor, share a joint with none other than George W Bush (James Adomian) and again run into Dougie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris), all this with just about all of Americas law enforcement on their tale. But will they get to the church on time?
"Hey, you're not one of them Kung-Fu Asians? You're a pussy math's Asian!
It's ok but not as funny and fresh as film one, which means it's still better than most of the current crop of American comedies out there in the last twenty years. Judd Apatow and co have cornered the market in the 'stoner' comedy and at least made it a little smarter than the usual teen stuff and so with the obtuse racial mix and comment here on the demonization of Islam and Asian issues in America there's room for Harold & Kumar in the genre. Although this one is inferior to the original the boys have earned cult status in the college crowd and so followed that momentum through here to make $44 million back from the films $14 million budget, double the money the original did. There is a third film out in 3D but not seen it yet and so don't know how well it did.
I laughed now and then as I did cringe occasionally, one or two scenes out of the place on what the vibe is supposed to be. Maybe they thought they needed more fart jokes to draw an even bigger audience. The comment on American racism towards all ethnic minorities mixes in well with the puerile stuff and the script pretty sharp with plenty of college humor and observation, but done in a way that doest try to be too clever, lad humor at its most cheeky with a nod and a wink. It's the type of humor that's going to be enjoyed for its unique flavors and yet silly at the same times. Just seeing two American Asian actors up on screen in the comic lead that don't have kung-fu skills is refreshing and funny enough to justify you guys rent this.
---Blue Ray Extras---
If you chose the BluRay double disc set the unrated edition is featured there, which I chose the option to see. The 2-disc version features a "Dude Change the Movie" feature which lets the viewer access alternate scenes and endings, including "Harold & Kumar Go to Amsterdam. You can really mess around with the plot with this option and have the boys land in Amsterdam without being arrested. These extensions are mildly funny but really just interpolated deleted scenes. The regular option on the same disc without BlueRay includes the same extras below.
The extras also include two commentaries, one with writer/directors Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz and Cho and Penn, and the second with the two writer/directors and "The Real Harold Lee and actor James Adomian.
---The World of Harold and Kumar (22 min.)---
This is a making of that's engaging enough with some silliness form cast & crew
There are eighteen (19 min.).
Nine alternate takes and/or fun takes where they just go off in efferent directions for goofs.
There's also a bit by the fake George W. Bush (2 min.)
NY Times - "[The movie's] idiocy serves the cause of good sense and intelligence. And no, I'm not smoking anything".
The Guardian -"Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay embraces America's capacity for decency and kindness. The possibility that we could actually be that great country isn't just a pipe dream. Only sometimes you need a pipe to truly believe in it".
The Independent - "A bag of shoddy skits that barely qualifies as a movie and taints pleasant memories of their previous clowning besides"
The Seattle Sound -"For a stoner comedy, it makes some lucid points"
The Sydney Morning Herald - "The film is so even-handed and so diligent in its urge to offend that after a while I felt myself go numb".
Imdb.com - 6.5/10 (64,456votes)
Metacritic.com - 57% critics approval rating
Rottentomatos.com - 54% critics approval rating
Leonard Maltin's Film Year Book - 2/4
Radio times film Year Book -2/4
This is the second movie in the Harold and Kumar series and once again stars John Cho and Kal Penn in the lead roles. It is a typical stoner comedy just like the first film. The film was released in the summer of 2008 and currently has a quite respectable score of 6.8/10 from 40,130 votes on imdb.com.
Following on from their quest to cure the munchies in the first film the pair are about to go on a trip to Amsterdam to follow Harold's dream girl Maria and also go to the Marijuana capital of the world. Whilst on the plane to Amsterdam they are mistaken for terrorists as the bong they are carrying on the plane is mistaken for a bomb and they are sent to Guantanamo Bay. They break out and begin a cross country road trip to try and clear their name and also get the girls of their dreams.
If you are in the mood for slapstick and silly humour as well as crude dialogue then this is certainly a film for you. If you are not a fan of seeing nudity, drug use and bad language then this is probably not one to consider watching. It has an 18 certificate due to all of this. If you have seen the first film you will know what to expect and will already know whether you will like it or not.
This film is a bit of brainless fun. It does have quite a few funny moments though and makes fun of the security operations and government in America in terms of its handling of terrorism. The jokes around this are quite funny and Rob Corddry as the government agent is quite hilarious. There is also a cameo role for Neil Patrick Harris again who plays himself and is quite good. There are plenty of other characters to meet along the way in the film as well.
Kal Penn and John Cho play their roles in the way you come to expect from them in such a film. They are not really going to win major film awards and are not in anyway spectacular but they are good for this film. Their characters although completely crazy do have their own problems and these are shown as well which revolve around parents, love, friendship as well as some other issues .The film overall is pretty ok and does what you would expect from it but I would not say it was anything great for me so I would give it 3/5 stars.
Neil Patrick Harris
The 2008 sequel to 2004's 'Harold and Kumar go to White Castle' was originally due to be released straight to DVD, but plans were changed last minute and there was a limited theatre release that summer, followed by a DVD release later that year. As before, it was directed and produced by Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz with a budget of $12 million it was the first New Line Cinema release to be distributed by Warner Bros. and eventually grossed $43.32 million worldwide.
It was met with mixed critical reviews with most people agreeing it wasn't as good as the original. Amnesty International also slammed the subject matter stating Guantanamo bay was "no joke" and the USA division encouraging its members to hand out leaflets at theatre screenings. Despite all this there are plans for a sequel.
Harold Lee and Kumar Patel decide to fly to Amsterdam to find Harold's lost love, Maria. At the airport they bump into Kumar's old flame, Vanessa and her fiancé Colton. Once on the plane Kumar attempts to light his new invention, a smokeless bong, which is mistaken for a bomb. Hence they are sent to Guantanamo Bay by the rather neurotic Undersecretary for Homeland Security, Ron Fox. They escape and head to Texas to find Colton and hopefully get some help from his well connected father.
What follows is a series of sketches based around drugs, sex and racism ending with Colton's betrayal and our luckless pair jumping from a plane into President George W. Bush's home. After bonding over marijuana, Bush pardons them both and sends the secret service to help them. They go to Colton's wedding and stop it, then travel to Amsterdam (Vanessa in tow) to find Maria. All ends happily with the foursome enjoying the delights Amsterdam has to offer.
John Cho and Kal Penn star as the stoner duo with Paula Garces as Maria and Neil Patrick Harris playing a satirical version of himself.
JOHN YOHAN CHO
Probably best known for his part in the American Pie Films, he has also guest starred in Charmed as a ghost, is a recurring cast member of Ugly Betty and was voted one of the sexiest men alive by the readers of people Magazine in 2006. He also played Hikaru Sulu in the recent Star Trek movie.
There is much more to Kal Penn than you would imagine on seeing only the Harold and Kumar films. His real name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, but he changed his name as part of an experiment to see if a more Western sounding name would get him more acting roles in a white dominated industry. The result was a 50% rise in call backs. Despite his character in this film he is a teetotal non-smoker and a strict vegetarian to boot. He has had numerous roles in films including 'Superman Returns', 'Dude, Where's the Party?' and 'The Namesake' (for which he received the Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actor in May 2007). He is also a politician, abruptly leaving his recent TV role in 'House' in April 2009 to join the Obama White House as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
From humble beginnings (her father was a fisherman and her mother a school teacher) Garces has had role in many of the HBO series including CSI: Miami, The Sopranos, Oz and The Shield.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
Most famous for his lead role as the young doctor Doogie Howser (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe), Harris also plays the womanising Barney Stinson in 'How I met Your Mother'. What you are probably unaware of is that he has taken many roles in musicals including Cabaret and Sweeney Todd.
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THE FILM
To be honest this is not really my sort of film. This kind of 'dumb kids find themselves in ridiculous situations, but manage to get out of it because they're good guys really' type film has now been done to death and the idea that the world is saved by cannabis yet again is now getting tedious. Don't get me wrong there are lots of valid reasons as to why the drug should legalised, I just doubt that (for all their good intentions) your average stoner could find the energy to go save the world from imminent danger. That being said this film did have a few humorous moments and occasional political points to make, but overall it did seem to drag a little.
This is the sequel to "Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies" & follows on directly from where the last film finished. It's not essential that you have watched the first film to be able to enjoy this, but I would say it helps greatly in understanding the 2 lead characters & their general behaviour.
Harold sees the love of his life everyday in the lift but has never had the courage to tell her how she feels. She's off to Amsterdam for a week but he can't wait till she gets back to tell her, so Harold & his best mate Kumar decide to fly there instead. However a sequence of events on the plane labels them wrongly as terrorists & they are sent to Guantanamo Bay as a result. They actually manage to escape from here & end up going on the run. I won't spoil the rest for you but will they get away & what happens to Kumar's love? You'll have to watch to find out.
This is classed as a comedy, however I don't think there are as many laugh out loud moments as the first offering. On a positive note though I think the story is better developed, has alot more depth to it & isn't as predictable.
If you enjoyed the first film, I think you'll want to see this & see how the story develops for the duo. It's available for less than a fiver at numerous places online, at this price it's great value & definetly worth a watch.
note: appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
There are probably few people who thought that a sequel to the rousing stoner comedy Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was a good idea. Miraculously, though, the end result equals, if not outdoes the first film - a Beavis and Butthead-esque political satire that's got enough crude humour, clever gags and likeable leads to please just about everyone who isn't too easily offended.
The film continues where the first film ends, with Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) leaving to go to Amsterdam to find Maria, the girl Harold previously confessed his love for. However, on the flight there, their bong is mistaken for a bomb, and they are imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. They escape, and then are chased on a rather hilarious set of capers, as the absurdly overserious government try to recapture the two, who themselves come across a rather diverse set of wierdies across the landscape of America. Oh, and Neil Patrick Harris returns once again as himself, once again up to no good.
What made the first film such a hit was that it sought to undo every stereotype possible, and so the second film follows suit - firmly deconstructing numerous firmly held stereotypes, perhaps most hilariously as the boys enter a predominantly black neighbourhood and have their expectations turned entirely upside down. As far as recent American comedy goes, it's about as good as it gets - charming, clever, and thoroughly entertaining.
Harold and Kumar 2 succeeds where few comedy sequels do - it is as hilarious and irreverent as the first film, and arguably better. The transcendence of racial stereotypes is present once again, and the political sentiments are appropriately balanced.
This was the first film I watched out of the two made and I was on the floor with my sides splitting (maybe not that bad, but you get what I mean).
A brief plot... It basically follows two friends, Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn), who are on their way to Amsterdam to smoke 'pot' and to see Harold's girlfriend, Maria (Paula Garcés). En route to Amsterdam Kumar smuggles cannabis onto the plane and proceeds to try and get high but they are mistaken for terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and are on the run from the government.
This has to be one of my favourite comedies to date and it has me laughing all the way through. I love the stereotypical American FBI agent and just love some of the really hilarious moments of the film like when they land in George W. Bush's house and they get high together.
There are some really good jokes in this film and some great slapstick humour. The addition of some really hilarious actors such as Neil Patrick Harris, who plays himself, and the addition of George W. Bush (James Adomian) make this film an entertaining watch.
Is it worth getting on Bluray? In this case no. There aren't any high speed chases or big amounts of action and the lack of high-altitude and brilliant scenery don't make it worth the purchase in high definition.
Overall a really good film that follows on nicely with the first.
I am a fan of 'bad' comedies. By this I mean comedy films that are designed to be brainless, but enjoyable. These films often star Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell. However, within this type of film is a kind that I have never got on with - the stoner comedy. The US seems to be enamoured with marijuana and its effects. Perhaps it's because a lot of the country is warm enough for them to grow their own, but for me the films just don't work. As far back as 'Cheech and Chong' to modern fair like 'Pineapple Express' these films are all about how cool it is to be drugged - not something I can relate to in any meaningful way with 'Vic's Vapour Rub' being the strongest thing in my house. Despite these misgivings I have a soft spot for 'Howard and Kumar Get the Munchies', a 2004 stoner comedy. It had many drug references, but was also irrelevant and crass enough for me to enjoy - could its sequel 'Howard and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay' hold the same average appeal?
After the near death experiences of 'Munchies' you would have thought that Howard and Kumar would be up for some rest. However, when Howard realises that the love of his life has gone to Amsterdam, Kumar persuades him to follow. One midflight bong incident later and the gruesome twosome find themselves in Guantanamo Bay. With not the brightest guards around to stop them, H and K escape and go on a road trip. Their destination is the wedding of Kumar's ex-girlfriend; her fiancé is a man who can clear their name. On the way they will get into trouble once more from Klan meetings to again crossing paths with Doogie Howser, M.D.
'Escape' is a very puerile and stupid comedy film that is chauvinistic and encourages drug use; now for some of the negative aspects. What the film manages to do is intersperse the drug based jokes with enough genuine humour to make them bearable. One thing that did surprise me about the film was the number of quite cutting jokes the film had especially in terms of race and terrorism. The entire concept of setting a comedy around Guantanamo Bay is controversial, but somehow this film pulls it off. The sections around the CIA and FBI are perhaps the most telling as they are both intelligent and stupid in equal measure. In a roundabout way the makers of 'Escape' are trying to say something about the current climate of fear in America, but also be horribly crass.
To try and watch 'Escape' with any notion of intelligent debate would be the wrong thing to do as the film is daft and a little sickening at times. However, as a gross out comedy it actually managed to make me chuckle once or twice. 'Escape' is an 18 certificate and for this reason it goes further in what it shows. There is plenty of nudity on offer, so for people who are offended by this the film is a no-no. However, if you are that type of person I will be shocked if you manage to watch the film long enough to get to the nudey bits!
In terms of comedic presence stars Kal Penn as Kumar and John Cho as Howard are ok. They do the job that is necessary, but are never outstanding. For me the funniest roles are played by cameo appearances. Ron Corddry is very good at playing the stupid American agent and Neil Patrick Harris return as himself was once again good fun. The entire film rattles along at such a pace and with so many different people that you never get the chance to like or dislike anyone too much.
It is hard to say who would really like a film such as 'Howard and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay'. I am a fan of crass comedy and for me this film had enough laughs to make it worth watching, which is saying a lot as the genre is currently filled with overly sexualised and unfunny films. The plot is fast paced and touches occasionally on some interesting ideas, even if they are treated with contempt. This is perhaps a movie best left for lads to watch after they come back from the pub, everyone else may feel too nauseous after watching.
Director: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Starring: John Cho and Kal Penn
Price: Amazon uk £7.78
There are a few extras on the DVD if you want to watch them including deleted scenes, commentaries and some insights into the world of H and K.
To watch a buddy waster movie I hasve to be in the right frame of mind and no that is not wasted before you ask, instead I have to be in a silly purile mood because usually that is what this sort of comedy is and in the case of Harold ( John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) Escape from Guantanamo Bay I must have been in such a mood because I enjoyed it. Actually I quite enjoyed the first movie to feature the two stoners and this one picks up right where that one ended.
On route to Amsterdam for a pothead holiday Kumar has smuggled some dope onto the plane, when he is spotted lighting his bong a nervous passenger assumes he is a terrorist and his own pathetic attempts only worsen the situation and next thing they know the pair are shipped off to Guantanamo. Managing to escape during a mass break out they set out to clear their names.
As a double act these two work really well together, hey is a ring of the Bill and Teds about them however they use the racial card a lot to gain laughs, poking fun at the stereotypes that exist in American society.
The heavy drug and sex references mean this is not a film for young children but it will appeal to the older teen market that it is aimed at, there are some very funny moment in the film and while there is a sense of repitition in the comedy when compared with the first movie there is stll enough inciteful observational humour to make thefilm work. It does have its limitations but if you are in the right mood then it is an enjoyable film to watch.
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
The world was first introduced to Harold and Kumar when, in 2004, the lovable pair debuted with the hit stoner comedy 'Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle', a tale of the troubles the two faced when trying to reach their favorite fast food outlet, after getting 'the munchies'.Unique, experimental, and hilarious, Harold and Kumar looked set to increase in fame and popularity when 'Escape From Guantanamo Bay' was released, and a third film has already been announced.
Starting literally only a few minutes after the ending sequences of the first film, 'Escape from Guantanamo Bay' begins with America's favorite pothead pals Harold Lee and Kumar Patel preparing to fly to Amsterdam so that Harold can pursue a budding romance with his neighbor, and of course to legally smoke weed. At the airport, Kumar manages to smuggle some of his marijuana on the plane, and is eager to try out his new invention, a smokeless bong. However, when an old lady sees him lighting the bong, she suspects him to be a terrorist, and when he shouts "It's just a bong!" he makes things worse for himself, as he gets misheard and the passengers think he's bragging about having a bomb.
Despite their protests of innocence, Harold and Kumar get detained, and sent to the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp, their respective races serving as the only evidence the prosecutors need. Here they must face troubles from both the prison guards and inmates, and in the nick of time they're grateful to have the opportunity to escape when some fellow inmates stage a break-out.
They're now faced with only one option - to return to the USA and clear their names. However, as expected, their expedition is not without obstacles, and a whole host of zany characters lie before them. Can the fugitives clear their name in time, or will it be back to Guantanamo?
Characters, Acting, Directing and Writing:
Acting and Characters:
John Cho as Harold Lee:
Harold Lee is the good, well-behaved, half of the brilliant comedy duo, the yin to Kumar's yang. He works hard, and after a long hard day at the office, he likes to get stoned, which unites him with the similarly likewise minded Kumar.He comes from an Asian background, but his parents speak fluent English with strong American accents, indicating that his family has probably lived in America for at least a few generations, although this doesn't stop the racial oppression he is on the receiving end of on much of his travels.
Cho is very good as Lee, a man who appreciates the values of working hard, fine films and literature, and also the occasional spliff. He portrays a very believable character, and has made the role his own.
Kal Penn as Kumar Patel:
Kumar is a 22 year old Indian medical student, living the easy life with his room-mate Harold; smoking pot, enjoying a life of leisure, and trying his hardest not to get a job, despite his remarkable intellect.
He also speaks with an American accent, but the racial prejudice still affects him; the theme of racism being a very strong area of laughs in the film.
Penn is everything Kumar needed to be; quirky, clever, and outrageously funny. He delivers a brilliant performance that completes the second half of a wonderful double act.
No other actor in the film has much of a role, but their are some nice cameo performances, particularly from Neil Patrick Harris, who plays a fictionalized version of himself in which he's a heavy drug user and womanizer (despite being openly gay in real life).
Another nice addition was the performances of Harold and Kumar's orthodox Jewish friends Rosenberg and Goldstein (Thomas and Krumholtz) whose roles in the film have led to ideas of a spin-off movie for them.
The cast generally acts very well in the film, and there are lots of surprise performances and cameos from a good acting team, which is vital in any film.
Directing and Writing:
The film was co-directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who also wrote the script for both films, although White Castle was directed by Danny Leiner.
They bring lots of new ideas to the film, using their directing and writing skills to play around with racial issues a lot. An example of this is the first scene when Kumar is on the plane. We see him normally, and then switch to the viewpoint of a white American lady. Immediately, Kumar turns from normal citizen into Osama Bin Laden-esque terrorist, laughing and threatening to blow up the plane. Whilst obviously exaggerated, this scene still remains hilarious and to a certain point true as to the views of many.
They also use a lot of sex and drugs to generate their laughs in the film, which isn't exactly the most intelligent form of humor, but still very amusing nonetheless. All in all, the directors have carried on from the good work of the first film and delivered another nice movie here.
Overall, I would recommend this film to anyone who is able to laugh at some of the more sensitive issues like race, and also enjoys the easier humor of sex and drugs. However, one criticism of the film would be that it has no real storyline, and while the same thing could be said about the first film, it was on a much lower scale, and didn't really matter then.
It's no classic, and is probably not as good as the first Harold and Kumar, but if you ever have a boring evening when nothing's on TV, then this is the perfect film. Guaranteed to make you cry with laughter in parts, and even contains a bit of romance and drama, Harold and Kumar is one of those films that always delivers some golden moments of comedy, and can be enjoyed by all.
Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay was certainly not my choice of Sunday night viewing but as it was Ciao`s product of the week and I am trying to raise as much money as possible for charity I gave it a go in order to be able to review it.
Ridiculous, outrageous, stupid, politically incorrect but still funny in places would probably be my initial way to describe this movie. The script and the actions of the two is probably best suited to teenagers and their sense of humour but there were moments throughout the movie that I have to admit raised a smile in me.
Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay is actually a follow on from the first movie in the series which I have to admit I have not seen. Having read a bit about the first on IMDB, it appears that this one picks up exactly where the last left off.
Harold, played by John Cho has become besotted, perhaps even obsessed with his girlfriend Maria, played by Paula Garces. Maria has jetted off to Amsterdam on a modelling job and Harold is determined to follow on, so with friend Kumar, played by Kal Penn in tow he too sets off for Amsterdam.
With these two guys being real stoners and Amsterdam being well known as the cannabis capital of the world, you would expect this to cause all sorts of problems but the fact is the two do not even make it off the plane without being in big trouble.
Kumar reveals to Harold that he has made a smokeless bong so they can get stoned on the plane, however the device appears to the other passengers to be some sort of explosive device and assume that Harold and Kumar are terrorists. The pair are detained by the air marshals and sent to Guantanamo Bay without trial.
The conditions inside Guantanamo bay are horrendous and the fact that Harold wants to be with his girlfriend lead to the pair taking advantage of an opportunity to escape, once on the run they must try to clear themselves of any wrong doing or they will be thrown straight back in as soon as they are caught.
I personally though the story line was fairly weak and really it has all been done before although I can see why this would appeal to the younger people because it is very immature humour at times.
The whole thing pushes the boundaries a bit which I actually quite like, I hate political correctness and what it is doing to this country and I love the fact that this movie takes it down a peg or two but really it is all a bit silly with no great acting and no real appeal.
The movie is full of what teenagers like including some nudity thrown in here and there (I did not mind the nudity either) and i will probably sound older than my years by slagging this movie off but it was no blockbuster, won't be winning any awards and really was not all that funny either.
THE MAIN CAST
John Cho ... Harold Lee
Kal Penn ... Kumar Patel
Rob Corddry ... Ron Fox
Jack Conley ... Deputy Frye
Roger Bart ... Dr. Jack Beecher
Neil Patrick Harris ... Neil Patrick Harris
Danneel Harris ... Vanessa Fanning
Eric Winter ... Colton Graham
Paula Garcés ... Maria
Certificate 18 (due to offensive language and nudity)
Runtime - 107 minutes
Audio - English Dolby
Video - Widescreen 16.9
(I cannot comment on extras because the copy I had was rented and therefore had none)
OVERALL OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION
This is not a movie I would recommend to people in general but if this type of thing is your scene then you will probably get something from it. The humour is few and far between and it really offers little in the way of story line.
I feel a bit more effort on the one liner`s in this movie could have created a few more laughs that would have seen it improve a little but I doubt there is much anyone could have done to make me really enjoy this movie, except perhaps switch it off.
Perhaps the only good thing about this DVD is that if you do want to watch it then you will almost certainly find it in the bargain bucket and indeed I have seen it in Asda for £5 (still overpriced at that if you ask me)!
It gets a 3/10 from me and I might be being a bit kind at that!!
Thanks for reading!
Having been fortunate enough to stumble upon the first Harold and Kumar outing, named Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies whilst flicking through the sky channels. After incessantly laughing at nearly every joke made throughout the film, I noticed the movie had been left on a cliffhanger of sorts. I rapidly got up; searched online and yes I was right, there was a sequel. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is the next instalment in the H&K series.
A sequel is always tricky to pull off, ask any director. I can remember countless times after watching a second film in a series, where I have been left disappointed. The Matrix springs to mind as being an appalling sequel, closely followed by Oceans Twelve, and the latest versions of American Pie have sadly killed quite an amusing brand. Having said all that, I approached this film with caution and despair.
After this undue despair I had placed on the heads of the writers and directors John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, I am glad to say that film is utterly hilarious. The writers have done a great job of keeping the same humour that all us H&K fans love and made us enjoy the first film.
Anyway, the first film starts where it left off. After Maria, the woman Harold has lusted over for so long has finally accepted his request, is unfortunately whisked away to Amsterdam before he can seal the deal. He and his pal Kumar decide to pursue her whilst inevitably due to the fortuitous circumstance that Maria is holidaying to Amsterdam; Kumar can have some fun in the process. Whilst at the airport, Kumar bumps into his ex-girlfriend who is now about to marry the guy he later despises.
Once on the plane, Kumar goes to the toilets to enjoy his new invention - the smokeless bong. An older lady spots him and is soon shouting ''terrorist'' due to their ethnicity and this suspicious object Kumar is carrying. They are sent to Guantanamo Bay but by unforeseen events, they are able to escape. They go in search of Kumar's ex-girlfriend's fiancée, Colton, whose father may be able to help them.
They are betrayed by Colton but after having a nice little chat with President Bush over some marihuana, he is able to help them and get them to the wedding of Colton and Vanessa. A fight breaks out between Kumar and Colton, where Kumar eventually wins the affections of Vanessa by reciting a poem that he wrote when they first met.
Vanessa, Harold and Kumar all travel to Amsterdam in search of Maria. Predictably, Harold finds her.
Obviously with it being a comedy the storyline isn't great, but the possibilities that the writers have set themselves up with is brilliant due to the fact that they are Asian and Indian and on the run. It is much like Euro Trip in the sense that various different obstacles pop up along the way. However, these are even more outrageous. Various scenarios include giving a blow job to a rather large person as punishment whilst in prison, staying the night at a house inhabited by inbreeds, joining the ku-klux Klan despite their different ethnicity and going to a bottomless party where a nipple is frowned upon, but a full frontal show of downstairs is acceptable. A humorous cameo appearance from Neil Patrick Harris and it's the perfect movie. This all makes for hilarious viewing and some of the lines accompanying the comical situations are even making me laugh whilst writing this now.
The two leads in this film do a brilliant job. John Cho plays Harold. I only knew him for his small part in American Pie 2 but I believe he has been in quite a few American dramas like Greys Anatomy and Ugly Betty. He delivers each line perfectly and is definitely my favourite character of the film.
Kumar is played by Kal Penn. I had my concerns over him due to his poor performances in the equally poor Van Wilder but he does pull it out the bag here and deserves all the recognition he gets.
There are two minor problems with Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. The film is supposed to take place about a day after the first film but it was actually released four years later. Both Kumar and particularly Harold looked to have aged significantly and this petty thing really did annoy me. Also, I think the film is inappropriately named as they only spend what seems like five minutes of the entire ninety-six in Guantanamo Bay. However, these small problems do not affect the rating that I have given.
In conclusion, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is one hilarious roller coaster ride. It's explicit, vulgar and is definitely the rudest comedy I have ever seen. The humour is puerile, volatile and silly, but somehow still manages to be witty. The jokes are drug-related, sex-related or completely unpolitically correct. My favourite kind! It's an 18, and completely merits that, but it somehow managed to get away with an R over in the states!
The film is a non-stop barrel of laughs and has merited all the praise it has gotten. Definitely an improvement on an already superb first film. It reminds much like the Bad Boys series. The first was excellent but the characters have now had time to develop and the writers have realised what went down well and what didn't. I'm not a big fan of toilet humour so I was pleased to notice that it has died down a bit on this film, thankfully. I cannot recommend this enough as I've had pleasure of watching this movie four times and each time I have uncovered new jokes that I had previously missed.
The DVD is available in 2-disc and contains some decent bonus features which are worth a watch. I bought my copy from HMV on the first few weeks of release but you can get them for around £7 now from amazon.co.uk and hmv.co.uk.
I wait in anticipation for a 3rd..
Escape from Guantanamo Bay is the sequel to the first Harold and Kumar film "Go to white castle" which was very successful as it surprised it's audience that went into watching it with the expectations of it just being another stoner movie, which to some extent it was but it had definitely had something different about it to set it apart from the crowd. (Which in my opinion was the excellent cast) White castle is currently rated at 7.2 stars out of 10 on IMDB with 40,000+ votes which for a 4 year old movie isn't too bad.
=== So what happens in this movie? ===
(Brief spoiler warning)
Harold and Kumar decide to go to Amsterdam so Harold can pursue his romance with Maria. Whilst on the plane, Kumar gets into some trouble and ends up getting arrested, They are sent to Guantanamo Bay. And have to do some pretty un-pleasant things in order to escape, and make their way to Florida, and head for Texas in search for Kumar's ex-girlfriend's fiancé whilst the feds are in hot pursuit, and the weed of Amsterdam seems far away.
=== John Cho and Kal Penn ===
John Cho plays the role of Harold in the movie. John Cho is a very succesful actor with countless roles in multiple forms of media, film, adverts etc. You would probally remember him from the American Pie series. Kal Penn plays the role of Kumar in the movie and is also another very succesful actor and you've probally seen him in Van Wilder. Another fact to point out is if you've seen both of the mentioned films of the actors then i would defintallely reccomed this film too as it has the same narative conventions and stereotypes. I personally think that both actors were actually born to act with each other, it's hard to think of a harold and Kumar without imagining these two. They play the roles excellent and bring each their own and others characters to life. You can't have harold without Kumar, and you can't imagine Kumar without harold. They make a perfect harmony for one of the funniest films i've seen.
=== Realism ===
Sure you don't expect realism in a stoner comedy movie, and your right there isn't much realism here when it comes to the story line but i can't help but feel that the characters some how give a realism or lets say a majority view of how certain people are for example because of their race people around them are ignorant and prejudice towards them and tip-toe around political correctness. However Kumar is'nt actually very bothered about his race or how people act but uses it as an excuse for example when being searched at the airport he shouts out ethnic profiling but only to distract the guards from finding his weed. And to his fellow passengers Kumar's bong looks like a bomb obviously. And because of Harold being Korean, the authorities believe that Al Qaeda and North Korea are allies. They even deal with good old Mr George W Bush and reflect the stereotype of him being stupid. But overall Some-what realistic.
Information of the movie
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 30,000+ votes
Awards: 1 Win and 1 nomination
Runtime: 107 minutes
Rating; Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use.My overall rating of the film 7/10
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is the most recent installment of the Harold and Kumar series. Released in 2008, this film starts off where the previous one left off and Harold and Kumar intend to go to Amsterdam but when Kumar begins to light his battery operated smokeless bong in the toilet, he alerts an old lady who felt worried by his presence on the flight who screams terrorist and somehow Harold and Kumar find themselves heading for Guantanamo Bay and the dubious "cock sandwich", this film was an improvement on the first one, I found it to be funnier, more exciting and the goal at the end is somewhat more interesting than simply eating a lot of burgers.
Whilst there's still quite a bit of swearing, it's mostly nudity which would raise eye brows in this film. It's by no means the funniest film ever made but there is enough to keep you laughing and enough characters to love and hate, personally I find the constantly mushroom chomping Neil Patrick Harris incredibly irritating but James Adomian's performance of a crazy George Bush is highly enjoyable, likewise Eric Winter as Colton is equally good at acting out the bloke you want to slap.
Some of the jokes continue from the first one and if you've watched them back to back like me, this could easily become a bit boring but with 4 years between the release dates, I suppose that you are not really supposed to watch one after the other! Light entertainment but really not that bad at all.
Following on from where the original left out, Harold & Kumar are on their adventure to find the hottie in Amsterdam! Turns out they are suspencted terrorists and get sent to Guantanamo bay whilst being arrested on the plane (the plane scene by the way is hillarious).
The storyline again is complete garbage as was the first, but I didn't find it quite as funny as the first. The actors are great (I do love John Cho) but it's a little less comical and feels a little too serious at certain points. It's another great movie to watch with your mates, certainly not something to cuddle up to your partner with, unless they like it too!
Favourite scene - The plane at the start "bong, not bomb"
I really recommend watching this movie, though I'm not sure if it's one you'll watch over and over again (unlike the first). The bottomless party by the way is an awsome idea, truley inspirational
I'll start off by saying if you liked "Harold and Kumar get the Munchies", then the chances are your going to like this awell.
The film starts off with Harlod (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) heading off to Amsterdam, chasing after Maria (Paula Garces).
They end up locked up in Guantanamo Bay after being mistaken for terrorists.
The actual escape isn't exactly the main plot, running from the US Government is.
As with the first, Harold and Kumar get side tracked quite alot.
One of sidetrackings again including Neil Patrick Harris (Himself).
This movie is again laughter from start to finish and well worth the watch especiall yif your a fan of the first movie, but would also be enjoyable for those of you who haven't seen the first as there is nothing really to catch up on. Characters from the first re-appear and some references to the first movie are made, but that wont spoil your (non-first movie watchers) enjoyment.