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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Barbershop: The Next Cut (Blu-ray)
Barbershop: The Next Cut (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // July 26, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted August 15, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

It has been more than a decade since the previous Barbershop film, and I was somewhat surprised to hear the initial rumblings about a possible belated second sequel. Barbershop: The Next Cut brings back cast members Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Common and Regina Hall, and adds new faces like Anthony Anderson and rapper Nicki Minaj. This is a surprisingly thoughtful and topical film set amid an outbreak of violence on Chicago's South Side. Some of the relationship and co-worker melodrama is overplayed and detracts from the film, but Barbershop: The Next Cut is both a worthy sequel and standalone film.

Calvin Palmer Jr. (Ice Cube) continues to work at his family-owned barbershop alongside partner Angie (Hall). Unbeknownst to her, Calvin entertains co-worker One Stop's (J. B. Smoove) suggestion that he open a trendier shop uptown in light of the recent gun violence on the South Side. This issue is particularly important to Calvin and wife Jennifer (Jazsmin Lewis) because the couple's teenage son, Jalen (Michael Rainery Jr.), is recruited by a local gang leader (rapper Tyga) and begins acting out. Calvin fears losing his son, and his co-workers help organize a day of peace on the South Side, during which time they offer their services free of charge to anyone who walks through the door.

Ice Cube always plays gruff, secretly thoughtful characters with ease, and his Calvin Palmer Jr. is no exception. A lot of what makes this and the previous Barbershop films work is the easygoing chemistry between the actors. Not much has changed inside the shop, and the movie revives familiar bits with grumpy, aging barber Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), and offers the expected infighting between some of the sassier stylists. That director Malcolm D. Lee tackles topical issues like gang violence and underrepresented, inner-city voices is impressive. This could have easily become a string of cliches, but, instead, Barbershop: The Next Cut is a pleasantly thoughtful film.

The comedy mostly works amid the recurring drama, but some of the more over-the-top gags detract from the core story. Nicki Minaj's character Draya tries to slide into Rashad (Common) and Terri's (Eve) marriage, but that storyline is grating. Minaj's baby-talk acting is not particularly impressive, and her character, who also boasts a dangerous gang leader as a client, seems like a flat-out terrible human being. Better is the tension between Calvin and Rashad when Calvin accuses Rashad's son Kenny (Diallo Thompson) of promoting a gang lifestyle to Jalen. I also like the loyalty and respect between Calvin and Angie, though their relationship is left on this back burner for much of this go-round. Despite a couple of reservations, Barbershop: The Next Cut deserves a solid recommendation.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is sharp and bright, with excellent fine-object detail and texture. The interior of the barbershop is crystal clear, and every comb, picture and workstation is highly visible. Deeper focus shots offer excellent visibility, and colors are nicely saturated. Black levels are good, and skin tones appear natural.

SOUND:

This mostly dialogue-driven film receives a solid 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, which offers excellent dialogue reproduction. The score and hip-hop music selections are clear and nicely balanced. There are some decent ambient effects that surround the viewer, too. The disc also includes an English DVS track and Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital dubs. Subtitle options include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release is packed in an eco-case. Warner Brothers includes a code to redeem an UltraViolet HD digital copy. Extras include The Next Cut: Barbershop Bootcamp (4:34/HD), which shows how the cast learned to pretend to cut hair; Deleted Scenes (12:34 total/HD), including some excised comedic material; and a Gag Reel (2:24/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This second sequel to Barbershop reunites nearly the entire principal cast, including Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Common and Regina Hall, for a surprisingly timely film set amid gun violence on Chicago's South Side. Some of the comedic drama detracts from the overall story, but Barbershop: The Next Cut is still Recommended.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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