• Son Of The Pink Panther



    Released by: Kino Studio Classics
    Released on: June 27th, 2017.
    Director: Black Edwards
    Cast: Roberto Benigni, Herbert Lom, Claudia Cardinale, Burt Kwouk, Robert Davi
    Year: 1993
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    The Movie:

    The last of the Pink Panther movies to be directed by series creator Blake Edwards, Son Of The Pink Panther opens with a scene where Princess Yasmin of Lugash (Debrah Farentino) is kidnapped off the coast of France by a nefarious gang of terrorists led by a man named Hans Zarba (Robert Davi). They intend to use her as bait in order to force her father to step down and let a general that they have ties to take his place.

    Police Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is asked to solve the case and in doing so, has a chance run in with a bumbling local named Jacques Gambrelli (Roberto Benigni) who in turn sees the princess and presumes her to be someone she is not. Regardless, Hans knows that Gambrelli has seen what he has seen, and he puts out a hit on him. Dreyfus follows him and winds up saving him from the assailant and, after driving him home, meets Jacques mother, Maria (Claudia Cardinale), whom he recognizes from a case he worked decades ago. It is then that Dreyfus realizes Jacques is the late Inspector Clouseau’s illegitimate son. When Dreyfus gets injured in another attempt on Gambrelli’s live, he winds up hospitalized while Gambrelli decides this is his chance to live up to his father’s legacy, setting out to save the princess with some ‘help’ along the way from Cato Fong (Burt Kwouk) and Professor Auguste Balls (Graham Stark).

    The good? Well, casting Roberto Benigni in the lead role was a good choice on Edwards’ part. He’s got a genuine knack for comedic timing and physical comedy and his accent means he’s a natural for the accent jokes that were a big part of the Sellers’ films success. Additionally, it’s fun seeing Robert Davi in the picture, well cast as the terrorist leader in the type of role he’s quite good at handling. That’s about it though. Lom, Kwouk, Stark and even Cardinale are all fine in their roles but at this point they’re more or less on auto pilot. That’s not to say that they’re unwatchable, but it does mean that their characters aren’t doing anything that we haven’t really seen them do before.

    Edwards does try to spice things up a bit here and there, adding a harder edge to the opening scene and positing the terrorists as more dangerous than your average Pink Panther villains. This was likely an attempt to bring the series into the nineties after the fairly middling success of the last film, Curse Of The Pink Panther, made ten years prior. It was a nice idea, but it doesn’t really work that well. Begnini feels like he’s pulling back, never going as close to the lunatic fringe as he could and should have, and the movie doesn’t really give him enough to do in this regard to allow him to make his character much more than a mediocre imitation of the original.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Son Of The Pink Panther arrives on a 25GB Blu-ray disc from Kino Lorber framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. No complaints here – the image is clean, sporting good detail and texture throughout and virtually no print damage. There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction and color reproduction looks spot on.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track with removable subtitles provided in English only. The audio is free of any issues and it offers up clean, clear and easily discernable dialogue alongside properly balanced levels and some decent depth.

    Extras start off with a commentary features Jason Simos of the Peter Sellers Appreciation Society. Although there’s an unfortunate amount of dead air on this track, when Simos is engaged he’s got some interesting insight. He covers the casting of the picture, the locations, how the film ties into the other films in the series, what works and what doesn’t.

    Kino has also included a Making Off featurette from 1993 that runs seven minutes. Here we get some clips from the feature alongside some quick but welcome cast and crew interviews in which those involved with the production explain how they tried to tie this into the older films while still creating a relaunch of sorts.

    Rounding out the extras are two deleted scenes, two different theatrical trailers, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Son Of The Pink Panther is the best of the three films mad without Sellers but it’s still far from great, never exploiting its lead actor’s inherent ‘wackiness’ enough to take things as far as we want. Kino give the picture a more than respectable Blu-ray presentation and provide a few welcome extras as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






















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