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“Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay”: DVD Review

The hilarious kings of slack are back! After a case of mistaken identity aboard a transatlantic flight lands Harold and Kumar in Guantanamo Bay, they’re forced to break out and sneak back into the US. Now, suspected terrorists on the run from the law, the duo goes to wild extremes on a cross-country trip to prove their innocence.

Read my review of the 2-Disc DVD after the jump.

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

Available To Own On (click to purchase): DVD, 2-Disc DVD, Blu-ray

Official Site

Release Date: July 29, 2008


Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay picks up where ‘White Castle’ left off.  The two decide to take a trip to Amsterdam to find Maria, whom Harold finally got up the nerve to express his true feelings for in the first film, and to take in the drugs.  Anxious to get started , they head to the airport and board the plane (but not before Kumar is taking aside by one of the airport security, though he gets out of being inspected). While on the plane, Kumar brings aboard a homemade bong (no wonder he got himself out of that inspection) that gets mistaken for a bomb by the racially insensitive passengers.  Now fully mistaken as terrorists by an incompetent as well as racially-tinged government official (played by Rob Cordry of Daily Show fame) the two get sent to Guantanamo Bay and then flee captivity.

There are several cameos in the film, including another turn by Neil Patrick Harris (as himself) and Christopher Meloni (who plays a Klansman).  Though Freakshow was a tough act to follow in ‘White Castle’ Meloni gives a memorable performance as the Grand Wizard complete with an odd accent and character trait that has him spewing racial obsensities in a heightened voice.  NPH is solid, and hilarious, as always.

This is one of those Unrated DVD’s that is truly, truly unrated.  It’s vulgar, there’s a lot of cursing, which was of course in the original cut, and there is a ton of nudity.  It’s gratuitous, but so what, that’s basically the point.  As writer-directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg rightfully point out in one of the film’s commentary tracks.

At many points during the movie, you get the sense that it’s purpose is to offend as often as it makes you laugh.  Though it’s not quite as funny as White Castle, the two actors who play Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) are in their element in this film.  Their timing and delivery is right on and that makes the movie more enjoyable, despite some of its shortcomings (it doesn’t make you laugh quite as much as you’d hope).


Fans of special features will be more than pleased with the selection presented on this two-disc as it includes a wide assortment that enhances the movie.  The interactive feature “Dude, Change the Movie!” was the one I was most pleased with.

“Dude, Change the Movie!”
This is a very cool feature and is presented in a way that doesn’t at all detract from the movie experience.  All you do is activate the feature and at pre-selected points throughout the movie (11 in total) you are presented with a prompt to make one of two decisions (all with a voiceover of Harold & Kumar while you make your decision).  The first such prompt asks you to [SPOILERS] choose whether or not Kumar should smoke on the plane.  If you choose to smoke, the two get sent to Guantanamo just as they did in the original/unrated cuts, but choose NOT to smoke and the story’s narrative changes completely as you’re presented with the line “Five hours later…” and extra footage that the directors and actors shot in Amsterdam.  That choice effectively ends the movie in just under 30 minutes.  What’s neat about it though is that once you’re presented with the credits, you can skip to the end and you’re returned back to your last prompt so you can continue on through the movie making more decisions.

Some of the choices are admittedly silly, but I think you’ll be quite surprised at just how much extra footage was filmed for these segments.  Highlights include a “Totally a Top/Bottom’s Up” selection and “Turn on the radio!/Drive” (with Harold, Kumar and Neil Patrick Harris).  It really is a fun feature and there’s a lot of replay value here.

Audio Commentaries (Disc 1)
Two tracks are included in this set

  1. with John Cho, Kal Penn and Director/Writers Hayden Schlossberg & Jon Hurwitz
  2. with Director/Writers Hayden Schlossberg & Jon Hurwitz, “The Real Harold Lee” and James Adomian (“George W. Bush”)

The first track is the better of the two, with good contributions from all involved as you get a little bit of information on the process of how the sequel came to be, some personal stories, thoughts on some of the actors and Hurwitz/Schlossberg also talk about what it was like directing their first film.

Featurette: “Inside the World of Harold and Kumar” (Disc 2 — 22-minutes)
Since the commentary track featured just the two stars and writer/directors, this featurette provides a little bit more from the other cast members, including Danneel Harris, Neil Patrick Harris, Beverly D’Angelo, Christopher Meloni and Rob Corddry.

Deleted Scenes/Extras (Disc 2 — 26-minutes)
These are your standard fare of deleted scenes with a batch of extras/outtakes thrown in for good measure (27 clips in total–18 deleted scenes and 9 extras).

Bush PSA (Disc 2 — 2-minutes)
Pretty self exclamatory.  A public service announcement by George W. Bush (played by James Adomian).

Trailers (Disc 2 — 7-minutes)
Three trailers from the film are included: The teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer and the red band trailer.

Digital Copy (Disc 2)
New Line provides a digital copy of the movie on the second disc, though unlike some prior Digital Copy’s, this one is Windows Media-compatible only and is not compatible with Apple Macintosh or iPod devices.

I rate this movie and DVD a 4/5.

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay was released on Tuesday, July 29th. Purchase it today on Unrated 2-Disc Special Edition DVD, DVD or Blu-ray Hi-Def.

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