The Slammin’ Salmon Review

You have to at least give some credit to Michael Clarke Duncan. As if being in a movie titled Slammin’ Salmon wasn’t enough embarrassment, playing pro boxer Cleon Salmon lets him really rip on himself. Let’s face it. The guy knows how to have a good time, and injects Slammin’ Salmon with what little energy it has.

This rather awful Broken Lizard exercise must be one of those “for the fans” efforts. Everyone else is left out. Taking place in a single restaurant setting, the goal of this round of un-funniness is to let the Broken Lizard crew improv as waiters in an establishment no one in their right mind would ever dine at.

With a simple, absurd premise, that of Salmon needing a supposed $20,000 to pay off Yakuza, the movie simply kick starts with a bunch of seemingly random lines, gags, and cameos. How the likes of Vivica A. Fox, Morgan Fairchild, and Lance Henriksen were signed remains a mystery.

Everything feels like an endless barrage of f-bombs, penis jokes, and yes, someone needing to remove a diamond ring from their bowels. The latter is stretched over the course of much of the movie, which says something about the level of sophistication on display here (read: none).

There is nothing wrong with a bit of lowbrow humor or even letting go once in a while, but Slammin’ Salmon has nothing else to offer. Every joke reeks of desperation, and it fails to contain an ounce of wit. Surely geeks will love watching Olivia Munn put on a diamond ring that recently took a trip through someone’s bowels right?

The most realistic sequence in Slammin’ Salmon has Michael Clarke Duncan sitting down with an older Japanese man, Mr. Yamamuri (Koji Kataoka). Yamamuri is lost as to what part of Duncan’s antics are funny, sitting completely stone faced and confused. The audience is right with him, assuming they are still watching.

Movie ★☆☆☆☆ 

Anchor Bay delivers a VC-1 encode for this Broken Lizard affair, and the results are rather ugly. This one, while obviously shot on film, rarely looks the part. The digital intermediate has pumped up the colors, giving them a glowing quality. Flesh tones appear orange, and reds are typically overblown causing some bleeding. Contrast seems to have been artificially enhanced, leading to some occasionally significant black crush.

Edge enhancement can be thick, especially apparent against all high contrast edges. The grain structure appears unnatural and mushy. Look at the wall on the right around 11:02 where it turns into a thick cloud of noise. Banding is sporadic, and the source suffers from a few minimal blemishes.

Faces appear completely smoothed over and digital. With the sole exception of Michael Clarke Duncan in close-ups (and even these shots look poorly defined), everyone carries a waxy, completely non-detailed look. Environmental shots are soft, bringing forth no texture to speak of. The on-screen clock, indicating how close to closing time it is, shows significant aliasing (as does the opening shot of the poster before it fades from digital effect to real life).

Video ★★☆☆☆ 

Slammin’ Salmon comes with the now rare uncompressed PCM mix, one with few chances to impress. There is a fairly constant stream of ambiance in the rear channels. Once can easily pick up glasses and silverware clanging together, along with minimal chatter. When Salmon is introduced, the restaurant erupts with clapping in all channels. Clarity and balance are fine.

Base dialogue is clear and distinct, free of any distortion. Any soundtrack cues are flat and typically lifeless. The subwoofer never picks up anything of note. Salmon’s exaggerated punches do offer a bit of deep low-end work, although this is limited as well.

Audio ★★★☆☆ 

Two commentaries are included, the first with director Kevin Heffernan along with writer/actor Steve Lemme. Commentary track number two begins with writer/actor Jay Chandrasekhar, writer/actor Paul Soter, and (surprise… or not) writer/actor Erik Stolhanske. Hellish Kitchens is the only featurette, the Broken Lizard crew discussing their own experiences working in restaurants. It runs about seven minutes.

Extras ★★☆☆☆ 

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