Brannigan might not be John Wayne in his prime, not even close as he would succumb to cancer four years later, but it’s still a fun little flick with some decent action scenes and even better performances from (nearly) everyone around.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama
Twilight Time | PG – 111 min. – $29.95 | July 8, 2014
John Wayne is the eponymous Chicago cop in Brannigan, sent on a fish-out-of-water journey to England to pick up bail-jumping thug Larkin (JOHN VERNON) for extradition. But to the chagrin of Scotland Yard, and Commander Swann (RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH), the mobster is abruptly kidnapped from under their noses, and Brannigan has to join forces with a whole different breed of cops—including a no-nonsense Detective-Sergeant named Jennifer (JUDY GEESON)—to track him down… all over a gorgeous 1970s-era London.
QUICK HIT REVIEW
Despite Brannigan being towards the end of the legendary John Wayne’s illustrious career, and acknowledging that this was hardly a pinnacle performance from him either, but the movie works thanks to great London locations and a fine supporting cast headlined by Richard Attenborough. As for the story, it’s not crisply written or anything and some of the other characters, namely the hitman named Gorman, tended to be laughable rather than a real threat to our main hero as he sets up two elaborate booby-traps including a bomb in the toilet set to go off when flushing; oh, and he somehow mistakes a short Judy Geeson with the much taller Duke.
In any case, it’s a slow paced action-drama and not entirely noteworthy which is why it’s not exactly the most well regarded film of the 1970s, and yet it does remain mildly entertaining throughout.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
Audio Commentary – Actress Judy Geeson and Film Historian Nick Redman sit down for an absolutely absorbing commentary track where both give equally to the track, with Redman also serving as a moderator, and Geeson recounting her time working with Wayne and even some more personal parts such as living in London (vs. Los Angeles).
Judy Geeson’s “Behind the Scenes” Home Movie Footage (2:47) – This is a cool look, especially since this is an era when BTS wasn’t a “thing”, so lots of fun seeing John Wayne and others off-camera just hanging out. Of course, there’s no audio but still worth watching.
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:21)
VIDEO – 3.0/5
Brannigan arrives on the Blu-ray scene in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer. To say this is a mixed bag is an understatement. While on the one hand for a film coming upon 50 years in age, it doesn’t look bad especially considering its highly doubtful MGM put a whole lot into a complete restoration. That being said, detail levels are iffy at best and colors tend to be a bit washed out at times. In sum, and having recently watched the film on the MGM HD station, this is more or less in line with that transfer if memory serves.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The DTS-HD MA Mono track does fair better where dialogue levels come through the center channel clean and free of pops and even the action scenes offer up some good depth. Also included on the disc is the Isolated Score track.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Brannigan might not be John Wayne in his prime, not even close as he would succumb to cancer four years later, but it’s still a fun little flick with some decent action scenes and even better performances from (nearly) everyone around. The Blu-ray released by Twilight Time offers up a disappointing video transfer but the audio is good and albeit limited, the features are worth a whirl.