Dragnet is a really fun, and often funny, crime-comedy that does a good job balancing spoofing or satirizing the original television series and yet at the same time paying respect, which shines through.
— Collector’s Edition / Shout Select —
Genre(s): Comedy, Crime
Shout Factory | PG13 – 106 min. – $34.93 | October 30, 2018
Date Published: 10/25/2018 | Author: The Movieman
Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 3.25/5
Plot Synopsis: No-nonsense Los Angeles detective Sgt. Joe Friday (DAN AYKROYD) is partnered with the wisecracking Pep Streebeck (TOM HANKS), a hip upstart cop, and the mismatched duo is ordered to investigate a strange series of ritual killings. Though Friday and Pep do their share of quarreling, they eventually trace the clues to an ominous cult, and the officers interrupt a violent ceremony. Friday then begins a romance with near-victim Connie Swail (ALEXANDRA PAUL), but it could hinder his police work.
Quick Hit Review: Growing up, I watched the 1950s and 1960s television shows on rerun (probably Nick at Nite) and even have a few of the old radio show episodes on CD. And as a fan, as far as I can remember, watched this 1987 comedic adaptation Dragnet somewhere in the early-to-mid 90s. My thoughts then as they are now: it’s uneven at times but also hilarious and does a wonderful job being both satirizing the original while also paying respects at the same time.
The casting of Dan Aykroyd, who also shares a credit for writing, was damn near pitch-perfect portraying the nephew of Joe Friday (played by the late Jack Webb who died in 1983) and clashing against the new-ish aged Streebeck as portrayed by Tom Hanks who at the time still was on the rise, still better known for his role on Bosom Budies. Aykroyd and Hanks work so well opposite one another and really a shame we never got a sequel (odd since, adjusted for today’s dollars, it grossed $132M).
Other than our main actors, Alexandra Paul was absolutely adorable as the “virgin” and love interest to straight-laced Friday while Christopher Plummer made for an adequate if not forgettable and thinly written villain. And finally, Harry Morgan reprises his iconic role as Bill Gannon, now a police captain. Nice seeing him in the role one more time (in live action form anyway).
Directed by Tom Mankiewicz, Dragnet marked is feature debut and only did one other movie, the John Candy fantasy-comedy, Delirious. Comedy is in my mind has to one of the hardest genres to make either in terms of acting, writing or directing and as such, this was fairly well made being able to keep the humor going as well as present enough stakes for you to care about the characters. And on that front, Dragnet, despite being released over 30 years ago, still holds up rather well, although might be even funnier, and appreciative, if you grew up watching the older series.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.75/5
This “Collector’s Edition” and “Shout Select” release comes with a matted slip cover while the interior cover is reversible revealing the film’s original poster artwork. Some okay features, though unfortunate they couldn’t wrangle Aykroyd to doing an interview.
Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball as he dissects the movie on the production and in the context of the Dragnet franchise. Rather academic but keeps the ball rolling filling the time with a bunch of trivia.
“A Quiet Evening in the Company of Connie Swail” (25:02) is a new interview with actress Alexandra Paul, who still looks amazing, talking about her involvement in the project and her memories on set.
“Just the Facts” (45:59) – This is a promotional featurette with archive interviews by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.
Last up are Original Theatrical Trailers & TV Spots (4:33).
VIDEO – 3.75/5
|The 1080p high-definition transfer of the original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio looks pretty good even if, since it was not noted on the back, received some sort of restoration process. The picture is relatively well defined and colors look vibrant but without appearing unnaturally boosted. On the slight downside, I did notice a couple instances of ever so minor dust marks or scratches but nothing all that distracting.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
|The disc comes with a standard DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which does sound decent enough for a movie that, outside of maybe a scene or two, is primarily dialogue. There were no discernible pops or hisses although that’s not entirely surprising as I assume the on-set audio and ADR work was professional.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Dragnet is a really fun, and often funny, crime-comedy that does a good job balancing spoofing or satirizing the original television series and yet at the same time paying respect, which comes through thanks to Dan Aykroyd’s great portrayal as Joe Friday which leads to a amusing clash with the more “modern” (1980s anyway) of Tom Hanks’s character. The Blu-ray released through Shout’s “Select” series offers up good video/audio transfers and an okay selection of bonus features including a new commentary and interview with Alexandra Paul.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.