Movie Review: DRAGNET (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

The 1987 action-comedy DRAGNET is based on the classic television series from the 50s and 60s. The movie was directed by Tom Mankiewicz from a screenplay by Dan Aykroyd, Jack Webb, Tom Mankiewicz and Alan Zweibel and stars Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Harry Morgan, Dabney Coleman, Christopher Plummer and Alexandra Paul.

Dan Aykroyd is at his comedic best as the namesake nephew of Detective Sgt. Joe Friday (originally played by Joe Webb). Like his no-nonsense uncle, he’s a blue-suited, by-the-rules Los Angeles cop who’s forced to reluctantly team up with the footloose, wisecracking Pep Streebek (Tom Hanks). Ordered to investigate a seemingly unrelated series of bizarre ritual killings and robberies, they eventually uncover a dastardly plot by an underground pagan group to undermine all authority in Los Angeles. Can this mistmatched duo rescue the City of Angels from the machinations of a power-mad Reverend and corrupt Police Commissioners before it’s too late? Harry Morgan (“M.A.S.H.”) reprises his original TV series role as Bill Gannon; co-stars adding to the hijinks and hilarity include Dabney Coleman, Christopher Plummer and Alexandra Paul.

Joe Friday loses his partner so he teams up with Pep Streebeck and the two quickly discover that they’re complete opposites as far as their personalities and way of conducting police business go. The no-nonsense Joe is a straight-laced, by-the-book detective (just like his Uncle Joe Friday was) and Pep is a wiscracking cop who doesn’t take life or work so seriously and this causes a few problems between the two at times. The new partners get assigned to a few cases that ends up leading them to this strange pagan ritual where they rescue the virgin Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul) from the cult led by Whirley (Christopher Plummer). So, even though the odd couple knows who’s calling the shots for this omnious cult, they find out that it’s going to be a little tough to take him down because he’s in bed with the mayor. Of course, the partners don’t give up and stay persistent in their quest to prove Whirley’s guilt. In the end, they find a way to stop the sinister cult leader and Joe finds a way to losen up a little plus he gets romantic with the virgin Connie Swail.

Dragnet is definitely a product of the 80s, that’s for sure! The story pairs up this odd couple of detectives together so they can take down this strange pagan cult that looks more like a Nascar gathering than something sinister and of course this is where they meet the damsel in distress. Dan Aykroyd plays the same kind of character in everything he’s ever been in because of his dry sense of humor and delivery and this is back when Tom Hanks was still funny before he started winning Academy Awards. Aykroyd played his straight-laced, by-the-book character just right and Hanks was the highlight of the movie as the laid back sidekick and comedy relief. To me, the movie isn’t all that funny but it’s still an entertaining watch because of the talented cast assembled for it. The movie does feature some old school action that includes car chases, knock down drag outs and even an airplane ride but the thrills and chills are kept to a safe minimum. Dragnet is a product of the 80s but it does incorporate some elements from the classic series like the theme but it also features the kind of music that you’d expect from this decade plus a little rap battle between Aykroyd and Hanks during the end credits.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features some all-new artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve also features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork and movie logo. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Dragnet is one of those movies that you’re either going to love or hate, either because of its quirky sense of humor or the fact that Hollywood turned a serious television police drama into a bumbling buddy comedy that starred two of the biggest names in comedy. This product of the 80s pays homage to the original police drama that aired in the ’50s and ’60s but it adds this sense of humor to the mix and the end result is an entertaining buddy comedy. This 1987 action-comedy was the directorial debut for Tom Mankiewicz and I thought he did a good job with it. The movie has Dan Aykroyd’s dry sense of humor stamped all over it and even though I’m not really a fan of this style of comedy, the movie itself is still an entertaining watch. Thankfully, this is back when Tom Hanks was still funny and he pretty much saves the movie with his quirky comedic delivery. Dragnet not only takes the classic television police drama and gives it an 80s upgrade but it also adds a little humor to the mix with the end result being a cheesy good buddy comedy. Dragnet is the latest classic to join Shout! Factory’s impressive Shout Select lineup and will be available for the first time ever in high-def when it arrives on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on October 30th.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 106 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include a new audio commentary track, a new interview, vintage character promo, original theatrical trailer and five TV spots.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball
  • NEW “A Quiet Evening in the Company of Connie Swail”: An Interview With Co-Star Alexandra Paul (25:02)
  • “Just the Facts!”: A Promotional Look at Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks (45:09)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (01:41)
  • TV Spot #1 (00:33)
  • TV Spot #2 (00:34)
  • TV Spot #3 (00:34)
  • TV Spot #4 (00:34)
  • TV Spot #5 (00:34)

 

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