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LOOSE CANNONS

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Gene Hackman, Dan Aykroyd, Dom DeLuise
Director: Bob Clark
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 93 Minutes
Release Date: July 8, 2003

“Mr. Sulu, set a course for the Klingon battle fleet. Prepare all photon torpedoes and phaser banks for full engagement.”

Film **

From that quote up there, you would think this was a Star Trek movie.  If it was a Star Trek film, I think the jury would still be out as to whether it was an even or odd numbered one (any true Star Trek fan will instantly understand that last statement!).

I was only fourteen when Loose Cannons was released in theatres in 1990, and back then, if it wasn’t Jason or Freddy on the big screen, I wasn’t going to shell out the cash to see it.  If I had taken the time in my younger days to appreciate the different and varied genres offered, my movie horizons, so to speak, would be much broader than they are today.  That’s why I thank my lucky Hollywood stars that DVDs from every era are being released. 

Loose Cannons is one of the movies I would like to have seen in theatres.   Between the stoic nature of Gene Hackman and downright mental patient antics of Dan Aykroyd, you won’t be able to help yourself…laughter will abound!  

We begin our tale with Mac, a loose cannon cop, living in a Woody with his kitty cat.  I know, that sounds dirtier than it really is…trust me.   Mac has trouble following the rules, and when he’s given a murder investigation and a mental patient for a partner all in the same day, you know he has to be wondering, who did he piss off to end up with this assignment?

Gene Hackman is better suited for serious subject matter in my personal opinion; however, he does a descent job becoming Mac the cop.   Sounds like a wrestling name doesn’t it…Mac The Cop vs. Bill The Knife tonight on Pay Per View!  Um, anyway, the acting was there but the scripting for his character left him feeling a little emotionless and detached from the rest of the actors.   It’s too bad when you have a good cast, but the scripting isn’t up to par. 

Aykroyd plays the insanely intelligent Ellis.   When we first meet Ellis, he is painting a picture in the courtyard of a monastery.  One of the Monks is asking him if he feels well enough to leave and go back out into society.   Ellis ponders this and agrees that the Monk is right; he is ready.  

Ellis is teamed up with Mac to investigate a series of murders that has everyone stumped.   Aykroyd’s character is able to piece together the events that lead up to the Queen of Hearts going over a wall with the Mad Hatter, the Rabbit taking one in the chest, and a German, Cheshire cat being tormented and shot.  How do I know the Cheshire cat was German?  By his boxers, of course!

You really do have to see this movie to understand everything I just said, but believe me, they make it a lot easier to understand than I do.

Now, I don’t want to ruin it by telling you everything about the movie, but the S&M bar scene is one that I will not soon forget.  Never have so many stage and movie scenes been acted out together before, through the varied personalities of a cop whose mental instability is balanced only by his partner’s off the wall attitude.    

Now, let me introduce you to Porn King Harry Gutterman.   Harry is played by the loveable and charismatic Dom DeLuise.  All the murders are linked to a film Mr. Gutterman owns, which could ruin the political career of a German politician.   Only Harry knows where the film is hidden, and with a couple of rogue FBI agents, an Israeli revolutionary group, and the German Mafia on their tails, will Mac and Ellis be able to find the film before reality finds them?

I really can’t decide if I liked this movie enough to overlook the bad script or not.   The dialogue was campy, and even though there were scenes that rate right up there in my mind with the funniest scenes ever filmed, I have to say it was the actors that played the parts, not the movie itself.  

Loose Cannons was co-written and directed by Bob Clark.  In case you are unfamiliar with his work pick up a copy of Porky’s I & II and you’ll be able to flow right along with Loose Cannons no problem.  

With choppy edits, a slow script, and semi-contrived plotline this movie would have been at the bottom of my to watch in this lifetime list.   It would have that is if it hadn’t featured a couple of my favorite actors.  Pick it up and give it a spin, just make sure the DVD is pointing the right direction before you push play, else you might blow a fuse with this Loose Cannon!

Video ***

Presented in a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format, this DVD’s video quality gets a big thumbs up from me.  The first few minutes of the transfer were so dark you couldn’t see who was doing what.  It is supposed to be that way, however, because they are setting things up so you won’t know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.  

There was not a lot of dirt or graininess visible in this transfer and all the images were pretty crisp and clean.   The lighting was used to good effect and helped a few of the scenes by giving them a bit more depth than the acting alone could have.  

Audio **

This DVD was mixed in a Dolby Digital Surround format that was very nicely done.   The sound effects were blended very well against the background music bed and the dialogue.   There wasn’t much variation in the audio levels throughout which gave the DVD a consistent overall feel to it.  

Columbia Tri Star did a good job mixing this disc and the soundtrack itself would make a nice addition to anybody’s audio collection.

Features *

Movie trailers for Cops And Robbersons, I Spy, and National Security are the only shots fired from this DVD’s bag of tricks. 

Not a lot in the Cannon, but I’ll take what I can get!

Summary:

Loose Cannons is a movie experience everyone should have for the simple reason that it’s funny and full of great actors.   Ignore the script, and pay attention to the people…it’s ninety-three minutes you won’t mind parting with once it’s through.