Mill Creek Entertainment // 1993 // 108 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // June 8th, 2011
They're on the lookout for thrills, action and adventure.
There's something remarkably candid about even the title of the 1993 buddy cop comedy Another Stakeout (the sequel to the surprise 1987 hit Stakeout). It's as though even the writers and the studio have thrown up their arms and admitted defeat: "Yes, we know. It's another Stakeout. Here you go. Another Stakeout." It's that same half-hearted spirit that carries all the way through the movie -- everyone's back, but they're just going through the motions.
Another Stakeout reunites all the principal cast and crew from Stakeout: director John Badham, screenwriter Jim Kouf and stars Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez. They play police officers/partners Chris Leece and Bill Reimers, respectively, and this time around are assigned to stake out a federal witness (Cathy Moriarty, Raging Bull) who's gone missing after an assassination attempt. They're paired up with assistant D.A. Gina Garrett (Rosie O'Donnell, The Flintstones), posing as a family as they watch over the neighbors (Dennis Farina and Marcia Strassman), hoping to find the witness before the killer who's after her has a chance to finish the job.
There's nothing particularly wrong with Another Stakeout, save for the fact that it probably shouldn't exist. Stakeout was fun enough -- the kind of happy surprise that was better than it had any real right to be -- but I can't imagine there was a huge segment of the population clamoring for a follow-up. And yet, a follow-up is just what we got six years later, and it lacks the element of surprise that made Stakeout any fun. The chemistry between Dreyfuss and Estevez -- the best part of the Stakeout movies -- is still very much present, and the choice to throw Rosie O'Donnell into the mix helps to keep things fresh and funny, but the movie is easily a half hour too long and has nothing else new to offer. Worst of all, though, is that it's missing the through line of the original movie: Dreyfuss's budding romance with Madeline Stowe, the woman he was staking out. Not only did that give the film a narrative spine, but even allowed for elements of farce at times (in particular, a scene where Dreyfuss has to sneak out of the house unnoticed the morning after they sleep together). The characters in Another Stakeout don't really want anything; sure, Stowe shows up for an extended cameo so there can be some nonsense about whether or not Dreyfuss will marry her, but that just doesn't cut it. The only suspense in Another Stakeout is if the cops will find the witness and solve the case, and since this is a movie, we pretty much know the answer to that one.
Another Stakeout arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Mill Creek as part of their first wave of releases of catalogue titles from Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures. Though Blu-ray is still a relatively new format, we're already seeing it become watered down with catalogue releases (from Mill Creek and Echo Bridge, who took over Dimension's library) that are inexpensive and inconsistent in quality. Luckily, Another Stakeout is one of the better of these releases: the 2.35:1, 1080p image is by no means great, but it's decent enough and still makes for an upgrade over the standard DVD release. Black levels and skin tones are inconsistent, some shots are occasionally soft and banding is visible from time to time. Overall, though, the movie looks fine and shouldn't distract from the enjoyment of any viewer -- especially at this price point (the disc can be found for around $5). The 2.0 lossless audio track does the job, but remains mostly flat and lacking in any dynamics. Dialogue is audible, but the action beats lack much dimension. There are no subtitles or extra features.
While there aren't any major strikes against Another Stakeout, there also aren't many reasons to recommend it. It's the kind of movie that's best enjoyed when you stumble across it on cable late one night, or as the afternoon movie on a rainy Sunday. It's not really the kind of movie you put on by choice, meaning I'm not entirely sure it belongs on anyone's shelf. That said, the banter between Estevez and Dreyfuss makes it entertaining enough. For the price of a combo at McDonald's, you could do worse.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13