Case Number 08542


Shout! Factory // 1988 // 445 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 8th, 2006

The Charge

Fighting crime in a future time.

Opening Statement

Shout! Factory has a gem for you fans of '80s television animation. C.O.P.S. (The Central Organization of Police Specialists) details the exploits of some futuristic, crime-fighters, led by laid-back bad-ass Bulletproof, as they grapple with the notorious Big Boss and his henchmen for control over Empire City.

Facts of the Case

Roll Call!
Bowser and Blitz.

When Empire City is placed in the thumbscrews of the corrupt mobster Big Boss, the responsibility to lay down sweet justice sits with Bulletproof's squad of technologically advanced super police officers.

C.O.P.S. was a cartoon series inspired by a line of Hasbro toys, which premiered in 1989. Officers boasted a crime-fighting specialty (e.g. Mirage was great at undercover work, Sundown was proficient in mustache-twirling) and each episode usually focused on one or more of the C.O.P.S.

Pitted against our heroes was a limitless rogues gallery of Big Boss's go-to villains, including Dr. Bad Vibes, an evil genius who walked around with an exposed brain; Ms. Demeanor, the "Evil Lyn" of the group; Beserko, the mentally challenged muscle-head; the gangster with machine guns that pop out of his chest; and a woman presumably desperate to get hitched and shed her unfortunate maiden name, Buttons McBoomBoom. Big Boss himself was your typical mob boss stereotype, fat, sweaty, and squeaky-voiced.

Each episode finds the C.O.P.S. defusing a diabolical scheme cooked up by Big Boss or one of his underlings, ultimately ending in the bad guys getting away to sow trouble another day. Looks likes Empire City needs to beef up its "D.A." branch next and infuse Sam Waterston with some cybernetic technology.

The Evidence

Prior to jumping into these discs, I had fleeting memories if this show: I knew I kind of dug it and my friends at school and I would talk about how cool Bulletproof was. And I remember that scene from the opening titles where Buttons McBoomBoom opens fire on a butterfly during a jewel heist. Beyond that, I had nothing else.

Now that Shout! Factory has done us all the service of corralling these episodes on to a four disc set, let me give you the straight dope: C.O.P.S. is decent cartooning, rife with snazzy visuals, over-the-top and colorful characters, and bludgeon-on-the-head moralizing, though it didn't quite elicit that "Wow this is better than I remember it!" response. Basically, it succeeded in what it set out to do; it made me want to track down the Hasbro toys and play with them.

This first round of episodes are spread over four discs, totaling 22 shows:

* The Case of the Stuck-Up Blimp
* The Case of the Crime Circus
* The Case of the Baffling Bugman
* The Case of Berserko's Big Surprise
* The Case of the Bogus Justice Machines
* The Case of the Prison Break-In
* The Case of the Pardner In Crime
* The Case of C.O.P.S File #1 Part 1
* The Case of C.O.P.S. File #1 Part 2
* The Case of the Blur Bandits
* The Case of the Bulletproof Waldo
* The Case of the Blitz Attack
* The Case of the Baby Badguy
* The Case of the Thieving Robots
* The Case of the Highway Robbery
* The Case of the Crime Convention
* The Case of the Crook With 1000 Faces
* The Case of the Super Shakedown
* The Case of the Criminal Mall
* The Case of the Big Bad Boxoids
* The Case of the Half-Pint Hero
* The Case of the Brilliant Berserko

The shows themselves are nothing hugely special. The animation is clunky, but attractive. And save for a few (Mace, Bowser and Blitz, Bulletproof), the character designs for the C.O.P.S. are ho-hum and unimaginative; for the most part, they're a bunch of blonde white guys in different uniforms. The creators had a bit more fun with the villains, as these guys by far come across as more diverse in their wackiness. The storylines range from predictably cheesy (watch one of the C.O.P.S. overcome his fear of heights just in time in the "Stuck-Up Blimp") to head-scratchingly weird ("Baby Badguy," featuring a trio of criminals with baby-sized bodies and middle-aged man heads who hang out in cribs borders on the nightmarish).

As can be expected, these shows also hammer home the morals, focusing on individual characters and usually putting them through some kind of growth experience. And in case you didn't get your lessons learned good and proper from the shows, every so often "C.O.P.S. for Kids," an end-of-the-show bit featuring characters giving safety advice, would pop up to drive home the message. Several of these spots are included as extra features on the discs, and some of them are pretty hilarious. My favorite: Rock Crusher warning kids of gangs, while remembering the clash he was involved in as a teen which led to dead kids (shown sprawled on the pavement) and his incarceration. Scared straight!

All in all, this is an okay show, and a solid throwback to the animation that folks my age grew up with. The show is obviously built to sell toys, but along the way a moderate amount of creativity and amusement made its way into the proceedings. Worth a brief look for nostalgic purposes, but I doubt the show's staying power on your shelf.

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has delivered another impressive DVD treatment. The full screen video quality is strong enough; colors are bright and details are vivid. The front end for these discs is also well-done, with great transition animation and a nifty menu screen. Extras are limited to concept art, storyboard comparisons and the aforementioned "C.O.P.S. for Kids" spots.

Closing Statement

The DVD presentation is solid and the shows aren't bad. That being said, C.O.P.S., unfortunately, falls slightly short of the fond memories.

The Verdict

You're lucky, punk. You caught Bulletproof in a good mood. Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 85
Extras: 75
Acting: 80
Story: 80
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile
Studio: Shout! Factory
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 445 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Concept Art
* Storyboard Comparison
* "C.O.P.S. for Kids" Spots
* Trailers

* IMDb