VEI // 1980 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mac McEntire // March 1st, 2013
"I know where we goofed. We didn't Drak-whack when we had the chance!"
It can be a mental risk going back to shows you loved as a kid and rewatching them with today's eyes. In some cases, nostalgia reigns supreme and the old love is still there. In other cases, far too often, you're left with the ill feeling of "Why on Earth did I used to like this?"
Drak Pack is one such show for me. It was a staple of my preadolescent viewing during its one and only season, and now it's on DVD for revisiting. Let's see if it holds up.
The opening narration sums up the series better than I ever could: "From the monsters of the past comes a new generation, dedicated to reversing the evil image of their forefathers. Under the leadership of none other than Count Dracula, known as Big D., three teenagers form the do-gooder group named the Drak Pack. With their special powers, they can transform into super mighty monsters, so they can use their skills against all evil-doers, especially the diabolical Dr. Dred, and his renegade rascals -- Toad, Fly, Mummy Man, and Vampira -- a group known as O.G.R.E., the Organization of Generally Rotten Enterprises. It's right versus wrong, good over greed, niceness against naughtiness, that's the dedication of the terrific trio, Frankie, Howler, and Drak Jr., the Drak Pack!"
Did you get all that?
There's so much random craziness in this show, and it comes at you so fast, that watching several episodes in a row is exhausting. A typical plot has to do with Dr. Dred concocting a scheme, Big D. sending the Drak Pack off to stop him, and various comedic shenanigans happening as they do so. Our three heroes start off as normal teenagers, but then transform into their monstrous forms by high-fiving each other and saying the magic word, "Whack-o!" They get around in the "Drakster," a car that can travel on land, air, or water, based on the flip of a switch on its dashboard. Dr. Dred is a buffoon villain, more interested in bragging about his crimes than actually committing them. He is more often defeated by his own idiocy rather than by the heroes.
Drak Pack isn't just crazy, it's aggressively, almost angrily crazy. It's as if animators sat down and said, "I'm going to show you bunch of jerks how zany I can be!" Take, for example, the first scene of the first episode. The evil Dr. Dred thinks he's trapped our hero Drak on a deserted island. It turns out Drak has outsmarted him, though. Drak walks up to a palm tree, flips a switch on it, and the entire island transforms into a giant helicopter, transporting him to safety. That's the type of logic we're dealing with here.
Episodes are almost entirely plot-based leaving little to no room for any character development. Drak is the nice guy, the group's leader. Frankie appears to be set up as the dumb one, a brute, but that's not necessarily the case, so that despite his dopey speaking voice, he too is the nice guy. Howler is more of a sidekick to the other two, mostly because he hardly ever does anything during when fighting the villains. Drak turns into a bat, Frankie uses his awesome strength, but Howler just sort of stands around, despite the fact that he must have cool werewolf powers. The most clearly defined character is Dr. Dred, who, as noted above, is driven to commit crimes not for profit, but for fame.
The packaging states, "These DVDs contain technical anomalies inherited in historical footage," so you know we're not talking about Pixar levels of visual clarity. The picture isn't terrible, but is slightly hazy throughout. The audio is rough as well, front loaded with the oppressive score often in danger of overpowering the dialogue. There are no extras, which is unfortunate, as I'd loved to have heard from the creators about Drak Pack's origins.
Drak Pack features a number of legendary voice actors doing their thing. Alan "Skeletor" Oppenheimer does his best Lugosi as Big D., and other cast members include Hans Conreid, the voice of Captain Hook in Disney's Peter Pan, and Don Messick, the voice of Scooby Doo. These guys are pros, and they clearly have enthusiasm for these characters.
"Whack-o" is an appropriate catch phrase for Drak Pack, because it is indeed whack-o. It is, however, enjoyable for that same reason. Nostalgia fans will love it, and everyone else will want to check it out simply because of how weirdballs it is.
Review content copyright © 2013 Mac McEntire; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Original Intro