Sony // 1990 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 17th, 2003
The feel good buddy cop movie of 1990!
Oscar winner Gene Hackman (Unforgiven, The French Connection) and comedian Dan Aykroyd (Driving Miss Daisy, Ghostbusters) are two mismatched cops who are about to embark on a wacky adventure...into insanity! Actually, they're about to embark on an assignment that has to do with a baffling murder case that leads to a supposed porn film starring Adolph Hitler. Aykroyd is Ellis Fielding, a brilliant detective who was hospitalized after being tortured by some very bad guys. In the process he's developed multiple personalities. And wouldn't you know it? They like to come out during the most inappropriate of times! Hackman is the seasoned Macarthur Stern, a cop who doesn't like playing by the rules (how shocking). Together these two misfits must keep a sleazy porn king (Dom DeLuise, Cannonball Run) -- don't ask why, just go with it -- alive long enough to solve their case. In a world full of weirdoes and whack jobs, these two guys are truly Loose Cannons.
Let's play a little game. Picture this: it's 1990. Acclaimed Oscar winner Gene Hackman -- hardly a comedic legend -- is paired with Dan Aykroyd, a funny guy who is only funny when paired with other funny guys. The director is Bob Clark, the auteur who made the first two Porky's flicks, and would years later produce the ill-inspired Baby Geniuses. The screenplay is by -- hold onto your hats -- legendary horror author Richard Matheson (The Omega Man) and his son, Christian, who wrote for the TV shows The A-Team and Knight Rider. Do you see any consistency to this madness? No? I didn't either, which is why Loose Cannons is a movie that should have stayed in development hell. Tired and worn, Loose Cannons has all the trappings of the buddy cop comedy genre yet none of the wit. Who honestly thought these two actors were a good match? Hackman plays Stern with his usually amount of gruffness, which doesn't work in the confines of a supposed "wacky comedy." Aykroyd runs amuck utilizing Woody Woodpecker and presidential impersonations to no avail. I've never been a very big Aykroyd fan, and here he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the guy needs to be in a supporting position, not a lead (the climactic ending where Aykroyd goes into a multitude of cartoon voices is almost embarrassing). Left to pick up the slack is Dom DeLuise, a rotund funnyman who whines his way through the movie and is the least likely candidate to become a titty bar owner. Bob Clark's direction is uniformly weak, forming only a handful of chuckles in its hour and a half run time. The Matheson screenplay has something to do with Hitler starring in a porn movie, yet never makes good on its promises (ol' Adolph crying "who's your daddy?" would have been good for at least a few laughs). Sadly, lame gags like DeLuise in a Queen of Hearts costume and Aykroyd making silly faces are all that the script can manage. And don't even get me started on the horrific scene involving Hackman and Aykroyd howling at the moon! It was nice to see the late Nancy Parsons (Motel Hell, Porky's) in a small cameo appearance, but aside of that dimly lit bright spot, Loose Cannons is a dud of the highest comedic proportions.
Loose Cannons is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen with an anamorphic enhancement for 16x9 TVs. Generally speaking, Columbia's transfer is only so-so. There is little in the way of excitement here -- the colors appear slightly washed out at times and the black levels are never as dark as they should be. A small amount of grain and dirt shows up from time to time, making for a very lackluster print. I wish that I could report better news on this transfer (not that the movie really warrants it), but the fact is that it's floating only at mediocre. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English. Much like the video portions of this disc, the audio is nothing to write home about -- there aren't many surround sounds to be found here, though the dialogue, music, and effects are crystal clear. I guess that counts for something. Also included on this disc are subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
To no one's surprise, Loose Cannons is void of any substantial extra features. All that's been included on this disc are some various trailers for other Columbia TriStar flicks.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailers