Judge David Johnson thinks Buttons McBoomBoom went on to a successful career in the adult film industry. Geez, these blurbs just write themselves, don't they?
Fighting crime in a future time.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
You're lucky, punk. You caught Bulletproof in a good mood. Not guilty.
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• Concept Art
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