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Universal Studios Home Video presents
K-9: P.I. (2002)

"I am so glad this job is over. I am done being a cop. I am done with the shootouts. I am done with the fistfights. Let me tell you something, Jerry Lee. The next time I get punched, bit, kicked, or yelled at, it's gonna be because I have a girlfriend."
- Tom Dooley (James Belushi)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: July 29, 2002

Stars: Jim Belushi, King the Dog
Other Stars: Gary Basaraba, Kim Huffman, Jody Racicot, Christopher Shyer, Barbara Tyson, Bly Mankuma, Duncan Fraser, Jason Schombing, Kevin Durand, Matthew Bennett, Jay Brazeau
Director: Richard J. Lewis

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and sexual humor
Run Time: 01h:34m:52s
Release Date: July 30, 2002
UPC: 025192149320
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-BB+ C-

DVD Review

In the late 1980s, after exhausting every possible permutation of the buddy movie (black/white: Lethal Weapon, thin/fat: Die Hard, credible cop/Billy Crystal: Running Scared), Hollywood finally found a new way squeeze a few more movies out of the same tired storylines. Instead of pairing our hero with a mismatched personality, why not pair him with another species altogether? And thus, the guy/dog comedy of errors film was born. America's infatuation was short-lived—Turner and Hooch with Tom Hanks and K-9 with James Belushi were both modestly successful. After that, the subgenre basically died out. But 10 years after K-9, in the wake of several successful straight-to-video Disney sequels, Universal decided that the world was once again ready for the majestic pairing of man and beast. They unearthed the K-9 series and produced a sequel to premiere on video and DVD. Thus ends the history lesson (I bet you didn't know cop/dog movies were a subgenre—it's a graduate thesis waiting to happen!).

For some reason, K-911 was fairly popular, or at least popular enough to warrant yet another sequel. In K-9: P.I. Tom Dooley (Belushi) and Jerry Lee (King the dog) are ready to retire from the force. On their last day (of course), the two stumble onto a robbery in progress at a computer company and become the FBI's prime suspects after the real criminals get away with several prototype microchips. With his pension frozen until the case is solved, Dooley must rely on his P.I. skills to clear his name (and make a living in the meantime).

Nothing about K-9: P.I. is original, and certainly not the central storyline. The microchip-theft storyline is supposedly the focus, but it is poorly developed and wrapped up rather abruptly (the "surprise" last minute betrayal is, let's face it, obvious from about 20 minutes in). But check out the totally random, goofy subplots. Like, for instance, when Dooley decides to breed Jerry Lee to make some quick cash, which evidently requires the involvement of a prissy trainer and results in a weird audition scene for potential canine mates. Or the comic bon mot featuring Jerry Lee's farts and poop, and how bad it all smells.

Belushi is likeable enough as the lead, and he seems to genuinely enjoy interacting with his canine co-star. King, well, he has big brown eyes and a cute little waggley tail, so he's instantly my favorite character (though I'm not strictly a dog person, I generally prefer creatures of the four-legged variety to those with two). TV veteran Richard J. Lewis handles the material well, coaxing some good reaction shots out of King, and the whole affair makes for a fairly enjoyable 90 minutes. For a second sequel, and one that is premiering on video, I suppose that's about the best you can expect. Arf-fully done. Rel-leash it while you can. An engaging tail. OK, I'll stop.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: K-9 looks pretty good for a direct-to-video feature. Colors seem bright and natural. Black level is decent, though shadow detail is only fair, with darker scenes lacking some contrast. I noted no artifacting or edge enhancement, but the transfer overall is a bit soft.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Universal offers K-9 with both a DD 5.1 and DTS mixes. Both sound more or less identical to my ears, and either track is fairly pleasing (though neither is what I'd call reference material). Dialogue is crisp and natural, anchored in the center channel. The front soundstage expands a bit with the score and nice directionality with the sound effects. The surround action is reserved for the most part, with the rears only augmenting the score or offering a bit of support to action sequences.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dragonfly, The Time Machine, Elvis: His Best Friend Remembers
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: The only real extra is an above average making-of featurette that runs 10 minutes. It's less self-promotional than most of these things, covering the history of the series and the various dogs that have played the title character over the years. Belushi discusses his love for dogs in general, revealing that before the first K-9 film in the 1980s, he wasn't much of an animal person.

Also included is the trailer for the feature and three other clips (which aren't selectable from the menu but play automatically when "play movie" is selected): Dragonfly, The Time Machine, and Elvis: His Best Friend Remembers.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

As cop/dog buddy movies go, K-9:P.I. is fairly inoffensive. And I say this as a cat person with an indifference to canines. So if you are a fan of four-legged friends of the slobber-in-your-crotch variety, by all means, give this one a rent.


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