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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Loose Cannons (1990)

"Humpty Dumpty is back on the wall."
- Ellis (Dan Aykroyd)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: November 06, 2003

Stars: Gene Hackman, Dan Aykroyd
Other Stars: Dom DeLuise, Ronny Cox
Director: Bob Clark

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language
Run Time: 01h:32m:41s
Release Date: July 08, 2003
UPC: 043396008441
Genre: action comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- D-C+C+ D-

DVD Review

There are a handful of things that will baffle me until the day I die. For instance, colored catsup, the fascination with dipping sauces, the designated hitter, and most importantly the inclusion of very good actors landing in very poor movies. These things do not keep me up at night by any means, but they certainly grate on my nerves each and every time I come across them. The latest offender is the Bob Clark "comedy" Loose Cannons, a buddy cop film that doesn't seem to offer an ounce of intelligence.

The highly contrived plot for Loose Cannons is not so much a framework for a motion picture as it is proof positive that anything can and will get made in Hollywood. Mac (Hackman) is a veteran cop with a penchant for bad behavior. His partner is Ellis (Aykroyd), a seriously deranged forensic expert who diverts into schizophrenia when confronted with stressful situations. Oh, and the other personalities happen to be famous television characters. When the pair stumble across pornography featuring Adolf Hitler himself, they are soon the target of a gang of thugs who will stop at nothing to get the film back.

My interest in Loose Cannons came from my appreciation of actor Gene Hackman, though it is clear that this film will be conveniently passed over during any career retrospectives. The picture oddly suffers from the inclusion of the legendary actor, as his presence elevates expectations to very high levels. It can be argued that had the film just starred Aykroyd with no straight man, the fact that the film stinks would have been easy to overlook.

The subject matter of the film—political intrigue over the effects that the pornographic film may have on the future of West German politics—seems better suited for a thriller than a comedy, and seems tacked on as a purpose for Mac and Ellis to get caught up in some silly situations. Written by author Richard Matheson and his son Christopher, the script falls into too many moments where Ellis' condition becomes the center of attention.

There are pairs of actors that have chemistry (Gibson and Glover, Pecsi and DeNiro) and there are those that flat out do not. You can place Hackman and Aykroyd share no real energy while appearing on screen together. Hackman seems bored, while Aykroyd goes over the top in so many sequences that his performance comes off as a caricature.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, Loose Cannons looks as one might expect it to given the age of the print. Colors are faded and washed out while black levels show a slight amount of grain throughout. Edge enhancement is noticeable on several occasion while the print has numerous spots where an abundance of dirt becomes noticeable.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track used is very mediocre in its design; only the center channel showcases the bulk of the activity. Dialogue is muddled and hard to decipher at times, while the surround speakers show no real amount of activity.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, FDrench, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Korean with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extra features have been made available for the DVD of Loose Cannons.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

There are a lot worse films than Loose Cannons, but there are a very few that disappoint as much as this film. With Hackman and Aykroyd the door is opened to possibilities of classic comedy, but instead all that results is a very poor film that is immediately forgettable.


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