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Tom Mankiewicz
Tom Hanks, Dan Aykroyd, Christopher Plummer
Writing Credits:
Dan Aykroyd, Alan Zweibel, Tom Mankewicz

The equally-straight-laced and "by the book" nephew of Joe Friday must work with his more laid-back partner to solve a mystery.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$10,542,669 on 1337 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 10/30/2018

• Audio Commentary with Pop Historian Russell Dyball
• Interview with Actor Alexandra Paul
• “Just the Facts” Featurette
• Trailers & TV Spots


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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Dragnet: Collector's Edition [Blu-Ray] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 17, 2018)

A comedic expansion of the 1950s/1960s cop show, 1987’s Dragnet introduces us to Sgt. Joe Friday (Dan Aykroyd), the nephew/namesake of the original series’ “by the book” law enforcer. Friday takes this inspiration to heart and acts as a living emulation of his no-nonsense uncle.

This makes it tough on Joe when he receives a new partner: wise-cracking, loosy-goosey Detective Pep Streeback (Tom Hanks). The mismatched pair learn to live with each other as they investigate a series of crimes that point them toward a mysterious cult.

In 1984, the double-success of Splash and Bachelor Party quickly elevated Hanks to stardom. He then rapidly squandered this newfound fame with a series of flops that reached its nadir with 1986’s dramatic Every Time We Say Goodbye.

Dragnet brought Hanks a much-needed hit, though not an enormous one. In a lackluster box office year where the biggest-grossing flick topped out at a mere $167 million, Dragnet still only wound up at 14th on the final 1987 chart.

Well, it was a start, one on which Hanks would capitalize with an unquestioned hit, 1988’s Big. Hanks would again sputter through financial duds until 1992’s A League of Their Own reignited his career and set him on a streak of hits that turned him into the living legend we now know.

I don’t know if Dragnet influenced Hanks’ casting in Big, but if so, that becomes its primary claim to cinematic posterity. While not a bad film in its own right, Dragnet seems wholly ordinary and only fitfully engaging.

Dragnet works best in its early parts, as it musters enough comedy and freshness to keep us with it. Nothing tremendously funny emerges, but the first act comes with enough wit and energy to do reasonably well for itself.

After that, Dragnet produces decreasing returns, mainly because it just starts to feel tedious. The plot never feels like more than an excuse for gags, and these turn more ludicrous and less impactful as the film goes.

As talented as Aykroyd and Hanks are, they never quite connect. Aykroyd offers a fun twist on Jack Webb, while Hanks brings the wacky smartass that worked for him in Bachelor Party. Both seem more than competent but they don’t even coalesce in a way to bring out much chemistry.

Dragnet comes with a nice supporting cast, as we get good turns from Christopher Plummer and Dabney Coleman. Though underused, it’s nice to see Harry Morgan – who played Friday’s partner in the 1960s version of the series – show up as the officers’ boss.

All of this adds up to a movie that offers moderate entertainment and not much else. Dragnet falls into that vast cinematic category of films that could’ve been worse but also could’ve been better.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C/ Bonus

Dragnet appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a watchable but unspectacular image.

Sharpness managed to largely seem fine. While the movie never seemed especially precise, it also avoided softness most of the time, as the only notable lack of definition tended to pop up during low-light interiors.

The movie lacked moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. No digital noise reduction appeared, but occasional print flaws like specks and streaks interfered.

Colors tended to look decent. At times they boasted nice vivacity, but other scenes came across as less dynamic. Overall, they remained fine, if inconsistent.

Blacks looked a little dense, while shadows felt fairly well-developed. Given the traits of late 80s film stocks, this one worked reasonably well despite erratic elements.

Don’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack, as it remained lackluster. The soundscape offered good stereo delineation of music, and effects spread to the side in a moderately active way, but this never turned into a soundfield with a lot to impress.

Audio quality tended to disappoint. Speech was a little brittle but intelligible, and it became the most consistent aspect of the mix.

Even given the lowered expectations that came with 80s soundtracks, the reproduction of music and effects disappointed. Both lacked range and seemed flat and wan much of the time. All of this left us with a wholly mediocre mix.

A few extras round out the set, and these start with an audio commentary from pop historian Russell Dyball. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source series and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, editing and deleted/altered scenes, music, sets and locations, costumes, and the movie’s reception/legacy.

Dyball offers a brisk, informative chat. He maintains a rapid-fire pace that allows him to pack a ton of information into the movie’s running time. Expect a top-notch commentary.

A new Interview with Actor Alexandra Paul fills 25 minutes, two seconds with her thoughts on her casting, working with cast and crew, and aspects of the production. Paul brings a nice array of insights about life on the film’s set.

From 1987, Just the Facts lasts 45 minutes, 59 seconds and comes hosted by Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. It also includes notes from Paul, producer Robert K. Weiss, actors Christopher Plummer and Harry Morgan, editor William Stark, technical advisor Lt. Daniel N. Cooke, and writer Steve Downing, writer/director Tom Mankiewicz.

The show looks at the original series and aspects of the cinematic version. Going into “Facts”, I expected 45 minutes of frothy promotional fluff, and we do get some of that.

However, most of “Facts” gives us info about the original series, and those moments play well. They more than compensate for the promo moments and turn this into a surprisingly effective show.

Some ads complete the package. We get one trailer and five TV spots.

A moderate hit in 1987, Dragnet shows nothing that makes me feel it deserved a better financial fate. While watchable and occasionally amusing, the film lacks consistency and drags as it goes. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture along with mediocre audio and a small but high quality roster of bonus materials. Dragnet becomes a passable diversion and that’s about it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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