Friday, May 18, 2012

The 31 Day Movie Challenge - Day 20 - K9 (1989)

- Rated PG-13 for violence, language and some sexual content.
- Starring Jim Belushi, Mel Harris, Keven Tighe, Ed O'Neill
- Written by Steven Siegel and Scott Myers
- Directed by Rod Daniel
- Running time: 1hr 41min

(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!) 

Back in the late 80's/early 90's, Hollywood came out with a few "cop partnered with a dog" movies.  Before TOP DOG with Chuck Norris and TURNER & HOOCH with Tom hanks, we got K-9 with Jim Belushi.  I saw this once when it first came out on video, so I was about 13-ish when I saw it.  At the time, I liked it better than HOOCH, as it was a bit more violent.  Now, 23 years later, here I am giving it a second viewing.

Belushi is Dooley, a typical 80's slob-ish cop.  Of course, he does things his way, which ends up with either people getting hurt or him wrecking a bunch of shit.  He works alone since he hates people, but he's got a sexy girlfriend that puts up with his lack of attention to her.  He's on a big case (is there any other kind?) and needs someone to help him track drugs, so he gets a police dog to sniff the dope.  "Strangely", they don't get along at first, but then after a run in with some gangs that has the dog (named Jerry Lee, by the way) biting on a thug's nuts, the two end up bonding.  But the stakes are raised when the villain goes too far, and Dooley must decide what's more important, his private life or his work.

You can't go in expecting a great movie here.  It's a formula.  Now, I don't have a problem with formula as long as it's entertaining.  Hell, TANGO & CASH is one of my favorite movies and you can't really get any more formulaic than that.  But K-9 just isn't very good.  The first and main problem is Belushi.  He's an extremely annoying big mouth in this.  He has an unfunny wisecrack for every situation, and complains about fucking everything!  I couldn't get past how much of a dink he was.  Another actor might have reined it in a bit, but he's trying so hard to stand out here... and he does, but not in the way he probably wanted to.

The interaction between Belushi and the dog is mildly amusing at times, like when Jerry Lee won't take a bath, so Dooley leaves him in his convertible while it's getting a car wash.  But scenes with Dooley trying to get Jerry Lee laid, are kind of pathetic.  The rest of the comedy is predictable and flat.  We get gags about poop, the dog sneaking in bed while Dooley and his lady are trying to have sex, and the dog wrecking his car. The action plot is boring, generating no suspense.  You don't really care about anything.  The high point in the film for me was seeing awesome character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince as a hit man.  This was before he gained a lot of weight, and he makes an impression here (as he also makes use of his trademark crazy eyes).  But other than that, there's not much to really write about.

K-9 is more generic and boring than being an outright disaster, but perhaps that would have been more entertaining.  Now, I haven't seen TOP DOG yet, but I can confidently say that TURNER & HOOCH would make a much better house pet than K-9.

*1/2 (out of ****)

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