Armed and Dangerous

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

After he was set up by some crooked coworkers and tossed off the police force, Frank Dooley (John Candy) still had the drive to protect & serve. So instead of becoming a vigilante, he turned to the next logical step in the ladder of protection, trying to gain employment as a low level security guard. His skills as a police officer might not have been that sharp, but he is confident he can handle any security tasks thrown in his path. At the same time, a nervous lawyer named Herman Kane (Eugene Levy) decides to leave the world of law, so he also looks into the field of security. As both manage to secure positions within the company, they are put together as a team and sent out to overlook a warehouse. Even though they dislike the practices of their new union, they either have to accept them or find work elsewhere, so they agree, so they remain displeased. The first assignment given to Dooley and Kane is the warehouse watch, where they have to keep an eye on things and make sure no one trespasses. But as per usual, the two somehow bungle their watch and the warehouse is robbed on their shift, not a good start to their new careers. When they look deeper into the recent string of robberies however, they uncover some ties to both their company & their union, but can they somehow prove the crimes?

You can mark one more classic 1980s comedy off the yet to be released list, as Columbia has finally given us Armed and Dangerous. This hilarious movie stars the dynamic duo of John Candy and Eugene Levy, with a gifted supporting cast led by Meg Ryan and Robert Loggia. I must have watched this a thousand times on cable, but I never grew tired of the humor and without question, it remains just as effective even now. I think I have about ninety percent of the dialogue memorized, but the movie still never fails to make me laugh, the true sign of a successful comedic picture. Candy is on his game and he plays off Levy to perfection, while Levy’s over the top antics mesh well with his costar’s own traits, so they make an excellent team and really command the screen. The writing is solid throughout, but the presence of Candy and Levy enhance the material to no end, without a doubt. Even when the writing slips a little, you never notice thanks to their great performances. As with any comedy, some scenes work better than others, but in Armed and Dangerous, very few sequences fall short. I was concerned this would be a full frame only release, given Columbia’s recent mistakes in that respect, but thankfully, both full frame and widescreen options have been included here. So even though this disc is bare bones, I think fans will jump at the chance to nab this disc, as the movie alone is well worth the investment.

His career was loaded with humorous performances, so it says a lot to call this movie some of John Candy’s best work. I don’t rank it as his finest effort, but it is one of his top performances and he is in terrific form throughout. He never seems bored with the material and Harold Ramis (who cowrote) is probably behind that, as he knew how to make good use of Candy’s talent and downplay his lesser skills. After the disappointing Summer Rental, it didn’t look as if Candy could carry an entire picture himself, but he proved himself here and as well know, went on to be the lead in numerous successful movies. I love to see him play off his costars and he is able to do that a lot in Armed and Dangerous, especially with Eugene Levy. These two have some great chemistry and really bring the material to life, making it even funnier than it should be at times. Other films with Candy include Uncle Buck, Canadian Bacon, Brewster’s Millions, The Great Outdoors, Planes Trains & Automobiles, and Little Shop of Horrors. The cast also includes Eugene Levy (American Pie, Best in Show), Robert Loggia (Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Independence Day), and Meg Ryan (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail).

Video: How does it look?

Armed and Dangerous is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition also included on this dual layered disc. I was quite pleased with this visual treatment, as the movie looks much less worn than expected, with a clean print that shows little grain, nicks, or other debris. So right off the bat, we’re given a cleaner and sharper edition than I’ve ever seen, which is certain to thrill fans. The image has a little softness, but is sharper than previous versions and has no serious flaws to mention, a simply terrific catalog title transfer. The colors haven’t faded much and look bright, flesh tones are natural, and black levels look great. In other words, great work from Columbia all around on this one.

Audio: How does it sound?

A 2.0 surround option is found here, which more than handles the needs of the material, so its all good. Of course, this movie has more action than most comedies, so the audio is a little more dynamic, but don’t expect too much. There’s some solid presence to be heard here, especially whenever the action heats up, but the material isn’t brand new and by turn, isn’t as refined as a more recent soundtrack might be. The music sounds good though, as do the sound effects in both action & more dialogue driven scenes. No troubles with the vocals either, as dialogue is smooth and crystal clear at all times. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc contains no bonus materials.

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