K-9:PI
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K-9:PI

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The art of film serves many purposes. One is to inform another is to prompt discussion. With all the moviemakers that strive to create a work that fulfills these lofty goals the primary purpose of film is often overlook, to entertain. There is nothing wrong with a film that is just fun to watch, to sit back and laugh for 90 minutes or so. The film K-9:PI falls into this category. It will never win any awards, it really doesn’t deserve any, but when you grow tired of the dismal news on CNN, as you watch your retirement funds dwindle with the stock market losses, this film will provide a reprieve from the woes of the world. James Belushi is Dooley, a cop with a canine partner Jerry Lee (King). The two of them just retired from the force and were about to relax when on the way home from the retirement party Jerry Lee see some suspicious activity and the pair take off to investigate. As it turns out they stumble into a high tech robbery and get in trouble with the feds. Unless Dooley can find the crooks his pension is on hold and he’s broke. In order to make enough to get by he is forced into becoming a private investigator still partnered with the trusty Jerry Lee. Okay, don’t look for a lot of plot here. We have all seen this before but the film is presented with a nice amount of energy. There are the prerequisite chases, beautiful females (for both man and dog) and the many scenes that demonstrate that the dog is smarter than any of the people around. There are spies, crooks, beautiful women and animals, everything a direct to video flick needs. As with many direct to video presentations K-9:PI was never destined for greatness, it will never win an award but it can provide something that the whole family can watch together.

Belushi is one of those actors that never hits the heights but is always working. Every since he hit the scene in the shadow of his late brother John, James Belushi has run the gamut of film styles. From his dramatic films like the Principal to action flicks like Red Heat, he has consistently provided enjoyable performances. I have always felt it is a better measure of an actor in how he handles the routine roles rather than the blockbusters. In this film Belushi is easily someone that the regular guys in the audience can identify with, balding, a bit overweight but a person that still cares about doing what is right. Naturally, the real star here is King in the role of his career, Jerry Lee. The animal trainers here do a great job of putting this dog through his paces. He crawls through ducts, chases the bad guys and even seduces a poodle. (For some reason Hollywood is under the impression that all German Shepards are male and all poodles are female).

The director, Richard J.Lewis, gets the job done here. There are no film school ploys or devices, just a straightforward style to present the story. The framing and lighting are reasonable, the pacing is good and the film moves along. Lewis is basically a TV director earning his living on such notable shows as CSI, The Chris Issak Show and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The method used here demonstrates this background. The film, like many direct to video faire, is full screen. The film has a feel on an extended television show. Now, there is nothing wrong with this. There is room in the business of entertainment for something light as a chance.

The disc is very well done. The audio is Dolby surround providing a good separation and clarity. The full screen video is free of defect with a good color balance. The extras are light, a production featurette and the typical cast bios. The film does not take itself seriously. It makes no pretenses and does not play above its reach. Its just a fun movie that you can sit back, pop some corn and enjoy with your children. With all the serious films out there its nice to have one that is just fun. When you get tired of having to watch a film for every detail in order to understand it, try this one just for a laugh.

Posted 7/10/02

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