Thursday, March 27, 2008

Loose Cannons

The Action Mutant…
wonders why Dan Aykroyd’s agent hates him so much?

Loose Cannons

review by Joe Burrows

After reading this review, I hope this serves as a call to action to you. If Gene Hackman does something this bad again, please send him a small check because it is obvious he needs to make house payments. If Dan Aykroyd does something this bad again…fuck it. He’s used to this sort of thing by now.

The Plot, as it was:
Hackman is Macarthur “Mac” Stern, a detective with a penchant for antiques and playing by his own rules (he’s a loo…no, too soon). He’s been assigned to a murder case, in which several partygoers associated with porn magnate Harry Gutterman (Dom DeLuise) were killed. The culprits are German hitmen that are after a tape in Harry’s possession: a snuff film of Hitler and the next German chancellor Von Metz (Robert Prosky) doing the nasty before the former’s demise. Stern has to retrieve the film and protect Gutterman before the cover up can take place but surprise, surprise…he’s saddled with a partner! Ellis Fielding (Aykroyd) is a brilliant detective that just has one problem: he flies off the handle whenever violence approaches him (due to him being tortured years back and having to be rehabilitated by Benedictine monks…uh huh), causing him to run afoul and spout off hyper-conscious pop culture impersonations at random. I guess you could say he’s a loo…NO! Not delving into such an obvious cliché this time!

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Words cannot fully express how mind blindingly awful and trenchant Loose Cannons is. Hackman, who usually has a near flawless track record in picking projects, does all he can with such a disposable spot on the resume. Akyroyd, whose track record is as flawless as Enron’s bookkeeping, is embarrassing and annoying to no end. He plays the role as if he’s trying too hard and his impressions (while pretty accurate at times) come off mechanical and obvious. He’s much better doing his “Canadian straight man” act, as this part would have been tailor made for a Robin Williams or Jim Carrey. Not that those two could have saved this, mind you. The movie’s simply too needlessly ugly, badly edited and just plain not funny to work. Time after time, situations fall flat and a decent supporting cast (Ronny Cox, Nancy Travis and cameos by David Alan Grier and Nancy Parsons) gets wasted at every turn. Most of all, there’s just nothing even remotely likable to latch onto. DeLuise’s character (even for a porno baron) is so slimy and insufferable, you feel like you should take a bath after watching him sweat and wheeze through five minutes of a scene. And the concept (while employing some comic potential) just screams “bad”, with it copping out more times than not. The only curiosity here is seeing the two leads at the absolute lowest points of their careers (and in Aykroyd’s case, that’s saying an awful lot!).

Character/Supporting Actor Sighting!:
- S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order) is Rachel, the desk clerk.
- Bill Fagerbakke (Coach, that god awful Spongebob cartoon) is simply billed as “Giant”.
- Despite Andy Dick being on the box art, he’s NOT in the film. He got a lot of print ad work around that time and that just happens to be one of those credits.
- Tobin Bell (everyone’s favorite Jigsaw from the Saw franchise) is Gerber.
- Katey Sagal (TV’s Married…With Children) and Aykroyd sing the title song, an appropriately overblown tune with her singing in an operatic falsetto. She does have a set of lungs on her (yes, double entendre it is).

Body Count/Violence: 12. For a wacky “comedy”, this is unnecessarily violent at times. For example, Ellis makes his first appearance by graphically detailing how Gutterman’s pals were tortured and murdered (and not in a funny way, either!). Along with some explosions, a bar fight and low speed car chases, there’s some gun play that’s fairly bloody and in slo-mo, which is pretty out of place here. And seriously, Aykroyd’s offing of the final bad guy may be one of the most ridiculous final showdown images in film history (Is it parody or is it Memorex?).

Sexuality/Nudity: You’d think in a film involving a porno tape, there would be something, but no.

Language/Dialogue: Kind of the standard fare for an R-rated comedy.

How bad was it?:
Any review of this film was funnier than the actual film itself. All the reviews I found on this thrashed the movie within an inch of its life and it’s all deserved (Bob Clark, the director of this…God rest his soul…was involved in a lot of crap). The Rotten Tomatoes rating is a solid 0%, if it gives you any indication.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
In an absolute shock of shockers, Loose Cannons was shot in the summer of 1988 and sat for almost a year and a half on the shelf! Filmed on a $26 million budget, TriStar Pictures most likely feared the worst when they released it on 2/9/90. And they were correct in fearing. It finished 5th behind new competition in Seagal’s action opus Hard to Kill and then took an amazing nosedive to 14th the next weekend! It finished with an awe inspiring $5.6 million and immediately took residence under someone’s birdcage.

Film: */*****
Entertainment value: **/*****

Copyright 2007 The Action Mutant.

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