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By the book LAPD Sergeant Joe Friday (Aykroyd) and his new laid-back partner Peb Streebek (Tom Hanks) are assigned to investigate a series of crimes around the city by an unknown group who leave the calling card name of P.A.G.A.N. Teaming up with the virgin Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul), who names TV star Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer) as the head of the crime organisation, the LAPD police officers must work together to solve the case.

 Dragnet
Going back to Dragnet is almost like visiting another lifetime. Back in 1987 Aykroyd was still a pretty solid force in comedy, perfecting his skills as the straight laced square with a code of conduct which he’s seemingly loves doing in the smaller roles he’s had in the decades since this film came out and Tom Hanks was still expertly playing the goof, as he was much loved for doing before he became much loved for, well, being the reliable movie star he is today. The pairing really are quite the odd couple and both perfectly nail the tone of their characters and the ways they annoy one another for comedic effect.

Plot wise, the weirdly overused 80s cliche of a cult leader doing sacrifices in goat-esq costumes and stuff is used pretty well and the Crime Drama style of voice over and constant commentary on the case, while not really of the 80s still works, largely thanks to Aykroyd's 100% commitment to it. In terms of the semi-spoof like approach the film takes, there’s enough laughs in here to keep the rather over done twists and turns play out without getting tired, even though the tone often shifts between comedy buddy cop drama to more Naked Gun silliness a few times and then it expects you to get back on track and get serious again with the plot pretty fast.

 Dragnet

Video


The image from the 1987 comedy is clean enough but it's a little soft around the edges. Detail is better up close, the wider shots look a little washy but sticking to those up close shots the textures in Hanks and Aykroyd's suits always look great and once you notice that you pick up on the other glimmers of great textures dotted around the frame from time to time.

Colours, including skin tones run a little hot from time to time but it is L.A. and it is sunny so who knows, maybe the sun tans were running well during filming. Darker scenes actually looks a little softer, even when the flame lighting and strong electric lighting keeps everything bright and colourful, despite the night time backdrop.

All in all Dragnet provides a transfer that's enough to call it an upgrade but not really enough to call it a great one. There are clear highlights but never really in the scene you'd expect them to be in, like chatting in the police station can look sharp but then well lit fire fuelled exterior scenes can look oddly flat. Once again. This is an 80s film and despite the 1080p presentation it still looks like an 80s film, the colours are consistently boosted but everything else is up and down.

 Dragnet

Audio


The opening theme tune is bold and strong, even when the remix element kicks in with those bloody stupid mixed samples from the film. Despite the late 80s dodgy remixing, it does show off the scale of the stereo track a bit with the various elements, beats, scratches and stuttering mixed dialogue fills up a fair bit of space in the room and generally outreaches the stereo limits quite well.

Aykroyd's voice-overs sit strongly above the rest of the track and remains crisp throughout as does the dialogue within the film even if the background sound effects lie a bit lower than is probably intended and sort of disappear a bit at times. It has to be mentioned there are a few wavy moments on the score, like it's struggling to cope or something. I noticed this a few times but it was noticeably odd like a warped tape or something.

 Dragnet
Extras
Nothing here but text based production notes and a trailer, like the DVDs of old.

 Dragnet

Overall


Dragnet was never a favourite of mine but I reckon I’ve seen it more times than other films I preferred in the era and I always seem to stick with it until the end without drifting. Watching it again for this review came with more of an amusing spin as it was full of reminiscing about how this era of Tom Hanks seems so far away and how Dan Aykroyd saying “Slime” always plucks at my Ghostbusters heartstrings. Plus my wife had never seen the film, so her amusement for the gags I was already accustomed too enabled me to enjoy the film with a fresh pair of eyes.

Presentation wise, the disc is cleaned up enough with a nice bright and colourful boost to it but it’s a little soft and flat in places and never really screams “restored” as much as it whispers “upscaled”. The results are good enough but not anything to get too excited about. The audio is much the same and while strong enough has no showing off to do at all. The less said about the flimsy extras the best really.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the true quality of the source.

 Dragnet


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