(1989)

Meet the two toughest cops in town. One's just a little smarter than the other!

The extravagant cop Michael Dooley needs some help to fight a drug dealer who has tried to kill him. A "friend" gives him a dog named Jerry Lee (Officer Lewis), who has been trained to smell drugs. With his help, Dooley sets out to put his enemy behind the bars, but Jerry Lee has a personality of his own and works only when he wants to. On the other hand, the dog is quite good at destroying Dooley's car, house and sex-life...

The super cop and James Belushi!
Pursuing crime boss Lyman, maverick cop Dooley is tipped over the edge when a false lead ends up with an attempt on his life. Determined to finally get his man, Dooley enlists the help of a police dog called Jerry Lee (The Killer) to hopefully sniff out the drugs that he knows Lyman is involved in. Trouble is is that Dooley has no idea how to treat a dog and Jerry Lee is more of a maverick cop than he is!
Given its low rating, it's hard to know what sort of film the critics and general movie watching public were expecting with this one. Since a buddy buddy cop movie staring James Belushi and a German Shepherd Dog doesn't say anything other than the film we actually get. By the time of K-9's release it was evident what sort of film would be Belushi's staple money earner, the kind that called for him to play the cocky quipper with a glint in his eye. Belushi would try to abandon his buffoonery roles post Curly Sue (who could blame him after that mess really?), and attempt to be a more dramatic action type actor. It wouldn't work, his excellent performances in Oliver Stone's Salvador and The Principal (the latter also criminally undervalued) were long behind him. So you hear the name James Belushi in relation to films and you by and large think larking about action comedies. Coming a year after Red Heat (it looks like Belushi is wearing the same suit from that film in this one!), K-9 delivers exactly what it screamed out it would from the off.
Technically the film has very few things to recommend, but as a family friendly action comedy it has much to laud. The interplay between man and dog is great fun, they are both members of the animal kingdom, they both got needs and they are both great cops. Yes we are never in any doubt that after a troubled start, this pairing are going to become firm friends, and that ultimately, by hook, crook and paw, they will get the job done. Belushi has a nice line in facial comedy and he also never comes up short in delivering quips with panache, and a confidence that often belies the trouble his characters are often in. The dog too is hilarious (hats of to animal handler Robert Zides). Courtesy of writers Steven Siegel & Scott Myers, this is a dog that eats chili and wants to vie with Dooley for Tracy's affections (Mel Harris as Dooley's frustrated girlfriend). It makes for a number of funny set-ups that both man and beast revel at being involved in. Kevin Tighe as villain Lyman is a touch under written, and the obligatory emotional heart tugger moment now looks like over egging the formula pudding. But this is harmless witty fun that gets in and does its job without proclaiming to be anything other than what it is. 7/10

Gordon Company, Universal Pictures by Rod Daniel, Steven Siegel, Scott Myers.
Stars: Jim Belushi, Mel Harris, Kevin Tighe.

Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime

Keywords: helicopter police operation shadowing police headquarter drugs criminal dog german shepherd policeman stakeout police dog buddy cop

04/28/1989

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