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Details At A Glance

Category Action/Comedy Trailers (2)
Web Link
Year Released 1999
Running Time 87:15 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (53:08)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection, then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Charles T Kanganis
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures Video
Starring James Belushi
Christine Tucci
James Handy
Wade Andrew Williams
J J Johnston
Scotch Ellis Loring
Vincent Castellanos
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Steve Edwards

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    You know you are in for a bad time when the two DVDs in the package that has just arrived are Beethoven's 3rd and K-911. Both doggie films and both pretty much scraping the barrel as far as ideas go. Now don't get me wrong - I am very grateful that Universal Pictures Video (nee Polygram) are back in Region 4 and committed to a fairly extensive release (and re-release) program over the next few months. It's just that I really wish that their new releases, at least those of them that have passed my way thus far, had a little more palatability about them.

    You know that things are only going to get worse when you review the DVD and cannot remember what the original film was about. Either my memory is really disappearing or K-9 was as unmemorable as I don't recall it, which of course does beg the question as to why, if the original film was that unmemorable, a studio decided to go ahead with a sequel. But they did and here it is. Now I am pretty much guessing that this may be another straight to video effort, and that is without bothering to check any resources to confirm the fact. The whole film simply has that feel about it.

    The story pretty much goes along the lines of: weary cop (James Belushi) and his wearier police dog (Mac) are finding things tough and after losing yet another suspect are on the outer with exasperated boss (James Handy). Said cop is also the target for a somewhat deranged criminal novelist (Wade Andrew Williams) who has not taken kindly to said cop's judgement of his work. Cue the female interest in an attractive police woman (Christine Tucci) and her gung-ho police dog (Lucan), new partners for weary cop and wearier dog. Mission? To track down and incarcerate said criminal novelist before anything disastrous happens. Throw in banal romantic sub-plot between attractive police woman and weary cop. I think that pretty much covers this dull effort.

    Okay it may not be Police Academy 6 - nothing could be that bad - but this sure does not have an awful lot going for it. The acting is of a uniformly mediocre standard at best, with occasional descents into utter tripe, with a decidedly lacklustre directorial effort to boot. Can you say B-grade film? This is pretty much the definitive B-grade film. The sort of film that you forget even as you are watching it.

    There is nothing too much to get excited about here and about the only thing that makes this even remotely bearable to watch is... come to think of it, there is nothing that really makes this bearable to watch.

Transfer Quality


    For once, the quality of the film is commensurate with the quality of the transfer.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is really a quite average-looking transfer, apart from a couple of minor sections of quite decent sharpness. There just seemed to be a general lack of depth to the vision here that really detracts from the overall presentation. There are a few notable examples of very soft focus, and the overall effect is of a transfer that really does not provide too much in the way of detail. Shadow detail is reasonably good overall, but certainly not as good as it could have been. It is a clear enough transfer that thankfully is not prone to any grain. There is no low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours come up reasonably well here but are anything but vibrant in the main: the few instances where there is a degree of vividness in the colours tend to stand out all the more because of it. There are no problems with oversaturation nor with colour bleed. The overall look and feel of the film is quite natural and it is a pity that some better-looking locations were not used to take advantage of the quality of the transfer.

    Apart from some rather inconsequential aliasing at a couple of points, there really is nothing much to mention here. The standard of the film may be quibbled over but the standard of the mastering is such that suggests any problems in the transfer are source-related. No MPEG artefacts, no real film-to-video artefacts and hardly a film artefact are in sight.

    K-911 is yet another moderate length film that is blessed by being presented on an RSDL formatted DVD, with the layer change coming at 53:08. It is a decent layer change, quite well placed and not really disruptive to the flow of the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are five soundtracks on this DVD, with a rather interesting diversity to them! The soundtracks on offer are an English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I stuck with the default English soundtrack.

    The dialogue comes up clear and easy to understand in the transfer. There is no problem with audio sync in the transfer.

    The music score comes from Steve Edwards, and in keeping with the film-by-numbers approach of the film, is unlikely to indelibly leave its mark in your memory for the right reasons.

    It seems a little unusual to go with an English 5.0 soundtrack when the German gets a 5.1 offering. Still, there are not really too many opportunities for a bass channel to really kick in so it is not really missed overall. Of more concern is the opportunity wasted as far as some gorgeous directional sound effects is concerned. This provided ample opportunity for bullets to whiz across the soundstage - and the fact that they don't in general is quite noticeable. In general, the surround channel use is very reasonable but simply lacking the ultimate in ambient support. Obviously the bass channel went missing-in-action for this effort. A generally effective soundtrack that simply is not as good as we would perhaps have liked.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Another fairly sparse package but not entirely unexpected for a direct-to-video effort.


    Interestingly done in a perspective manner, albeit one that soon becomes a pain to read, they lack any sort of audio or animation enhancement but come with 16x9 enhancement. The mild annoyance of not returning to the correct menu appears once again - watch a trailer and at its conclusion rather than returning to the trailers menu, the DVD returns to the main menu.

Trailers (2)

    Both are presented in Full Frame format, are not 16x9 enhanced and come with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. They naturally enough are for K-9 (1:50) and K-911 (1:56). The technical quality of the former is pretty poor, suffering from very soft definition, undersaturation of colours, copious amounts of grain, mild shimmering and a nice collection of film artefacts. The later is somewhat better but is plagued by a consistent problem with colour bleed. Nothing really too exciting and the technical problems only worsen the situation.

Web Link

    An automated web link from an executable on the DVD. It takes you straight to the Universal website. I am so thrilled.

R4 vs R1

    There would appear to be no significant difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases of this film, other than the online reviews of the title would seem to indicate that the general quality of the video transfer is better than on the Region 4 release. For those for whom it matters greatly, the Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack is transferred at the higher rate of 448 Kb/s on the Region 1 release. Personally, I would avoid buying the film, but if you must - there is no really essential reason to prefer one over the other.


    K-911 is another very mediocre film given a DVD issue that it does not really warrant, since there are plenty of good films that demand release. Still, I suppose there are moments when K-911 is at least sufferable, but not much more. Another rental proposition I would say.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
27th November 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL