K-9: P.I. (2002)
Featurette-K-9:P.I. - Sniffn' Out the Real Story
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||90:59 (Case: 93)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Richard J. Lewis|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
K-9:P.I. is the third in the K-9 trilogy. I have to confess that I didn't even realise there were three of these films until I watched the featurette on this DVD, so I thought I was actually watching the sequel. I was a little surprised that the series has obviously made enough money to warrant two sequels, with this final one being a straight-to-video release.
Anyway, K-9:P.I. tells the story of Dooley (James Belushi), a retiring cop and his trusty dog/sidekick/partner Jerry Lee (King IV), who are now at the end of their police careers and ready to take it easy for a while. Still half hung-over from his farewell party, Dooley and Jerry Lee stumble onto, and almost foil, a crime involving the theft of some super-advanced computer chips. During the ensuing chase, Jerry Lee swallows one of the chips (the most important one of course), but the police arrive and allow one of the thieves to escape with the other chips.
Since this action took place after midnight on his last day on the job, Dooley is technically not a police officer any more and is considered a suspect in the crime. His police pension is frozen and a couple of dopey FBI agents are given the job of staking out his house until his name can be cleared. So, Dooley decides to put his P.I. license to good use and clear his own name, whilst also taking on a seemingly unrelated job involving a beautiful woman (Kim Huffman) and a missing person. Of course, all is not as it seems, and I don't think I'm giving away any spoilers saying that, because the plot "twists" are pretty much telegraphed to the audience long before they occur.
There's a bit of a sub-plot involving Dooley prostituting Jerry Lee for the purposes of getting enough money to eat. This also introduces us to dog owner Catherine (Barbara Tyson), the love interest for Dooley, but her role really seems to have been very much an afterthought, since she gets all of 5-10 minutes of screen time and doesn't feature in any part of the main plot.
All-in-all, this film is pretty much what you'd expect from a direct-to-video production, with a forgettable plotline (the truth is I already can't remember some of the details!), average acting, and an obviously small budget. In fact, it was almost embarrassing seeing an aging, overweight Belushi chasing down younger criminals ... a far cry from the first K-9 movie where he looked quite the part. There were, however, some reasonable moments that raised a chuckle from me, usually involving Jerry Lee. If you're a dog lover (as I am) then you'll probably get some entertainment out of Jerry Lee's antics, but please for the love of Mike can we give the fart and poop jokes a rest! There is one ongoing "joke" involving the dog's constipation that wasn't exactly funny the first, second, third, fourth...or even the tenth time.
If it wasn't for the occasional piece of bad language, this might have been able to pass as a Disney direct-to-video sequel, so I find myself making similar comments to Edward in his review of the first movie - it's pretty much a kid's flick, but with a few adult concepts and some language that might make it not totally suitable for them. If your expectations aren't too high then this isn't a total waste of 90 minutes, but I couldn't really highly recommend it to anyone.
The video transfer was a very pleasant surprise. For a film that you wouldn't expect a studio to take a lot of time over, they've done a really nice transfer.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I would imagine this would be the original aspect ratio, since it's unlikely a direct-to-video production would be shot in 2.35:1, and there's no obvious framing issues to suggest the cropping of a 1.33:1 image.
Sharpness was great - much better than I'd expected. The majority of this film took place in darkened areas or during night time, so it needed to have good shadow detail and good blacks. Fortunately it did, and I couldn't spot any low-level noise.
Colours were also very good with spot-on skin tones, and although it wasn't a particularly colourful film (due to the dark settings), when there was colour it was crisp and vivid, with not a sign of bleeding or chroma noise.
I didn't see any serious film-to-video artefacts, or film artefacts, although the dreaded edge enhancement did rear its ugly head in a few of the indoor scenes. It was only noticeable when someone was standing in front of a white wall, or something similar (67:51 for example).
There are 7 sets of subtitles on this disc: English, Hungarian, Arabic, Czech, Greek, Turkish, and Romanian. Not being fluent in any of the other languages, I checked only the English stream and found it to be true to the dialogue.
This DVD is an RSDL disc, but I didn't notice a layer change. With so many dark scenes, I suspect it may have been hidden in a black frame somewhere.
Like the video, audio on this disc was a very pleasant surprise. With this movie's intended medium I would have half-expected a 2.0 track, but we're given some decent 5.1 sound.
There are two audio tracks on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and also one in Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English track.
Dialogue was perfectly understandable, and I didn't notice any sync problems, except in a long shot of Dooley in his car (6:55), where the ADR didn't seem to match his mouth movements. It wasn't exactly important stuff, though.
The surrounds got quite a bit of use for a film that wasn't exactly an action extravaganza. During all the chase/shooting scenes, we get plenty of immersive noise coming from the surround channels, especially gunshots (11:35 for example). Dogs barking (36:48) and even the excessive fart joke also get some action from the rear speakers.
The subwoofer had something to do from early on (8:20), and continued to be called into use throughout the movie during the more action-oriented scenes. There's also a nightclub that Dooley goes into around the 42 minute mark, which you'll feel coming up through the floor.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is presented as a static 16x9 enhanced image.
This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and not 16x9 enhanced.
Although only short, this is actually a little more than the usual extended trailer fluff piece. We get interviews with the cast, some history of the series, and quite a lot of the running time is spent talking about the aspect of having a dog as a main character.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
Admittedly I haven't heard the DTS track, but I'd say this is pretty much a tie. The Dolby Digital track is more than sufficient for this film, and in my opinion the increased PAL resolution would offset any aural improvement in the DTS version.
K-9:P.I. is one of those movies that leaves you with no strong feelings one way or the other. It's basically a kid's movie, with some aspects that might make it unsuitable for the really young ones. There's a few laughs to be had, a forgettable storyline, and a cool dog.
The video was very easy to look at.
The sound quality was much better than expected, with a decent 5.1 track.
Extras are pretty thin on the ground, but the featurette contains a few interesting facts.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|