Loaded Weapon 1 (National Lampoon's) (1993)
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Gene Quintano|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Samuel L. Jackson
F. Murray Abraham
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes, Basic Instinct scene|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Everything in the convenience store shootout|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
"Do you sleep in the nude?"
"Only when I'm naked."
Good spoof movies are a rare thing these days. Back in the 80's and early 90's they thrived, and most were very funny and clever. The ones that spring to mind as the best are Flying High 1 & 2, Naked Gun 1 & 2 1/2 (I found that 3 3/4 lost the spark that was there for the first two), Hot Shots! (and to a lesser extent Hot Shots! Part Deux), plus who could forget Spaceballs? These movies are laugh-a-minute affairs, parodying movies of their current era, as well as creating their own clever and unique situations to keep the humour coming. These movies barely allow the viewer time to recover from laughing at the first joke before throwing another few in. Multiple viewings of these movies are essential because so many jokes are missed on the first viewing. Replayability is high, so you will get your money's worth.
Spoof movies from the mid-90's onward are a different kettle of fish. From this time onwards, the genre had passed its use-by date. Perhaps I had grown up and was beyond this sort of humour, although I can still go back and laugh at the ones prior to this timeframe. Spy Hard, Wrongly Accused, Dracula - Dead and Loving It (I do not mean to poke fun at Leslie Nielsen, but he is less funny the older he gets), the Scary Movie Trilogy (I know many of you may disagree with me on these movies, however they still cannot compare to the classics), and many more.
Enter National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1. This was released in 1993, at the end of the spoof genre era. This is a movie right down the middle, with some of the jokes being memorable and great one-liners, while others make you cringe at the pathetic attempts to pull a joke. Unfortunately, more jokes fall into the latter category, and you can see why spoof movies are dead.
The plot runs mighty thin, and is even thinner than other spoof movies out there. Moving from scene to scene, the story was created around the jokes.
I remember seeing this movie at the cinema when I was 13 with my family. It kept me laughing out loud, but that was nothing compared to my mother, who embarrassed me dreadfully as she almost fell out of her seat from laughing so much. I did not go to another comedy movie at the cinemas with her again.
Samuel L. Jackson takes the leading role as Wes Luger, a year before the success of Pulp Fiction made him a star. Emilio Estevez is Jack Colt, Luger's partner, in this buddy cop movie. The pair work well together, both doing comedy very well. Based around the Lethal Weapon series, Luger is up for retirement, but gets a new partner in the form of Colt, an insane cop who recently lost a loved one, his dog. The pair are put together to solve the murder (mistaken for suicide after being caught by surprise by 5 gunshot wounds) of Luger's ex-partner Billy York (Whoopi Goldberg). The cop duo have 48 hours to track down the apparent killer, following clues from informants to find the big boss, General Mortars (William Shatner trying to find a new movie career after Star Trek). He is shipping cocaine through a Girl Scout cookie drive.
"Don't leave town."
"Oh, I won't. I live here."
The movie spoofs Star Trek, Die Hard, Basic Instinct and Dirty Harry, amongst others. Guest cameos are aplenty, with Bruce Willis having his caravan blown up by terrorists, Tim Curry donning a Girl Scouts uniform, the C.H.I.P.S. television stars in a hallway shootout (contrary to the fact that they never used their guns in the TV series), as well as Denis Leary, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Denise Richards, Charlie Sheen and Corey Feldman. While most cameos are only on screen for less than a minute, their scenes are funny, usually poking fun at a movie that they previously starred in.
The cover states that the movie is PG rated, while the stills on screen before the menu indicate that the movie is rated M. I remember that the movie was PG at the cinema and on video, so something seems awry there.
Perhaps someone can answer the question "What is a National Lampoon movie?". The Vacation series was totally different to this movie, as well as several others that bear the same moniker.
"Give me a name!"
"Didn't your parents give you one?"
The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. This is slightly altered from the original 1.85:1 ratio. Overall, this is a very unimpressive transfer. The movie is only 11 years old, so the elements should still be in reasonable condition. After seeing the movie several times on VHS it was good to see it in all its widescreen glory again, but a better job could have been done.
The image is lacking in sharpness. Throughout the movie, all scenes have a slightly blurry appearance. The entire convenience store scene starting from 1:30 onwards was shocking.
Colour is another problem with the transfer. The colours appear washed out, almost looking like a VHS copy. This is evident at 1:30 as well. Luckily, this problem improved slightly through the movie.
Film artefacts are only a problem at certain points in the movie. For the most part they are not distracting, but there are times to note such as at 20:17 and 49:10 when specks and dust rear their ugly head.
The disc is single layered, so there is no layer change to interrupt viewing.
There is a single subtitle track available, English for the Hearing Impaired.
We are offered a single audio track in the form of an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. It is encoded at 448kbps.
The track is nothing too spectacular. While nothing to boast about, it does utilise all the channels.
There are no problems with the sound, as clicks, pops and dropouts are non-existent.
Dialogue is clear and in sync with what is on screen.
The surrounds are not used extensively. In fact, only two occasions spring to mind, being 21:20 (Charlie Sheen doing valet parking), as well as 55:40 (helicopter fly by). Other than that, the sound is heard primarily from the front channels.
The subwoofer was switched on several times to support the explosions and gunfire. None of it is earth-shaking stuff. I only noticed that the subwoofer was active by virtue of its power light switching on.
|Surround Channel Use|
The trailer image is fullscreen, so therefore it is not 16x9 enhanced. Sadly, I laughed more viewing this than watching the movie. Running for 2:27, there were at least 4 or 5 scenes that were cut from the movie, some of which looked mildly interesting.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version of this DVD does have an extra feature in the form of Cast and Crew Filmographies. This is nothing you cannot find on IMdB. An extra audio track is included as well - a 2.0 channel surround English track. Finally, in addition to the 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced video transfer, they also have a fullscreen one.
None of these offer any significant advantage over the local Region 4 release. If you are wanting to purchase this movie, buy whichever is cheaper and more convenient.
A movie I once enjoyed immensely during my early teens this time left me only to giggle a few times. The video transfer is unimpressive, the audio average, and there is only a theatrical trailer as an extra.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-76PW60. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up.|
|Speakers||Jensen SPX-9 Front, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 Rear, Jensen SPX-17 Sub|