Turner & Hooch

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy None
Year Released 1989
Running Time 95:29 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Roger Spottiswoode
Touchstone Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring Tom Hanks
Mare Winningham
Craig T. Nelson
Reginald VelJohnson
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Charles Gross

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.80:1 (measured)
16x9 Enhancement
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

Plot Synopsis

    Just six short years before achieving immortality by winning consecutive Best Actor Oscars, Tom Hanks was eking out his acting career with such luminary films as ... Turner & Hooch. Whilst the likes of Turner & Hooch are unlikely to be confused with such gems as Apollo 13, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan, at least it can be indulged in as a mildly amusing film that stood out from a number of other canine police stories. Even in relative fluff such as this, Tom Hanks was demonstrating some talent which is more than can be said for the ilk of Steve Guttenberg.

    Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is a small town detective on the verge of moving to the big smoke, when things start to happen in the small town. After a spate of misdemeanours, and very very few felonies, the town of Cypress Beach is hit by a biggie of a felony - the murder of a local harbour-side character. The only problem is that the one witness to the murder is a junkyard dog by the name of Hooch. Now Hooch is your fairly typical Dogue de Bordeaux (that's the breed of dog), with a mean streak in him a mile wide and all the social graces of a pig in muck. Having lost his owner, Hooch has to be found a new home - which of course means moving in with Scott, at least according to local vet and love interest Emily Carson (Mare Winningham). Anyone who has owned a large dog knows that when they get bored, they get very playful, and will destroy anything of value and use in a house in a very short time. Scott learns this the hard way, as his rather compulsively neat ways go out the window under the attack of Hooch's playfulness. Hooch has to be protected until the murderer can be identified, and we enjoy some playfully derivative romps until the film reaches its inevitable conclusion.

    Yes, I know this is not great cinema but it is at least mildly entertaining in that wonderfully derivative way so utterly par for the course from this source. Even back in films of this era, you can at least see that Tom Hanks has some sort of acting ability, and in many ways this is well-suited to his talents at the time. The rest of the cast is a typical by-the-numbers selection who at least put up enough of a performance to flesh out the balance of the rather underdeveloped characters here. The whole thing is woven together by Roger Spottiswoode whose chief claim to fame is Tomorrow Never Dies - an obvious highlight in a generally mediocre body of work. Turner & Hooch is not great artistically, but is an enjoyable enough romp that manages to raise a couple of laughs.

Transfer Quality


    This is another of those characteristic mediocre transfers that seem to be the norm from Buena Vista.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.80:1, which is very close to the theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. The main insult is the fact that the transfer is not 16x9 enhanced: this is an unacceptable state of affairs I am afraid, as anyone who has or intends to buy a widescreen television will find this a very problematic DVD to view.

    The whole transfer just smacks of mediocrity: sharpness is average, detail is average, shadow detail is average, clarity is average. There is little here to get at all enthused about. There did not seem to be any really significant problem with grain in the transfer, although it was a little bit prevalent throughout the film. There did not seem to be any real problem with low level noise in the transfer at all.

    The overall tone of the transfer here is quite dark and therefore there is no great vibrancy of colour on offer here. It is not an especially natural-looking transfer, although this is a problem that also afflicts the VHS tape and therefore may reflect the way the film was shot rather than a mastering problem. If it were an artistic choice, it was not a good one. There is nothing approaching oversaturation here and colour bleed is not an issue.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There was a consistent problem with aliasing throughout the transfer and on a widescreen television this is not going to look at all good. There are no particular problems with film artefacts here, although obviously they are present.

    Despite what the packaging may state, this is not an RSDL formatted DVD.

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


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I stayed with the English default soundtrack.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.

    There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    The musical score comes from Charles Gross, and a thoroughly unmemorable effort it is, too.

    There is not much of an audio demonstration going on here at all and at best this is another mildly serviceable soundtrack from Buena Vista. It is sad that they seem determined to be the masters of mediocrity, and at some time I really think we have to question whether their contributions to Region 4 DVD are really needed. There are no major flaws as far as distortion or congestion are concerned, but really there is little here that is anything approaching distinctive. Surround channel use is not especially wonderful and the whole soundscape is serviceably frontal. There is no bass channel use here at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Hooch devoured all the extras in a fit of rage upon finding out that the DVD was not 16x9 enhanced.


R4 vs R1

    As far as can be determined, this has yet to be released in Region 1.


    Turner & Hooch is not a great film but one that I enjoy as a fill-in on long evenings in front of the television. However, this is yet another substandard release from Buena Vista that should be left sitting on the shelves. A mediocre transfer with a totally bereft package of extras. The only way we, the consumer, will get Buena Vista to listen to our demands for better quality releases is to refuse to indulge in the crud releases they insist on throwing out. You may as well start with this effort.

    A mediocre video transfer.

    A mediocre audio transfer.

    A non-existent extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
17th September 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