Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Alexandra Paul, Harry Morgan, Dabney Coleman, Christopher Plummer
Written by: Tom Mankiewicz
Directed by: Tom Mankiewicz
Original Year of Release: 1987
Distributor: Shout! Factory
Run Time: 1hr, 46 min
Dragnet may not be the best comedy offering by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks to you, but to me, it’s pretty damn close. It might have to do with that moment in time when you see a movie and it hits you right in the funny bone. I was 12 years old when Dragnet arrived in theaters. I was spending some time with my grandparents and they decided to take me, my brother, and my cousins to see the film. I would like to think they knew it was a comedy and we were all close to 13 years of age, so the PG-13 rating was acceptable. The two of them undoubtedly watched the original series, so they had a connection to the source material. There is a certain level of profanity that is acceptable in the film, however, when you get to the Playboy mansion and strip club (complete with pasties and thongs), I have to ask what my Lutheran Minister Grandfather was thinking at the time. Wait, he probably loved it, and it was my Grandmother who was likely having heart palpations. I only bring this up because in watching the film again with Shout! Factory’s stunning Blu-ray release, I actually took notice of how lewd and crude it was. However, the laughs have only gotten better with age.
If you have never seen Tom Mankiewicz’s 1987 comedic homage to the original TV series, "Dragnet", you are in for a treat. Truth be told, I was too young to see the original show and lacked any interest when it was on in reruns. The humor was still there for me as Dan Aykroyd (who plays Det. Joe Friday, the nephew to the TV series’ original) is teamed up with a new partner (and character), Det. Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks). They are assigned to the ''P.A.G.A.N.'' (''People Against Goodness And Normalcy'') robberies. Joe Friday is your classic by-the-book cop and Aykroyd plays him as the perfect straight man to Hanks’ “hipster free bird cop” Streebeck. He plays him so straight that the roles are reversed making Aykroyd the funny man. It really is a brilliant performance by Aykroyd, if not one of his best.
As for the film itself, Dragnet is a brilliant mix of a crime story and a comedy. It places our two detectives at the heart of a much larger conspiracy involving the members of the government, a religious hero, sleaze pleader, and the aforementioned P.A.G.A.N. group. This allows Hanks and Aykroyd to weave in and out of different comedy setups that keep the film moving. Mankiewicz, who wrote the film as well, also gives us an insight into both men with their clash of lifestyles and police work. It may sound cliche, but having one of them involved with a witness allows the opportunity to really see their dynamic as both partners and friends.
Shout! Factory pulled out all the stops for this longtime fan of the film. Alexandra Paul, who plays "the Virgin" Connie Swails, has a 30-minute Behind-the-Scenes interview allowing us into the mindset of a young actress who was acting opposite one of the biggest stars in the world, at the time, Dan Aykroyd. We also learn what Tom Hanks was like, how she got the role, and what she knew about the original series.
"Just the Facts!": A Promotional Look at Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks is a TV special that obviously aired before the film premiered. It is extremely dated, but if you know anything about Aykroyd’s history with these types of things (see It Came from Hollywood (Documentary)), you understand that it is an odd mixture of skit comedy and an infomercial.
Dragnet is still a fun movie. I’ll admit that I texted my brother a direct quote at least twice while watching the Blu-ray. In seconds I got the next line in his reply. My Grandmother might have been sweating bullets as Kate the Stripper (Susan Deemer) did her dance for Friday, Streebeck, my Grandfather, my brother, and my two cousins, but after all this time I think she probably laughs about it now. Or at least I hope she does.
- NEW "A Quiet Evening in the Company of Connie Swail": An Interview With Co-Star Alexandra Paul
- NEW Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball
- "Just the Facts!": A Promotional Look at Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks
- Original Theatrical Trailers & Promos
- Photo Gallery