K-9 (1989) starring James Belushi, Mel Harris, Kevin Tighe, Ed O'Neill, Rando directed by Rod Daniel Movie Review

K-9 (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5




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James Belushi and Rando as Dooley and Jerry Lee in K-9 (1989)

Belushi in the Dog House

1989 saw 2 canine cop movies hit the big screen "Turner & Hooch" and "K-9" and to be honest there is little between them with James Belushi doing as good a job as working with a dog as Tom Hanks. What does that means well "K-9" is an entertaining movie but only because of the manipulated interaction between Belushi and Rando, the dog which plays Jerry Lee, as everything else from the drug/ bad guy storyline is text book and uninteresting.

Det. Michael Dooley (James Belushi - About Last Night...) is a bit of a maverick, he refuses to have a partner and is determined to bring down crime lord Lyman (Kevin Tighe) even if it means he constantly lets down his girlfriend Tracy (Mel Harris - Out of the Woods) by coming home late. In order to nail Lyman Dooley is forced to take on a partner in the form of the hairy Jerry Lee, a police dog with a mind of his own. Despite an initial dislike of each other Dooley and Jerry Lee become close especially when Jerry Lee goes after Lyman on his own.

Mel Harris as Tracy in K-9 (1989)

"K-9" opens in a typical cop movie way with a stake out, oh there is some humour to it as not only is Dooley playing on an old electronic game but also goes to a car with a couple making out in it, but with a helicopter showing up and shooting up his car it is standard. In fact the whole drug story as Dooley is after Lyman is completely standard from Lyman's warehouse, his heavies right through to the big confrontation as Dooley eventually goes after him. On one hand this routine storyline makes things a bit dull but on the other the story is not the real focus but that of the humour of James Belushi with a dog with a mind of his own.

Again when it comes to the humour of Dooley being a bit of a maverick cop saddled with a maverick dog it is a bit routine. There are numerous gags which are seriously telegraphed from when Dooley ties Jerry Lee to the wing mirror to when he takes Jerry Lee home to Tracy and won't sleep anywhere except in the bedroom with them. But at the same time it does work purely because Jerry Lee is the canine equivalent of Dooley which allows for some humorous interactions between the two of them.

Now it has to be said that the editing team have done a nice job to make it feel like that Jerry Lee and Dooley are interacting and in doing so making Jerry Lee almost human, as if he understands things and is smarter than the average dog. But it is also down to James Belushi because he sells his side of it brilliantly, from the sarcasm, to the humour of heating up cold pizza with a cigarette lighter to his actual feelings for Jerry Lee. By the time "K-9" has finished Dooley and Jerry Lee have become the odd couple, real buddies which makes it a likeable movie as well as a fun movie.

Aside from Belushi well the rest of the cast are unsurprisingly under used with Kevin Tighe delivering bog standard nefariously smiling bad guy whilst Mel Harris as girlfriend Tracy does nice but little else. In a way it is right because "K-9" is all about one man and his dog but it also another reason why it is entertaining but ordinary.

What this all boils down to is that "K-9" is fun and much of that is down to James Belushi and the editing team as well as the dog trainer for making the interactions work. But beyond that it is a very routine movie which offers up little if anything which is new.

Tags: Dog Movies