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Dragnet is a 1987 American buddy cop comedy film directed by Tom Mankiewicz. The film brings together established actors Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, alongside Christopher Plummer in a tongue-in-cheek affair filled with humor, action, and classic detective work.

Inspired by the original 1950s radio and television series of the same name, the movie revamps the earnest, straightforward procedural show into a hilarious action-packed comedy that pays homage to its source material, all while playfully poking fun at its retro style.

The plot follows Detective Sergeant Joe Friday – the excellent Dan Aykroyd – a police officer so straight-laced and committed to upholding the law, he makes every other cop in the Los Angeles Police Department look loose. The character, Joe Friday, is the linage from the original series, and Aykroyd plays him with a near-obsessive dedication to duty, and a devout reverence for maintaining rules, regulations, and a strict moral compass at all times, delivering each line with impeccable precision and comic timing.

Tom Hanks embodies the character of Detective Pep Streebek, the complete opposite of Aykroyd's Friday. Pep is a casual, rule-breaking, rough-and-tumble type cop, a stark contrast to Captain Friday's by-the-book demeanor, forming a classic odd-couple dynamic that greatly adds to the movie's enjoyment. Hanks delivers his characteristic charm and comedic punches that fit perfectly into this light-hearted role, exhibiting an on-screen chemistry with Aykroyd that makes their subsequent comedic antics a pleasure to watch.

Christopher Plummer also stars in this movie, portraying the suave Reverend Jonathan Whirley, a prestigious pillar of society who may not be what he initially appears. His performance adds an additional layer of seriousness and intrigue to the plot, balancing the outrageous humor with a touch of gravity.

In terms of storyline, Dragnet sees Friday and Streebek navigating the complex labyrinth of Los Angeles' criminal underworld after they're partnered together to investigate a series of bizarre thefts and ritualistic crime scenes. Immersed in an unfolding mystery involving stolen vehicles, missing magazines, disappearing zoo animals, and a suspiciously shadowy Organization called P.A.G.A.N (People Against Goodness And Normalcy), the comedic duo plunge into a whirlwind investigation filled with humor, hijinks, and some fantastic chase scenes.

The cinematographic representation of 1980s Los Angeles is another highlight of Dragnet. The movie captures the essence of the city during this era, from the gritty streets to the glitzy, glamorous locations, providing an atmospheric backdrop to the unfolding action. This conjures nostalgic feelings for those familiar with the period, enhancing the viewing experience.

Mankiewicz's direction, coupled with Aykroyd and Hanks' performances, breathes life into Dragnet, delivering a sincere homage to its original series while successfully translating it into a full-fledged cinematic experience for the big screen. The film's humorous take on crime, detective work, and police protocol sweeps the audience into a realm of comedy in which one could appreciate the charm of the classic buddy-cop trope, while its action scenes and unfolding mysteries retain the thrill of a detective movie.

Dragnet is complemented by a fantastic soundtrack that fuels the movie's momentum, adding to the overall vibe of action, suspense, and humor. The distinctive theme tune is an amalgamation of the original series' theme, revamped with a touch of the 80's synth, a testament to the filmmakers' dedication to honor the source material while adapting it to the era.

In conclusion, Dragnet builds a bridge between old school detective stories with modern comedy. The combination of Dan Aykroyd's dead-panned Joe Friday and Tom Hanks' free-spirited Pep Streebek creates an on-screen dynamic that drives the comedic aspect of the film, while the compelling narrative and laudable performances by all cast members add a layer of intrigue and suspense. With its balance of humor, action, and clever storytelling, Dragnet successfully delivers a comedy that is enjoyable, engaging, and filled with enough laughs to keep audiences entertained.

Dragnet is a Action, Comedy, Crime movie released in 1987. It has a runtime of 106. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.0. It also holds a MetaScore of 62.

How to Watch Dragnet

Where can I stream Dragnet movie online? Dragnet is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Dragnet for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Harry Morgan
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