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Once again, Seattle detectives Chris Lecce and Bill Reimers are teaming up on a stakeout, but this time they're bringing along a headstrong female partner, Gina Garrett, and her mischievous dog, Archie. Together, they're posing as the perfect family and it looks like these unlikely housemates might just catch their suspect . . . if they don't kill each other first.
For more about Another Stakeout and the Another Stakeout Blu-ray release, see Another Stakeout Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 2, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Emilio Estevez, Rosie O'Donnell, Dennis Farina, Marcia Strassman, Cathy Moriarty
Director: John Badham
» See full cast & crew
Another Stakeout Blu-ray Review
Bad-ham makes a great stake-out.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 2, 2011
You sit, you listen, you watch. That's it. You don't participate.
John Badham is a bad man, and that's said with all the respect in the world. Here's the quintessential gotta-love-him late 80s/early 90s director, a master of making movies that are really good at being really eh, and even better, his pictures are like perfectly-preserved time capsules into another era, each scene a treasure trove of era-specific goodness that are about as visually dated as anything out there but that hold up thanks to generally good stories and trademark Badham action and humor. OK, maybe eh isn't quite complimentary enough, but Badham's films -- almost every single one of them -- are great examples of well-made midrange flicks that are better than they should be but not really all that memorable in the grand scheme of things. Wargames is exception -- what a great flick, and it's oh-so-dated, too, in traditional Badham fashion, though to the director's defense he did find himself at his peak right at the beginning of the computer revolution during a time that was right on the bubble of exploding towards destiny -- but films like Blue Thunder and Another Stakeout represent what he's really all about, action-packed spectacles intermixed with a fair bit of humor and built on good stories and steady, smart direction. Another Stakeout is one of the director's last big movies, and it's a good one, a perfect mix of action, mystery, and humor, dotted with good actors delivering strong performances and, of course, that can't-miss trademark Badham look and feel that elevates this otherwise average Buddy Cop movie into something that borders on being memorable.
When a hired gun named Tony Castellano (Miguel Ferrer, RoboCop) lays waste to a secured witness protection facility, leaving several officers dead and a key witness (Cathy Moriarty) against the mob missing, it seems that all hope is lost in persecuting the accused and winning the case. Meanwhile, hotshot officers Chris Lecce (Richard Dreyfuss, Stand By Me) and Bill Reimers (Emilio Estevez, Young Guns) have once again gotten themselves into trouble in the field. In response, they're temporarily assigned to work with the DA's office on the case of the missing witness. Their new boss: Gina Garrett (Rosie O'Donnell, A League of Their Own). Their assignment: twenty-four hour surveillance of the house where the feds believe their key witness to be holing up. Their cover: a family, Lecce and Garrett posing as a vacationing husband and wife with Lecce's "son," Reimers, in tow. Their new neighbors: the O'Hara's (Dennis Farina and Marcia Strassman), a couple that is all too eager to welcome the newcomers into the neighborhood, at least until the makeshift undercover family proves a bit too far out there for the O'Hara's tastes.
In Another Stakeout, John Badham carefully and with much detail sets up every little nuanced element, but the payoff is never quite what it should be. Make no mistake, this is a solid, complete film, but it never really achieves greatness, even if greatness seems always but a few frames away. Badham's film is so primed to explode; it's got only a decent recycled story, sure, but it's also got fine action, adorable humor, strong characters, and expert direction, yet none of it really pushes onward to help make Another Stakeout into a genre classic, the picture almost content to settle for what Badham's movies always achieve, which is high quality mediocrity. Maybe that's just who John Badham is, a competent director who might be able to squeeze every last nickel for all its worth and make his movies look much bigger and better than they really are but who never quite manages to push himself and his movies over that last little hump towards greatness. And that's perfectly fine. Badham is a fine cinematic craftsman in every regard; he's kind of like the ballplayer who has a really solid career, maybe makes an All-Star game or two, but who is nowhere close to being good enough for the Hall of Fame. With Another Stakeout, he's built a wonderfully entertaining Buddy Cop movie that's as funny as it is exciting, and it's even got one of the biggest, best, and seemingly longest in terms of seconds -- almost seems like minutes -- explosions in Action movie history kicking off the picture in fine fashion. Who knew a building could blow up so much? Still, the story is pretty average, but made much, much better by its supportive elements, its actors in particular.
Indeed, Another Stakeout is elevated quite a bit by its trio of endearing characters and the even better performances that spring them to life. "Chemistry" is a word that gets tossed around a lot, and for good reason. Two or more actors who don't click -- unless they're not supposed to click -- can be a death sentence for even the best movies. In Another Stakeout, the often negative but playful interplay between the characters doesn't really shout "chemistry!" but that the cast can give and take every jab in the script and seem to have a lot of fun doing it -- particularly given the appearance of drastic age differences between them all, which is of course integral to the plot -- is one of the film's best assets, and it's their dedication to playing things not for chemistry but instead for plausible believability is part of what makes the performances in Another Stakeout so wonderful. Dreyfuss, Estevez, O'Donnell, and even Farina and Strassman -- the latter two just as integral to the whole thing and the character dynamics -- pull it off marvelously, the first three actors basically playing people who don't act for a living but who suddenly need to act and find out that they indeed cannot act is one of the film's most genuinely interesting dynamics. It's always fun to watch top-grade professional actors playing a part that requires them to act poorly, and in Another Stakeout the entire middle act is pretty much nothing but. The film is a little too long and features a fairly superfluous side plot involving Lecce's and his longtime girlfriend Maria's (Madeleine Stowe, Revenge) relationship troubles, but otherwise Another Stakeout is a wonderfully entertaining little diversion that might not achieve greatness, but does it really have to?
Another Stakeout Blu-ray, Video Quality
Another Stakeout features a decent high definition transfer. Though some inconsistencies include regular edge enhancement; occasional background noise; and what is sometimes a scrubbed, flat appearance; the image is otherwise fairly strong, albeit hampered by its two primary problems. Detailing is quite strong and the image is rather sharp, though a few scenes do go a little soft and several shots showcase downright smeary details, particularly around the edges of the frame. Colors are nicely revealed, maybe a bit on the dim side in a few places but brighter hues -- particularly the red Mercedes convertible that plays prominently in the film -- are handled without a hitch. The image is practically free of pops, scratches, and other unwanted debris, and better yet, banding and blocking are non-factors. This isn't the best-looking image out there, but Mill Creek's transfer is very watchable, despite a few unfortunate drawbacks.
Another Stakeout Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Another Stakeout arrives on Blu-ray with a stout DTS-HD MA 2.0 lossless soundtrack. Though it's without much in the way of flair, the track delivers smooth, spacious music and a surprisingly honest low end. It's not abundantly rich, clear, or satisfying, but it is heads and shoulders above some of the other recent Mill Creek two-channel lossless releases. This track could use a bit more energy in places; dialogue is sometimes a bit shallow and explosions could stand a touch more heft, but most action-oriented sound effects -- a chair crashing down a flight of steps, a barrage of gunfire that dots the final minutes of the movie -- are pleasantly handled, featuring a fair bit of strength and halfway decent clarity. Overall, the track manages to impress with the greater spacing, power, and clarity than previous Mill Creek Touchstone/Hollywood Pictures Blu-ray releases.
Another Stakeout Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Another Stakeout features no supplemental content.
Another Stakeout Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Another Stakeout is a really good mediocre movie. Nothing special, not exactly memorable, but incredibly watchable and infinitely entertaining, it's a perfect representation of the kind of movies John Badham makes. A great cast and even better interplay elevates the movie another couple of notches. This isn't must-see-cinema, but Another Stakeout is a tough act to beat for a breezy and fun no-think Saturday afternoon sort of Action/Comedy flick. Mill Creek's Blu-ray is, technically, not at all bad. Relatively strong video and audio don't cancel out the complete absence of extras, but the low price and quality of the movie both do. Recommended.
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