Dooley is a cop that doesn’t play by nobody’s rules. He pulls out all the stops and takes charge of a police dog, Jerry Lee, to go after a major drug kingpin. But danger is around every corner as the kingpin goes after Dooley, the people he loves, and even *gasp* Jerry Lee. Can they stop the baddie before it’s too late? Find out in… K-9.
How?! Dooley is a cop that doesn’t play by nobody’s rules… did I mention that already? Anyway, he’s starting to think the drug kingpin he’s after, Lyman, is getting wind of his investigation. How? Well, Lyman blew up his car using a helicopter. Man he wants this bust so bad, but his captain says he needs a partner and Dooley’s like “I don’t play well with others, man.” But seeing as he’s got a drug kingpin to bust he gets a pretty sweet idea: drug sniffing dog. How hard could it be to handle a K-9? Pretty hard when that K-9 unit is Jerry Lee, a dog that don’t take no guff from nobody. Dooley and Jerry Lee are a pretty potent combination, both rude, crude, and full of ‘tude and Dooley ain’t liking it. He’s always fighting the dog (like physically), but also Jerry Lee is getting him out of jams and stuff too so there forms a begrudging respect. Just as he’s on the verge of the big bust (oh man, he wants it so baaad) Dooley is shocked and horrified to find that Lyman has kidnapped his girlfriend. Oh no! Dooley, playing by no rules and taking no guff, barges in on a big party at Lyman’s house and starts to act super crazy. But it’s all a ruse! After getting arrested, Dooley and Jerry Lee steal the police car and make their way to bust the big shipment, just knowing that Lyman won’t miss a chance to move his stuff while Dooley is (allegedly) in jail. He’s right and Dooley and Jerry Lee (but mostly Jerry Lee) chase down and steal the truck carrying the drugs. They drive it to the meet up with Lyman and a shootout occurs during which Lyman is killed and Jerry Lee is shot! Double oh no! Dooley and his girlfriend rush him to the hospital (like a human hospital) where he is saved and everyone is super happy. THE END.
Why?! I’ll have to think of the BMT term for this type of film. Where there is a higher concept to the film itself (human-dog buddy cop film) that has almost nothing to do with the motivations (wanting to bust a ruthless drug kingpin). It’s the A plot that’s really a B plot. Cause who gives a shit why Dooley ends up with a dog partner? Who really cares what Lyman’s up to? Not a single person. They just want that dog to make Dooley crazy with his dog antics. It’s the main storyline of the film that slips off the mind the instant you step out of the theater and could have been replaced with thousands of other storylines. There is a multiverse of possibilities for the plot and motivations of K-9.
Who?! Big time shout out to the dog who portrayed Jerry Lee. He also played Jerry Lee in the short lived TV series in 1991, which was also sadly when he passed away. Although this is all disputed. Some places say the dog was Koton, an actual K-9 officer from Kansas City that continued to work and was killed in the line of duty in 1991. Other places are like ‘not so fast,’ he was actually Rando, a dog from Germany with a much less interesting history. The latter seems like the truth.
What?! I want to note that Dooley’s house is a Diet Pepsi house as further evidence for his clinical insanity. Beyond that it’s super fun when video games (such an up and coming industry) make appearances in the 80’s and 90’s. In this case Dooley is always playing around with a Game and Watch from 1983. It’s version 2 of a game called Manhole.
Where?! This is the best of the categories for sure as it quickly becomes clear that Dooley lives and works in San Diego. It makes some sense with the drug running storyline and it’s a bit refreshing given that San Diego isn’t as common as one would think given proximity to LA. I’m going to give it a B+.
When?! Do I think there might be some hint in this film for when it takes place? Possibly, although I didn’t find any. It seems hot… like maybe summer hot and we do know it’s near the beginning of a month cause of a schedule in the police station. But these are just things I notice when I don’t have anything else to say. F.
The juxtaposition of a rather straight buddy cop storyline with a totally insane cop-dog relationship has to be seen to be believed. Jim Belushi literally gets in a fist fight with the dog. And you might be thinking I’m employing the modern usage of the term ‘literally.’ Nope. Jim Belushi, fed up with Jerry Lee butting in on his love life, takes the dog out and begins to fist fight him. And it’s not even the only time you wonder whether they found a buddy cop script lying around and just searched the name of Belushi’s partner and replaced it with the word ‘dog.’ The dog seems to be written more like a human than a dog. But honestly I didn’t mind all that. Cause the dog was kinda dope. What I did mind was the police investigation storyline, which paints Belushi as both dangerously incompetent and a menace to those he claims to love. For the sake of the citizens of San Diego the mad man should have been stopped long ago. Thank god he delivers not one, but two mega human-to-dog MonoSklogs the likes of which we’ve never seen. Overall, I think I would describe the film as quietly insane. If you can get past the general concept of a human-dog buddy cop film I think you could watch this and be like “OK, that was fine,” but it’s not fine if you think about it for even a minute and that helps make it an OK BMT film. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got drug dealers! We’ve got a police officer who don’t play by no one’s rules! We have a police dog who also don’t play by no one’s rules! It’s K-9! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – Was there a time in the late-80’s/early-90’s where critics were like “for real, just cut the shit with the dogs already!”? It sure seems like it. Coming out around the same time as Turner & Hooch, the critics eviscerated this film seemingly for no other reason than it was yet another human-dog buddy-[blank] film and they were sick of it. What were my expectations? There is a problem here. If I’m right about the critical thing then the film should be underrated because it was dunked on for its genre and not genuine quality. But … Jim Belushi isn’t funny or a good actor, so it seems unlikely to be true. So which will it be? I hope it is genuinely awful because that would be more interesting.
The Good – I do love a good animal actor, and while this one isn’t as good as the dog in The Mask, he is still pretty good. Solid tricks including a silly drinking-from-a-straw trick. I also appreciated that they chose to treat the dog almost as an unruly human partner instead of a dog. At times Belushi gives random commands as if this thing is magical and will intuit that it needs to do. “Go get a search warrant and then get drugs and any firearms you find from this warehouse” might as well have been a command. The movie is at its best when there are a few people being charming with a dog. Best Bit: Doggies.
The Bad – The issue comes in with the A-story which a la 48 Hrs. or Beverly Hills Cop is a far more serious affair that you might expect from a comedy. Belushi is out of control. He goes so far beyond “I don’t have time for rulez” that he basically destroys his own investigation leaving the only option to be to get into a firefight and hope the bad guy dies in the process. He almost gets killed multiple times, and ultimately everyone he loves gets kidnapped or shot. And I just don’t see how he ends up not losing his job, he fired his weapon within a citizen’s house, escaped custody, stole a cop car, and then ended up in an altercation where three people died. In what universe would they just be like “well, got’em bud, our bad” at the end of that? Fatal Flaw: The main character hates rulez so much he might as well have murdered the bad guy in cold blood and called it a day.
The BMT – I’ll be up there in best bad dog-cop films (but surely Top Dog is worse right?). It sits as a nice introduction to leading-man Belushi who we will see again. It is a legendary San Diego film to be sure. But the police investigation is so absurd that it sinks the film. You simultaneously have to take it seriously for the film to work and can’t take it seriously because Belushi’s character makes no sense. It is a tough circle to square. Did it meet my expectations? I can definitely see a reason why critics might have hated this film since it makes no sense … but I do think it was underrated to a degree. A BOMB seems harsh from Leonard without specifically calling out the silliness of the police story.
Roast-radamus – I kind of love the Product Placement (What?) for of all things Game & Watch which plays a pivotal role in the climax of the film. A legendary Setting as a Character (Where?) for San Diego, which must be a pretty rare movie setting with LA just up the coast. And we have a MacGuffin (Why?) option for The Big Bust that Belushi is pursuing throughout. Closest to BMT I think, the police story is that weird.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Do I dare? … I do, we are going BMT Crossover Episode yet again, I’m going to do it until it isn’t funny anymore. Sasha Petrosevitch now runs the Half Past Dead division of the FBI where agents who have gone beyond death use their new found knowledge for law enforcement purposes. And guess who else is half past dead? That’s right, Jerry Lee! Sasha needs a drug dog to sniff out the culprits behind a drug running operation which is running drugs up and down the California coast. And guess who is behind it all? That’s right, Chad, the pilot from the first film. He is, in fact, an international drug smuggler using his pilot’s license and connections to get that sweet uncut snow into San Diego and up the California coast. Naturally, Sasha takes him down and gets a new doggie friend in the process. K-10: All Dogs Go to Heaven.
You Just Got Schooled – And do I dare? I do. I watched the television movie K-9000 which, according to wikipedia, is an attempted soft pilot for a television series based on this film … I somehow doubt it. First, it was made by a completely different production company (Fox instead of Universal). Second, no one involved in the film is involved in the series. Third, it is a sci-fi film about a guy who accidentally gets implanted with a microchip that allows him to talk to a super smart police dog. The film is pretty brutal, but a one season series could have been fun. It just ends up being overly long and the dog doesn’t even show up until 40 minutes into the film. Has that cheap sheen of made-for-syndication television of the early 90s, and is as boring as you would expect … but it does make me wonder why exactly people think it is based on K-9. I listened to a podcast on it that is one of two wikipedia sources for it being an adaptation and they suggest K-9000 was written in 1989 and shelved which is just more evidence that it definitely isn’t based on K-9, no way they make this weird adaptation the same year as the movie, right? It really really (really) seems like it isn’t. D. Not enough doggies and boring to boot.