Tom Hanks Project “Dragnet” Review

7 Jan

dragnetcover“Just the facts?” Fine.

  • This movie does not hold up well.
  • We laughed at “Dragnet” more than with “Dragnet.”
  • We didn’t think Hanks was particularly good*.
  • He doesn’t even have a love story**.
  • It ends with a ridiculous “rap” song over the credits***.
  • We will never watch this movie again****.

*He’s got such a “nothing” role. Aykroyd is clearly the star of this show, and even then, it’s so sickeningly forced-down-your-throat clear that he’s aaaahck-teeeeeng the part of Sgt. Joe Friday, it’s just no good. I suspect the original series is way better than this shlock (movie reinventions of TV series usually are shlock, after all).

**I dunno, I was really rooting for him to get with Friday’s grandma. Plus he does at least stay loyal to the one singular blonde police officer.

***Easily – easily – the best-worst part of the film. I sat there with mouth agape, eyes wide, looking at Zack like, “Is this really happening? This…this is happening.”


dragnetuse“Dragnet” is adapted from the famous 1950’s and ’60s TV cop show of the same name. It probably didn’t help our enjoyment of the movie that we know nothing of the show except the line “Just the facts, ma’am” and that the lead character’s name is Joe Friday*. The movie starts the way every episode starts, with “Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.**” And apparently Aykroyd does a great Joe Friday impersonation, but again, not having seen it, this did little for our enjoyment.

*I also recognized the music (which they synthesize up to make it all kinds of 80s) and the opening sequence with that voiceover situation.

**This was the voiceover situation I was talking about.

hankshairThe movie starts with Aykroyd’s Joe Friday needing a new partner. Enter Tom “Streebek” Hanks in deep cover that Friday does not approve of. They clean Hanks up and get to work*. Friday’s the straight man narrating the movie and “Pep” Streebek is the oddball who says he knows just the place to get a good cup of coffee and then takes Friday to a strip club. What a riot.

*I really wish we had a view of the front of Hanks in that picture above. He looks RIDICULOUS.


Friday and Streebek are tasked with tracking down the “P.A.G.A.N” crew who have been stealing police cars and zoo animals and leaving their calling card behind. They also set some stuff on fire and killed some people. Not the nicest guys on the block.

Dragnet costumes

While Friday didn’t like Streebek’s undercover outfit, he goes all-in when they dress up to infiltrate a P.A.G.A.N. party. They save the “virgin” Connie Swail from being sacrificed in a funky pit of sludge and live anaconda (they kill the anaconda by giving it a ton of drugs. WHAT IS IT WITH YOU AND OVERDOSING ANIMALS, HANKS*?!) Of course, since Connie is a virgin, she’s the only gal our straight-laced Friday could ever fall in love with, and he promptly does. So much so that he’s taking her to dinner with his grandmother THE NEXT DAY. Things move pretty fast around L.A., apparently. Anyway, while out to dinner with grandmother and Streebek, who crashed the date night, Connie sees this reverend dude who is the one who kidnapped her and tried to sacrifice her. Turns out, he and the police chief are behind this whole mess because they want to control L.A. They lie to this Hugh Hefner-type dude that they’ll share half of their power with him once they kick the current mayor out of office, but it turns out they plan on killing him. Some reverend. Anywho, Friday tries to arrest the reverend, gets his badge taken away, Streebek tries to continue the investigation of this whole mess, Connie and Friday are about to make out in his car when they’re kidnapped, Streebek saves Friday and they go after Connie to find her, even though the jig is up the reverend still kidnaps Connie to take her with him to some secluded island, but then Friday and Streebek show up in a police fighter jet next to the reverend’s private jet and bring him down and get Connie back, who we find out Friday de-virginizes because of course. The end.

*Before he started peeing in every movie, loading up an animal on pills was Hanks’ go-to move.

Laugh Out Loud: Zack: 49 Caitlin: 43 To be fair, a lot of the laughs were at the movie. Like any time Hanks or Aykroyd were in costume. Or when the rap started at the end. It’s rarely funny for the right reasons. I remember a lot of these being “heh”s, too.

Cry: Both: 0. I’d cry if someone makes me watch this movie again. If the snake were some other animal, I might have cried when it OD’d.

Cover Eyes: Zack: 0 Caitlin: 1 At one point a character spits in Joe Friday’s eye. Caitlin thought it was gross and closed her eyes. It was gross!! This was also the scene where apparently Streebek continually hits some dude’s crotch with a drawer over and over? I don’t know.


Romantic Interest: Zack: N/A Caitlin: 2 Aykroyd is the lead in “Dragnet,” so he gets the romance with Connie Swail “The Virgin” who loses the nickname by the end. I think we have to call this a N/A, but if I had to rate their romance, I’d give it a 3/10. It’s incredibly weak. I’m giving Hanks’ romance with the blonde police officer a 2, because even though we are ONCE AGAIN led to believe he’s some kinda horn-dog, he’s only seen in bed with her throughout the film (and that’s 3 times). And why is that? Because as much as you try, movies, you will never get us to believe that Hanks is anything but a loyal good-guy deep down.

Hanks: Zack: 4.5 Caitlin: 4 Nothing special here. Anyone could have played this part and it still would have been the same dreadful movie. He really didn’t add much. Agreed. He does start to rap (prior to the credits) when he’s reading someone their rights, which is I think where the credits-rapping came from in the first place. That and some of the other line deliveries made me smile, but overall I agree that anyone could have played the role – it was meant to emphasize how straight-laced Aykroyd was, and I bet Dan didn’t let Hanks outshine him for a reason.

Movie: Zack: 3 Caitlin: 3 I guess we’re missing something by not having seen the TV show, but we just did not enjoy this movie at all. Don’t watch this movie. Just watch the music video below. This one gets a three-way tie for last place for me. It’s just absolutely horrendous, groan-worthy, and the only thing that I really enjoyed was the ridiculous rap scene at the end. Thank GOD it’s time for Big next! By the way, WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO. I just did and I think it may be the best thing I’ve ever seen ever.

Link to all of our Tom Hanks Project Posts


One Response to “Tom Hanks Project “Dragnet” Review”


  1. Introduction to The Tom Hanks Project | rockloveaustin - January 7, 2014

    […] Dragnet – 1987 Review […]

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