ARMED AND DANGEROUS
(director: Mark L. Lester; screenwriters: Harold Ramis/Peter Torokvei/story by Brian Grazer, James Keach, Ramis; cinematographer: Fred Schuler; editors: Michael Hill/Daniel Hanley/Gregory Pranger; music: Bill Meyers; cast: John Candy (Frank Dooley), Eugene Levy (Norman Kane), Robert Loggia (Michael Carlino), Meg Ryan (Maggie Cavanaugh), Don Stroud (Sgt. Rizzo), Stacy Keach (Judge), Tiny Lister (Bruno), Brion James (Lazarus), Jonathan Banks (Klepper), Kenneth McMillan (Captain Clarence O’Connell), Steve Railsback (Trucker Cowboy); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Brian Grazer/James Keach; Image Entertainment; 1986)
“That such renown comedic talents could do nothing with this dreck, shows you just how bad is the material.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A moronic low-brow cop-buddy physical comedy (with lots of car crashes and explosions to go with a thin plot). It’s recklessly directed by Mark L. Lester (“Commando “/”Truck Stop Women “), as if he were juggling garbage bags and kept dropping them because he couldn’t take the stench. It’s based on a lame story by Brian Grazer, James Keach (Stacy’s son) and Harold Ramis, and is poorly scripted by Ramis and Peter Torokvei. Its selling point are the talents of the extra-large sized Canadian comedian John Candy and the droll nebbish Eugene Levy. That such renown comedic talents could do nothing with this dreck, shows you just how bad is the material.
Frank Dooley (John Candy) is an LAPD beat cop who catches his fellow cops stealing TV sets, but nevertheless gets unfairly booted from the force when framed by the same crooked cops for being the thief after he fails to go along with their robbery. Norman Kane (Eugene Levy) is the inept public defender, seen defending a Manson-like serial killer with a swastika tat on his head, who is threatened with harm by him if he’s sentenced. After conferring with the judge (Stacy Keach), Norman decides to quit the profession for his personal safety or for being such a schmuck or something like that, as the judge tells him he’ll give his client a life sentence if Norman agrees to this sentence and quits being a lawyer.
The two unfortunates both are forced out of necessity to take minimum wage jobs working as security guards at the “Watchdog Security” program run by Clarence O’Connell (Kenneth MacMillan), and staffed by his sexy daughter Maggie (Meg Ryan). She will enter a harmless and unbelievable romance with the Levy character (it would have been funnier if she was with Candy).
For starters the boys are forced to join a corrupt union, with mob connections, run by the scary loudmouth Michael Carlino (Robert Loggia). The boys take their work seriously and follow-up on mob goons infiltrating their security firm clients. Which leads them into a number of ticklish situations such as trapped in such places as a steam room, a toxic waste dump, a weight-lifting studio, a pornography store hangout and a warehouse filled with stolen property using vicious guard dogs.
It leads to the madcap climax, where the boys decide to be heroes and take a stand against the gangster union boss and his scheme to rob an armored truck with his gang. A highway littered with car crashes and a big truck explosion will bring things to a screeching but unsatisfactory halt.
REVIEWED ON 5/18/2020 GRADE: C-