Believe it or not, crude car-bound cop, MacArthur Stern (Gene Hackman), gets to meet two people crazier than he is during his most recent investigation.
Now the first person out of the two, is his new partner, Ellis Fielding (Dan Aykroyd), who is a rather peculiars character I'd say. He's studious with his examinations. He's fastidious in his ways. Plus he suffers from a spilt personality disorder that manifests itself in times of stress, WAK-WAK!
Weird, right? Though the second chap MacArthur comes into contact with is just as strange.
His name is Harry "The Hippo" Gutterman (Dom DeLuise). But unlike Ellis or MacArthur, Harry isn't a cop; he is a porn magnate, who has somehow found himself in the possession of a homosexual 'sex tape', involving Adolph Hitler and a couple of his right hand men. Moreover, he is currently being hounded by some Nazi sympathisers, who want to kill him because of what he has, WAGGA-WAGGA!
Oh! So what does Ellis or MacArthur do to help Harry out, huh? Make funny noises and move in together as house-mates? Yes - which is just fine - kind of. But in addition to this, they also seek assistance from FBI agent, Smiley (Ronny Cox), who isn't really any help, and just causes more trouble for them instead. Not only that though. At the same time, these chaps are being perused by an Israeli agent, Riva (Nancy Travis), who doesn't explain to them who she is or what she wants, until Ellis, MacArthur, and Harry, all hi-tail it onto a train, with the Nazis in hot pursuit.
Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires really kicks into gear when a free for all runs rampant in New-York, New-York. As boudoirs bounce - Germans pounce - felon's flounce - and at the end of the day, movies are worth every single bloody bone-breaking ounce.
Now before I give you my very strained review on 'Loose Cannons', please let me just say that I am a big fan of Dan, Gene, and Dom, who I feel are very fine actors indeed. Gene's body of work is just marvellous in retrospect. Dom does Dom like nobody else on Earth. And as for Dan? Boy, my admiration for him knows no bounds.
So when I say that this film is a rather bi-polar experience overall, you can safely say that I mean this with all due respect.
You see, like many other movies of this era - the nineties - this one has a somewhat good / bad vibe about it. And what do I normally do when I am unsure about a flick? Correct - advantage / disadvantage time.
(1) With what he had at hand, Dom did perfectly well in this film. I particularly liked the pretext that forced him to work in conjunction with both Dan's and Gene's characters, because it gave this movie some warmth and some personality. (2) The concepts in this film are great ones to explore. A Hitler sex tape. A cop with multiple personality disorder. And a man living out of his car. All jovial yet grounded notions that are derivative and exploratory as subjects on their own. (3) The scenes in which Gene and Dan both try to come to some understanding about Dan's 'condition', really do lend themselves to pathos, bestowing this flick with some heart and candor.
(1) As much as I respect Dan and his work, whenever he 'has a turn' in this movie, I am afraid to say that it does not really come across too well within the reality this piece presents. It feels too fake, too crass, and too overt too. (2) This story is one of those flimflam thank you ma'am type of the tales, which tries to incorporate too many elements into the mix, which fractures the overall narrative, making it 'dissolvable' in places. (3) The bad-guys in this film don't really feel like bad-guys. The German cronies look like they have all shopped at 'Thugs are us'. The sub-plot about the old German git feels as if it has been elbowed in the flick. And the whole resolution to this scenario appears a bit rushed at best.
Hmm - three a piece - yeah - that's about right. Just like some of these relatable filmic-facts as well: (1) Dan Aykroyd is a very keen car enthusiast. (2) Ronny Cox is a folk singer when he is not an actor. (3) The working title of the project was 'The Von Metz Incident'. (4) Andy Dick was on the movie poster, although he was not in the movie. (5) Split-personality disorder is now more commonly known as multiple-personality disorder. (6) Dan was once engaged to Carrie Fisher. (7) Dom DeLuise appeared with all three of his sons on an episode of SeaQuest DSV' and 'Third Rock from the Sun'. (7) Ronny married his high-school sweetheart. (8) Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman were once house-mates together. (9) Nancy Travis's first movie role was in 'Malice in Wonderland'. And (10) Dan has heterochromia; his left eye is brown and his right eye is blue.
Now overall 'Loose Cannons' is a film that I would have loved to have praised more than I did. Gene, Dan, Dom, and the rest, are all great jovial talents, who were not utilised properly in this picture. If only it was funnier. If only the pretext was richer than the concepts. If only I can stop saying 'if only', than maybe one day a remake will make my wish come true.
So-so film. Wished it was better.
THE RATING: B-