Growing up on the streets of New York is tough for young Johnny Kelly (Michael Keaton) and the small amount of money he makes from selling newspapers isnít helping his poor old neurotic mother pay for her ever increasing medical expenses. So when Johnny gets an offer he canít refuse from gangster Jocko Dundee (Peter Boyle) he joins the gang and eventually works his way to being their leader.
Told in flashback style from the perspective of Johnny as he lectures a would-be shoplifter about the evils of crime, this movie is both silly and hilarious from start to finish. The humour is mostly visual and dialogue driven similar in style to Top Secret and the Flying High movies.
Johnny Dangerously includes a cast of stars including Keaton (of course), Danny DeVito, Dom DeLuise, Joe Piscopo and a small appearance by Alan ďThe SkipperĒ Hale Jr but the highlight would have to be Richard Dimitriís role as Johnnyís arch enemy Roman Moroni who butchers the English language beyond recognition and to hilarious effect.
Kudos to Director Amy Hecklerling for creating an environment in which the the 1930's gangster culture could be properly lampooned. The achievement is more impressive considering that Johnny Dangersously was only her second major movie, the first being the cult-worthy Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Johnny Dangerously in presented in itís original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for widescreen displays.
While I consider this movie a great classic of 80ís comedy and well worth owning, the DVD presentation is a bit of a disappointment. The bare bones menu system is the closest thing we get to any kind of special features and the video and audio presentation are generally substandard.
From the first scene the video transfer is plagued by the usual suspects, telecine wobble, grain, edge enhancement and film artefacts; all present to varying degrees. For example, at about the 43 minute mark there is a quite severe film artefact in the form of a translucent line running vertically down the screen but considering the age and budget nature of the DVD release we canít be too demanding on the video material and none of the problems detract too much from the movie.
The audio presentation is on par with the rest of the disc, that is, pretty terrible. We do get a choice of several languages but the only format option is a stereo two channel track. The stereo track is typically flat and dull but the main speakers do an adequate job of carrying the dialogue and effects.
There are absolutely no extras at all on this disc, not even an animated menu system.
Despite the lacklustre video and audio presentation this isnít the kind of movie you watch to criticise the video technicians work. The shoddy video and audio presentation may actually add to the 1930ís gangster atmosphere, if your so inclined to deceive yourself.
Johnny Dangerously is the one of those movies which people either love or hate. If you hate it, get your sense of humour checked out by a doctor, you fargin icehole.