Lady of the Worthless Miracle

It’s difficult to put into words how brilliantly stupid The Naked Gun is, a masterpiece, if only Airplane didn’t exist. The director trio of the Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams still make up the funniest trio of men who ever put their ideas to film, and Naked Gun doesn’t have a single comic miss, even including the hopelessly outdated opening.

Here’s a movie that somehow, even today, is made better by the presence of O.J. Simpson, purely for elevating the absurdity shown on screen. Leslie Nielsen’s comic timing is unmatched, and the cast’s ability to understand the material – no matter how low brow or infinitely stupid Naked Gun willingly goes – is the Zucker/Abrahams directorial genius.

There’s nothing to be said about the plotting; Naked Gun is that rare film where that doesn’t matter

Like Airplane or Top Secret or Hot Shots Part Deux or even the original Police Squad series Naked Gun is based on, these movies (or shows) can only be viewed on occasion. Not because the jokes start to fail on repeat viewings, but rather they get better and the laughter turns legitimately painful. There’s more to see in the background, or a sight gag that was missed is seen on the second go-round. Maybe a snippy piece of dialog stands out now because the first time, laughs buried it.

There’s nothing to be said about the plotting; Naked Gun is that rare film where that doesn’t matter, although grounding things in an assassination plot against the Queen during an MLB playoff showdown is appropriately ludicrous. No joke too low, Naked Gun involves concrete dildos, full body condoms, and priceless slapstick not even the Three Stooges can match. The willingness of the creative team to venture into sophomoric humor (even celebrate it) without dipping into R-rated territory is a lost art.

The two sequels lack the same conviction to their craft, although they still manage to bring glorious gags; Naked Gun wasn’t just lighting in a bottle, or at least, the Zuckers and Abrahams managed to keep it bottled while letting only a little escape between projects. Certainly, TV cop dramas continued to provide material for years after, and in some cases unknowingly fueling parody through their preposterous plot lines. Frank Drebin was happy to oblige.

Video

Naked Gun doesn’t quite pass the DNR smell test. A loose grain structure may hover over the image, but it can’t hide the the brutal smearing during ome motion; it’s like watching Naked Gun on a first generation LCD screen, although this does lessen in severity as the movie continues. The worst comes after Drebin exits the plane, before Weird Al’s cameo. The processing doesn’t completely erode detail and texture, but the jump to 4K doesn’t help much either. The image is plain and soft, lacking the sharpness of the best 4K masters, but some of that comes back to the hazy cinematography.

Chalky flesh tones don’t help the waxiness evident in some shots, although this isn’t a worst case scenario. Otherwise it’s average in color reproduction, the primaries bold enough, but limited in their gains from the Blu-ray. The only highlight comes from the baseball stadium where clothing and logos finally show full vibrancy. A touch of chroma noise and color bleed hamper things a bit there too however.

The kicker is from the Dolby Vision pass, bright and bold. The intensity is appreciated, at least giving Naked Gun some depth. Black levels perform well too, their density intact and consistent. That’s the best thing about this transfer, but hardly worth the upgrade.

Audio

Perfectly preserved, the DTS-HD mix preserves the audio track flawlessly. No loss in fidelity is detected and the balance keeps dialog properly intact. While in 5.1, surrounds and stereo make rare appearances; it’s centered.

Extras

Only on the Blu-ray (boooo!), the commentary track includes David Zucker joined by producer Robert Weiss and Peter Tilden. It’s hilarious.

The Naked Gun
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

Brilliant comedy from some of the funniest men who ever lived, The Naked Gun hasn’t lost a single laugh since its release.

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User Review
4 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 35 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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