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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: January 23rd, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1990

Kindergarten Cop - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

He did come back. He did get to the choppa. For his biggest family-friendly film, thankfully it’s not a tumah! Arnold Schwarzenegger is Kindergarten Cop. A fun but tonally mismatched sort of family-appropriate action movie starring the Austrian Oak. Certainly a nostalgic favorite for many of a certain generation, the film finally gets a quality disc release thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics with an excellent Dolby Vision HDR transfer and respectable audio, but a rather slim assortment of extras. If you’re a tax-paying adult, your inner child might want to give this one a run. Recommended

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in the unforgettable action-comedy Kindergarten Cop from director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Twins). Detective John Kimble (Schwarzenegger) is a veteran of the mean streets of Los Angeles, ready and able to tackle anything. In order to trap an elusive criminal, he is forced to face his most challenging assignment yet: going undercover as a kindergarten teacher. Now facing 23 screaming kids, he has to keep them under control without blowing his top and his cover. Once he gains the respect of his class, as well as the affections of a beautiful teacher, Detective Kimble must prepare for a final confrontation with his prey.

DISC 1 (4KUHD):

  • Brand New HDR/Dolby Vision Master – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Samm Deighan
  • 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 Stereo
  • Triple-Layered UHD100 Disc
  • Optional English Subtitles

DISC 2 (BLU-RAY):

  • Brand New HD Master – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Samm Deighan
  • Theatrical Trailer (Newly Mastered in 2K)
  • 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 Stereo
  • Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
  • Optional English Subtitles

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
111
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1/2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
January 23rd, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

If you ever wonder why it takes so damn long for a film to get made and how a screenplay can dramatically change during pre-production, Kindergarten Cop is a great case study of the complicated script-to-screen process. Originally conceived as a straight true gritty action thriller, the film went through the Hollywood grinder and was eventually spat out as a kid-friendly action flick starring Schwarzenegger with his Twins director Ivan Reitman behind the camera. Before film rolled, the project languished for years with any number of directors attached with Kurt Russell, Jack Nicholson, Patrick Swayze, Bill Murray, Robin Williams, Chuck Norris, and even Danny DeVito offered, interested, or actively pursuing the lead role with multiple writers adjusting the script. The final product is a weird mishmash of tone as a violent, dark, gritty cop thriller spliced with a family-friendly fun comedy romp. 

The film opens with Conan The Governor playing LAPD Detective John Kimble stalking career sleazebag drug dealer and murderer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson). Crisp is obsessed with finding his wife and child who skipped town with millions in cash. After Crisp bumps off the henchman who located his wife, Kimble finally has his man red-handed. But to strengthen the case in court, they’re going to need to find the missing wife to testify. Hightailing it to Oregon with his partner, a simple undercover operation gets turned upside down when Kimble has to pose as the new Kindergarten teacher! Family-friendly hilarity ensues. 

I was eight years old when this film hit theaters in the winter of 1990 (Universal stupidly released this one month into Home Alone's incredible box office run). For average kids my age going to see Arnold Schwarzenegger on the big screen was something of a novelty. For me, it was routine. Growing up with Conan: The Barbarian, The Terminator, Predator, and The Running Man I already had seen the bodybuilding legend’s best films numerous times. A PG-13 “kids” movie was small potatoes - but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of Kindergarten Cop! Flashforward almost 35 years, the 42-year-old me would say the film is still a fun time. Certainly, not one I’d pull off the shelf often, but a nic one to have on the shelf. in the collection.

Objectively speaking it’s a fine film but not a great one. It’s been a few years since I earnestly sat down and watched it and I was glad to see I still enjoyed it. That’s the hard thing with old nostalgic favorites, sometimes when you look at them again years later you may find you’ve aged out of it. That wasn't the case here, but for this viewing, I realized how tonally off-kilter it is. When it’s a gritty hardboiled action flick, it’s actually pretty thrilling with Richard Tyson adding some real menace. When it’s a cute family-friendly fish-out-of-water comedy, it’s perfectly enjoyable with Schwarzenegger displaying impeccable comedic timing. When the two angles meet, there’s quite a bit of whiplash. But it’s all forgivable bumps in the end. What’s appreciable is how the film actually takes some moments to acknowledge the difficulties of divorce and abuse in the lives of children with some unexpectedly poignant moments giving it some real heart.

What's nice is you can tell Arnold and the cast are enjoying themselves. Schwarzenegger may be the big star, but the supporting players all have great moments. Penelope Ann Miller is lovely as a fellow school teacher and love interest. Pamela Reed is delightful even if she spends a chunk of the film sick in bed. She at least gets one of the best lines of the film. Carroll Baker is particularly fun as the deliciously evil mother of Richard Tyson’s creepy killer Crisp. Capping off the players is a nice turn from Linda Hunt as the spitfire school principal with Pet Sematary’s little Miko Hughes throwing in his two cents about human anatomy. I wouldn’t call this a “classic” personally, but it’s a nice movie. It’s one that if it was on TV I’d stop to watch it. When my kid gets a bit older and he wants to watch it I wouldn’t stop him, hell, I'd gladly pop some corn and enjoy it with him.




Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Kino Lorber Studio Classics takes Kindergarten Cop to class with its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. A two-disc set, the 4K is pressed on a BD-100 disc with a BD-50 offered up for the 1080p version. Both discs are housed in standard two-disc case with individual trays complete with identical slipcover artwork. Each disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

After a delightful April Fools prank in 2012 saying Kindergarten Cop would be joining the Criterion Collection, the film finally got its first legit Blu-ray release in 2014 from Universal. To call that disc a bit of a disaster is something of an understatement. Likely a repurposed master used for the ancient DVD, it was complete with terrible grain, poor details, extra edge enhancement, yadda, yadda, yadda it was just a bad disc. I bought it when it came out and sold it off almost instantly. Ten years later we’re finally getting a disc worth celebrating! Reportedly sourced from a new 4K scan of the original negative, fine details are immaculate right from the jump. Schwarzenegger’s scrabble beard, his dirty stained duster and his grungy clothing are on full display. Fine facial features, the late ‘80s clothing and hairstyles, and set design get plenty of attention. Film grain is nicely refined, it can be thicker around some places like optical effects, zooms, and transitions, but nothing too distracting or irritating for the eye. 

The Dolby Vision grading is nicely applied giving the abundant primaries plenty of attention. Most of the movie is in a Kindergarten classroom so obviously there are a lot of colors to enjoy. Skin tones are healthy and human, I don’t recall Schwarzenegger looking so tan for this film, but then everyone else around him looks normal without being pinked or peached out. I guess they must’ve worked a tanning bed into his contract. Overall this isn’t the flashiest film to come to 4K but Michael Chapman’s photography is quite lovely often exploiting the scenic Astoria locations.

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side, we have two options, DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0. Both tracks are decent, but not exactly exceptional. Of the two, I’d pull for the 5.1 track, but it’s not exactly the most immersive mix out there, it checks boxes without going above and beyond. Much of the track is spent Front/Center with only occasional drifts into the surrounds for incidental sound effects. Bigger scenes like when the kids are rampaging on Kimble’s first day are active enough, but then for long stretches, it’s back to Front/Center. But speaking to Kimble's first day, there's a weird anomaly when he sits on the piano, the children's laughs seem to punch through all the channels for a brief moment giving an odd echoing quality. I don't remember previous viewings enough to know if it's always been that way or if it was unique to this track. I didn't notice it in the 2.0 option, nor does that odd spacing crop up again in the film. Could be just one of those things. To that end, the dialog is clean and clear and never at odds with other audio elements. Randy Edelman’s score is a nice friendly accompaniment to the show. The 2.0 track is pretty good on its own, but it’s missing out on some of the spacing, especially for the more action-packed and busy scenes. It's a solid option if that's the way you want to go.

Special Features

Ranking:

Bonus features for Kindergarten Cop aren’t exactly plentiful - unless you really like audio commentaries. First up is a nice piece with historians Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson. The pair are lively and it’s plain from the start they’re big fans of the film while also exploring the making of the film as well as diving into various themes and ideas. The second commentary is fronted by historian Samm Deighan and hers is interesting for some of the historical perspectives of Schwarzenegger’s career and the cast with some interludes into scene-specific themes and ideas. It’s a little dryer, not as much fun as the Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson track, but still informative. And that’s it for genuine bonus features. Everything else is the standard KLSC trailer gallery of films that have been popped out on 4K and Blu-ray from the label. 

  • Audio Commentary featuring Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson
  • Audio Commentary featuring  historian Samm Deighan 
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • KLSC Trailer Gallery:
    • Face/Off
    • Hard Target
    • 2 Days in the Valley
    • Ronin
    • Stone Cold
    • Bird on a Wire
    • Out of Sight
    • The Usual Suspects
    • Mystery Men

Kindergarten Cop isn’t the best Schwarzenegger film out there, but it probably stands as his best family-friendly film. Twins is a great movie because he and DeVito worked so well together and Jingle All the Way still holds up. The less said about Junior the better. Kindergarten Cop may be a bit dark for a kid’s flick with some intense moments, especially in the last act, but the show has a lot of fun and heart to offer. Thanks to KLSC, we have a 4K UHD disc that turns the old Universal Blu-ray into a coaster. The new 4K transfer with Dolby Vision HDR is lovely. It’s not a visually flashy film but at least it’s a clear obvious improvement over what we had before. Audio options might not be the most aggressive or immersive, but they get the job done. Beyond a pair of audio commentaries extra features aren’t much to speak of, but they’re worth the listen for the curious fans out there. Not my favorite Arnold flick, but this disc is an easy one to call Recommended

Order Your Copy of Kindergarten Cop on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray