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Ultra HD : Worth a Look
Ranking:
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Release Date: November 28th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1988

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray [SteelBook]

Overview -

When Queen Elizabeth’s life is threatened, it’ll take the best cop on the beat to save her! Leslie Nielsen’s dry-witted Frank Drebin leaps from TV screens to the big screen for The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad. Decades later the film is still one of the funniest films to come from the Zucker Brothers / Abrahams partnership. The first and best of the trilogy now comes home to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a respectable Dolby Vision transfer that's frustratingly plagued by intermittent motion blur, solid audio, and a very slim offering of bonus features. Worth A Look

Celebrating 35 and 1/365th years, the hit outrageous comedy comes to 4K Ultra HD, for the first time ever, in this limited collector’s edition SteelBook®. Leslie Nielsen reprises his POLICE SQUAD series character—granite-jawed, rock-brained cop Frank Drebin—bumbling across a mind control scheme to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. Priscilla Presley co-stars, in a hysterical comedic role, as Frank’s love-interest in a blockbuster that could only come from the minds of Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker (AIRPLANE!). You’ve read the packaging, now buy the movie!

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10
Length:
84
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
November 28th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

It really isn’t easy to write about great comedies. You think it might be, especially if it’s a movie virtually everyone loves and has a legion of fans, but it’s actually rather frustrating. What more can be said about the sendup of the classic detective shows, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Poilce Squad? From the makers of Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane! (but not Airplane 2: The Sequel), and Top Secret!, Jim Abrahams and the Zucker Brothers joined forces to give their one-season-wonder a good and proper movie. Who knew it’d spawn a franchise? 

Proving himself adept at slapstick and deadpan comedy, Leslie Nielsen returns as Detective Frank Drebin. For this outing, Drebin is trying to figure out who tried to kill his partner and best friend Officer Nordberg (O.J. Simpson replacing Peter Lupus). Frank’s investigation leads him to local construction magnate Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban in his most diabolical villain role) and his beautiful assistant Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley). As Drebin digs deeper, he uncovers a dastardly plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth (Jeannette Charles, the real Queen was unavailable)! 

Before The Naked Gun, Leslie Nielsen was mostly known for his dramatic appearances on TV and film - and a few classic horror turns in films like Creepshow and Prom Night. Of course, he had popped up in Airplane! delivering a terrifically hilarious turn, but comedy wasn’t his career highlight. That quickly turned around with this film. The vast majority of his 90s work and into the 2000s was comedy (some less funny than others). Likewise, George Kennedy who replaced Alan North as Captain Ed Hocken broke out with his deadpan hilarious performance. Given the cast, it’s hard to avoid the elephant in the cast, O.J. Simpson. Now notorious for other, um, reasons, he was the classic dufus character who endured the most physical peril of anyone in the series. 

Montalban is as evil and charming as ever, but it’s Priscilla Presley who stands out in the supporting cast. Before her big run on Dallas, the former Mrs. Elvis was mostly stunt cast in shows like The Fall Guy and the unintentionally hilariously melodramatic TV movie Love is Forever (seriously if you can find it, it's a hoot). While the romantic interest, she delivers her lines with her own deadpan hilarity rising out of the shadow of her former husband. “I didn’t want to get stained or wrinkled… at least… not yet.” - juxtaposed against the sight of her boiling a nasty-looking hunk of meat, that line kills me every time! 

The whole film is like that, one actor after the next, one line after the other, The Naked Gun is just hilarious. As I’ve gotten older I always worry I’ll age out of the humor or the jokes just won’t land the same way, but then that press conference scene starts up and I’m laughing before the gag even begins. Likewise, leave it to an icon like John Houseman to deliver one of the best lines of the film and a true life lesson in dealing with adversity - "Gently extend your arm...extend your middle finger...very good, well done."

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad tackles its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release in a two-disc + digital SteelBook from Paramount. The 4K is pressed on a BD-66 with a BD-50 recycling the previously issued 2011 Blu-ray release. The discs each get a tray to rest on within the SteelBook and the Digital Code redeems via Paramount’s portal - but is not Movies Anywhere compatible. The SteelBook, I dare say, isn’t the most attractive chunk of metal ever. The cover art is a weird recreation of one of the alternate poster images only now the gun has been traded for a banana. The beaver is also a weird addition since it was a one-note gag. The back is a bizarre mishmash of images related to the film. The inside image is about the only one that makes any sense.

Video Review

Ranking:

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a mostly very good Dolby Vision HDR transfer. Colors haven’t been overworked or altered but there are some nice refinements in black levels and whites. Details are terrific with clean lines and textures. Film grain is largely intact, but can get a little blurry or unresolved around optical effects or transitions; the opening credits are a bit rough in that regard. Otherwise, this would be a pretty terrific release - but there is a notable caveat.

The main issue plaguing this release is sporadic semi-intrusive motion blur like what we saw for Last Train from Gun Hill. It’s not always on display, the film can go some distance without it popping up, but when it does come it can be distracting. Testing out my different setups, I found it appeared worse on my HDR10 Samsung QLED/Samsung Player office setup. By comparison, my LG OLED/Oppo 203 Dolby Vision setup wasn’t nearly as dodgy. It was still present, but it felt easier not to notice the severity or miss it entirely whereas my Samsung was much more noticeable. Reading around the interwebs, it seems folks with different setups are experiencing different ranges of difficulty with this one. What would have been a solid 4.5/5 effort is getting knocked down a peg because of this issue.

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side it sounds like we’re treated to the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track as before - which isn’t a bad thing. I’m not exactly sure what Atmos could really bring to this film since it’s mostly a front/center channel affair. Sides and surrounds really only get active around some of the bigger action sequences or the big baseball game and crowd chants. Throughout, dialog is clean and clear without issue. All around a solid surround mix, but not an overly aggressive one.

Special Features

Ranking:

Sadly bonus features are very slim here without anything new or exciting to report. The included Blu-ray brings over the previous group Audio Commentary track (which admittedly is pretty good) but no other archival extras or retrospective interviews of any kind. Even more frustrating, the commentary doesn’t carry over to the 4K disc, so you still have to rock that old Blu-ray.

  • Audio Commentary featuring David Zucker, Robert Weiss, Peter Tilden
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad is the comedy golden goose. Year after year it remains hilarious and keeps delivering countless laughs. Nielsen was in perfect form for this film, and while the sequels weren’t as strong, the whole trilogy is a damn good time. Now we get to look forward to Liam Neeson stepping into the role for the apparently still-in-production remake! On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the film enjoys a nice impressive new transfer that would easily leave behind its Blu-ray counterparts if it wasn’t for that damned weird motion blur. Different setups may have a different time with it, less or more depending on your rig. That issue, on top of the rather unattractive SteelBook, I’d say if you’re interested in the purchase, wait for a standard case option and then for a good deal - or if Paramount offers a replacement plan. Otherwise, at best, Worth A Look for one of the funniest films ever.