Picks and Pans Review: Loose Cannons

updated 02/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Gene Hackman, Dan Aykroyd

You're tired of watching the Minnesota Timberwolves on cable, can't stand the idea of another intellectual discussion of striptease on Donahue and have seen Tango & Cash 14 times. You haven't just scraped the bottom of the entertainment barrel; you have ripped it out and boiled it for soup.

You are now ready to see Loose Cannons. Groveling along a continuum that runs from epically dumb to anesthesiologically boring, this movie pits Hackman and Aykroyd as Washington, D.C., cops chasing a film of Hitler's death that can discredit a modern German leader. Aykroyd, just back from medical leave—at a mental institution run by monks—keeps lapsing into bad imitations of Clint Eastwood, William Shatner and the Road Runner.

So addlebrained is this movie that at one point Hackman is getting bashed in a brutal bar fight until Aykroyd starts galloping about as if he's riding a horse. This stuns the bad guys into inaction.

Then there's a scene in which Hackman and Aykroyd are chased by neo-Nazis armed with rocket launchers. Hackman in response pulls out an archaic musket, with which he outduels the rocket.

If this were done tongue-in-cheek, it might be passably funny, but the mood is more thumb-in-eye. Maybe this shouldn't be a surprise, since director Bob Clark's credits include Porky's and Turk 182.

But Hackman's presence, if not Aykroyd's or that of Dom DeLuise (playing a good-hearted porn merchant), is deceptive. One doesn't associate him with this kind of desperate patchwork job, where characters solemnly quote Dylan Thomas one minute and literally howl at the moon the next. It goes a little something like this: Rage, rage, against this kind of movie; AW-OOOOOOOOOO! (R)

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