Frank Dooley: “I love watching a professional at work, don’t you?”
“Serve and protect” or “Serve and inept?” Comedy and action collide, and so do fists, guns and explosions. Where being incapable is a requirement for employment at Watch Dog Security.
A bungling rough-nut cop and incompetent lawyer join Watch Dog Security and team up to take down a corrupt Union Leader while trying to prove themselves innocent of murder.
Frank Dooley played by John Candy is patrolling the streets of L.A. He sees a little girl crying for her cat stuck up in the tree. Guilted into it he climbs up the tree to save poor Fluffy, he can’t, however, get down and the Firefighters are called to rescue him. Later at night he is driving and see an electronic store being robbed. The robbers are fellow cops, Sergeant Rizzo played by Don Stroud and Mel Nedler played by Robert Burgos. The crook cop’s setup Dooley and he is an arrested.
At court, the judge relieves him of his charges but he is no longer a cop. On the way out of court Dooley, not thinking knocks down Norman Kane played by Eugene Levy a lawyer defending a wacko modelled off Charles Mason. After the wacko threatens Kane, Kane pleads to the judge that the charges be lightened. The judge advisers Kane to get new work and sends him on his way.
Kane and Dooley meet at Guard Dog Security during the introduction where one of the black recruits asks “if he can shoot someone if you know they’re lying?” a Russian recruit wants to know whose name to put down on the paperwork. During the introduction, the recruits are told to join the Union and pay upfront. The two Union men, Anthony Lazarus played by Brion James and Clyde Klepper played by Jonathan Banks threaten to knock out Kane’s teeth if he doesn’t join. All the recruits follow Kane and sign up.
Next at the shooting range, Maggie Cavanaugh played by Meg Ryan explains how to shoot the guns before getting out of the range. One of the recruits shoots birds out of the sky, the black recruits is grinning while he pops shots into a cardboard cut-out of a white man carrying groceries. Kane on the other won’t pull the trigger, Dooley shows him up and puts several rounds into the target.
Captain O’Connell swears the recruits in. Maggie assigns them their first job and Maggie wants Kane to keep an eye on Dooley. Kane picks up Dooley and they head to a local warehouse. There they meet a security dancing to some hip-hop at the gate. On the way in, they see men releasing three vicious guard dogs into the warehouse. Inside they meet Bruno, a muscle behemoth played by Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister. Bruno tells them to take their break and asks if they got that?
Dooley: “Ah dir. I think so hehe”
Later on, Bruno scoots by and orders them to take lunch. Kane forgets his lunch is in his car and goes back to get it. On the way he sees men wearing ski masks and asks for an invoice. The burglars ask if Kane “really was that stupid?” Apparently yes, as they start chasing him. Dooley saves Kane’s butt from the burglars and the guard dogs.
The following day Captain O’Connell grills them and fines them a hundred dollars for their failure. Kane and Dooley are fuming outside his office in front of Maggie, Kane calling him a “poop head.” That is until Maggie informs them that the Captain is her father.
That night at the Union Meeting Kane brings up their complaint since the failure wasn’t their fault and are denied by Michael Carlino played by Robert Loggia. Carlino brings in Lou Brackman played by James Tolkan to represent Carlino, Kane on the other hand point outs their Union Rights riling up the crowd. Carlino throws them out of the meeting.
The next day they are assigned to work at the local tip where they meet another Guard Dog going through the waste, the guard shows them a really good comb before they head to relieve the previous guards from their post. The previous guards are sick from the toxic waste and when asked how long they’ve been there for Kane and Dooley hightail it out of there and head to a gym where Bruno is working out.
Dooley and Kane sneak by the receptionist and hide in the gym until they find Bruno. Dooley and Kane are hiding in an aerobics room and Dooley catches his eyes on some sweet booty of one of the females at the gym. They leave and find Bruno pumping some iron, not getting any answer Dooley ties Bruno up and threatens to drop the weighs on his head. Bruno tells them that Captain O’Connell ordered them to take lunch. With what they exit but not before they are forced to beat up some muscle-bound women and escape from Bruno.
They go to the pier to meet a contact of Dooley’s – Cappy played by Tony Burton. Cappy won’t take Dooley’s money in exchange for the information, he is happy to take Kane’s. Cappy tells them that Carlino works for the Columbian Drug lords and that the money from the Guard Dog pension is paying for the drugs. Once they get what they need Dooley decides to do a bit of fishing with Cappy when a shark catches his line. In the excitement he pulls out his gun and fires several rounds at the shark, killing it and posing for a few photos.
They go to speak to Maggie to inform her about what they found. Dooley peeking through the keyhole while Maggie is changing ready to go to a party at Carlino’s house. Dooley tells her that they have a theory that her dad and Carlino are in cahoots with the Columbians and that the theft on Guard Dogs watch is a part of a coverup. Upset that they alleged that her dad my be a part of it she throws them out, but not before telling Norman that she is disappointed in him.
To rethink they go to a bar where Dooley meets up with some hot blondes that he knows. Norman is moping when Rizzo and Nedler join in. Dooley beats them up and they head to the party that Maggie was speaking about earlier.
Dooley and Kane meet some Guard Dog guards at the door of Carlino’s house. Dooley takes the clipboard and chooses some people at random and tell the guards who they are and that they’re undercover. The girls from the bar distract the guards while Dooley and Kane snoop around for clues. Following Carlino outside they hide in a sauna while Carlino and Lou are talking about the next deal with the Columbians. Carlino instructs Lou to turn the pension into notes so the next armoured truck can be hijacked. Lou protest in that the investigation by the Insurance Company will be looking at him. Carlino frustrated orders his men, Lazarus and Klepper to take care of Lou. Carlino about to go in the sauna when Dooley’s girlfriend come by and distract Carlino, Carlino going for a threesome with the hot blondes. Dooley and Kane exit the sauna to save Lou but he is shot by Lazarus. Carlino claiming Dooley and Kane killed him.
Dooley and Kane escape into an adult store, while there Dooley pays in quarters to watch a strip dancer help him get ideas on how to escape. No luck Kane decides that they should beat up a gay biker and drag queen for a disguise. Rizzo and Nedler are outside the store catching Dooley and Kane, Dooley acting all cheeking and flirty. They escape and meet Maggie at the park the next morning.
Dooley goes over his plan to hijack the armoured truck before the bad guys do. Later that day Maggie instructs two of the Watch Dog guards not fail their job, so she drives the truck, Kane protest but time is short they get underway.
Rizzo and Nedler chase the truck, Kane knocking them over, impressing Maggie. Dooley dressing all up tries to start his bike again to reach the rendezvous point, the bike starts but dies on the bridge. With no choice, he runs across the bridge begging for a ride. He manages to get a ride in a truck with a Cowboy played by Steve Railsback. Dooley asked the driver what his carrying. “Rocket fuel,” the Cowboy tells him.
Captain O’Connell sees the two guards who were supposed be driving the armoured truck eating ice cream, he asks them what’s going on and they tell him that Maggie is driving the truck. Captain O’Connell rushes off. “See were not in trouble,” the Russian says. Captain O’Connell catches Carlino, smashing into his car and arresting him.
Two other henchmen are chasing the armoured truck shooting at it, another one hiding in an ice cream truck shoots a missile at the truck, missing and hitting the Cowboy’s truck blowing it up. The ice cream truck goon is taken out in the explosion and the other goons drive into the explosion. Thinking Dooley’s dead Kane pulls over, Dooley is fine until Kane starts strangling him complaining about the plan having a few holes in it. Rizzo and Nedler catch up but Dooley shoots the car off the road. Kane knocks out Klepper and arrests him while Dooley arrests Lazarus.
The cops come by to clean up. Dooley’s is greeted by his old Police Captain played by Bruce Kirby asking for the lowdown. Dooley explains the whole thing. The Captain pleased offers Dooley his old job back. Maggie tells Kane to call her some time. Dooley asks if Kane can be a cop too, Kane not wanting the job. The movie ends with Dooley and Kane arguing whether Kane will be a cop or not and that Dooley is always making their decisions.
Grading comedy isn’t easy, whether a comedian on the stage or a movie. Whether it’s the timing of the jokes, the jokes themselves, the context and how they are delivered. The jokes hit their mark and the timing is perfect, which is what you would expect from a comedy legend like John Candy.
As a movie by itself, it is fun and you will get a laugh at the crude humour, which is what you came for. You don’t need to think, just sit back and have fun for an hour and a half. That’s what we watch movies, to begin with, to have fun. And Armed and Dangerous is fun and also full of action. Neither the action or the comedy is fighting for screen time. They are used when they should be, not just to have them in. It shows that all involved in the production knew what they were doing during the development process.
A good ride and not one you want to miss!