The ‘80s gave tv and film fans some horrible product, but it also
gave us the first “NAKED GUN” film and “ALF.” Fitting alongside such
humorous entries is the overlooked tv series, “SLEDGE HAMMER”, which
is having its entire first season released as a boxed set on dvd,
courtesy of ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT.
David Rasche stars as “Sledge Hammer” a cop who doesn’t care about
using excessive force or being completely politically incorrect. The
writing is top-notch in every episode, although it’s hard to think of
one that’s as witty as the one about a murderer knocking off Elvis
impersonators, “ALL SHOOK UP.” Rasche is great in the lead role.
While there are times wherein Leslie Nielsen could’ve fit perfectly,
Rasche adds a tough-guy depth that probably couldn’t be fully assumed
by Nielsen, and it makes the part funnier.
While creator/writer Alan Spencer fought to have the show aired
without a laugh track, he changed his mind after it fared better with
preview audiences when having one. However, ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT
has released this season without the laugh track. Not having the
laughs forced on a viewer allows for its inherent comedy to work
better and it’s a great decision.
The first season is offered over 4 discs, with an introduction by
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT has presented the original 1.33:1 aspect
ratio. Colors are generally solid. However, there is some shimmering
in certain scenes. Contrast is fine, and fleshtones appear natural.
One real drawback is the fact that there are no chapter stops.
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT has provided a Stereo mix. While there is
minimal separation, fidelity is fine and dialogue is always
intelligible and free from distortion.
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT has included extensive supplements,
including commentaries on four episodes with creator Alan Spencer.
He’s a thoughly likeable guy, and his manner makes the commentary
both humorous and engaging.
“SLEDGE HAMMER: GO AHEAD, MAKE ME LAUGH” is an extensive featurette,
filled with interviews, allowing the cast to recollect their thoughts
of the production. It’s very entertaining.
The “Original” pilot is offered on the last dvd. It’s longer than the
original and there are some major differences. Well worth the look.