Release Date(s)1985 (December 13, 2016)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: D+
In the wake of the success of Police Academy, the fad of police-related screwball comedies began, up to and including Police Academy’s many sequels. Often overlooked but never forgotten in that mix is Moving Violations. When a group of schlubs find themselves having to take traffic school, they have no idea that the maniacal instructor is really out to scam them by keeping them from graduating and collecting their impounded vehicles for eventual profit. The comedy ensues as the one-liners are quipped, property is destroyed, and the traffic-violating misfits fight back.
Moving Violations I would liken to a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It’s probably not exactly what you wanted from a cheeseburger, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. It’s the type 1980s comedy that you just don’t see anymore, with basic bad guys going up against a group of rag-tag good guys, simply because they don’t like each other. It’s not necessarily a laugh riot, but I found myself smiling and chuckling quite often. Strongly remembered as the movie with starring roles filled by Bill Murray’s brother John Murray and Stacy Keach’s brother James Keach, there’s little to not like or even dislike about Moving Violations. With a cast that includes Fred Willard, Sally Kellerman, Jennifer Tilly, and Don Cheadle in his first but extremely brief film role, it’s hard not to resist.
Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray presentation of the film features a transfer that’s not overly remarkable, but quite watchable nonetheless. Fairly strong and even grain levels with an ample amount of detailing, good color reproduction that doesn’t overly pop, natural skin tones, deep blacks with decent shadow detailing, and excellent brightness and contrast levels are all on full display. It’s also a stable presentation, but with some minor noise leftover. The only audio option available is an English mono 2.0 DTS-HD track. It’s fairly flat but contains clear dialogue and plenty of support for both the score and sound effects. It doesn’t feature much in the way of dynamics, but is clean and satisfying otherwise. Also included are English subtitles and a couple of extras, including an audio commentary with writer/director Neal Israel, the film’s theatrical trailer, and bonus trailers for Up the Creek, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Porky’s Revenge, and Miracle Beach.
There isn’t much in Moving Violations that’s overly violent or dirty – it’s run of the mill in a comfort food kind of way. It’s also nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but if you’re a fan of comedies from the 1980s, you’re bound to find something about it to enjoy. Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray release of the film is solid, managing to rescue another obscurity from the depths of standard definition.
- Tim Salmons