• Number One With A Bullet

    Released by: MGM Limited Edition Collection
    Released on: March 6, 2012.
    Director: Jack Smight
    Cast: Billy Dee Williams, Robert Carradine, Valerie Bertinelli, Peter Graves
    Year: 1987
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Jack Smight for Golun Globus, Number One With A Bullet might not be the most fondly remembered entry in the Cannon Films library, but it remains a fun, if horribly dated, watch twenty five years after it hit theaters in 1987.

    The storyline follows a pair of narcotics officers, Barzek (Robert Carradine) and Hazeltine (Billy Dee Williams, straight from the cool side of the pillow) who bust heads and crack beers with the best of them. After a few odd cases and coincidences, they start to realize that there’s a mole in their department connected to DeCosta (Barry Sattels), a high ranking political type, and they suspect that it might be their very own captain (Peter Graves) leaking the info. They also suspect that DeCosta is up to no good and is actually a drug kingpin, so it makes sense that they’d want to take him out – but the brass in the department are protecting him.

    They follow some leads and do some detective work but once a car bomb blows up and injures Barzek’s ex-wife Teresa (Valerie Bertinelli) just as he’s about to take her home, get her drunk and bone her all bets are off. Nick snaps and he and Hazeltine are basically temporarily kicked off and forced to go on vacation, but you just know they can’t walk away from this case and if they have to bend the rules a little bit get their man, well then that’s just what they’ll do.

    Written by the Gail Morgan Hickman, who also gave Cannon scripts for Murphy’s Law and Death Wish IV, with a little tweaking from James Belushi of all people, Number One With A Bullet is little more than a string of clichés strung together by a fairly flimsy plot but the fun cast make this one an easy watch. It’s a lot like Lethal Weapon – hot headed angry white dude partnered with a calmer black dude – but the script does go in some different directions. There are a lot of goofy buddy cop film moments here, like when Williams with a fake beard helps Carradine, in drag, chase another man, also in drag, through a Catholic Bingo Hall but there are some good action scenes here too.

    The relationship between Carradine and Bertinelli won’t set the world on fire but you can believe him when he tells her after they have dinner that he wants to go back to her place, get drunk and fuck so the movie has that going for it. Carradine’s mother is played by Doris Roberts whose character isn’t really very far removed from her character on Everybody Loves Raymond. Peter Graves has a decent supporting role here too, adding a little bit of B-movie class to the picture. Some decent violence and a tiny bit of skin earn this one its R-rating, and the movie is worth seeing just to see Billy Dee Williams in action as the pick-up machine, a new girl on his arm in every scene. For some reason Carradine eats raw steak but at least he has the good sense to wash it down with Budweiser when he’s done. He also drinks in his car, which is bad, but he hides the Bud labels with Coke labels, showing his resourcefulness I guess.


    Number One With A Bullet looks decent in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors are decent, black levels aren’t perfect but are acceptable, and detail isn’t half bad. Sometimes it looks a bit soft but otherwise, yeah, this’ll do.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track sounds just fine, offering up clear dialogue without any noticeable background hiss or noise – dig that eighties score. The levels are well balanced, the score sounds good and there are no problems here to complain about.

    There are no extras, just a static menu. The movie is divided into chapters in ten minute intervals.

    The Final Word:

    Number One With A Bullet isn’t ‘good’ but it is plenty entertaining. If it relies way too heavily on clichés the cast make up for that. This isn’t a classic, not by anyone’s standards, but it’s a lot of dopey fun. Cannon enthusiasts take note.