Number One With a Bullet (1987) Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review
Released the same year as the smash hit Lethal Weapon, which connected with audiences worldwide thanks to a great script and perfect casting and chemistry, the remarkably similar Number One With a Bullet was Cannon’s effort to appeal to the same market.
Two renegade cops don’t always play by the rules, but they always get the job done.
The streets of Los Angeles are lucky to have loose cannon Barzak (Robert Carradine shirking his Revenge of the Nerds image) and smooth operator Hazeltine (Billy Dee Williams) on the LAPD. Barzak loves his job to the point of it being an all-consuming fire in his guts, and his relationship with his wife (Valerie Bertinelli) has suffered as a result, but he works well with his partner Hazeltine, who is an evergreen bachelor and moonlights as a jazz musician and martial artist on the side. Barzak’s obsession is a yuppie drug kingpin named DeCosta (Barry Sattels) who has eluded capture for years, but when Barzak and Hazeltine nab the right junkie who can provide the proof they need to make a case against their quarry, the two renegade cops find that their lives are on the line when hitmen and killers are after their heads. They’ve become “number one with a bullet” but they won’t go down lightly.
Released the same year as the smash hit Lethal Weapon, which connected with audiences worldwide thanks to a great script and perfect casting and chemistry, the remarkably similar Number One With a Bullet was Cannon’s effort to appeal to the same market. It’s aged pretty well and has good casting and chemistry, but the script isn’t as sharp or interesting, and the plot is a little lackluster, despite the energy with which it is executed. Director Jack Smight did a competent job with the material, and it should still play well to fans of buddy cop movies, but it just won’t stick to the bones the way something like Lethal Weapon does.
Kino Lorber has just released a Blu-ray edition of Number One With a Bullet, and so if you’ve got the previous MGM MOD release like I do, you can retire that sucker and add this one to your collection. The transfer is a brand new HD master from a 2K scan of the 35mm interpositive, so this is the best the movie has looked on home video. The disc includes a vibrant commentary track by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema who have an animated and informative discussion throughout the film, and there’s a trailer as well. Bonus trailers are also included.