Freebie and the Bean Blu-ray Review: A Film That Should Have Stayed Buried in the Past

While the drawn-out car chases through the streets of San Francisco are entertaining and interesting to watch, the rest of the film is rather unwatchable.
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In San Francisco, two cops Freebie (James Caan) and Bean (Alan Arkin) have spent more than a year trying to find some evidence on Red Meyers (Jack Kruschen), the biggest syndicate boss in the city. Having been reduced to digging through the man’s trash in hopes of finding some clues, they stumble upon some incriminating documents that weren’t shredded. Rushing to get a warrant so they can search his home and business, they find that they can’t get one right away and will have to wait through the weekend. Normally, that wouldn’t be a huge inconvenience, but they discover that a contract has been put out on Meyers and a hitman from Detroit is expected to arrive over the weekend.

The two cops want to find any little reason to arrest the crime lord and keep him safe, but when the DA turns down their idea, they end up having to search out the hitman and do whatever it takes to stop him from terminating his target. And doing whatever it takes means several beatdowns of small-time criminals, insanely long car chases, and filling a bathroom stall in a bowling alley with bullets.

While the drawn-out car chases through the streets of San Francisco are entertaining and interesting to watch, the rest of the film is rather unwatchable. The entire film is the two cops constantly bickering at each other. And it’s not really in a comical or fun way. It seems mean spirited and they are both constantly yelling. There is so much of it that it’s difficult to follow what’s going on as they are both yelling over one another. Some people might like this as it resembles Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners, but it’s a huge turnoff for me. Along with the constant fighting, there are a number of racial slurs being hurled at Bean by his partner that aren’t funny at all. There’s even an awkward scene where Bean must stop by his house to yell at his wife (Valerie Harper) for cheating on him with the landscaper. Maybe when this film was released the audience had a different reaction, but in today’s society it wouldn’t be made or accepted as possible movie material.

The film is presented in 1080p High Definition with a 2.4:1  aspect ratio and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Being that the film was released in 1974, the video quality is quite impressive. It’s very crisp and clear with no signs of degradation. The audio is just as good as it adds an immersive quality to the overall presentation with no obvious dropouts or sound issues.

Even without all the arguing, there wasn’t enough of a storyline to carry a feature film. And what little they did have made no sense at all. There was no reason that a police officer would have to wait over a weekend to obtain a warrant as there is always a judge assigned for authorizing after-hour warrants.

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