Blu-ray Review: Inspector Ike [Factory 25] | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 6th, 2022  

Inspector Ike

Studio: Factory 25

May 23, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s the late ‘70s and murder is afoot in New York City’s Avant-Garde Theater District! Harry Newcombe (Matt Barats), a Juilliard graduate highly-trained in French clowning, has grown tired of living in his best friend’s shadow. He cooks up an airtight plan to murder star actor Chip Conrad (John Early) and disguise it as a suicide so that he can take over his lead role in the theater troupe. Unfortunately for him, Inspector Ike, New York City’s Greatest Police Detective (it says so on his business card), is on the case. Even the most clever criminals can’t outrun this genius.

Graham Mason’s 2020 comedy, which he co-wrote with Ikechukwu Ufomadu (who stars as the titular investigator), is a loving spoof of the ‘70s TV procedurals starring cops with distinctive quirks who always got their man. Think Columbo, or Kojak. Like many episodes of the former, the viewers at home first watch the crime unfold before our hero enters, and we’re brought along for the ride as he pieces together the clues. Inspector Ike is presented like a special, TV movie episode of a long-running show, as if we’re dropping in on a familiar formula and well-known set of characters mid-series. When Ike makes a mess out of a disgusting hoagie-burger hybrid, or toasts his suspect with a glass of champagne from god knows where, his cast-mates react as if these things were his character’s beloved trademarks. There’s some real dedication to making this seem like the viewers are tuning into an old rerun airing on MeTV, and it’s a lot of fun.

Inspector Ike is unwaveringly cheery and even-keel throughout the case; rarely does anything rattle or shake him, which only gets funnier as he circles closer in on his suspect. The humor throughout is incredibly dry, with actors delivering their gags—both verbal and visual—totally straight, as if every character in the film were played by Leslie Nielsen. The effect is humorous, even when the occasional joke is a clunker.

Released weeks before the start of the pandemic in 2020, Factory 25’s Blu-ray release of the film should hopefully help Inspector Ike find its way into the hands of more comedy fans—it’s a silly film with a ridiculous and undying dedication to its premise, and I was honestly bummed I hadn’t heard of it until now. The disc includes a related short film as well as every episode of “Words with Ike,” an in-universe series in which the hero teaches the audience new words and discusses important issues. (These are very short, sometimes less than a minute, and presented one after another—the rapid-fire nature of these led to even more laugh-out-loud moments than the movie itself.) The booklet includes a word search and an episode guide full of summaries of the fictional show’s other installments. Nestled next to the disc is an official Inspector Ike recipe card, so that fans can scribble down the delicious-looking chili recipe that Ike pauses the action to teach us mid-film.



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