One of my favourite movies from the 80s, Turner & Hooch came out in 1989 when I was 13 years old. I must have first seen this movie on VHS around 1991 or 92. I remembered this movie well but since I didn’t have a copy of the movie or watched in since the mid 90s (I think) I thought I should watch it again. It’s one of those movies that made Hanks from just a likeable and moderately successful actor to one of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time. And this was before he went colossal just 4 years later with some really bombastic performances.
Along with Hanks as Detective Scott Turner are Mare Winningham as the love interest, Craig T. Nelson, Reginald VelJohnson (from Die Hard) and the most ugliest dog you could ever find – Beasley the dog as Hooch. Yes ladies & gentlemen, Hooch is the ugliest mutt you could ever know but we all loved him. Beasley was a was a rare Dogue de Bordeaux, a French dog.
Turner, a detective who is getting transferred is showing his replacement the ropes in a small idyllic town. We meet Hooch’s crusty old owner who is just a bit less crustier than his ugly dog. Turner does not like Hooch at all but is forced to take him in when the owner is murdered after witnessing what seems to be a smuggling racket in a factory opposite his house and Hooch seems to be the only ‘witness” to his master’s murder. Now, Turner is a meticulous & clean freak and Hooch in a playful mood wreck the house when the detective is out shopping for supplies. Turner is mad but they soon bond.
Turner also meets Dr. Emily Carson, a vet who he takes Hooch to and they soon start a romantic relationship, with Turner even painting her walls. Hooch has fallen for Emily’s beautiful female collie. Turner finds out that his police boss, Chief Hyde (Nelson) is behind the smuggling racket and confronts him at the factory. Hooch saves Turner’s life by taking a bullet to his chest which was meant to kill Turner. And we are left to see a struggling Hooch drag himself slowly to take a bite off Hyde who is about to off Turner, enabling our hero to take the gun away from the chief. Turner rushes Hooch to the clinic but there is nothing Emily can do to save our brave dog. Turner breaks down as the dog dies.
We close the movie with a few months away. Turner & Emily are married and Emily is pregnant. Her dog was impregnated by Hooch and the bitch had a litter of 4 girls, all of which look like their mom. But there is one boy, a puppy who is a spitting image of Hooch and reassuring to us viewers has wrecked some of the home. Turner gives the same speech to the pup as he did to Hooch when he first brought Hooch to his house.
Tell me you didn’t have a lump in your throat when Hooch was dying (and no I’m not taking about that hot dog which you swallowed by mistake) and that there wasn’t a hint of tears as the pooch breathed his last. Not much in terms of a plot but pleasantly a feel good movie even if the death of our co-star was a downer. The chemistry between Hanks & the dog cannot be missed and they give of a great performance. Just for that I’ll give the movie an 8 outta 10. Nostalgia unbound, I’ll watch this movie many times over.