Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Stacy Keach, Shane Conrad, Shannon Whirry, Kent Williams, Peter Jason
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
John C. Hocking | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 02/14/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've always had a weak spot for Stacy Keach's Mike Hammer.
The 1980's program was cheesy and silly, but its star could claim to be the last pure descendant of the old school, all-American, hard-boiled private eye. And the plots of episodes of 'Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer' were much like those once found in the pulpy pages of magazines with titles like 'Dime Detective', 'Thrilling Detective', and 'Black Mask'.
Back in 1997 there was an aborted attempt to re-start the 1980's 'Mike Hammer' television series. The new show was called 'Mike Hammer: Private Eye' and brought back Stacy Keach in the lead role. It was syndicated and, seeing as how the plots were weak and local showtimes were inevitably scheduled well past midnight, lasted only 26 programs before it was shut down. 'Song Bird' takes a two part story from this series and tries, not very hard, to dress it up like a movie.
The weaknesses of 'Song Bird' are the weaknesses of 'Mike Hammer: Private Eye'-- the plot is standard, the action brief and unspectacular, and the budget clearly low even by the standards of syndication. But it does have Stacy Keach heading a cast of solid actors obviously having a damn good time in archetypical roles that seem tailored to fit. Keach has an almost uncanny ability to utter any line with a degree of sincerity that sells it, and does a remarkable job playing Hammer as a graying, unrepentant tough-guy from another era.
So if you're looking for a solid detective story, you're likely to be disappointed. But if you're looking for a solid detective, here he is."
Classic Spillane style delivers some surprises
andynirad | Manchester, CT United States | 06/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Spillane's creations since discovering the novel One Lonely Night at the age of 10. Heck, the Hardy boy's never spanked a woman with a belt, just for being a communist! Anyhow, it's about time one of the Hammer television shows starring Stacey Keach made it to DVD. Nobody does Mike Hammer better, PERIOD. He shines in the role once again in Song Bird. His love for the character is obvious and a joy to watch. Jazz, mafia, some tough-fast talking, and slick running narrative make this one a must for the Hammer fans. Shannon Whirry plays the role of Velda. If you happen to look away from the screen during a scene with heavy dialog, you may hear a voice that's so familiar it nags at your memory. Well, to save ya some mental calisthenics, the other main character (the trumpet player) is none other than Jack Sheldon. If you're not familiar with the name, you might remember the voice from Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm Just a Bill," or "Conjunction Junction," et al. There are only 2 things that prevent me from giving this DVD 5 stars. First off, no special features. Second, Frank Stallone delivers a completely cardboard performance (thankfully it's brief.) All in all, it's brilliant, cheesy, and fantastic all the way through. I hope to see more of this super-cool TV series (and the 2 previous runs) released on DVD soon."
Not bad at all...
Bryan Schingle | Thornton, Colorado United States | 04/25/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A decent story in the world of Mike Hammer with Stacy Keach again playing the famous private eye. I always enjoyed Keach as Hammer, he seemed to fill the part from the classic pulp novels well, and this is no exception. We see Mike Hammer in a frenzied race to save a jazz singer from the police and the mafia both, dodgingthe district attorney and hit man alike. Not a fantastic plot, but fun none the less."