The John Candy Slapstick Crime Comedy No One Today Even Remembers

By Brian Myers | Published

john candy armed and dangerous

John Candy is probably just as remembered for his ability as a comedic character actor as he is for his starring roles. Whether as the goofy security guard Russ Lansky in National Lampoon’s Vacation or Polka King Gus Polinski in the holiday classic Home Alone, Candy seemed to have a penchant for playing memorable smaller roles than for the films where he was top billing.

But even though most of the films starring the late actor were lukewarm with box office returns, his films are all examples of his comedic genius, as the 1986 feature Armed and Dangerous proves.

Armed and Dangerous

Armed and Dangerous follows Frank Dooley (John Candy) and Norman Kane (Eugene Levy), who meet when they are hired as guards for Guard Dog Security. Frank is a former LAPD cop that was fired after being framed for theft by two corrupt officers.

Norman, meanwhile, is an attorney who surrendered his bar license after being threatened with death by a client. After training, they are supervised by Maggie Cavanaugh (Meg Ryan) and put on overnight shifts overseeing the warehouse for a pharmaceutical company.

Bumbling Security Guards

After a robbery during their break gets them sent to another location, Frank and Norman stumble across a conspiracy involving corrupt LAPD detectives, a drug cartel, and members of a trade union.

At the heart of it all, the two bumbling security guards try to foil a series of crimes while trying to avoid being framed by the new enemies that they’ve made.

Comedic Versatility

armed and dangerous

Armed and Dangerous allows Candy’s versatility as a comedic actor shine through. Whether playing off McMillan’s on screen intensity or sashaying around after being forced to dress in drag, Candy generates laugh after laugh. Though the film has John Candy portray his typecast oafishness, his timing is spot on and delivery impeccable.

But John Candy is not the only actor’s performance in Armed and Dangerous that is worth noting.

Meg Ryan is particularly exceptional in her role supporting veteran performers Candy and Levy, but her on screen experience is not evident as she plays off both senior actors with style. 

Action Movie Taken Over By Comedy

armed and dangerous

As a film, Armed and Dangerous feels like it was supposed to be an action movie that was instead taken over by the comedy.

The storyline has predictable action film tropes and characters, but is overpowered by John Candy and Eugene Levy’s sense of comedic theater.

Full Of Laughs

armed and dangerous

It’s a fun movie to watch, as it’s certainly full of laughs and lays out a decent set of thrills and action, but had non-comedic actors been cast in the leads it could have been much more akin to a low budget Stallone film from the era.

Armed and Dangerous drives 3.0/5.0-stars, mostly for John Candy and Meg Ryan’s performances, but also for some of the creative predicaments that Frank and Norman find themselves stuck inside.

Streaming Armed and Dangerous

armed and dangerous


The film doesn’t hit the high bar of a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles or a Spaceballs, but is still one worth seeing again.

While you cannot stream Armed and Dangerous for free on any streaming platform, you can still catch this John Candy classic On Demand with Google Play, AppleTV, and Prime.