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Mike Hammer: Private Eye

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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(Jul 26, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

CREATED BY ACCLAIMED DETECTIVE NOIR AUTHOR MICKEY SPILLANE, PRIVATE EYE MIKE HAMMER IS A HARD-BOILED, TWO FISTED DETECTIVE WHO MIXES IT UP WITH TOUGH GUYS ON A MISSION, CLEAN & DIRTY COPS ON THE BEAT & DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS DAMES WITH PLENTY OF ATTITUDE.

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Not to be confused with Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, which aired in the mid-'80s, or the several made-for-TV movies produced during that same decade, Mike Hammer Private Eye offers all 26 episodes (totaling more than twenty hours and four double-sided discs) from the single season (1997-98) in which Mickey Spillane's pulp P.I. was revived for a syndicated series.

What all of the above have in common is Stacy Keach in the title role; and despite the many Mike Hammers (including Armand Assante, Brian Keith, Ralph Meeker, Darren McGavin, and even author Spillane himself) who preceded him, Keach makes the part his own. He was in his mid-fifties by then, not exactly light on his feet anymore, and sporting a hairpiece that does him no favors. But in Keach's hands, Hammer is an appealing hero, flawed but likable. This time around he's dealing with computers, Internet porn, tobacco company whistle blowers, talk radio blowhards, and other funky features of the late 20th Century, along with the usual whores, junkies, and assorted lowlifes. But Hammer is still a tough-talking, hard-punching lug, engaging in macho repartee ("What're you, drunk?" "Nah, just thirsty"), dispensing world-weary voice-overs ("Art? I couldn't tell a fresco from a Fresca"), and remaining fiercely loyal to his friends and helpers (including Shannon Whirry as sexy secretary Velda and Shane Conrad as kid sidekick Nick) as he doggedly seeks and destroys the bad guys ("I'm not a killer, Mike. I'm a pervert!").

Too bad the rest of Mike Hammer Private Eye (whose meager bonus features include a recent interview with the star) doesn't quite measure up to Keach's engaging performance. The budget for this series was clearly lacking; production values are pretty poor (with cheesy interiors that bring to mind Jack Webb's Dragnet, produced some thirty years earlier), and a good number of the supporting actors are less than stellar. But whereas one could never quite be sure if Webb's Sgt. Joe Friday was as square as he seemed, there's no doubt that Keach and everyone else involved have their tongues planted firmly in cheek, which makes Mike Hammer Private Eye a genuine hoot. At the very least, any show that uses "Harlem Nocturne" for a theme song has got to be worth checking out. --Sam Graham


Special Features

  • All 26 Episodes from the 1997-98 series
  • Brand-New Stacy Keach Interview
  • Exclusive Photo Gallery
  • 8 Page Booklet

Product Details

  • Actors: Stacy Keach, Shane Conrad, Shannon Whirry, Kent Williams, Peter Jason
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Tango Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 1200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009GX21O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,159 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mike Hammer: Private Eye" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Otto on August 14, 2005
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Despite the info above, this item is not close-captioned! So if that kind of thing is important to you, bear this in mind. As for the show itself, I find any Mike Hammer vehicle with Stacy Keach in the role worthwhile. True, the 80's version of the show had a better budget and (usually) bigger name guest stars. (When is that show coming out on DVD, by the way?)

But Keach is as good as ever as an older,wiser Hammer trying to deal with modern-day appliances such as cellphones, computers, etc., while still remaining the gumshoe we know and love. As soon as I hear that saxophone and Keach's voiceover, I'm hooked. You will be too. Highly recommended.
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What I've always liked about Mike Hammer, is he's down to earth. I love CSI, and I've got perfect vision, but even I would have a hard time spotting the micro sized evidence CSI agents see with their naked eyes from across a room. Come on guys, I know it's just a show, but you've got to be a little realistic, yet that's just what they do. They walk into a crime scene and see a single hair all the way across the room in the carpet. I mean come on!!! Now back to Mike Hammer, He wins most of his fights, and loses a few (even some of the best fighters in the world have lost a few). He collects baseball cards, eats pizza hot or cold, and loves a good looking lady. He figures out his cases by deduction, logic, and luck, and he's often behind on the rent. The series has well timed action, but not overly done like many shows today, and it's not nearly as gory(CSI has gone too far even though it is a favorite program). There's drama, horror, comedy, and of course Spice. And no other actor has ever portrayed the part better than STACY KEACH (bring back the series America!!!)

I've watched these episodes so many times I feel I could quote them word for word. I love'em, and if you like "as real as it gets" detective stories, you'll love it too.
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When CBS has the First incarnation of Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer, it was harder and gritter like the books. Then Keach got busted for drugs in England and they canceled Hammer.

I do not remember who revised Hammer. This time saddling with an assistant (played by Robert Conrad's son Shane) and a younger, perkier Velma (played by Shannon Whirry). Thes new adventures of Hammer seek weaker and died a quick death as a series in a season of 26 episodes

All twenty six episodes are here in this box set. One can only wish the first incarnation will be available soon--then you can see the real Mike Hammer as it was in the shows Hayday and glory

Bennet Pomerantz, AUDIOWORLD
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This series is bawdy in a tongue and cheek way and totally not PC, I think that is what makes watching it so much fun. Mike Hammer is an old school private eye living in the digital era, but at least he can still solve crimes and catch the "bad guys". It is campy and full of puns, if you enjoy blood and elaborate chase scenes this is not for you. But if you just want to have a chuckle and don't take things you see on television shows that seriously this could be a choice for you. Never saw the original however.
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I really like Mike Hammer. I know him since I was young and watched every episode from the first run. Unfortunately this box contains only the stories from the second series, showing Mike in a more "civilized" way, with much fewer contacts to women (compared to earlier films), not such cool as in the first stories and only sometimes having a confrontation with the chief lawyer. However, this box is strongly recommended to people liking the ideas of M.Spilane and also Stacy Keach. The gimmicks complete the 26 films in a perfect way and the interview answers lot of questions, Hammer fans may have (who is the lady, he sees in every episode etc). I still hope that hte first films will also be released on DVD soon... In the meantime: Just buy this set and enjoy!
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When I bought this video I thought it was the 1980's series. Although it has its good points, I would not recommend it. There is more violence as well as sexual aspects that make it more unappealing to me. Stacy Keach does a good job, but the plots are predictable and the narration by Keach

is so complicated that it is hard to keep up with. Again I have enjoyed it, but it is not nearly as good as the Mike Hammer series in the 1980's.

The fact that it did not last long on the air should tell you something about it.
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This collection is not from the series in the 1980s, but rather originates from a short-lived syndicated run in 1997. Stacy Keach made the character then, and his strong portrayal still comes though. Unfortunately, it looks like scripting, direction, and producing fall short. Gone are the location shots of New York City, Mike gets a sidekick, and -- worst of all -- Mike gets beaten up several times!! And he doesn't give it back! Whether this was done to reflect Mike's aging or whatever, this is not quite the Mike Hammer many of us die-hard fans have come to know and respect. Still worth buying, but I recommend on sale.
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Stacey Keach returned to the role of Mike Hammer in this fun 90's TV series. Keach is perfect as Mike Hammer and it's nice to see him play a slightly older version of the character. It's a blast watching Mike deal with modern devices like computers. The tougher tone of the 90's series also adds to the fun. There's also plenty of comedy in Private Eye. I'm a big fan of Keach's 80's Hammer series and I like this 90's version too. Mike Hammer, Private Eye is great fun.
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