DIRECTOR: Alan Myerson

After four anarchic, gag laden films, the fifth entry into the ever self-referential Police Academy series may have tipped the franchise over the edge. Never claiming to be anything but a broad comedy, the first movie followed the recruits, lead by Steve Gutenberg’s Mahony, as they learned the trade, whilst the second cherry picked the best characters from the first and put them out on the street.

The third contrived a way to send them back to school, though this time as trainers whilst fourth had them training civilians as a kind of suped up neighborhood watch. The last film saw us bid farewell to Gutenberg, who was becoming little more than tent-pole at this point anyway.

But it was not just Mahony who left this series. Along with the star was the pacing and the quality of the gags. Most of whcih were rehashes of earlier funnies, but the feel was different. The humour has been replaced with just stupidity.

There is less plot, though for the first time, there is a straight up narrative, focusing of Rene Auberjonois’ jewel thief and a bag switch with supposedly hilarious effects.

Erm… no.

What we have here is what should have been the end to a cheap series of movies, which declined in quality from the first decent movie. Do not get me wrong, back in the 80’s I can remember the buzz around these movies, though bare in mind that I was 10 when this film was released in 1988,  but these are not classic comedies.

They are a step above a TV sitcom special, not Airplane! (1980), which has gone down as a timeless comedy. This series was founded on decent enough comedy of the day and milked it dry and by this point, just four years and five movies later, that is where it should have ended.

In fact, if it had concluded with Steve Gutenberg and Sharon Stone’s balloon departure from the last movie. Citizen’s On Patrol (1987), then it would have ended well. Instead we are embarking on the first of the final three movies as they attempt to drain every last drop or cent out of this demolishing cash cow.

I mean, we look at the character development or deterioration, especially Captain Harris, who whilst being a bit of fool when we first met back in the original movie, he was no prancing idiot. Here he is a caricature of himself! Then we have the one dimensional use of the rest of the team.

The one with the mouth (Michael Winslow), the one with the tits (Leslie Easterbrook), the quite one (Marion Ramsey), the gun nut (David Graf) and the big bloke with heart of gold (Bubba Smith). That is the extent of these characters by this point.

And of course we need a replacement for Mahony, so we get Lassard’s (George Gaynes) nephew, Nick, (Matt McCoy) who just cannot bring it to the table.

The only time I would expect anyone to watch this now would be as part of the series as a whole. This is a cheap and nasty affair and an unfortunate entry into an otherwise watchable, if not dated franchise.


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