Police Academy Reviews
So the plot is horrifically simple, a group of bums, criminals and nut jobs all join the Police Academy in the hopes of becoming police officers. This has recently become possible because the mayor has abolished the old school rules about height, weight, colour (yes colour folks!!), fitness levels etc...so anyone can join. This infuriates the police Chief so he orders the Police Academy Cmndt. to try and get the new unsavory recruits to quit voluntarily by any means possible.
Now bare in mind this film came out in 1984 because a lot of what you see is now incredibly dated and not really funny. There are still moments which raise a giggle for sure but on the whole this is childish adult toilet humour by the bucket load. Its no real surprise considering the era, this type of stuff was the height of popularity at the time with films like 'Meatballs', 'Airplane', 'Caddyshack' and 'Stripes' doing the rounds.
The film is a character orientated piece naturally, the toilet humour is a strong ingredient but the characters are the key. Looking back its all so very cliched and dated but the characters do still work at times. I personally never liked Guttenberg's character of Mahoney as he was such a damn goodie goodie, for me it was Tackleberry, Jones, Fackler and Harris, all these guys were the funniest in this film in my opinion.
All their quirky individual qualities are fun to watch and do allow you to care about them, slightly. Loved how Tackleberry was basically a gun nut and completely dangerous, in this day n age that kind of character could almost be controversial. As a kid everybody used to try and copy Winslow's motormouth antics although watching now it doesn't quite have that wow factor anymore, more annoying actually. Love how Fackler basically doesn't belong in the police force, totally inept yet very likeable. Lassard comes across as a kind old bumbling grandfather type character, also very likeable, and of course Harris as the arse kissing jobsworth who is always sucking up to his superiors but really deep down you know he's actually a good cop.
As with other slobby frat house type films this doesn't disappoint on the female front. The main eye candy is supplied by Easterbrook and her chest as Callahan and the stunning Cattrall who really looks so amazingly cute my God! As you would expect there is much boob cleavage throughout, naughty talk and a rather dirty sex act hinted at. This is one of the things that separates the first two Academy films from the rest, the first two are more directed at an adult audience which equals the odd moment of titty action, nudity, swearing, homosexuality, close to the line violence/action and even a bit of racism believe it or not.
Also with all the other films there are individual characters that pop up for that film but we don't see again. The quality of these characters varied a lot but in this film we get the most amusing Donovan Scott as Cadet Leslie Barbara who looks like a young Dom Deluise, Brant Von Hoffman as Cadet Kyle Blankes and Scott Thomson as Cadet Chad Copeland who are both really good as the dumb sidekicks or henchmen for Harris. The sequence/s in the Blue Oyster Bar are an undeniably good laugh and continual joke yet probably rather un-PC these days.
What really makes me laugh is recalling when I used to watch this as a kid and not really understanding half of it and not caring. After this rewatch its amazing to see how much makes no sense at all, like why does Jones have this microphone on him all the time? so he can play jokes on people with his voice obviously, but is it battery operated? how does he always have it?? must be a big bit of kit this is 84 after all. How come all the recruits do end up passing through even though they are all crap and most don't actually do anything in the finale showdown. And how about all the hideously obvious over acting, exaggerated prat falls to cause incidents and accidents etc...
Plus that blowjob sequence is actually pretty racy and sick if you think about it, this hooker will pretty much suck anyone off, as demonstrated at the very end (guess that's why she's a hooker). I never understood what was happening in that scene as a kid haha and you'd never see something like that in the later films.
These films have become a bit of an institution really, love em or hate em you can't deny how iconic they actually are. Look at the main score for the film, that alone is a pretty classic bit of movie history right there, everyone knows what it is and can recognise it, its up there with such scores as 'Star Wars' and 'Jaws'.
It was never meant to be anything remotely serious, more along the lines of the [i]National Lampoon's[/i] franchise if anything, only thing missing was John Belushi. Its utterly childish and puerile now and it was the same back in the day too, but no one ever tried to cover that up, that's exactly what the film offered take it or leave it. Personally I like this film because of the adult edge to it, gives it some credibility unlike the later films which just become like cartoons. Its not an all out spoof so don't think of the excellent Leslie Nielsen type tomfoolery, but it is fun in places and does offer up quite a neat original little plot (for the time).
The film stars people such as Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, Bubba Smith and for me and I think for many others the best person in this, Michael Winslow. Although the character of Cadet Eugene Tackleberry is close to being the best comedy performance in this, Winslow's character Larvell Jones another cadet is actually funny in this, the noises this guy makes are very memorable even from this film. The movie isn't bad in my opinion far from it, many critics in the day really hated this but it isn't really a movie so dumb you'll want to turn it off, it has it's moments and some are pretty good but I just felt it is a little too dumb to be anything but average.
Hugh Wilson is the guy behind this directing and co-writing and he doesn't do so well, the moments in which the film could have been funny are squandered by bad choices direction wise and making some jokes just too crude. The movie could also be said to be misogynistic and homophobic which could be true, I heard many homophobic slurs and characters saying another is gay as an offensive term. The treatment of women in the film is questionable and although Cattrall's character Karen Thompson is a strong minded woman, many women in this are seen only in a sexual way.
I think although the film can be backwards, some moments of this movie do have good humour and can be funny(it doesn't excuse the backward attitudes though). It mostly gets by in the laughing areas with physical humour and at times Commandant Lassard the man in charge of the academy has some great one liners. Lt. Harris played by G.W. Bailey is also pretty good in his role, he is easily dislikeable and so many things that happen to harm him or offend him are easily likeable moments of this movie.
Overall I can't really recommend Police Academy mostly because it's just not that good, I mean some people may really like it and it could right up you street but it's too silly for me and I feel for others too. So there you have it, the start to a long running series of films that just seemed to never stop, it did finally of course but even today they are talking about doing a reboot, I hope if they do then it can actually be a good film for once.
(Full review coming soon)