Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Police Academy 5 (1988): A Review

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
A film by Alan Myerson

Police Academy 5 is a disappointment. Sure, it is a Police Academy movie, so we know it is light slapstick humor, but this one is not nearly as good as any of the previous Police Academy movies. This fifth film is subtitled “Assignment Miami Beach” and this means that some of our favorite officers will be returning and heading south to Florida.

I’ll try to sum this up as succinctly as possible, as the plot to this movie isn’t terribly important (or well done, for that matter). Captain Harris (G.W. Bailey) is after the job of Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes). Lassard has reached the mandatory retirement age, and Harris is going to make sure that Lassard retires. Meanwhile, Lassard is headed down to Florida to receive the award of “Police Officer of the Decade”, and he wants his favorite recruits (now officers) to come with him. This brings Hightower (Bubba Smith), Tackleberry (David Graf), Jones (Michael Winslow), Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) and the soft-voiced Hooks (Marion Ramsey) to Florida. Meanwhile, there is a robbery of a stash of diamonds from a museum (it seems), and due to a mix up at the airport, Lassard unknowingly switches bags with the thief. The thief will stop at nothing to get the diamonds back. Hilarity is supposed to ensue.

Unfortunately, hilarity does not ensue. For a fan of the Police Academy movies, the fifth installment is somewhat cute and friendly and easy going (perfect for kids, really), but it is lacking some of the heart and humor of the earlier films in the series. This one only has a PG rating, compared to the R of the first film, so it is plain that this has turned into a family friendly series. Part of the problem with this movie is the lack of Officer Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), who left the series after the fourth movie. While these have always been ensemble movies, Mahoney has been something of the heart and the closest thing to a “main character” that the Police Academy movies had. He is replaced by Lassard’s nephew, Nick Lassard (Matt McCoy). Nick Lassard is a police officer in Miami and, like Mahoney, is a friendly, smart-aleck, womanizer. He just isn’t as likeable as Mahoney was (as hard as McCoy tries), and feels like a poor replacement for Mahoney (who isn’t even mentioned in the movie). Nick has a love interest, also a cop, in Kate (Janet Jones, better known as Wayne Gretzky’s wife).

Overall, “Police Academy 5” feels flat, and much less funny than the earlier (though still silly) Police Academy movies. It may be cheap entertainment, but it’s just not well made cheap entertainment.

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