Dick Steele, Agent WD-40 is assigned by his Director, to stop the evil General Rancor from destroying the world. WD-40 believed Rancor was dead and he teams up with the hot K.G.B. Agent Veronique Ukrinsky to find Rancor and save the world.
A re-run of many of the gags from the original TV series 'Police Squad'. An Airplane type spoof, this time with the an incompetent lieutenant (Drebin) who always 'gets his man'. Visual gags come thick and fast, and it's impossible to catch them all with one viewing. The plot.. Queen Elizabeth II of England is coming to town, and Vincent Ludwig has plans to assassinate her using a brainwashed baseball player. Written by
The writing team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker became a famous success after "Airplane!" made nearly 24 times its budget. Although "Kentucky Fried Movie" exceeded its own 33 times, it was their second film that gripped the attention of the critics and the public alike. They parlayed its success into the six episode show "Police Squad." After "Top Secret!," they went back to their short-lived television show and made the first of three "Naked Gun" films. Bringing back the show's star Leslie Nielsen and their signature machine gun paced humor, they crafted their finest work.
Why did I spend 100 words, giving the background to this movie? The answer is that there is not much else to say without spoiling the hilarious content. I grew up on Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and the Three Stooges; the first two are legendary and the third has a fiercely loyal following to this day. It has been difficult ever since for a comedy to impress me. There are only two comedies I have given a vote of ten stars. "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" is even better than "Spaceballs."
Inept Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) of Police Squad returns from abroad to the news that his partner (O.J. Simpson, when he was still funny) has been shot. We see it happen in the first of many sequences where we think the joke is over and then see it go on and on using wildly out-of-place props. Meanwhile, Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban), one of the most respected citizens in Los Angeles, has concocted an elaborate scheme to assassinate the visiting Queen of England! Thankfully, Lt. Drebin's boss (Oscar winner George Kennedy) and the rest of Police Squad have been assigned to protect her. That means Drebin must cross horns with Ludwig to prevent international disaster from culminating at a Major League Baseball game! I am a *huge* baseball fan, and the climax is the most sensationally funny scene I have ever watched. I even saw my hometown team, although Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker clearly had no idea how bad the Seattle Mariners were at the time. They do prove that you don't have to know baseball to make it into the Television Booth.
From an acting standpoint, "The Naked Gun" is about as good as it gets. Comedy is an entirely different discipline than dramatic acting. That is why you hear about certain actors simply as "comedians." Some critics and acting teachers believe comedy is harder. Nielsen is the king of treating outrageous scripts like they are "The Ten Commandments." He has been in many bad comedies, but with the right script, few are better at making even the best jokes funnier than they already are.
Also notable is Ricardo Montalban. He publicly mentioned that he took the part for money to buy a new Chrysler. I immediately thought of Sean Connery upon reading this. After "Thunderball," Connery grew uninterested in playing James Bond, possibly from the strain of four films in four years plus the deplorable Japanese media's behavior during the shooting of "You Only Live Twice." In both that film and the later "Diamonds Are Forever," a role he only took for the cash, his boredom is unmasked in the two worst lead performances of the series.
Such is not the case with Montalban. His facial expressions during the seventh inning stretch of the baseball game and his conversation with a terrorist whose name I would never wish on anybody look like they come from a man enjoying the part. The ability to keep external factors off the screen or stage is one of the fundamental cores of acting that has been lost on many talented thespians through the years. Montalban is not one of them.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this