The old Commandant Lassard, leader of the Police Academy (1984), goes to Florida to receive an award. In the city arrives also the cynic Captain Harris who wants to take Lassard's job. ... See full summary »
A string of business robberies have taken place in the city's Wilson Heights neighborhood, all done by the same three crooks. Captain Thaddeus Harris is no longer in the same precinct with a certain group of cops that he doesn't like. That's why Harris is so happy to be in the Wilson Heights precinct. But then The Mayor tells Harris that business in the city is plummeting because of the robberies. Since there appears to be a leak in Harris's precinct, the Governor has sent in a team to stop the Wilson Heights gang. Much to Harris's dismay, the team is led by Commandant Eric Lassard, so Harris knows who the team members are -- exactly the cops that he doesn't like. The team members are Nick Lassard, Moses Hightower, Eugene Tackleberry, Larvell Jones, Debbie Callahan, Laverne Hooks, and Douglas Fackler. The stakes are raised when Commandant Lassard is accused of being the mastermind behind the robberies, and the team must clear his name. Written by
City Under Siege is the sixth of the Police Academy movies, a series of satires on modern America almost Swiftian in their subtlety.
To be honest, as a film anorak, I was tempted to give this one a miss, as I hate watching movies out of sequence. Over the years I've possibly seen all of the Academy franchise, but never in order. So coming to this one fresh I felt like I was missing out on all the finely tuned story arcs and character development. Like how did the guy who makes sound effects with his mouth all the time go to just making sound effects quite a lot? And what caused the dizzy, shouty one to change to a dizzy one who sometimes only talks loudly?
As this was made in the tail end of the 80s the dodgy politics that plagued the early ones are thankfully absent, and there's a better atmosphere too. Okay, Steve Guttenberg no longer being in it automatically takes the smugness level down 50%, but years of critical slating have lent humility to the cast. There's a real air of "so bad it's good" playing here, rather than the first few where the actors seemed to genuinely believe they had decent material.
But it's not all positive, and the absence of other cast members is a worry. Didn't there use to be someone funny in Police Academy? Maybe I imagined it. Still, the loss of Bobcat Goldthwait and Tim Kazurinksy is something to be noted, and we're left with a pretty asinine bunch. Possibly the worst is Bruce Mahler as Fackler, an accident-prone cop instigating wearily mistimed and predictable slapstick sequences.
What's great about the Police Academy series is how it unites everyone - the humour is so low-brow that even really thick people don't find it funny. I did get a few ironic laughs at how poor some of it was - like Harris running when his feet are stuck through the bottom of a moving van. Generally, though, it's of the strictly lame variety.
There are people that could make it work - think of Chaplin, Laurel, Lloyd or Allen superglued to a chair and, even though it's a cheap gag, you might laugh. But when it's G.W.Bailey directed by Peter Bonerz you're talking a chuckle vacuum.
There's a scene where the blue-eyed boring one and the silly noises one enter a "Comedy Pub" to quieten it down after a blackout. In a scene of pure wish-fulfilment, Michael Winslow gets on the stage and brings the house down. Yeah, right... if only. His Hendrix impression is good, mind. He gets one of the big finales, too, slugging it out with a villain while he does his "badly dubbed Bruce Lee" schtick. How many times has he done that anyway? Surely even his own mother wasn't laughing at this stage.
However, the semblance of some sort of plot and the presence of three genuine laughs - more than in all the other Police Academy movies stuck together - take this one up to a mighty 3/10.
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