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Oh, and of course you all realize who is in this thing, right? None less than Sharon Stone, David Spade in his first film, and Tony Hawk in an early stunt-skateboarding role! You gotta see this!
This time, Commandant Lassard has come up with a scheme he calls Citizens on Patrol (C.O.P. Get it? Get it?), in which he elaborates slightly on the plot of the original movie. You see, the police force has been stretched a little too thin and the public has developed a negative opinion of them due to the fact that they can't be everywhere at all times to stop every single crime in the city. So the natural solution, of course, is to train the public as deputy police officers and basically have briefly trained undercover cops all over the city.
In fact, so close is the resemblance to the first movie that we are even treated to a couple characters who are forced to join the police academy or face jail time – an idea suggested, of course, by Mahoney himself.
This is the best part of the movie, by the way. There is a hilarious gang of skateboarding punks who are disturbing the peace left and right, headed by none other than David Spade, who is a hardened urban predator if I've ever seen one. Thug life, baby!!
Sharon Stone also has a relatively small role in the film, although probably one of the ons that she would like to forget about, and Lieutenant Harris is back after being gone for the last two movies. All of the other relevant cast members return, with the addition of a new group of misfits, like the token fat black guy, David Spade and his idiot skateboarder friend, and Tackleberry's FATHER-in-law. Remember that guy? Who is always gleefully punching out his son? I can't wait until the grandparents start joining!
But don't worry, until then we have Mrs. Feldman to hold us over. Here's this sweet old lady living in a nursing home/military barracks and who has more of a love of all things camouflaged than Tackleberry himself. In fact, I was waiting the whole movie for her to tell her that she's his long lost mother, but no such luck. Something went wrong with the screen writing in there somewhere, but ultimately she turns out to be one of the most consistently funny characters in the movie. She's played with a good-natured smile by Billie Bird, who clearly enjoyed herself while making the movie. You can always tell when the actors are having a good time, and it always makes the movie better, which is good because this movie needs a lot of help!
Of course, it's not much different than the last three movies as far as being worth watching. Bud and his father are still trading punches and it's still more groan-inducing than laugh- inducing, people are still accidentally wandering into the Blue Oyster Club, which hasn't been funny for three movies by now (Proctor inadvertently wandering in naked was the high point of this gag, but also the point where it becomes the most clear that the joke has lost its steam), and Jones is still doing that Bruce Lee impersonation which was funny in the first movie when I was a kid, but as an adult not so much But, Callahan has a great wet t-shirt scene that makes the whole movie worthwhile!
Oh, and was Mahoney's mischievous grin ever amusing? That poor guy, man. His reputation has for some reason become so tarnished that he is seen by most of the public as even more of a washed up has-been than, umm, well no one else really comes to mind. Bill Paxton? Nah, he's cool, I think. I never needed to forgive him for Weird Science, but Guttenburg unfortunately has a whole string of bad sequels to make up for, and Cocoon and Short Circuit are just not gonna cut it! At any rate, super-gluing the loudspeaker to Harris' face was funny, but why they missed out on the opportunity to have Harris screaming through it at high volume at the doctors in the hospital I just can't understand. The screenwriters are not scoring many points in this one!
But still, this is one of the better Police Academies so far. This one and part 3 are the best ones in the series that I've seen so far, despite the hilarious 1980s badness (there's a boot- legging crime lord, for example, who operates his illegal warehouse standing around with a fistful of cash and a hula hoop around his shoulders), but there definitely are some fun gags. Harris macing his armpits is one is one of the more memorable gags in the whole series, along with Mauser getting his hands glued to his hair, and I have to admit that I enjoyed some of the scenes of the original recruits trying to recruit the public for the new C.O.P. program. It's not a good movie, but it's a good Police Academy movie!
It does have it's good points; we see the return of Harris, who is now a Captain and Zed continues his crazy antics but there's nothing particularly funny or memorable in this film. The first three films had you laughing again and again but Part 4 was lacking anything truly funny.
The ending was a bit of a letdown compared to the climaxes for the first three films.
It's also goodbye to Steve Guttenberg as Carey Mahoney who quit the series after this film.
Police Academy 4 was painfully average. It will probably be a disappointment to fans of the first three films.
But let's be fair...momentarily.
The first one was actually funny.
The second was negotiable.
The third had a lot more sight gags (I love sight gags).
But "Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol" began to show the wear that the series and its regulars was going through. As a rule, every even-numbered sequel usually isn't very good and this one carries on the tradition.
At least while watching it, it gives you time to consider certain plot points:
a) How do complete idiots stay on the police force for so long?
b) Sharon Stone? David Spade? How desperate were they to get their bills paid?
c) I wonder what Steve Guttenburg is doing nowadays?
d) How many drugs did they let Bobcat Goldthwait take between scenes?
e) Why doesn't Leslie Easterbrook do more scenes standing in a swimming pool with a soaked-through t-shirt and no bra?
f) Corrinne Bohrer is kind of fetching when she stares into the camera, isn't she?
g) Tim Kazurinsky really SHOULD get contacts.
h) Does anyone else notice that the more writers it takes to write a movie, the worse it is?
i) Really, what IS Steve Guttenberg doing nowadays?
And by the time you've thought all these points through, you've actually generated more plot than this entire movie could muster in its whole running time. Congrats.
Just a couple of stars this time, guys. And seriously, just watch the first three PA movies; you'll be a lot better off.
By the way, if anyone can figure out what happened with Steve Guttenberg, let the rest of us know.
It's too bad that the writers of these movies couldn't think of something different than the same old thing, but what works works!
Kudos again to Michael Winslow and his vocal effects. Also thanks goes to the writers for giving Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) a new love.
I love the scene where the pigeon drops its shite on the policeman's shoulder. I split my pant laughing at this. I am still laughing now.
I also like the woman with the big tits. She has very big tits, indeed...Nice. Pant splittingly amusing.
I am laughing at the farting noises made by the black man. Very amusing. Pant splittingly funny.
I am laughing at the dog sniffing the crotch of the policeman. Very amusing. Nice. Pant splitter.
I am laughing at the golf ball smashing through the car window. Very amusing. Nice. I split my pant. Such was the hilarity.
I must go now as I am urinating due to laughter as I think of this superb movie. I have wet my pant. Damn. I must go now.
Another big problem with PA4 (and boy, there are many) is the change in target audience. Sure, episodes 1 through 3 could be enjoyed by children with two digits in their age, but the primary audience was adults who didn't have very high standards. Unfortunately, someone in the film studio must have decided that the writers have to please everybody, and so they watered down the humour as far as they could without getting a G rating. That, more than anything, is what hurts Police Academy sequels 4 onwards.
Steve Guttenberg must have taken one look at the finished product and wondered why he didn't quit about three films ago. Bob Goldthwait picks up the slack in terms of comedy, but his act is also watered down a tad too far, ditching any vocal expression of his character in favour of shouting and screaming at anyone and everyone. Which might work for a comedy about mental patients who have been neglected by the system for too long, but not when your character is meant to be a police officer. But then again, the whole premise is built on a notoriously shaky ground.
Every Police Academy film has at least one celebrity (other than George Gaynes) who wishes they had never appeared in the film. Sharon Stone gets her turn her, and despite what they say about her appearance in everything after Basic Instinct, at least she looks capable of acting. But amongst this lot, I'm sure a dead goldfish would appear to be emoting effectively.
Overall, PA4 gets a 2 out of ten from me. It stands as a good relic of what happens when you try to appeal to everyone, and it does have some genuinely funny moments, but it just cannot hold a candle to its predecessors, especially the first.
The Police Academy is given a new assignment, there is a new program called C.O.P., Citizens on Patrol, taking regular people off the streets and turning them into cops. Mahony has taken a few misfit punks off the street and made them join, there's an old lady, there's the average or less then average people in the program as well. But Captain Harris hates this program and will do anything to shut it down, but when there is a jail outbreak, he may just have to rely on the C.O.P. program to help him out.
Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol has it's good laughs here and there. I always love to watch the jokes the gang plays on someone, my favorite this time was how they super glued the mega phone onto Harris's lips. I would recommend this if you are looking for a couple laughs, I think people are bing a little too harsh on these films. They're the Police Academy sequels, they're light hearted and fun, they're meant to just relax and laugh for a bit at the stupid stuff. But I did feel like this is the weakest I have seen so far out of the sequels, it could have had more laughs, but it is worth the watch.
** (out of 4)
The police force is overworked and understaffed so they come up with an idea to train citizens so that they can patrol their own streets. Of course our gang gets a group of rejects that they must train into shape. This was the beginning of the end for this series and while there are a few funny scenes the thing still can't keep afloat. The regular cast including Guttenberg, Smith, Winslow, Graf and Easterbrook are back but we've also got G.W. Bailey coming back as Harris, the main villain from the first film. Harris actually steals the film and gives an energized performance but that still isn't saying too much as the screenplay is very weak and basically just recycles jokes from previous films. Even the regulars seem rather tired and bored. Bobcat Goldthwait is back as well but most of his jokes seemed aimed at his bad speech. Heck, we even get a pre-fame Sharon Stone and David Spade but neither add much. The best sequence for me has always been the one where the veterans try to teach the new guys that they aren't ready to be police and take them out on the case of a voodoo man who is actually being played by Smith.
Seen at home, in Toronto, on January 2nd, 2007.
It was followed by six sequels, and none of them were as good or even on the same level as the first, though admittedly some are worse than others. Most of them are actually being pretty bad or worse and lose what was enjoyable about the original in the first place. Worse was to follow in the series than 'Police Academy 4', but it was from this point in particular when the 'Police Academy' series felt stale.
'Police Academy 4' is not entirely irredeemable, it has its moments. It is enlivened by the welcome and much needed presences of George Gaynes and returning (and much missed in the previous two sequels) G.W. Bailey. Bobcat Goldthwait also tries his best and doesn't try as too hard as in the third film.
These two also have the best very sporadic moments, the most coming from Gaynes while Bailey's Harris' deodorant/mace gag being the funniest the film got, mean-spirited of course but it was one of the few moments that were actually funny. The music is infectious enough, with the exception of the god awful "Let's Go to Heaven in My Car" (which got a deserved Razzie nomination, losing out to "I Want Your Sex" from 'Beverly Hills Cop II').
Most of the humour really doesn't work. A lot of it feels laboured, and much of it was an uncomfortable mix of gross smut and juvenile immaturity. Am aware this is 'Police Academy' we're talking about, where one shouldn't expect too much and not take it seriously, but this was intelligence-insulting dumbness without an ounce of energy to make it slightly more tolerable.
Story is even thinner than the previous three films and with the pacing being so leaden it was difficult to forgive. Too many of the subplots are not interesting at all and not that well paced or resolved.
Apart from Gaynes, Bailey and to a lesser extent Goldthwait, the rest of the cast are not worth mentioning. Steve Guttenberg completely goes through the motions and it was clear that he didn't want to do another film in the series. David Spade has been much funnier and better since in a poorly written role, and Sharon Stone is lifeless as a character that couldn't have been more thankless. Jim Drake's direction is not as inept as that of the previous film but it does lack momentum and it does nothing with making the incredibly cheap-looking production values look more appealing.
Overall, pretty weak and the series was showing signs of being particularly stale at this point, but worse was to follow. 3/10 Bethany Cox
The likable Steve Guttenberg appears for the last time in the series and seems to be enjoying himself, as do the supporting players like Michael Winslow and Bubba Smith. Bobcat Goldthwait is still an acquired taste but there you go. The gags, which come thick and fast, are a mixture of slapstick and lowbrow jokes, but I particularly enjoyed all the humour at the expensive of G.W. Bailey's character - that megaphone gag remains a good one. Even though it's very much an average kind of 1980s comedy, in the world of POLICE ACADEMY movies, POLICE ACADEMY 4 stands out as being miles ahead of the execrable previous instalment.
The idea behind this isn't too bad really, its a bit like special volunteer officers which we have here in the UK. So the general concept is sound, the problem is we are back at the academy focusing on training these new civvies and we're seeing all the same stuff all over again!!
To cut a long story short, seeing as I've explained what happens in the academy for the last three film reviews, we see every character doing their unique thing all over again. This means more martial arts from motor-mouth Jones, Callahan is in the pool getting her huge tits wet, Tackleberry is on the shooting range (where else), Sweetchuck gets thrown around the place a lot, Hightower is on voice commands and Mahoney is lurking around the stereotypical blonde bit of fluff and dishing out his good deed speeches left right n centre.
Everything in this film is virtually a replay on everything we've seen in virtually all of the last three films. The last three got away with it because they were more adult and the idea was still reasonably fresh, no longer does this apply. The whole film is very boring and extremely childish, on top of that nothing makes any sense now, its just bits n pieces thrown together.
Mahoney, Tackleberry and Hightower perform a very elaborate prank on the three young guys simply to prove they aren't ready for the real beat. This whole sequence is completely nonsense, as if you would go to all that trouble for nothing, its total filler that isn't even amusing. There is a fight sequence on a docked ship against some ninjas (!), no idea why this happens or how the officers end up at the docks but hey. I honestly feel they stuck this in simply to utilize Nogata who cameos here, also another martial arts sequence for Jones who appears out of nowhere. He just pops up for this fight from literately nowhere.
Add to that a vast amount of terribly cartoonish visual gags, pratfalls, blatantly obvious stunt doubles, terrible audio dubbing and pretty much no actual main plot (accept for the civvy training crap). There is a jail break midway through which serves as the big finale, this time its in the air with hot air balloons and old biplanes. Now I admit its all performed well with nice aerial stunts and whatnot but its so completely ludicrous. Why on earth would they chase the bad guys in hot air balloons? surely you'd just call in police choppers?? how the hell does everyone seem to be a dab hand at flying biplanes?? why am I even questioning a Police Academy flick? I might add that Hightower completely disappears for the last half of the film, odd, Bubba must have had better things to do.
This film is quite 'famous' I suppose for a few things, firstly its one of Sharon Stone's early films as she was slowly getting more recognised. Secondly there is a young Tony Hawks in the film showing his skateboarding skills and thirdly there is also a young David Spade as one of the civvy recruits.
This is easily one of the worst PA films in the franchise simply because they reuse every old trick and story sequence idea all over again. Yes I know most of the PA films do this but like I said up to this point in the franchise its been reasonably fresh. This just feels terribly dull, uninspired and has some of the worst comedy I've seen, you can't even call it slapstick, its just sh*t. Goldthwait as Zed is responsible for some of the worst acting, dialog and sequences in this film, not even Bailey as Harris can save this turd.
Just to really hammer home the final nail in the coffin, right at the end out of nowhere, Mahoney and Sharon Stone's character are seen floating off together in a customised Police Academy hot air balloon. No explanation about how or where this special balloon came from, its just there, one final silly sequence to really take you out of the moment (if you were in the moment in the first place that is).