The regulars are the major weak point. While the guest cast have the misjudged enthusiasm to irksomely overact, all the usual culprits seem embarrassed by the whole thing. None of them sell their underwritten, reheated lines, and the fact that Bubba Smith and Marion Ramsey failed to sign up is a damning indictment. What comes through the screen, from George Gaynes to David Graf, is the sense of souls bleeding. "Please get me a proper job, there must be a better way to pay my mortgage" these actors scream with every fibre of their being. Leslie Easterbrook gets her usual single "my character's got big breasts" joke - why does she even bother to sign up for this crap? Michael Winslow looks old, tired, and frankly bored with the whole thing. Was his involvement only confirmed at the last minute? Because while he gives a curiously muted performance throughout, the script also fails to accommodate his talents in almost any way. Note that this is the ONLY Police Academy sequel in which he doesn't do his (admittedly run into the ground) "Bruce Lee" schtick.
Police Academy managed to keep up the same level of quality between films three to six - they were all rubbish. But even by their low standards Mission to Moscow plumbs the depths, making Citizens on Patrol look like Annie Hall. New recruit Charlie Schlatter, there for the completely incongruous love interest theme, is never funny and the Russian characters are the crass stereotypes you'd expect. Any film that promises "we're going to kick buttski" is clearly dumber than is tolerable, and a tasteless reference to Chernobyl doesn't help matters.
The only Police Academy film made outside the 80s, it was produced five years after the last one - why?!!?? Was there a big demand in the market for sh*te? Some cartoon sound effects (whistles, birdcall, etc.) are added to the action to try and pep things up, but this really is a DOA of a movie. True to form (or should that be formula?) it ends with an extended chase sequence that is neither suspenseful nor convincing.
Just look at scenes like the one where G.W. Bailey gets hit in the face with stew. The stew is clearly missing his face and just lands on his chin, so Bailey (the only regular who tries) moves his face so that the full brunt of the stew will land on it. This dedication to duty is admirable, but also perfectly highlights the sloppy desperation of the whole thing.
The series' move from the teen fodder of the first two, 15 certificate, movies had been subverted into the last five, PG cert entries. This is at its lowest ebb here; a comedy that seems wholly aimed at the under-5s and doesn't know what to do with its characters. Russian acrobats entertain the kiddies while its ... er... "stars"... are left to stand around like second bananas, giving unfunny reaction shots.
Maybe it's the "fish out of water" feel of it all, with the somewhat flat Russian espionage themes failing to ignite. But whatever it is, Mission to Moscow feels like a TV sitcom with the canned laughter track removed. In any other franchise this would be described as an "unfortunate, sad end" to the series. With Police Academy however, finishing with one of the unfunniest comedies of all time seems strangely apt. 2/10.