Sergeant Joe Bomowski (Sylvester Stallone) is a tough Los Angeles cop who tonight is conducting a sting operation on a group of illegal gunrunners, and by posing as their latest contact he manages to foil them, though not before getting into a gunfight. Once at the bar afterwards to wind down with a drink, he cannot completely relax since he insists on calling someone on the phone - someone who refuses to pick up. Once his boss (JoBeth Williams), who happens also to be his girlfriend, finds out about this she demands to know who he was calling - but the answer is somewhat embarrassing.
You'll know why by now, but this was even more embarrassing for star Stallone, who named Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot the worst film of his career, and considering that career that was saying something. This was the product of one of Sly's fallow periods, between hits and comebacks, where he was having trouble finding the right material and someone had evidently looked at his friendly rival Arnold Schwarzenegger and his success Kindergarten Cop, a silly comedy whose main draw was seeing the star outwitted by little kids. So why not go to the other end of the age spectrum for a laugh a minute spectacle with Stallone?
Therefore Estelle Getty, then as now best known for her role as the eldest of The Golden Girls of sitcom fame, was drafted into the plot as Joe's overprotective, meddling mother. It was she he was trying to contact on the phone because she is heading over there from New Jersey to visit, and her son is getting anxious. Not half as anxious as he'll get when she does show up, employing the three screenwriters' apparent sole idea of how she can embarrass him in front of strangers: bring out the baby photos, which she does with wearisome regularity. But they had to find a way to get Mom involved with the action, so a device of great convolution is what they came up with.
This sees Mom tidying Joe's house in the early hours, which leads her to clean his gun using soap, water and disinfectant, rendering it useless. He is exasperated - and boy, did Stallone's exasperated expression get overused here - prompting her to set out to buy a replacement, only she cannot get one without waiting for the security checks to go through, so winds up purchasing a handheld machine gun out of the back of a van. That van is shortly after riddled with bullets, thereby offering Mom the excuse to visit the station where Joe works as a witness to a crime. Complicating matters is, well, pretty much everything she does is a complication, but she wants her son promoted so withholds evidence to tell him exclusively.
Joe, needless to say, isn't interested in promotion, or for that matter his mother's advice on his love life, but this film was a curious beast, torn between the mild sitcom humour for Getty (her own show was a lot sharper) and the action flick requirements of Stallone. The fact Getty won out should give you some indication of why he shudders at the memory of this, but if you were in an undemanding mood the nonsense playing out here would pass the time, depending on your tolerance for a deliberately annoying main character. The knots Mom ties her offspring in are supposed to make us think of our own well-meaning mothers who don't wish to let us go into the big bad world without their protection, but scenes such as surely the worst dream sequence ever - Stallone dressed as a baby at a crime scene - overemphasised that yet made them embarrassing to watch instead of comical for Joe. Even the non-bloody violence was not enough to compensate for that. Music, of the beat you over the head variety, by Alan Silvestri.