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  Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment Cop And A Laugh
Year: 1985
Director: Jerry Paris
Stars: Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Bruce Mahler, Marion Ramsey, Colleen Camp, Howard Hesseman, Art Metrano, George Gaynes, Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, Peter Van Norden, Tim Kazurinsky, Ed Herlihy, Lance Kinsey, Jackie Joseph
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Police Academy recruits of the class of '84 are awaiting their first assignment, but what they are offered may not be what they had in mind, the location being the roughest part of town, where shopkeepers are forced to put so much security on their premises that it takes most of the evening to set it all up - and even then they're liable to get robbed at the cashpoint. The precinct's police department is headed by Captain Lassard (Howard Hesseman) who is the brother of the leader of the Police Academy (George Gaynes), and when his boss gives him an ultimatum - thirty days to get the place in order, or else - he phones his brother and asks him for new staff. They will have their work cut out for them...

The first Police Academy movie had been a fairly big hit, fitting right in with the jokily anti-establishment tone of many comedies emerging from Ronald Reagan era America with its easygoing smut and smart alec humour, so naturally a sequel was ordered. If only they knew what they were getting into, as the franchise would continue into the nineteen-nineties, with a television series and cartoon following, making this the Hollywood equivalent of Britain's Carry On movies: you had the impression that if Police Academy: Mission to Moscow had not flopped, then it would have attempted to rival it for the number of entries.

But it was not to be, though they still show up regularly on television as easy to watch timewasters, nothing that anyone boasts about enjoying, though there are fans who like to rate their preferred instalments above the others. The general consensus was the first two efforts were the best, though even then many others decry these as the nadir of the eighties big screen comedy, though what they are forgetting was that this second one had a secret weapon, which was the presence of stand-up comedian Bobcat Goldthwait as the villainous Zed. With his frazzled, barely discernable delivery, he quickly became the favourite series bad guy of fans everywhere and the performer truly sold a ridiculous character.

That said, the real draw for every Police Academy film was Michael Winslow as the human sound effect machine Larvell Jones, who here is introduced embarrassing a couple of snobs ("I don't even OWN a television!") by making it seem as if they are extremely noisy eaters. Yes, Steve Guttenberg as Mahoney was the ostensible star, for the first few at any rate (check out his cop beach wear), but who didn't watch these simply to hear what Winslow would come up with next? Her even got a presumably star-pleasing scene where he turned into Bruce Lee and beat up a couple of thugs with kung fu, complete with bad dubbing and over the top impact effects. But really these movies were ensemble pieces, more like sketch comedy than following a proper storyline.

There was one, of course, and it saw new antagonist Lieutenant Mauser (Art Metrano) trying to oust the Captain so he can fill his shoes instead. To do so he must ensure our heroes fresh from the Academy will fail, though he reckons without both his own overconfidence and their capacity to blunder their way to success, although even with such a short running time (it doesn't even reach the hour-and-a-half mark) this doesn't receive the lion's share of the attention that you might expect, as there were so many characters that the producers were endeavouring to keep them all happy by giving them each a turn in the spotlight, with only Marion Ramsey as the squeaky-voiced Officer Hooks drawing the short straw as she stays behind to man the radio. Tackleberry (David Graf) found romance with fellow gun nut Colleen Camp, while Hightower (Bubba Smith) won fans at the Blue Oyster Bar, it was all as you'd expect, sending up the vogue for tough urban crime thrillers by dispatching the heroes to make light of them. For a Police Academy sequel, not bad. But really stupid.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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