Twitter Plot Summary: Lassard and his team are called in to help stem a crime-wave in Captain Harris’s new precinct.
Director: Peter Bonerz
Key Cast: Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrooke, Marion Ramsay, Matt McCoy, Lance Kinsey, GE Bailey, George Gaynes, Kenneth Mars, Gerrit Graham, Georgr R Robinson, Bruce Mahler
Five Point Summary:
1. Okay, that Christmas song gag is actually pretty good.
2. Kenneth Mars. Funny, but he lowered himself to this level?
3. Those crooks are inept, yet they’re
4. 80s computers! Yeah!
5. A monster truck. Really?
They weren’t doing themselves any favours by churning these films out one a year throughout the 80s. Then again, the five year gap between this and Mission To Moscow (1994) didn’t do that film any favours, so maybe it’s not the short production time and more an issue with the direction they decided to take the series in. They also made quite a bit of money on each of these films, so irrespective of the quality of the script and production, if they make money then they’ll keep going until the box office returns reduce significantly. Other than Police Academy 2 (which in our household we had on VHS video back in the day), City Under Siege was always the one I’d happen to catch on television at various points. Usually ITV, for the record – the Police Academy movies will never be BBC material.
In this sixth and thankfully short entry in the series, the Police Academy team aren’t whisked away to an exotic locale this time, instead they’re drafted in to help stop a crime-wave in Captain Harris’s new precinct. Of course, Harris is less than enamoured with this idea and so, despite the fact their help would actually improve his precinct, he does everything he can to scupper the efforts of Lassard’s team. As was established in the previous films, Harris is often his own worst enemy, making a fool of himself whilst attempting to discredit Lassard, and this is where most of the humour is often found. Oh sure, everybody else gets their moments, but its the pairing of Harris and Proctor that wins it. The opening scene of them staking out a robbery is very good, and it’s a shame the film doesn’t maintain that level of humour throughout. As it is, this brief spark of genuinely funny interplay is let down by the following 75 minutes.
The return of Fackler adds a pleasant dose of anarchy to the story, but he’s only effective in small amounts. If nothing else he’s overused, which by the end credits make him far less endearing and liable to annoy. Kenneth Mars is by far the best thing in the film, his comic timing makes even this tired script work. At least there’s a vague attempt at constructing a narrative this time, although it’s too little too late, an over-reliance on silly humour and yet one more step further away from what made the original (and perhaps Police Academy 2) worthwhile. The slapstick is turned up a notch and there’s more an emphasis on a big bad villain intent on holding the city to ransom with the assistance of three dumb goons – altogether more cliche than we’ve seen thus far, and it’s obvious that the writing’s on the wall.
It’s easy to criticise the Police Academy films for being badly written comedy films – I’m guilty of that myself. From my perspective it’s more to do with the fact they didn’t capitalise on the potential it had from the very first film. Other than brief glimpses of genuinely funny elements it’s a Police Academy film with a story that belongs in a different franchise.
Favourite scene: Jones entertaining a club with a series of impressions.
Quote: “Proctor! You have been singing Christmas songs for the entire five hours of this stakeout. And Christmas is a good four months away. If you sing so much as one more note… I will shoot you.”
Silly Moment: Hightower is hit with so much scrap metal that it would kill anybody in real life. As it is, he stands up and brushes dust off as if nothing had happened.