Review for Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol
Commandant Lassard has come up with a new project to promote community cohesiveness and mutual trust between the police and the public they serve. He calls it Citizens on Patrol, a police mandated neighbourhood watch scheme on a citywide scale. He wants to recruit volunteer citizens to go through a basic training program to help them better liaise with the police.
Captain Harris thinks this is a bad idea, potentially taking money and jobs from the real police, compounded when a couple of skateboarding delinquents that he has a jail cell booked for are ‘rescued’ by Mahoney to volunteer for the new C.O.P. initiative. For Lassard is relying on his best and brightest graduates to make his dream a reality. It won’t be easy though, as while Lassard is attending a seminar in London, Captain Harris is put in charge of the Police Academy.
The film gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, with audio in DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono English along with Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese with subtitles in these languages and Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish. The dialogue is clear, the music and action comes across well, although there is a bit of hiss through the film, and some occasional dullness. The image is clear with plenty of oversaturated colour, has been scrubbed with a DNR scourer, has its moments of occasional softness and is not so great with detail. But the budget really does climb in this fourth instalment, with a climax that goes heavy on the aerial stunt work, and the kind of eclectic pop music soundtrack that will have you hunting for a CD.
The disc boots to a static menu.
Behind the Scenes: Remembering a Lofty Investigation lasts 8:30 SD. The cast and crew talk about the fourth movie.
There are 14:12 of Deleted Scenes in SD 4:3 format, and they fix some of the gaping plot holes in the film, but nowhere near all of them.
Wink’s Behind the Scenes Home Movies lasts 3:31 SD, and offers video footage of skateboarders at work.
Finally there is the Theatrical Trailer.
I could cut and paste my review for Police Academy 3 here, and it would work just as well. It is practically the same film over again. Another bunch of recruits go through the police training process, although this time there is the Citizens on Patrol veneer to allow you to nit-pick a difference. Once again, while there is an overall story, it feels like a plot loosely connected by a bunch of silly sketches (the way the Blue Oyster gag is shoehorned in this time makes no narrative sense whatsoever), and once again, it ends with an action climax where things get slightly serious to give the film a sense of drama and peril. Yet for some strange reason, I like the fourth film more than the third.
Thinking back on the film, it seems like a big deal that Sharon Stone is in the movie as Mahoney’s love interest this time. But really, she’s hardly in it, and as the deleted scenes attest, most of her role fell on the cutting room floor. Still, this wasn’t long after that dire Allan Quatermain movie, and three years before Total Recall really brought her to the public eye. It certainly isn’t her presence that makes me think more fondly of this film than the third. I think it’s really because G. W. Bailey returns as Harris, a far better foil for Mahoney’s pranks than Mauser was in the previous two films. There’s something about the supercilious, officious character that invites a little bit of sympathy along with the ridicule. You have to feel sorry for anyone who has to be removed from a horse in the first film, and here the superglue prank, while referencing the boot polish stunt of the original, does make you feel sorry for the character, even more so now that he’s lumbered with Mauser’s right hand man, Proctor.
Tackleberry also gets a new partner in the gung-ho pensioner Mrs Feldman, a woman whose martial proclivities bring a sense of awe to the gun crazed Tackleberry. It’s a nice pairing, but you do have to wonder if this film didn’t inspire Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot. On the downside, Sweetchuck and Zed are back, with Zed even falling in love. Apparently audiences found these two funny. I’ve never been able to get that particular joke.
Truth be told, the story is even weaker than the previous film, there is no narrative to speak of; it’s just a collection of comic clips loosely hanging together, but the real reason that I like this film more than its identikit predecessor? It got a belly laugh out of me where the third film never has. It’s 22 minutes in, and it’s a blatant fart gag, but I laughed enough that the fourth film left a more favourable impression. I’ve also come to the embarrassing realisation that the Police Academy movies were the kung-fu movies I watched before I discovered kung-fu movies.