Review for Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach
The Commandant of the Police Academy is a position that Captain Harris covets, but the only problem is that Eric Lassard is a permanent fixture. That’s until he learns that Lassard is overdue mandatory retirement. It’s an easy matter to ‘leak’ that information to the relevant authorities, although the news is sweetened by an invitation to the Police Convention in Miami where Lassard will be awarded Policeman of the Decade. Naturally he’ll want his favourite graduates there as well.
There’s trouble brewing though. The museum has just been broken into and priceless ancient jewels stolen. At the airport on their way to Miami, Lassard bumps into the gang of thieves, and in the kerfuffle their bags gets swapped. With the kind of boss these thieves have, they’ll do anything to get the jewels back, even if it means taking Lassard hostage.
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. The image is clear with plenty of oversaturated colour, isn’t quite as bad as the previous film when it comes to DNR, and really does its best to sell the Miami locations, giving this film a strikingly different feel to the rest of the series.
The disc boots to a static menu.
Behind the Scenes: Mistaken Identity: Case Reopened lasts 7:42 SD. The cast and crew talk about the fourth movie.
Finally there is the Theatrical Trailer.
Assignment Miami Beach is a lot better than I remember. Back when I first saw it, I found it quite deficient, with the lack of Mahoney; a big piece of the Police Academy puzzle noticeably absent. Even more noticeable was the Nick Lassard character, a poor man’s Mahoney if ever there was one. But this time around, I found Police Academy 5 to be really quite enjoyable, funny in the right way, and more of a piece story-wise than the previous two films. It’s actually watchable and entertaining.
Mahoney is most definitely missed though, and with him went what few hard edges the series had left. Police Academy by this point was almost politically correct with its humour. The Blue Oyster was gone, the race comedy was gone, and all that was left was some light sexism and objectification of women. This was 1988; Police Academy had practically become forward thinking. Nick Lassard was a hasty creation when Steve Guttenberg chose not to sign on the dotted line for more films, and he’s practically a Mahoney clone, down to his womanising instincts, his tendency to pull pranks, and his breaking of the fourth wall with a mischievous glance to camera before pulling said pranks. But, Matt McCoy just doesn’t have the screen presence of Guttenberg, and in this film his arc along with love interest Kate seems to run in parallel to the narrative rather than be part of it.
It’s a pretty standard story for the most part, little vignettes and sketches of comedy featuring the familiar characters, with a semi-serious conclusion at the end where the cops have to take down some criminals in an action packed climax. In this film we’re back on the water again for that denouement, with a chase involving airboats and jet skis. In this film, the jokes hang together a tad more strongly when it comes to the story, but what really sells this film is that for once we have villains with personality. The late Rene Auberjonois is memorable as Tony, and he has some great foils in his gormless sidekicks. It gives this film a balance that the other Police Academy sequels lacked. Also, on a personal note I rejoice in the absence of Zed and Sweetchuck, two of the worst characters to grace a Police Academy film.
Police Academy 5 is a lot better than I remember it to be, although that isn’t an endorsement. It’s not the best comedy film ever, and by now some of the character shtick is getting old. It may improve in some respects, but the loss of the Mahoney character is a problem that in the end, it just can’t get past.