Review for Police Academy: Mission to Moscow
The Cold War is over, the world is at peace, and Russia and America are now friends. It also is an opportunity for an enterprising criminal to make a serious profit. Constantine Konali is the head of the Russian mafia, and he’s managed to elude the Russian police all this time. Commandant Rakov finally enlists outside help to bring a new approach to the case. He calls Commandant Lassard and the fine graduates of the Police Academy to help. This isn’t good for Konali, as he has a new scheme in the works that will let him take over the world.
This is the best disc of the collection. The 1.85:1 widescreen 1080p transfer is crisp and sharp. Detail levels are excellent and the print is stable and free of age or damage. The colours are a little on the drab side, but the production values are high, and the film is served wonderfully by the location filming. The audio too is a step up, with this being the only film of the seven to get a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo track, bringing a little space to the mayhem, a little directionality to the slapstick. You also get Dolby Digital French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese audio with subtitles in these languages along with Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
The disc boots to a static menu.
Behind the Scenes: Underneath the Mission lasts 10:08, and is the last talking heads piece to accompany these films, and once again you get the Theatrical Trailer. Again, all this is in SD.
This is the worst Police Academy movie. At least that is what I have always heard, and I took pains to avoid watching it. They’re right, in some ways this is the worst of the Police Academy films. It’s obvious that film’s location and scope gave it budget issues that meant that the returning cast is a pale shadow of what previous films had. The only recurring characters are Commandant Lassard, Tackleberry, Jones, Harris, and Callaghan. In the extras it’s stated that Bubba Smith refused to reprise Hightower as the Hooks character was dropped. But there is no US location, no set-up to the film, with the plot set in motion with a news report before switching to a plane arriving in Moscow.
It’s also worse in that the humour has passed juvenile, crossed infantile, and is now practically foetal. These gags are the lowest fruit on the tree, daft, easy silliness that need no brain power or effort on the viewer’s part to appreciate. Yet, the guest cast isn’t as forgettable as in the previous film. You have Christopher Lee as the Russian Commandant on the receiving end of Jones’ sonic mayhem, Ron Perlman chewing the scenery with relish as Konali, and Claire Forlani as the love interest in the film. Incidentally I previously described Matt McCoy’s Nick Lassard as a poor man’s Mahoney in the previous two films. Well here, Charlie Schlatter is a poor man’s Nick Lassard as Cadet Connors, who hacks his way onto the mission, and has absolutely zero chemistry with Claire Forlani’s character.
And yet... I laughed. I may have sat there stone faced at Police Academy 6, but the seventh film made me laugh, and it made me laugh often enough that at times I was enjoying the experience. Perhaps it was the knowledge that this film was the lowest of the low, the franchise scraping splinters of comedy from the bottom of the barrel, but I was more forgiving of its flaws, and managed to find the sight of two men spitting a boiled egg into each others’ mouths as comically provocative. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow is utterly devoid of edge, of danger, of the kind of humour that earned a 15 rating for the first two films. It’s completely politically correct, unwilling to risk offence in the slightest, yet with its safe, child-friendly toilet humour, it still managed to bring more than a smile to my face. Police Academy 7; still rubbish, but not as rubbish as you might think.