• OVERALL
    1.5
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THE FEATURE
An intimate look at B. Alan Orange's...

"Sh*ttiest DVD Collection in the Entire World"

Journal Entry 1: The Police Academy Box Set

Hey, Kids! B. Alan Orange here with this week's DVD pick! Gather yourselves around the warm glow of that monitor so I can tell you all about "The Non-Ending Career Tragedy known as Police Academy!"

Jimmy Fetus used to run this column. Webmaster B. fired him a couple months ago for being an exhaustive little prick that generally didn't know what he was talking about. Did you read his Swimming Pool review? F*ck, I couldn't decipher that sh*t, and some call my movie critiques impenetrable. You can still visit Jimmy over at Friendster. First name: Jimmy. Last name: Fetus. (He needs more friends.)

But on with it. I'm here mostly because I buy all the sh*tty DVDs you don't. I do, in fact, have the worst collection of DVDs on this entire planet. God bless you if you run across an award-winning epic in the mess literally consuming my tiny one bedroom apartment at this very moment (And God bless you if you have more horrible DVDs than even me). That guy on TV late at night needs a good staple raping. I couldn't write a tiny one-page ad in this god forsaken sh*t hole if I wanted too. Not with copies of Swept Away and Swimfan falling on my head. Webmaster B. took one look at my Versatile Anthology and asked, "Why aren't you reviewing this crap for us? We need more reviews, especially this oddball stuff littering your living room floor."

Well, I can do that. I don't really want to, but I can see that no one else is going to review Cheerleader Ninjas for you. Not even me?

Because I got this c*ck-thick box of rancid digital information in my hand otherwise known as The Police Academy Franchise. And it's my first assignment (Cheerleader Ninjas, while it sounds kind of awesome, isn't all that great anyway?Even for self-proclaimed crap.)

Paul Maslansky should have sold this stadium a little bit sooner than he did. Alas, we've got seven movies to hump through here. Ouch. It's going to hurt.

I wandered around Target with this thing in my hand for a good forty-five minutes. I didn't know if I wanted to spend fifty bucks on it or not. I hadn't actually watched any of these films since seeing Part 5 at a Midnight Screening in 1988. Part 5 didn't have Zed or Sweetchuck, so I automatically hated it. Plus, I was in the wayback row and I didn't have my eyeglasses on. The whole thing is remembered as a giant blurred rush of bad pranks. I decided I should give it another try. Plus, I hadn't even seen Parts 6 or 7 yet. Maybe they kicked ass and I was oblivious to that fact. I needed to finalize my Bobcat Goldthwait collection, anyhow. I'm a completist you know (when the c*ckdamn are they going to release Hot to Trot already? Please hurry, Warner Brothers! I'm running out of space).

Well, you know I bought this stupid thing, or I wouldn't be here telling you about it (like Movieweb's going to give me free screeners). I figured, what's fifty bucks? A night of hardcore drinking at the Mantooth Estate. I can afford that. So, I went ahead with this otherwise lofty purchase?Then sat on the discs, forgetting to watch them (that's why this review isn't really in conjunction with the release date.)

Cut to...

A few weeks later. I'm sick and dying. No one cares. Not even these joke-molesting Cops from everyone's favorite Police Academy (founded somewhere in Vancouver, Canada. I think. Sh*t, I don't know). I decided to invite them off the shelf this last weekend to keep me company while I lay on the edge of my well-worn couch, puking and spitting up gallons of blood from my ravished throat. (I've got that Acid Reflux, dig?)

You'd think Mahoney & Company would be willing and eager to play swell host in trying to cheer me up. But nope. Instead, they came into my living room and literally took a sh*t all over my TV screen. They basically stood there, gasping to turn out gags that might have actually been funny at some point in history. I'm thinking; right before film was invented. Yeah. This stuff probably had 'em rolling in the gravel when it was rendered in paint on a cave wall.

Maybe my bad mood, which was firmly pointed at these Keystone Cop wannabes midway through my sickday, would have been a little lighter had I not been doubled over in pain. Can you imagine what feels like fifteen forks scrapping your esophagus every time you go to swallow a tiny bit of saliva enjoyed simultaneously with the crazy antics of some lame 80s attempt at entertainment? Yes. Sleep would have been the better option. But this anthology of agony wouldn't let me rest. And the blue-hued terror known as Paul Maslansky's lifework could do absolutely nothing to sooth my irritation.

Some people have fond memories of the Police Academy franchise. I guess. I saw the original around the same time we got our first VCR. Mom rented it on my birthday. We had some errands to run. When we came home, we'd found that my Dad, my Brother J. David Orange, and my friend Wes, had already watched it. They didn't find it as funny the second time, when I forced them to watch it again. I only saw the next few for Zed. He was my idol growing up. After re-watching these flaccid 80 minute accounts, I'm not too sure why. But, let's face it. Most people do see this franchise for what it is. The lowest common denominator in farcical humor. It can't even clearly define any certain type of message, or support a truism of any sort. Except that some people like watching really dumb, brain-damaging films (they must; it's the only way to account for seven of these things).

There's really no point in even discussing the ramifications of the series, because there are none. Except that I spent fifty hard earned dollars (made sucking d*ck behind the Weinerschnitzel) to have them occupy my precious living space. The Police Academy is a moot point. We all know that these movies are pretty much the bottom of the barrel.

Yet, they, in fact, can be used for heavy meditation...

The one thing this boxed set made me realize is that, "Christ, I'm getting old." If I were a kid today, in 2004, I wouldn't buy or rent these goddamned things. Yes. It's a fact. This entire megathology has been damned by God himself...

Even the first entry. On its own, it's a neo-classic in the realms of trash comedy. A true gem; and an original. You can't deny that. Each joke is played to perfection. The set-ups and payoffs are handled with a masterful hand. Its timing is impeccable. It's actually funny. Of course, you wouldn't know that had you watched any of the other sequels first. This is very likely the case. Each offshoot has severely raped its point of origin beyond recognition. The sequels have rendered 1 powerless. Not a good thing. That sh*t doubles back on itself. The follow-ups reuse so many of PA's set pieces; they make it look like tired, twice blown dick that second time around. Yeah, Police Academy is a bit soft and incredibly limp. Yet, viewed without those other bothersome clones, the original is a safe bet. If you've never partaken in Carrey Mahoney's antics, then please, watch this 1984 entry. When it's over, step back and leave the rest alone like a toxic waste spill. Otherwise your throat will swell up just like mine did, for no real apparent reason.

The Police Academy Box Set is good for only two things. One: Next time you have a small social gathering at your home, you will have enough beer coasters to adequately accommodate your guests. Two: This makes for one Hell of a daylong drinking game. The rules are simple, and it will get you so f*cked up, you'll be pulling individual strands out of your shag carpeting.

You see, when making each follow-up, they basically kept taking the same handful of scenes, then they would surrounded those scenes with innocuous filler that registers as nothing more than a blank slate. This was how each script was built, rather than written. So, by the time you get to the end of Mission to Moscow, you literally feel as though you've just watched fourteen hours of Micheal Winslow on a loop, reenacting the bad dubbing of a Kung Fu flick. It's all you can remember because everything else was a thin collection of nonsensical flat air. Watching all these films back to back is a literal endurance test.

I felt like it ripped my soul apart.

The rules of the drinking game are obvious; I shouldn't have to point them out. But I will just for fun (and because no other website has yet posted an Official Police Academy Drinking Game. This is the Official B. Alan Orange Police Academy Drinking Game:

1) Take a drink of beer every time Mahoney pulls a prank on one of his superior officers. Drink a shot (Vodka with a kiss of Blue Curacao for a cobalt, police-like atmosphere) every time Mahoney obnoxiously hits on one of his female cadets.

2) Take a shot every time a future leading lady that will go on to bigger and better things appears as one of these new cadets (ie: Sharon Stone, Kim Cattrall, Clair Forlani).

3) Take a drink of beer every time Harris or Mauser yells out, "Proctor!" Take a shot every time a prank is played on Harris. Take a shot every time Mauser loses body hair.

4) Take a drink of beer every time Hightower lifts something five times his own body weight. Take a shot every time Hightower wins an award.

5) Take a drink of beer every time a man leers at Callahan's bosom. Take a shot every time Callahan asks for a volunteer and crowds of horny men come running.

6) Take a drink of beer every time Lassard hits or drops a golf ball somewhere it shouldn't go. Take a shot every time Lassard absentmindedly abuses his pet goldfish.

7) Take a drink every time Tackleberry shoots his gun at an inopportune moment. Take a shot every time Tackleberry aims his gun at someone or some thing (like a shark) and says, "You'll (do what ever rudimentary task he wants done), and you'll do it now, Mister!" Take another shot every time Tackleberry shots the crotch out of a dummy or a target.

8) Take a drink of beer every time Jones makes a beat box sound. Take a shot every time Jones reenacts bad Kung Fu dubbing and acts like Bruce Lee.

9) Take a drink of beer every time Fackler creates a horrible chain reaction of events that he is oblivious too. Take a shot every time someone is on the hood of Fackler's car.

10) Take a drink of beer every time Hooks does any task as sheepishly as possible and then talks in that little girl high-pitched tone. Take a shot every time Hooks yells, "Don't move, Dirtbag!"

11) Take a shot every time Chief Henry Hurst is on screen

12) Take a drink of beer every time someone in the Kirkland (Tackleberry's In-Laws) household punches someone else in the same household.

13) Take a shot every time another member of Lassard's family is introduced. Take two shots if that person belongs to the police force.

14) Take a drink of beer every time Zed loses control of his facial expressions. Take a shot if Zed abuses Sweetchuck. Take two shots if Zed actually says something funny.

15) Take a drink of beer every time Sweetchuck gets injured. Take a shot every time Sweetchuck is dragged behind some sort of vehicle.

16) Take two shots if someone winds up at the Blue Oyster Bar.

17) Take a drink of beer every time Proctor stains himself with food. Take a shot every time he almost kills Harris or Mauser.

18) Take a shot every time someone fakes skateboarding.

19) Take a drink of beer every time House crashes through or into something.

20) Take three shots every time a sub par replacement for Mahoney appears.

21) Lastly, take three shots every time an outlandish vehicle is used as a means of escape in the climatic ending of each film.

There you go. Let's see you get off the floor now, Mister!

Let's take a quick look at the highlights, if I should be so bold as to use that word, of each individual film?

Police Academy 20th Anniversary Edition: No, not really hard to believe it's been 20 years. This thing feels that dated. Here is our introduction to redundancy. It's the one. The only. The best. If you haven't watched any of these films to date, please view this and none of the others. You'll be sorry if you do otherwise. 1 introduces all the characters that we'll come to love (sort of), and it gives us all the jokes that will be used and reused throughout the duration of this franchise. It also acts as a blueprint for the last half of Old School. If you at all enjoyed Old School, you should defiantly check this out. Best gag: Lassard receives a blowjob from underneath his podium while giving a speech, and then thinks its Mahoney. This joke is repeated or played on two more times in the series. This is the only installment to be rated R. (I actually got carded buying this at Target. The machine wouldn't let the cashier ring it up until she entered the Birth date from my driver's license. We both just kind of stared at each other in bewilderment as if to say, "What the f*ck.? She didn't know why she needed to se my ID, and when she found out, she thought it was completely stupid. Kids, don't buy this at Target. You won't be able to get out of the store with it.)

PA 2 - Their First Assignment: This second feature had potential. We all wanted to see "Their First Assignment.? Had the writers given absolutely any thought at all to what their first assignment might be, this could have been a classic on par with the first outing. Sadly, it's a quick attempt at cashing in on a winning formula and making a fast buck. The turn around for this movie was incredible. It was in theaters just a little more than a year from the first movie's release date. The rush job shows. 2 is most notable for introducing Zed and Sweetchuck. It's also the first time we meet Proctor, who, before the end of the series, would be harangued by both Lt. Mauser and Capt. Harris. G.W. Bailey bailed out of this outing, giving his role over to Mauser's Art Metrano. Both are pretty deft at playing the "guy everyone loves to hate? role. Bailey is the more popular candidate, but they both bring an equal amount of shame to the screen. It's also notable that Mahoney is paired up with slobbish oaf Sgt. Vinnie Schtulman (who eats from a bowl of cereal that a cat has just defected in). This is the only time we get to see him; he never returns for another installment.

The plot is thin, watery soup. A gang of thugs is terrorizing the city, and it's up to our Police Academy graduates (at this point, they've lost Latino Lover Cadet Martin and fatty Cadet Barbara from the first film) to bring them to justice. The climatic end chase, a staple for the franchise, is seen at its weakest here. There are no crazy, improbable vehicles. Just a shoot out at an abandoned zoo. Lame. Funnest gag: There are none. The best bits are lifted right off the face of that first film. It is fun to watch Bobcat Goldthwait's Zed tear up a supermarket. Tackleberry gets a love interest, marrying her at end credits. We also get to meet his future In-Laws, a group of rowdy pugilists. And the gang shoots up a lamp store. These singular moments are the only highlights found here.

PA 3 - Back in Training: The movie is called Police Academy. So, that's where they take this thing. Right back to wear it started. There are a whole bunch of new recruits, but only three really stand out. Zed and Sweetchuck make this meager remake of PA 1 almost tolerable. They give it a touch of much needed character. And then there's Cadet Nogata, a foreign exchange recruit from Hong Kong, whose sheer charisma wins us over almost instantly. He's not given much too do, but he does get to partake in a love affair with Lt. Callahan (returning after being mysteriously absent from 2; the only installment she misses). Tackleberry's brother-in-law is also on hand as a new Cadet, as is Fackler's car hood-crazy wife.

Most of the film is made-up of training scenes, the original Cadets now Sergeants in charge of field preparation (why they never left the academy and joined the force is news to me; they don't dare discuss it). Lassard's Academy is in direct competition with Mauser's (he is now a Commandant). There's no real tension of any kind, or any jokes. We know whose going to win. There's no melodrama of any kind. Both the Blue Oyster and the podium Hooker are put to good use. And the end climatic chase scene is one of the best in the series. This time we get jet skis, and the group gets to wear wetsuits. If you've been dying to see Steve Guttenberg in a Body Glove, this is your chance. Best gag: Anything Zed says or does owns this movie. He's really the only reason to watch it. And that's not saying much. A bit more colorful than the 2nd feature, it's still right on par with that film's overall lameness.

PA 4 - Citizens on Patrol (or C.O.P.): Here is the third best film in the series. It actually has a fairly legitimate premise, and a somewhat linier storyline (something absent from 2 & 3, which were both just a collection of dead air molecules haphazardly stitched around thrift store gags).

Lassard has decided to educate the public in apprehending criminals. And most of the original cast is back to help, with a few of 3's cadets (Zed, Sweetchuck, and Nogata) thrown in for good measure. Sgt. Fackler is susp*ciously absent, as is his wife. But Capt. Harris returns for the first time since the original film. He comes as a much needed, and welcome presence. Also inexplicably on-call is Sharon Stone, playing Mahoney's love interest, and a very young David Spade as a skate boarder. (It's always made obvious that he's not the one "really? skating.)

C.O.P. marks the last time that all of our favorite characters were together. This is the final outing for Zed, Sweetchuck, Mahoney, and, sadly, The Blue Oyster. But they all go out in style. Not only are we treated to some blasé Tony Hawk skateboarding, but we get one of the most truly bizarre climactic end chase scenes seen in the whole series. Yes, we're treated to a hot air balloon run across the skies of Canada. With Zed, Sweetchuck, and Tackleberry zipping around the foreground in a biplane. No other film in history has ever been so bold. Best gag: The Tackleberry-Feldman relationship. The always-appreciated Billie Bird plays Citizen Mrs. Lois Feldman, and she automatically takes a liking to Eugene. They both share a love for guns, and it's the best thing about this particular installment.

PA 5 - Assignment Miami Beach: Oh, no. This is the worst of the worst. There's absolutely no reason for this film to exist. A whole chunk of the cast is missing. As is anything resembling a joke of any kind. There are maybe two good moments. This is mostly a collection of beach scenes. It works in giving the actors an onscreen vacation, and that's what it feels like. It feels like we're watching someone's boring Home Videos from their trip to Miami. Though, I couldn't confirm if this was actually shot in Miami or not.

The Harris-Proctor relationship is played to the hilt. The film is mostly these two goofing-off, intertwined with the other former Cadets doing their tired bits of shtick (this time out, Tackleberry shoves his gun up the snout of an obviously phony, Styrofoam Great White yelling, "You'll Leave this Beach, and You'll Leave it now, Mister!?).

We get a Mahoney knock-off in Sgt. Nick Lassard, Cmndt. Lassard's nephew. But he's pretty bland. The only other new Police Officer is House, a Citizen holdover from C.O.P. (I guess he ended up joining the Police Academy?). The end climatic chase is had on hovercrafts this time out. It's not too enthralling. Best gag: Sgt. Nick Lassard, trying to keep the Mahoney Spirit intact, applies sun block to the sleeping, sunbathing chest of Harris. After Harris awakens, he stumbles about the beach with the word DORK burned into his flesh. Ha.

PA 6 - City Under Siege: This took me by complete surprise. Here is the second best film in the series, following that first outing. The story is strong. The jokes are strong. Every character gets three chances to really shine. Director Peter Bonerz (his name is even funny) discusses the ordeal of making a 6th Police Academy film in the mini-featurette included on the disc. He wanted to make something new and fresh, and went to great pains trying to achieve that. Considering the blueprint thus far laid out in front of him, I think he should be commended for doing a bang-up job.

The main story centers around a crime boss terrorizing the city. This flimsy premise actually generates some great bits. The Harris-Proctor relationship is spot-on and almost makes the film worth watching just for its nuances. Tackleberry gets to stretch as a character in some scenes that see him going undercover. And Hightower delivers the best line of the film, "There's one thing I hate worse than a bad guy. And that's a bad joke.? (Must account for his absences in Part 7.) Sgt. Fackler returns, and the movie almost over-uses him to make up for his no-show in 4 & 5, but his obvious slapstick retains its charm throughout the course of the flick.

Part 6 has the best climactic end chase scene seen in any of the seven films. It utilizes a Big Foot truck (not done as well in any other film), a speeding bus (later used to much better effect in Speed), and acts as a precursor to the Terminator 3 chase by also putting a crane truck to good use. The budget seems fairly decent for this outing. Sadly, this is Hightower and Hooks' last hooray. Best gag: Jones falls into a heap of debris and emerges as Robocop.

PA - Mission To Moscow: I was expecting something better after the rousing City Under Siege, but I was highly overestimating any future installments of the Police Acadmey series. Just as 4 was a high to the low, lowness of 5, alas; this is pretty much dead dick. And it comes five years after Part 6. More of the cast is gone, including Hightower and Hooks. But the loss of Proctor is felt the most. Without him, Harris is nothing. Just a weeping annoyance on screen. This whole 80-minute affair is eye cancer, despite the very odd presence of both the awesome Christopher Lee (in more film franchises than any other actor in history) and the beautiful Claire Forlani. Hellboy Ron Perlman is also on hand as the film's villain.

This one is down to the last five remaining actors that had absolutely nothing better to do. We get Lassard, Jones, Tackleberry, Harris, and Callahan. None of them get a decent moment of screen time. The plot is the same as Spy Kids 3: Game Over, with Perlman using a Video Game to enslave the country. Our reluctant group of Police Officers head to Russia to stop him. Sgt. Nick Lassard is gone, this time replaced with second Mahoney-in-training Cadet Kyle Conners (Charlie Schlatter of the Ferris Beuller TV show). There are a lot of golf ball jokes. That's about all I can say for this limp last outing. Best gag: There are none.

So, there you have it. The seven films in a nutshell. Michael Winslow gets a special award for not only appearing in all seven films, but for also appearing in the short-lived Police Academy TV series. He went from being a Cadet (1), to Officer (2), to Sergeant (3). He remained a Sergeant throughout the rest of the series.

The lifers are as follows: George Gaynes played Cmndt. Eric Lassard (never upping in rank), and David Graf played Cadet (1), Officer (2), and finally Sgt. (3) Eugene Tackleberry in all seven Police Academy movies.

Those who only missed one Assignment: Bubba Smith as Cadet (1), Officer (2), Sgt. (3), Lt. (6) Moses Hightower and Marion Ramsey as Cadet (1), Officer (2), Sgt. (3) Laverne Hooks appeared in Police Academies 1-6. Leslie Easterbrook as Sgt. (1), Lt. (3), Capt. (6) Debbie Callahan appeared in Police Academies 1 and 3 through 7.

Steve Guttenberg as Cadet (1), Officer (2), Sgt. (3) Carrey Mahoney only appeared in Police Academy 1-4. Bruce Mahler as Cadet (1), Officer (2), Sgt. (3) Douglas Fackler also appeared in only four movies (1-3, 6). Bobcat Goldthwait as Gang Lord (2), Cadet (3), Officer (4) Zed and Tim Kazurinsky as Business Owner (2), Cadet (3), and Officer (4) Sweetchuck both only appeared in Police Academies 2 through 4, marking three films apiece.

And finally, Lance Kinsey, who put in ample time ass-sniffin' as Sgt. (2), Capt. (3), Lt. (4) Proctor made it through Police Academies 2 through 6.

That about sums up this whole sorry mess. My advice to you? Save your money. Unless you have a very disposable income, you don't need to waste your hard earned cash on this series of stinkers. Me? I'm destined to own this kind of crap on DVD. It's the only reason I'm on this planet.

THE EXTRAS
There is a fairly lengthy doc*mentary on the first disc, which reunites most of the cast. Paul Maslansky seems to think he owns the second coming of Christ with these films. Time and again, he goes on and on about how The Police Academy films are loved and remembered throughout the world. Steve Guttenberg and Michael Winslow seem overjoyed to be back in front of the camera, but they don't really have much to say. The piece is worth watching just to stare in wonder at Bubba Smith's hair. Is that a wig? It's scary.

There is also an audio commentary. I listened to the whole thing. I usually don't. It's fun, a little informative. Mostly, the group just jokes around with each other and comments on how young they all used to look.

The rest of the discs have mini-featurettes focusing on whichever movie you happen to be watching. There are no Bobcat Goldthwait or Ted Kazurinsky interviews, which is a disappointment. The best segment is the one on part 6, where Bonerz discusses, with desperation, how he tried to make City Under Siege stand apart from the others.

Disc 4, Citizens on Patrol, has a handful of deleted scenes that run about 13 minutes in total. We get more Sharon Stone. A lengthy bit about the loving relationship between Harris and Hightower's German Shepard. Sweetchuck knocks over Zed's motorcycle after he gets done fixing it. And there's more relationship building between Tackleberry and Citizen Feldman. If you've ever caught C.O.P. on cable, you've already seen these scenes, as they were added back into the television run to pad for time.

THE VIDEO
The films vary in picture quality. The first film is crisp, but don't let that be a barometer. It was the only one restored. Most of the films are dull and full of defects. Parts 4 and 5 aren't even in Letterbox. They didn't clean these up very well, but they're dirty films to begin with.
THE AUDIO
Crappy mono and stereo mixes. Nothing spectacular here.
THE FINAL WORD
Don't waste your cash. Buy Freaks & Geeks instead (it costs the same, and is way more worth the effort.) Note: The Police Academy Box Set and the F&Gs Set were released on the same day. I bought them both. My wallet is now one hundred dollars lighter.

I will say; I'm kind of looking forward to the new Police Academy film that's been discussed in these parts lately and is hinted at many times on the featurettes contained in this set. I think they could actually make a good film. Except that David "Tackleberry? Graf is dead. He was one of the few that didn't miss a film. Maybe they can CGI him back in?

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