Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987) Review

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POLICE ACADEMY 4: CITIZENS ON PATROL

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Take off with the Original Cast and Some New Civilian Recruits As They Take to the Streets and the Skies to Fight Crime.

Release Date- April 3rd, 1987

Running Time- 87-Minutes

Rating- PG

Screenplay- Gene Quintano

Director- Jim Drake

Starring- Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Lance Kinsey with G.W. Bailey and George Gaynes

Released in 1987 Police Academy 4 was sort of the beginning of the end of the series and after the 5th film WB pretty much ran the series into the ground. This would be the last film for Steve Guttenberg as well as Bobcat Goldthwait and Tim Kazurinsky who would also exit the series after this one. If you’ve seen 1 Police Academy film you’ve pretty much seen them all and while some franchises grow tiresome quickly others seem to continue to be fun and entertaining even if its much of the same and the Police Academy falls into the latter. I think the reason this franchise works so well is nothing here is meant to be serious; they’re low brow comedies that are simply mindless fun at least until the 6th film, which was quite poor and the 7th is barley watchable.

A new program called COP, which stands for citizens on patrol and civilians are being trained by members of the police academy to better help relations with cops and civilians and also assist in cleaning up the crime in the streets.

The screenplay was written by Gene Quintano who also wrote the 3rd film and this time around his script is more or less a rewrite of part 3, but despite being a rehash it works fairly well. Obviously nothing here is meant to be taken seriously and there are a few moments that are quite hysterical. The characters despite being 4 films in still work well despite basically having the same things to do as previous films. The new characters however don’t make quite the same impact, but they still work. When all is said and done this isn’t a masterfully written film, but it gets the job done and at times is quite funny with the low brow humor.

Director Jim Drake crafts a fun and mostly well paced film as Citizens on Patrol clocks in at only 81-minutes not counting closing credits, which pushes the running time to 87-minutes. The film is at its strongest in the first half with several scenes that were quite hysterical, but as the film goes on it does begin to run out of steam a bit due to the lack of plot, which in most of the sequels was the case and while Jim Drake can’t be blamed for that, but to his credit even as the film runs out of steam he’s still able to retain a fun tone overall, but the final act the film does sort of drag in spots and despite the short running time it probably could have lost a few moments towards the end, but Drake makes one of the better sequels and despite the flaws is an amusing film.

As I mentioned Police Academy 4 was the last film to star Steve Guttenberg and while part 5 is actually my favorite sequel I think it was wise to bail after this part. Returning to the cast is G.W. Bailey as Harris who I really missed seeing in the previous two since Harris was my favorite character. The chemistry between Bailey and Lance Kinsey as Proctor is excellent and all my favorite scenes were with them and Lance Kinsey is really underrated in the franchise. He’s hysterical and would be my 2nd favorite after Harris. The cast also includes David Spade and Sharon Stone before they hit the big time and Brian Backer best known for the 1981 slasher film the Burning and the teen comedy also from 81 Fast Times at Ridgemont High also appears.

Overall Police Academy 4 is another film that’s just mindless fun. With a brief running time it moves quick enough and is just silly fun and while the film does run out of steam it provides enough laughs.

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