Archive for G.W. Bailey

Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994) Review

Posted in Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow with tags , , , , , , , on July 15, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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POLICE ACADEMY 7: MISSION TO MOSCOW

** Out of 5

Tagline- Just When We Thought the Cold War Was Over, Leave It to These Guys to Heat It Up Again.

Release Date- August 26th, 1994

Running Time- 83-Minutes

Rating- PG

Screenplay- Randolph Davis & Michele S. Chodos

Director- Alan Metter

Starring- George Gaynes, David Graf, Leslie Easterbrook, Michael Winslow, Ron Pearlman with Christoper Lee and G.W. Bailey as Lt. Harris

In the 80s the Police Academy were highly successful and from 1984-1989 there were a total of 6 films made all, which opened at number 1 until Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. I suppose the beginning of the end started with the 5th film as certain cast members didn’t return with Steve Guttenberg being the most notable. However despite that the 5th still turned a profit and opened at number 1. As I mentioned in past reviews each film in the series pulled in less money than the previous, but when the 6th film only pulled in roughly 11-million, which was half of the previous part and opened up at number 2 it was clear Warner Brothers ran this series into the ground. However 5-years later someone at WB thought it would be a good idea to resurrect the franchise. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow was released in 1994 and this time around several cast members didn’t return some personal choice and others the producers. The only other change, which is common as a series goes on is the number is left off and I suppose Police Academy: Mission to Moscow sounds better than Police Academy 7. All of the previous films opened in March except the 4th, which opened in April. The sequels were released barley a year after the last part with some not even being a full year later. This part however was released at the end of August where studios release films that can’t compete with the blockbusters. Mission to Moscow continued the trend of pulling in less money, but this one didn’t even pull in a million dollars by far making it the lowest grossing of the series. However it doesn’t end there as 2-years later someone at WB again decided it was a good idea to continue the series, but rather than a film it was a TV show, which only lasted 1 season (1996-1997) and thus slamming the door shut on what was a very bankable series.

In another review for the series I compared the Police Academy series to Friday the 13th as Paramount, like WB constantly made sequel after sequel. However at least in the case of Friday the 13th and other horror films you don’t have to be scary to be successful. You get an attractive cast, perhaps throw in some nudity a little gore and stage a death every 10 or so minutes you can cover up poor filmmaking and make a fun film, but in a comedy you have to be funny and there isn’t much you can do to cover up a poor film. I’ll admit to being a fan of the series. The first was actually a very funny film and the sequels while absurd were entertaining. They weren’t great films, but made for mindless fun, but by the time part 6 rolled around the formula was dead and it just wasn’t very funny. I actually never saw the 7th film until I bought the blu-ray collection, which was a UK release, but is region free and will play on US players (or players from any country).

The Russian government brings in Lassard (Gaynes) and members of his police academy to help bring down a Russian mobster.

The screenplay by Randolph Davis & Michele S. Chodos is quite weak with a lame plot that had potential to be interesting, but the poor writing sinks it. The returning characters make no impact on the story and its clear by this point there isn’t much that can be done with them and even Harris who is my favorite character in the series is s bit tiresome by now. The new characters add nothing to the film are quite boring with Connors (Charlie Schlatter) being a poor replacement for Mahoney though to the actors credit he does his best with a weak script. The script at times puts too much focus on the newer characters and again they make no impact and the script may have been better served just focusing on the returning characters, but as I said before they don’t impact the film either so I guess it doesn’t matter. There really isn’t anything funny about the film and even though the 6th film was poor at least it had a couple of decent moments, but Mission to Moscow is simply just poorly written and not funny.

Director Alan Metter delivers a poorly paced film that’s devoid of any laughs. There might be a moment or two a tiny bit amusing, but at every turn pretty much, Metter fails at delivering much entertainment. Apparently, Metter wanted to make a comedy based on the cultural differences between Americans and Russians, but it was shot down in favor of slapstick, but to be quite honest I don’t think it would have mattered. Alan Metter has made some decent films, but this one is forgettable at every turn and despite running at only 83-minutes it feels like triple that at times.

The returning cast seems to be going through the motions and none of them have any character moments and as great as these actors are in their roles by this time it’s become old and tired. The cast does their best with the very little the script had to offer. The only reason I can see any of them coming back was either for the money or this was the best role they could get or perhaps the free trip to Russia. I have to wonder how this film landed Christopher Lee and Ron Pearlman both who like the rest of the cast is totally wasted. The only real bright spot was Claire Forlani as Katrina.

Police Academy: Mission to Moscow was easily the worst of the series. There really isn’t anything funny about this film and it simply exists because it could. The Police Academy films aren’t exactly high quality films, but at least they were fun, but here I really can’t think of much positive to say. As mentioned even these great characters were tiresome and boring, which is something I’d never thought I would say as even in the weaker ones they still made an impact to some degree. Even the die hard fans of the series won’t find anything of interest here.

Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989) Review

Posted in Police Academy 6: City Under Siege with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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POLICE ACADEMY 6: CITY UNDER SIEGE

*** Out of 5

Tagline- The Grads are Going Undercover in the City to Unmask the Master mind of Crime.

Release Date- March 10th, 1989

Running Time- 83-Minutes

Rating- PG

Screenplay- Stephen Curwick

Director- Peter Bonerz

Starring- Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Matt McCoy, Marion Ramsey, Lance Kinsey, Leslie Easterbrook with G.W. Bailey as Captain Harris and George Gaynes as Commandant Lassard

Released in 1989 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege was pretty much the death of the series. In past reviews I mentioned how I felt the Police Academy films were sort of the comedic versions of Friday the 13th as each more or less are light on plot and what there is of a plot is basically a rehash of the other parts. However both were mindless fun and were able to go on longer than most franchises, but at some point enough is enough and it got to that point with Police Academy 6. As I’ve also mentioned in other reviews each sequel pulled in less than the previous film, but they all turned a profit and as of this point the first 5 all opened at number 1, but that changed here as Police Academy 6 was the first to not open in the top spot and only pulled in roughly 11-million dollars down about half from part 5. It is common for sequels to have a higher budget than the original, but in some cases if there aren’t returning actors you can still keep the cost down, but when actors return the budgets might go up a little more even if still can be kept reasonable. Since a good portion of the cast once again returned I’d have to assume the budget had to go up a bit and the 7th film had a budget around 10-million (and it only made 126-grand!) so I would think Police Academy 6 probably had a budget around 10-million or a little less. All the Police Academy films except the 7th came out within a year of the past and sometimes even less and this came out less than a year later than the 5th and from 1984-1989 there were a total of 6 films and this one isn’t as poor as I’ve may have said in other reviews for the series, but it also was as of this release by far the weakest (7 though would make this seem like comedic gold), but I don’t think this film really could have been much better due to overkill.

The Police Academy films aren’t known for their plots, but this one while no exception does have a tiny bit of a plot and its not a complete rehash either though it does take some elements from part 2. A trio of thieves always remain one step ahead of the police as the person they’re working for has inside information. When Commandant Lassard (Gaynes) is accused of being the inside man the members of his police academy set off to clear his name and capture the real mastermind.

The screenplay was written by Stephen Curwick who also wrote part 5. The 5th film is actually my favorite sequel as its just silly fun and while the writing wasn’t great it was entertaining. The script here isn’t quite as entertaining, but it does have some amusing bits. While all the sequels were more or less the same thing I still felt they worked, but this point some of the antics were a bit tiresome. The characters while still fun pretty much repeat themselves, but the cast helps continue to make it at least a little funny. Really at this stage in the series nothing could have been done as the formula for the series was done to death, but to Curwick’s credit he does the best he can and in someways it was a little successful.

Director Peter Bonerz does a fairly decent job as for the most part Police Academy 6 is decently paced, but like most of the sequels in my opinion does begin to run out of steam by the end. While never as funny as the past 5, it does however feature some fairly funny scenes and at the end of the day Police Academy running at only 84-minutes makes for a decent enough time killer and you could do a lot worse like the 7th film. As a series goes on unless sequels aren’t related like the Bond series or outside of a remake, there really isn’t much a filmmaker can do to keep things fresh without straying, which would probably be the wrong move. So to the credit of Peter Bonerz he makes the best out of a very tired series.

The core of the cast from part 5 return including Matt McCoy. Also returning is Bruce Mahler as Fackler who was last seen in part 3 and his return was welcomed as he’s quite funny. The standouts were again Captain Harris (Bailey) and Proctor (Kinsey) who make the very best out of cliched material. Harris and Proctor were my favorites in the series and their scenes in not only this, but the 4th and 5th films were the highlights of each. After this film however several cast members would exit the series and their losses were very much felt in the 7th film.

Overall Police Academy 6: City Under Siege isn’t exactly a good film, but its better than I made it out to be in other reviews for the series. At this point again the formula was tiresome, but there was enough here to keep it fairly amusing. As I mentioned Police Academy 6 only pulled in about 11-million dollars and I assume the budget was between 7-10-million so there wasn’t much of a profit made. The film itself also looks a bit on the cheap side not that the others had Oscar worthy production values, but this one looked cheap. I own the blu-ray collection released by WB in the UK, which is region free and while none are demo worthy, they look fairly good, but part 6 looked like an upconverted DVD and perhaps a better transfer things would look better. As of this film it was easily the weakest as the gags are quite tiresome, but there are enough decent moments to keep it above float. WB realized it was a sinking ship, but 5-years later someone thought it would be a good idea for a 7th film and that would be hands down the worst of the series and as mentioned the lowest grossing of the series and buried an already dying franchise. Part 6 is again weak, but has enough going for it to make it a decent time killer.

1989 wasn’t a good year for franchises and ignoring box office adjustments Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan would be the lowest grossing of the series, Halloween 5 would also be the lowest grossing and while A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 even at the time wasn’t the lowest total it was however way down from the last two and of course Police Academy 6 would be the lowest grossing at this time, but again 7 would pull in less. And all of these franchises would return, but all took a few years until the next (except Elm St., which was two-years later until the next).

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988) Review

Posted in Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach with tags , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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POLICE ACADEMY 5: ASSIGNMENT MIAMI BEACH

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Hold Everything! The Cadets Are Droppinb in on Miami Beach for An All New Adventure.

Release Date- March 18th, 1988

Running Time- 90-Minutes

Rating- PG

Screenplay- Stephen Curwick

Director- Alan Myerson

Starring- Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrook, Matt McCoy, Lance Kinsey with G.W. Bailey and George Gaynes

The Police Academy series was a highly successful franchise for Warner Brothers in the 80s and from 1984-1989 there were a total of 6 films made with a 7th in 1994 and even a TV series from 1996-1997. Franchises with seemingly never ending sequels are more common in the horror genre and in pretty much all cases the more sequels made at some point it’ll get tiresome. Really the exceptions being the Bond series, which is quite different in how each film is handled. Warner Brothers had a cash cow with the Police Academy series and basically ran it into the ground. Released in 1988 Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach was sort of the beginning of the end for the franchise. By this point a few of the cast members didn’t return with the most notable being Steve Guttenberg. Police Academy 5 may not be the high mark for the series, but to be honest it is one of my favorites of the series and the one I find myself revisiting most often. Each film in the series made less than the previous part and that continued here as Police Academy 5 was the lowest grossing of the series at the time (the 6th would make less and than the 7th wouldn’t even pull in a million dollars). Despite lower box office totals they pulled in enough for another sequel and all of them actually opened number 1 until the 6th film and that continued with the 7th. Police Academy 5 does draw mixed reviews with perhaps more subpar reviews and its easy to understand, but like I said this is one of my favorites of the series and is the very definition of mindless entertainment.

The Police Academy films aren’t generally known for their plots and the 5th seems to have less. Lassard (Gaynes) is up for an award and with several members of his police academy head out to Miami Beach. However jewel thieves are also heading there and the package with the stolen jewels gets mixed up with Lassard’s stuff and the bumbling thieves set out to retrieve it. Meanwhile Lt. Harris (Bailey) learns Lassard is passed the age of retirement and plans to expose it so he can get his job.

The screenplay by Stephen Curwick is light on plot, but than again most of the films in the series are, however with that said the script by Curwick isn’t meant to be high quality cinema it’s simply meant to be fun and in my opinion it succeeds. The film is absurd with some really over the top comedic scenes, but the silliness of it makes it mindless fun. Character wise, Curwick does as well as at this point all the main characters have been established and with the returning characters and new ones, Curwick mixes it in well and all the characters have at least a moment or two to shine. There are some truly hysterical moments featuring Lt. Harris and Proctor (Kinsey) and while I get the subpar reviews I thought Curwick wrote a silly, but funny script that never aims to be more than it is and always really entertaining.

Director Alan Myerson crafts a well paced and fun film and at only 90-minutes it never outstays it’s welcome. In some of the sequels even the ones that clocked in at under 90-minutes can sometimes be a little overly long as the silly nature of the plots start to wear thin, but Myerson always keeps the film running smoothly and while this isn’t comedic gold and if it wasn’t a Police Academy movie would most likely be forgotten, but I found it quite hysterical. Sure the comedy is silly and immature, but Alan Myerson worked it well and of all the sequels I have no shame in saying this was my favorite.

As a series goes on returning cast members can sometimes go through the motions and even new cast members don’t always seem as energetic, but I gotta give credit to the cast as they all seem to be having a lot of fun with the material and everyone gives it their all. My favorite scenes were those with Harris and Proctor as both were my favorite characters in the series and both actors have such great chemistry with each other. While the loss of Steve Guttenberg is noticeable I thought Matt McCoy did a terrific job as Nick Lassard. Basically McCoy is playing Mahoney as if not mistaken the script was written with Mahoney, but after Guttenberg passed it just had minor rewrites and some of the dialogue for Mahoney was apparently left unchanged and just changed the name of the character.

Police Academy 5 is again a silly mindless film, but I really love this one. I can just sit back and enjoy the absurdness of the film and it never fails to make me laugh. As I mentioned the original to me was the best, but Police Academy 5 is the one I revisit most.

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Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987) Review

Posted in Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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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.