Archive for Steve Guttenberg

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


*** 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.

Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986) Review

Posted in Police Academy 3: Back in Training with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Run for Cover!

Release Date- March 21st, 1986

Running Time- 83-Minutes

Rating- PG

Screenplay- Gene Quintano

Director- Jerry Paris

Starring- Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrook with Art Metrano and George Gaynes

Released in 1986 Police Academy 3 was the first one to carry a PG rating as the original was rated R (the only one in the series) and the 2nd was PG-13. In many ways Police Academy 3 is a remake of the original with a couple of elements from the 2nd mixed in. In my opinion the original was the best in the series and while very popular I don’t think people remember it was actually quite funny and the slapstick comedy was a little restrained when compared to the sequels. Most people at least to me cite the 2nd film as the best of the sequels though me personally I’d go with part 5. Honestly the 2nd was for me was always one of the lesser films in the series (though far better than the 6th & 7th film). Police Academy 3 made a nice return after what I felt was a bit subpar 2nd film. All the Police Acaedmy films were released the very next year barley being a year and in some cases under a year (except part 7, which came out 5-years after the 6th). Whereas I felt the 2nd film was a little rushed it seemed at least to me WB was a little more prepared and Police Academy 3 was released just under less of a year from part 2 (8-days to be exact).

One of the police academies will be shut down after a competition. Lassard (Gaynes) and his academy will do batter with the academy led by Mauser (Metrano). Members of Lassard’s police academy return to help train the new recruits including some familiar faces from the past film including Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Sweetchuck (Tim Kazurinsky).

The screenplay by Gene Quintano is light on plot and what there is in terms of plot is basically a rehash of the first film, but with that said it actually works well. While as mentioned this one came out less than a year after the last part, but the script seemed better prepared, but by the time the final act rolls around the script was running a little out of steam. The script is fun and the characters all have their standout moments. Police Academy 3 will never be confused with Oscar worthy material, but when all is said and done the script serves its purpose.

Jerry Paris who directed the 2nd returns for the 3rd and this was the only time a director would return to direct another installment. This time around, Jerry Paris crafts a much better paced film with some highly amusing bits. This time around he has a slightly better script to work with and Paris makes a much funnier film this time around. Running at only 83-minutes Police Academy 3 never outstays it’s welcome though the final act is a little overly long in my opinion. While not on par with the original it’s an effective comedy and the 83-minutes pretty much fly by.

This would be the last we would see of Art Metrano as Mauser as in the 4th film and for the remainder of the series G.W. Bailey would return as Harris. It did take me a while to warm up to Metrano who is excellent in the two parts he’s in, but being so accustomed to Bailey it just didn’t feel right and while I still prefer G.W. Bailey since Harris is my favorite character Art Metrano is very funny and his scenes with Lance Kinsey are a riot! Leslie Easterbrook returns as to the series after not being in the previous film and that would actually be the only part she wasn’t in. The cast is again terrific and are clearly having fun.

Overall Police Academy 3 in my opinion was a vast improvement over an ok part 2. These films aren’t meant to be taken seriously they’re just meant to be silly fun and Police Academy 3 pretty much succeeds.


Police Academy 2 (1985) Review

Posted in Police Academy 2 with tags , , , , , , on July 8, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


*** Out of 5

Tagline- Watch Out! They’ve Got to Clean Up the Worst Crime District in the World. But That’s No Problem. They’re the Worst Police Force in the Universe.

Release Date- March 29th, 1985

Running Time- 87-Minutes

Rating- PG-13

Screenplay- Barry Blaustein & David Sheffield

Director- Jerry Paris

Starring- Steve Guttenberg, Art Metrano, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow with Howard Hesseman and George Gaynes

Released in 1985 Police Academy 2 was rushed into production and came out just little over a year after the original film. The first 6 were all released within a year of each with some not even being a full year, but I think WB was better prepared, but in my opinion Police Academy 2 feels very rushed and could have used a little more time. Most of the core of the cast returns with the exception of Leslie Easterbrook and G.W. Bailey (though he does have an uncredited cameo). While I don’t think Police Academy 2 was a bad film I personally would rate among the bottom of the series. The 6th film was quite poor with the 7th being the absolute worst and while Police Academy 2 is by far better than those two I still felt it was an inferior sequel to a surprisingly very funny original film.

With crime rates high members of the police academy are sent in to help fight crime while Lt. Mauser (Metrano) plots to take over being Captain.

The screenplay by Barry Blaustein & David Sheffield has its moments where it’s quite funny, but for me it just felt very rushed and could have used a touch up or two. Some of the issues I have is the core of the cast just doesn’t have the same impact here and the reason they however work well was due to the actors. With the returning characters and newly added there were just too many and had the script been polished up I don’t think it would have been an issue. While the script isn’t bad I just didn’t find it as funny as it had potential to be, but there were some truly funny scenes such when Mauser is taking a shower and Mahoney (Guttenberg) switches his shampoo with crazy glue.

As director Jerry Paris does a fairly decent job, but I found the pacing to be a little sluggish in spots and despite running at only 87-minutes I did find the film a little overly long. The comedic bits don’t work as well as the original, but Paris does deliver some really funny scenes, but as a whole it just felt a little forced.

The cast is very much the bright spot and make the film funnier than it should have been, but the lack of George Gaynes as Lassard does hinder the film as he’s only in a couple of minutes of the film. But for me the biggest loss was G.W. Bailey as Lt. Harris. He was replaced by Art Metrano who was terrific as Lt. Mauser, but Harris was my favorite character in the series and I personally felt his loss hindered the film. Like I said I liked Art Metrano as he’s very funny and basically he’s playing Harris. Metrano would again return for the 3rd film before G.W. Bailey would return for the 4th film and returned for the rest of the series.

Overall Police Academy 2 is a decent entry, but in my opinion one of the weaker ones of the series the whole production just felt a little rushed and some comedic bits work, but more often than not it falls a little flat. The cast however is game and helps make a bit more out of the film. The original film was the only one R-rated and this would be PG-13 and the rest were PG.

Police Academy (1984) Review

Posted in Police Academy with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


**** Out of 5

Tagline- The New Police Recruits. Call Them Slobs. Call Them Jerks. Call Them Gross. Just Don’t Call Them When You’re in Trouble.

Release Date- March 23rd, 1984

Running Time- 96-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Neal Israel, Pat Proft & Hugh Wilson

Director- Hugh Wilson

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

Released in 1984 Police Academy became a huge success for Warner Brothers and spawned 6 sequels with 5 of those coming from 1985-1989 and there was also an animated series in 1988, there were comic books and than finally a TV series from 1996-1997. As much as I loved Police Academy I’m not sure why it became so hugely successful and I guess it was just the right time. The original film is also the only one to carry an R-rating as the sequel was PG-13 and the rest PG. The original film in my opinion was the best, but it has little to do with the rating as these kind of films can work under an R. This might sound like an odd comparison, but in many ways I feel the Police Academy series are the comedic versions of Friday the 13th. Both had a never ending run of sequels and in most cases released the following year and both were quite light on plot for the most part. Even Friday the 13th had a TV series back in 1987 however it had no connection to the films and the title was used for marketing.

When the mayor has dropped certain requirements to join the police force a group of misfits enroll into the academy. Unhappy with the new recruits Lt. Harris (Bailey) does his best to drive them out.

The screenplay by Neal Israel, Pat Proft & Hugh Wilson is actually quite funny and filled with terrific characters and the script has a lot of characters, but to the credit of the writers they actually do a good job at getting all of them involved to some degree. With so many characters I don’t think it’s possible for all to have depth, but each has at least one or two character moments. Carey Mahoney (Guttenberg) and Lt. Harris are the most developed, but again with so many characters the writers make it work. This is one of the few films in the series with a little plot and while simple it’s effective.

Director Hugh Wilson crafts a fun film that’s funny from start to finish. Wilson kind of toes the line of straight up comedy as well as slapstick and while most of the comedic scenes are slapstick it never gets as over the top as the sequels. I enjoy the sequels though at times they can be a bit absurd, but even in the more over the top scenes here such as the scene with Harris and the horse, Wilson doesn’t make it too silly. While I don’t think this is one of the comedic greats, Hugh Wilson does deliver a truly terrific and funny film that’s well paced and is just simply a fun ride.

Overall Police Academy is a terrific comedy that’s funny from start to finish and while I did enjoy most of the sequels more or less it is quite easy to forget how excellent the original film was.