Dir: Jerry Paris, 1985
The boys and girls in blue are back, causing more mayhem and injury than the criminals!
After the smash-hit that Police Academy was, merely a year earlier, it was inevitable that a sequel would be rushed out and it’s a fun ride.
Following a series of crimes, the 16th Precinct is officially declared as the worst precinct in the city.
Chief Hurst informs the captain, Pete Lassard, that he has thirty days to change things or he is fired.
At a loss of what to do, Lassard asks his brother, Commandant Eric Lassard who is in charge of the police academy, to transfer several of his best recruits.
Lassard obliges by sending Mahoney, Jones, Hightower, Hooks, Tackler and Tackleberry.
The motley crew are partnered with members of the precinct and try to turn things around.
With the success of its 1984 predecessor, Police Academy 2 was toned down with the adult content and appealed to a more family friendly audience.
What may come as a surprise, is that the watering down of the material, doesn’t hurt the film. It’s still very funny and isn’t diluted to the childish and silly level that the series, eventually, found itself in. The jokes have kept that adult appeal but without the raunch.
This sequel works because the actors aren’t going for inanity. None of this is played in a deliberately overacted way. There is a believability about (some) of the characters and the plot is real, allowing the audience to identify with what’s going on.
Later films in the series, relied heavily on slapstick and cartoon-like humour but there’s very little of that here. Just good old immature jokes.
Bobcat Goldthwaite makes the first of his three appearances, here, as gang leader, Zed. Using a high pitched and, simultaneously, deep voice, Goldthwaite develops what would be become part of his signature. Rather than play the character as a real villain, Goldthwaite portrays him as more misunderstood and, deep down, has a good heart but is lost in life. Slightly unhinged, possibly disturbed, Zed is manic and temperamental but, ultimately, soft as a sponge.
With Tackleberry and Jones, Zed is the best character in the franchise and, alas, didn’t appear after number 4, Citizens On Patrol. However, several characters are introduced that would make their way into future entries. Shop owner, Sweetchuck, makes a great double act with Zed in parts 3 and 4.
Some characters are simply one-note and it would be impossible to include them in further endeavours. Dog handler, Vinnie Schtulman, is one such example. Obese with gross personal habits, Schtulman eats bowls of cereal that his cat has defecated in and, happily, munches on Crunch bars layered with ants that he randomly finds on street benches. Funny, but he couldn’t withstand another film.
The abscence of G.W. Bailey’s Capt. Harris, is replaced with Art Metrano’s Capt. Mauser. In Harris all but name, Mauser is the primary antagonist of the officers, doing everything he can to sabotage Lassard’s plan and take his place. His sidekick, Lt. Procter, would become a staple of the series from here onwards. Dim witted and dense, Procter is
Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment is, pretty much, a rehash of the first film. The jokes are the same, just with different people. To be fair, there isn’t really anywhere you can take the series without repeating everything.
Nevertheless, there’s enough enjoyment, here, to warrant a watch and is one that you’ll find yourself going back to.