Friday, March 20, 2015

Police Academy 3: Back in Training

Directed by Jerry Paris and written by Gene Quintano, Police Academy 3: Back in Training is the story of the academy’s best graduates who are asked to return to the academy in order to train a new group of misfit recruits in order to save it from being shut down in a competition with a rival academy. The film is another comedy where cops do whatever it takes to save their academy as their new recruits include a cop’s wife, a Japanese police officer, a former merchant, and a reformed gang leader. With returning cast members Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, Michael Winslow, David Graf, Leslie Easterbrook, Marion Ramsey, Bruce Mahler, Tim Kazurinsky, Bobcat Goldthwait, George R. Robertson, Lance Kinsey, Art Metrano, and George Gaynes all reprising their roles in the previous films. The film also stars Brian Tochi, David Huband, Shawn Weatherly, and Ed Nelson. Police Academy 3: Back in Training is a wild and exhilarating film from Jerry Paris.

When the state’s governor announces that its government is unable to support two police academies as one of them will be shut down, the two academies go into a competition where a committee will decide which one will stay and which one will shut down. That is pretty much the plot of the film where Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) brings back his top graduates from the past to spar with Commandant Mauser (Art Metrano) who leads the other academy. Yet, Mauser would get wind of what was to happen before the announcement as he and his assistant Captain Proctor (Lance Kinsey) team up with two of Lassard’s former cadets in Sgt. Blankes (Brant van Hoffman) and Sgt. Copeland (Scott Thomson) to ensure that Lassard’s academy goes down. Yet, Lassard brings in his top graduates in Sgt. Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), Sgt. Hightower (Bubba Smith), Sgt. Tackleberry (David Graf), Sgt. Jones (Michael Winslow), Sgt. Hooks (Marion Ramsey), and Lt. Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) to train the new recruits any way they can as well as do some humiliating things to Mauser.

The film’s screenplay is sort of a rehash of the first film which was about a group of misfits who attend the police academy in their desire to be cops as this one is also about a band of misfits that includes Tackleberry’s brother-in-law Bud Kirkland (Andrew Paris), a young heir named Hedges (David Huband), a Japanese police officer named Nogata (Brian Tochi), a beautiful woman named Karen Adams (Shawn Weatherly) whom Mahoney falls for, and the wife of a cop in Mrs. Fackler (Debralee Scott). Also joining Lassard’s academy is the former merchant shop owner Sweetchuck (Tim Kazurinsky) and his old nemesis in reformed gang leader Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) as they become roommates and later work together to help Lassard win over the committee. Especially as Mauser is willing to do anything to make Lassard and his academy look bad as he becomes cocky in his pursuit as well as be humiliated by Mahoney and his gang in a series of hilarious pranks.

Jerry Paris’ direction is quite simple in terms of the compositions as he doesn’t go for anything new though there is this nice balance between action and comedy. Most notably as Paris brings back a few gags from previous films while creating new ones that play into Mahoney and his gang trying to one-up and humiliate Mauser who is doing everything he can to impress this committee. Paris’ usage of close-ups and medium shots do play out as it relates to Nogata’s attraction towards Callahan as well as some of the moments involving Sweetchuck and Zed as they play off this odd couple of meekish nerd and wild slob, respectively. Though there’s a few moments where some of the humor doesn’t exactly work which does lag the pacing of the film a bit. There are moments where it is about a group of misfits trying to rise above everything and save the academy from being shut down as well as deal with those who are trying to take it down. Overall, Paris creates a very fun and exciting film about a group of misfit cops and some new recruits battling it out with another academy in order to save their own.

Cinematographer Robert Saad does nice work with the film‘s cinematography where it‘s quite straightforward for the daytime scenes while it‘s more effective for the scenes at night that includes the opening meeting Mauser holds with Proctor, Blankes, and Copeland at a parking garage. Editor Bud Molin does excellent work with the editing as it‘s straightforward with some stylish transitions and rhythmic cuts to play into the film‘s humor and action scenes. Production designer Trevor Williams, with art directors Rhiley Fuller and Dennis Davenport and set decorator Sean Kirby, does brilliant work with the look of the academy as well as some of the locations in Toronto plus the look of Mauser‘s academy.

Costume designer Aleida MacDonald does superb work with the costumes from the different police uniforms such as the more dark-blue style of Lassard‘s academy to the more khaki-based look of Mauser‘s academy. Sound editor Dale Johnston does amazing work with the sound to play into the sound of gunfire and other sound effects including the self-made ones by Jones. The film’s music by Robert Folk is fantastic for its bombastic theme with some orchestral flourishes and jazz-based pieces while music supervisors Tena Clark and David Chackler bring in a soundtrack that features a mix of rock and pop music.

The casting by Fern Champion and Pamela Basker is great as it features notable small roles from David James Elliot as one of Mauser’s cadets, Ed Nelson as the governor, Bruce Mahler as Fackler, Arthur Batanides as Kirkland’s father, Georgina Spelvin as the hooker from the first film who humiliates Proctor in a funny way, David Huband as the posh cadet Hedges, Debralee Scott as Fackler’s wife who becomes a police cadet and falls for Bud Kirkland, Andrew Paris as Tackleberry’s brother-in-law Bud who becomes a cadet as he has the boxing skills to fight off criminals, the duo of Brant van Hoffman and Scott Thomson in their respective roles as the sniveling Blankes and Copeland who help Mauser in taking Lassard’s academy down, and George R. Robertson as Chief Hurst who becomes annoyed by Mauser‘s ass-kissing. Other notable small roles include Shawn Weatherly in a wonderful performance as Karen Adams as a cadet Mahoney takes a liking to as well as Brian Tochi in a terrific performance as the Japanese cadet Nogata who is skilled in karate as he falls for Callahan.

Lance Kinsey is very funny as the dim-witted Proctor who does everything for Mauser only to screw things up and also become a victim of the other Academy’s pranks. Marion Ramsey is fantastic as Hooks as she teaches the cadets in police work while being very suspicious about Blankes and Copeland. George Gaynes is superb as Commandant Eric Lassard as the eccentric academy leader who is hoping that his academy will win while just being focused on police work as he also proves to be a formidable badass. Art Metrano is excellent as Commandant Mauser as the film’s antagonist who tries to take down Lassard’s academy as his arrogance and brown-nosing ends up having him be the brunt of many of the pranks caused by Mahoney. Leslie Easterbrook is brilliant as Lt. Callahan who helps in the training of the new cadets while getting the attention of Nogata whom she is impressed by.

Michael Winslow is hilarious as Jones as he creates some noises to humiliate Mauser as well as help Nogata out in winning over Callahan. David Graf is terrific as Tackleberry as he helps Sweetchuck into become a tough police officer. Bubba Smith is amazing as Hightower as big man who gets things done while teaching cadets how to have police dogs as their equals. Tim Kazurinsky is fun to watch as the meek Sweetchuck who tries to gain some confidence as a cop. Bobcat Goldthwait is a riot as Zed as a reformed gang leader who decides to become a cop as he uses unconventional tactics to get results. Finally, there’s Steve Guttenberg in a marvelous performance as Mahoney as he aids in training the cadets as he also tries to boost their confidence while finding ways to humiliate Commandant Mauser.

Police Academy 3: Back in Training is a superb film from Jerry Paris. With its great cast as well as some very funny moments, it is a film that manages to be entertaining though it is quite flawed but saved by some of the scene-stealing performances of Art Metrano and Bobcat Goldthwait. In the end, Police Academy 3: Back in Training is a fantastic film from Jerry Paris.

Police Academy Films: Police Academy - Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment - Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol - Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach - Police Academy 6: City Under Siege - Police Academy: Mission to Moscow

© thevoid99 2015


Dell said...

Can't lie. This is where I completely lost interest in the series. Just couldn't get into this one. I think I only watched one more after this.

thevoid99 said...

It is uneven as there's bits of it that doesn't work but I have a very keen taste in low-brow humor so it managed to work for me. I'm currently working on a review for the 4th one. I guess I am going to do the entire series.