Thursday, March 26, 2015

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach

Directed by Alan Myerson and written by Stephen J. Curwick, Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach is the story of a group of police officers who accompany their mentor as he is to accept an award in Miami as he copes with an impending retirement and a gang of jewel thieves. The film marks a departure of sorts in the series where the gang of misfit cops and their eccentric leader travel to Miami where much of the film takes place as well as parts of Southern Florida. With returning cast members Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrook, Tab Thacker, Marion Ramsey, George R. Robertson, Lance Kinsey, G.W. Bailey, and George Gaynes all reprising their roles from previous films. The film also stars Matt McCoy, Janet Jones, and Rene Auberjonois. Police Academy 5: Assignment in Miami Beach is a hilarious and adventurous film from Alan Meyerson.

The film revolves around the group of misfit yet competent cops who accompany their mentor in Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) who is to receive an award in Miami as the Policeman of the Decade. Yet, the timing for this honor is bittersweet as Lassard learns he is to retire as Captain Harris (G.W. Bailey) is hoping to the job as he goes to Miami in an attempt to gain respect and become the next Commandant. Meanwhile, a jewel theft has happened where the thieves would make an encounter with Lassard who unknowingly has taken their jewels which causes all sorts of trouble. It’s a film that does mark a change of pace of sorts where it sets Lassard and some of the characters from previous films in a different setting where they all relax and have a good time as well as showcase their skills as police officers which leads to a climax in the Everglades against some jewel thieves.

The film’s screenplay not only plays into Commandant Lassard coping with his upcoming retirement but also the fact that he at least wants to go out in style to receive this honor in Miami as he is joined by not just his loyal officers in Lt. Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), Sgts. Hightower (Bubba Smith), Jones (Michael Winslow), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Tackleberry (David Graf), and Officer “House” Conklin (Tab Thacker) but also in his nephew in Sgt. Nick Lassard (Matt McCoy) who works for the Miami Police Department. The film has a few subplots which involves Captain Harris trying to impress Miami’s top police officials and its mayor but also nab the thieves in the film’s third act which doesn’t go well due to the idiocy of his aide Lt. Proctor (Lance Kinsey). Another factor to the script that is really successful is the form of an antagonist in a jewel thief in Tony (Rene Auberjonois) who is really one of the funniest characters of the series as he is constantly annoyed by his attempts to go after Lassard while being a victim of Lassard’s unknowing attacks.

Alan Myerson’s direction is very engaging not just in the simple approach to framing but also in finding the right balance between comedy and action. While part of the film is shot in Toronto, the city of Miami Beach is definitely a major character in the film where Myerson shoots the film on location in the famed Fontainebleau Hotel. Much of the compositions in the film involve some inspired use of crane shots and wide shots for some of the film’s action moments including its climax in the Everglades. Even as Myerson uses some unique high camera angles for a very funny moment in a scene shot inside an elevator. The usage of the locations in South Florida allow the film to have a looseness that hadn’t been seen since the first two films as it has moments where Lassard’s officers manage to do things their way for the film’s climax in the Everglades where it has some inspired moments in the action. Overall, Myerson creates a very thrilling and entertaining film about a group of cops honoring the man that had championed them.

Cinematographer James Pergola does amazing work with the film‘s cinematography in capturing the vibrant colors for the locations in Miami as well as some of the scenes set at night. Editor Hubert C. de la Bouillerie does excellent work with the editing as it‘s quite straightforward with some rhythmic cuts for the action scenes. Production designer Trevor Williams and set decorator Don K. Ivey do terrific work with some of the minimal set pieces such as Lassard’s penthouse and the look of the police academy and its offices. Costume designer Robert Musco does nice work with the costumes in not just the police uniforms but also in the colorful clothes many of the characters wear off-duty. Sound editor Gordon Daniel does superb work with the sound such as some of the scenes in Miami including a notable one where a parrot calls Captain Lassard a dork. The film’s music by Robert Folk is fantastic for its bombastic orchestral score with some lively pop and rock music to play into the world of Miami as the soundtrack features elements of calypso and dance music.

The casting by Pamela Basker and Fern Champion is brilliant as it features notable small roles from James Hampton as Miami’s mayor, Dan Fitzgerald as the Miami’s police chief Murdock, Ed Kovens as Tony’s boss Dempsey, director Alan Myerson as a cigar smoker in an airplane that Hooks deals with, Archie Hahn and Jerry Lazarus in their respective roles as Tony’s dim-witted henchmen Mouse and Sugar, and George R. Robertson as Commissioner Hurst who would also join Lassard and his fellow officers to Miami to support him. Janet Jones is pretty good as Officer Kate who a Miami policewoman Nick Lassard flirts with while Lance Kinsey is terrific as the idiotic Lt. Proctor who always bungle things up. David Graf, Marion Ramsey, Tab Thacker, Leslie Easterbrook, and Michael Winslow are excellent in their respective roles as Sgt. Tackleberry, Sgt. Hooks, Officer Conklin, Lt. Callahan, and Sgt. Jones as they each provide some funny moments.

Bubba Smith is superb as Sgt. Hightower as he would help lift up Commandant Lassard’s spirits while being the man that prove to be the big hero in the film’s climax. G.W. Bailey is fantastic as Captain Harris as the man who would be the one to get Lassard to embark on his retirement as he tries to find ways to impress Commissioner Hurst that he should be the next Commandant. Matt McCoy is brilliant as Lassard’s nephew Nick as he fills in the void left by Steve Guttenberg’s Mahoney character from the previous films but McCoy plays it straight while displaying some charm and wit into the few pranks he plays on Harris. Rene Auberjonois is phenomenal as Tony as a jewel thief who would have unfortunate encounters with Lassard as he would try to re-take the diamonds he stole as he brings a lot of humor to his role. Finally, there’s George Gaynes in a splendid performance as Commandant Eric Lassard as a police official who is forced to cope with an impending retirement as he would also deal with other things as Gaynes adds a touch of Jacques Tati to some of his performance which makes the film very enjoyable.

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach is a fun and exciting film from Alan Myerson as it features an amazing ensemble cast as well as an engaging premise that keeps things lively. Even as the film manages to change things a bit and try different things where the results end up being very enjoyable as the setting in Miami just adds a looseness and exuberance to the film. In the end, Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach is a remarkable film from Alan Myerson.

Police Academy Films: Police Academy - Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment - Police Academy 3: Back in Training - Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol - Police Academy 6: City Under Siege - Police Academy: Mission to Moscow

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