Thursday, April 09, 2015
Police Academy: Mission to Moscow
Directed by Alan Metter and written by Randolph Davis and Michele S. Chodos, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow is the story of a police academy commandant and his team of misfit graduates and a young cadet who travel to Moscow to aid a fellow commandant in taking down a Russian mafia boss. The film is an exploration into the post-Cold War relationship between America and Russia as a lot of hi-jinks ensue where a group of American misfit cops use unconventional tactics to take down the bad guys. With returning franchise cast members Michael Winslow, David Graf, Leslie Easterbrook, G.W. Bailey, and George Gaynes reprising their roles from past films. The film also stars Charlie Schlatter, Claire Forlani, Ron Perlman, Gregg Berger, and Christopher Lee as Commandant Aleksandr Nikolaevich Rakov. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow is a very unfunny and trite film from Alan Metter.
Asked to aid the Russian police force in taking down a Russian mafia boss who has created trouble by creating a popular yet addictive video game. Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) travels to Moscow with his team to aid them where a lot of craziness ensues as well as Lassard’s sudden disappearance all because he went into the wrong car. This would force Lassard’s team to work directly with the Russians led by Commandant Rakov and his aide Lt. Talinsky (Gregg Berger) who would spend much of the film trying to find Lassard. The film’s screenplay tries to inject a lot of humor into the film as it involves Captain Harris (G.W. Bailey) trying to prove American’s superiority against the Russians to bumbling results.
Yet, it feels forced as the antics of Captain Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), Sgt. Jones (Michael Winslow), and Sgt. Tackleberry (David Graf) also feels tacked on. A subplot involving the American cadet Connors (Charlie Schlatter) trying to woo Russian officer Katrina (Claire Forlani) feels like it belongs in another film. One moment that proves to be very silly is a moment where Callahan tries to seduce the mafia boss Konstantin Konali (Ron Perlman) by being a lounge singer where it takes the story into more idiotic territory. It plays into the fact that the cops are dealing with a criminal who is quite smart and cunning as well as elements of cultural tension.
Alan Metter’s direction does take great stock into shooting on location in Moscow where he takes great advantage into shooting into some of its landmarks and locations. Yet, that is the only thing in the film that is worth noting as everything else is just uninspired as Metter doesn’t really do much to get things going. The compositions are simple yet some of the gags not only feel dated but also the game itself where it is obviously played on a GameBoy without a cartridge which is odd in a bad way. It’s among these elements in the film that makes it very hard to watch as the attempts to create something funny just feels forced and downright silly such as the idea of Captain Harris as a ballerina. Overall, Metter creates a film that tries too hard to be funny but ends up being the opposite.
Cinematographer Ian Jones does nice work with the cinematography to play into the look of Moscow as it‘s just very simple though nothing really stands out visually. Editors Dennis Hill and Suzanne Hines does fine work with the editing as it plays into some of the film‘s humor and action no matter how uninspired it is. Production designer Frederic C. Weiler, with set decorator Sergey Shiriaev and art director Ilia Amoorsky, does excellent work with the look of some of the restaurants and places that many of the characters go to. Sound editor Clancy T. Troutman does terrific work with the sound to capture some of the antics that goes on including the sound effects that Jones make. The film’s music by Robert Folk is pretty good as it brings in some themes from past films along with some Russian-inspired pieces to play into its location.
The casting by Melissa Skoff is quite good for the ensemble though many of them are wasted due to the poor script and silliness of the film. Among the small performances include Richard Israel as a game designer, Vladimir Dolinsky as a bellboy who pretends to be Lassard, Stuart Nisbet and Pamela Guest as news reporters, and Alexander Skorokhod in a terrible performance as Boris Yeltsin. Gregg Berger is OK as Lt. Talinsky though he spends half of the film trying to find Lassard while Christopher Lee ends up being very foolish as Commandant Rakov as he gets little to do in the film. Claire Forlani is alright as Katrina as a Russian officer/interpreter who befriends Connors as all she wants is a vacation while Charlie Schlatter isn’t very good as Connors as a cadet with a case of vertigo who tries to be cool when he isn’t a top cadet.
G.W. Bailey has his moments as Captain Harris as he is more helpful this time around though his attempt to surveillance things often has him in bad moments. Michael Winslow and David Graf are terrific in their respective roles as Sgt. Jones and Sgt. Tackleberry as they each bring in some moments though their schticks don’t really work in a different setting. Leslie Easterbrook is superb as Captain Callahan as the lone American woman whose job is to seduce Konali only to get into some trouble. Ron Perlman is the film’s best performance as Konstantin Konali as a Russian crime leader who tries to create the ultimate scheme where Perlman definitely camps it up in order to make things exciting. Finally, there’s George Gaynes as Commandant Eric Lassard as the eccentric police leader who spends much of the film hanging out with a Russian family as it ends up being a detriment to the film where it seems like Gaynes is in another movie than what is really going on.
Police Academy: Mission to Moscow is an awful film and definitely the worst film of the franchise. It’s a film that wanted to do so many things but ends up being very unfunny as well as dated in its humor. Especially when it features only a handful of characters that audience love where it’s clear that several favorites from past films are sorely missed. In the end, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow is a film that just plainly sucks.
Police Academy Films: Police Academy - Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment - Police Academy 3: Back in Training - Citizens on Patrol - Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach - Police Academy 6: City Under Siege
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