Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: PG for mild language and some comic violence
Running Time: 90 min.
Cast: George Gaynes, G.W. Bailey, Rene Auberjonois, Michael Winslow, Matt McCoy, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Marion Ramsey, Leslie Easterbrook, Lance Kinsey, Tab Thacker, Janet Jones, George R. Robertson, Archie Hahn
Director: Alan Myserson
Screenplay: Stephen J. Curwick
Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach just might have the distinction of being the only movie I've reviewed to have two colons in its title. Quite appropriate, as inept filmmaking of this magnitude could only have come fresh out of someone's colon. It's bad enough that the Police Academy series had run out of ideas long, long ago. Now they have to add insult to injury by making the films for children.
Police Academy 5 is completely de-clawed from almost anything someone might find offensive, as if the producers had it in mind to make sure this would be safe to play directly on television should the studio decide to not release it in theaters. In fact, in almost every way, it feels like one of those made-for-television movies that reunite the cast of a cancelled sitcom, meant strictly for nostalgia value for the fans of the series. Considering the Police Academy series have released 5 movies in 5 years running, this kind of pussified "for fans only" notion only spells the end of the series for anyone interested in watching for humor value, meant only for those who actually just watch because they like the characters and the camaraderie they share. With all of this in mind, perhaps it won't surprise you to find out that the creators of this entry, director Alan Myerson (Private Lessons) and screenwriter Stephen Curwick (who wrote for "Growing Pains" and "Family Ties"), spent their careers doing work almost exclusively for television.
With Steve Guttenberg finally flying the coop and ditching this sinking ship while he still had a name for himself, this is George Gaynes film most of the way, as it revolves around Cmdt. Lassard and his retirement. Lassard is flown to Miami to receive his policeman of the decade award, and all the usual gang accompany him to lend their support. Even longtime rival Captain Harris is in attendance, but only because he thinks showing some class and spirit will help make the case to succeed Lassard as the commandant of the police academy. Well, there are other complications that occur, most notably in the form of some jewelry thieves who mistakenly switch bags with Lassard. Most of the rest of the film is of their attempts to get the bag back, although it's a tricky situation since there are a plethora of cops in the area for the ceremony.
Police Academy 5 is without laughs, without a good plot, and sad to say it, without any real reason to exist except to milk every last penny from the franchise while it still had a name to sell. There is no earnest attempt to try to salvage the series in the slightest, and consequently, only the most die-hard of fans might actually be forgiving enough to endure the horrendously ill-conceived physical humor to the conclusion (I have to admit to all of you that I had to shut this off about a half hour before the conclusion for sanity's sake). This safe-to-watch-with-the-entire-family sequel has not only had its brain sucked out, but someone tore off its balls in the process. If the makers of this irredeemable dreck were to suffer the same fate, we who've been unfortunate to have suffered through it would consider it just desserts.
-- Previous entries include Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, Police Academy 3: Back in Training, Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. Followed by Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow.
©2004 Vince Leo