Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989) — Clearly the best film of ’89

“We believe you guys, so we wont dispute you. But if you’re lying to us, we’ll come back and shoot you. Word!”

Justin’s rating: It’s telling that the biggest laugh I got from this movie is the film’s director’s last name (“Know her? I barely Metter!”)

Justin’s review: I’m feeling a bit pixyish at the moment, which might lead to fond nostalgia and a flimsy defense of an over-prolific ’80s movie series. However I may come off in upcoming paragraphs — perhaps under the influence of some spoiled cashews — I don’t want to fool my one remaining reader into thinking that I actually liked Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. Sure, the first was a jiffy ride and Police Academies 4 and 5 are guilty pleasures of mine, but the party is fully over once this sextuplet popped out of Hollywood’s womb.

While not an outright horrible tragedy to befall mankind since the KFC Colonel kicked the family-sized bucket, Police Academy 6 is mostly comedy that is to be endured, not enjoyed.

Still, you’ve got to really hand it to the makers of this series. Before the massive sequel backlash of the 1990s, where they still made ‘em but everyone pretended not to go see ’em, the ’80s shamelessly went back for seconds, thirds, and fourths of any franchise that had a trickle of money left to be squeezed out like a withered cow’s one last remaining functional teat. You can mock the Police Academy series as if you’re some sort of sophisticated socialite, but hey… they produced six movies in as many years. Six. Six films that made it to the theater. Six films that made a profit. Six films that people actually kept seeing, even though they‘d pretty much seen it all by the end of the first film‘s credits. That’s impressive, and a sign of an era long since gone.

Stifle that “Thank Goodness!” Mister, and show some respect! Sequels are God’s way of keeping the masses doped up with mindless entertainment and not revolting against the intellectual elite.

As far as I can ascertain, Police Academy 6 is more of a straight-laced police drama with a lot of smirking. Naturally, they have all the Bugs Bunny cartoon slapstick in predictable places, but since none of it is funny, we can’t assumed the comedy label has any significance here. Considering that a good third of the film is handed over to a plodding chase between our cardboard cops and the keystone crooks, there’s a lot to be said for a case that the director is harboring some a fetish for 1970s TV police dramas.

I think — and don’t quote me on this, even though I can’t prevent it — this is the first Police Academy where they stopped introducing new cops into the old ensemble to keep things fresh. Quite the contrary; we’re now whittled down to a minimal budget and a half-dozen good guys, all reprising their single note on cue. They did bring back the Clumsy Cop who inadvertently hurts people, but I can’t see you finding that a solid reason to keep on living.

The only good news here is for the cast themselves. They discovered that if you stick with a series long enough, you can outlast the really good actors who move on, and get bigger parts for yourself in return. Unless you’re Hooks, in which case you get shoved aside to the movie equivalent of a broom closet.

There is an actual crime mystery to solve in this film, which is a new feature to the series, I’ll admit. I’ll also admit that it took a Mutant Reviewers lab rabbit, freshly lobotomized, about four minutes to figure it out. And that’s being generous to the filmmakers — the rabbit kept asking for more pellets instead of working.

For all intents and purposes, this is the end of the series. There’s no actual Police Academy, no Blue Oyster Bar, and no real laughs. It certainly was the end of a fabulous streak in the ’80s, and like it or hate it, the sheer number of films ensures a lasting place in pop culture history.

Didja notice?

  • Singing Christmas songs four months early is a faux pas
  • I like how movie criminals always look sinister and stuff, instead of normal and nice
  • The mayor’s “forgetting words” routine grows old, fast
  • Mine fields and barb wire fit in perfectly with suburban lifestyles
  • Tackleberry has a SON? And Social Services hasn’t acted yet?
  • The cop who hurts everyone is back! Should I be happy?
  • Bank presidents make okay battering ram substitutions
  • Criminals like water gun fights too!
  • Love them ’80s clothes
  • Gangsta rap… so much more friendly back then. Also, horrible.
  • Proctor’s banana boxers
  • Harris drives a station wagon? Weak.
  • Hitting computers will get you past any password
  • The moths are very clearly on strings
  • Is this a fight or a hug?
  • When the cops have the crooks surrounded before Proctor and Harris show up, you can see the promotion poster of the film in the background of a movie theatre.

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