"When Marge told me that she was joining the police academy, I thought it would be fun and exciting. Y'know, like that movie: Spaceballs. But instead it's been painful and disturbing, like that movie Police Academy."
Police Academy is a 1984 comedy film directed by Hugh Wilson, and starring Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall and G.W. Bailey. It grossed approximately $146 million worldwide and spawned six sequels of varying quality.Short on police recruits, a new female mayor has announced a policy requiring the police department to accept all willing recruits, regardless of height, weight, age, race, or education. Not everyone in the police force is happy about the new changes. The main character, Carey Mahoney, is a repeat offender (namely he's a Karmic Trickster with a bad habit of retaliating to offenses in criminal ways) who is forced to join the police academy as an alternative to jail, a proposal by the officer who has been lenient on Mahoney due to knowing his father. Mahoney reluctantly agrees to this and decides that he will get himself thrown out, which would leave him free of the deal. The new standards have resulted in a rather large group of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, with Mahoney being the most normal and sane among them.However, the chief of police, outraged by the mayor's lowered requirements, decides that the new cadets should be forced to quit rather than being thrown out. Lieutenant Harris, who trains the cadets, agrees with the plan and employs tactics to make their lives as miserable as possible so that they do in fact quit. Mahoney tries many schemes to get thrown out anyway, but begins to bond with his fellow cadets.Among these characters include Moses Hightower, a Gentle Giant and former florist, Larvell Jones, master of both martial arts and vocal effects (played by veteran performer Michael Winslow), Karen Thompson, Mahoney's Love Interest and the main reason he doesn't bail out of the academy completely, Eugene Tackleberry, gun enthusiast and off his rocker in that regard, and Laverne Hooks, a shy, mousy woman who is also accident prone.Gradually, and surprisingly, many of the misfits grow into competent officers.This spawned a total of six sequel films, a live-action TV series, as well as a children's cartoon series and a fantastic amount of merchandising. There has also been talk of an eighth Police Academy film being directed by Steve Guttenberg.
The various sequels include:
Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985). The misfits have graduated from the Academy. The film follows several of them in their first assignment to a police precinct. They have to face a local gang. The main character to not return is Officer Thompson, while it introduces Bobcat Goldthwait as the gang leader and a member of the force in later installments.
Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986). There are two Police Academies in New York. The first being the familiar establishment of the first film, the other being a military-style organization. With the city deciding to axe one of them, the former misfits want to ensure the survival of their academy.
Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987). Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) decides that the police force is overworked and understaffed, so he comes up with the idea of recruiting civilian volunteers to work side-by-side with his officers in a program called "Citizens On Patrol" (COP). The former misfits have to do the training and deal with sabotage efforts from within the police.
Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988). Lassard is reaching retirement age. But first he is invited to Miami to the National Police Chiefs Convention. He is to receive an award for his efforts. He brings along some of his favorite students. He unwittingly interferes with the plans of a local group of jewel thieves. The New York cops get to fight Miami criminals across Miami Beach and the Everglades.
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989). New York City is facing a string of high-profile robberies by a gang. Lassard and his crew are assigned with capturing them. However the criminals seem to learn of any police plan ahead of time, indicating the presence of a Mole in the ranks. The gang members also appear to have skills equal to the most eccentric members of the force.
Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994). An attempt to revive the series. Russian Commandant Alexandrei Nikolaivich Rakov (Christopher Lee) needs help against the local mafia. He decides to ask for assistance from the United States police. Lassard and his crew get the assignment. Meanwhile, mob boss Konstantine Konali (Ron Perlman) plans to bring down any computer security system in the world.
The television incarnations of the franchise include:
Police Academy: The Series (1997-1998). A live-action show, featuring some of the newest recruits of the academy. Sgt. Larvell "Motor Mouth" Jones was the only character kept from the film series. Lasted 1 season, 26 episodes.
This Movie Series Contains Examples Of:
Abnormal Ammo: Tackleberry's tear gas round in the second film and the tracking device from the seventh.
Artifact Title: The characters graduate from the academy at the end of the first film (some of the sequel subtitles seem to be trying to keep it relevant). To be fair, from the third film on, the characters from the first film who remain are now instructors at the academy.
Artistic License - Cars: The squad cars used for the driving test is a 1976 AMC Matador. It turns into a '74 when Hightower flips it, and no longer has an engine.
Ass Shove: Lt. Harris and the horse, among other incidents.
Mission to Moscow: Sgt. Nick Lassard, Sgt. Laverne Hooks, Sgt. Douglas Fackler, Lt. Proctor, Lt. Moses Hightower, and Commissioner Henry Hurst.
The only characters to not suffer from this were Cmdnt. Eric Lassard, Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry, & Sgt. Larvell Jones, who appeared in all seven films and both series. Capt. Thaddeus Harris appeared in only five of the films (he was absent in the second and third chapters), while Capt. Debbie Callahan appeared in only six (she was absent in the second chapter).
Cloud Cuckoolander: Commandant Lassard, so very much. Larvell Jones might also qualify, playing video game sound effects in the middle of the night.
Dark Reprise: In several moments, the main theme is played in a different key.
Demoted to Extra: Eric Lassard in the second and, to a lesser extent, seventh films.
Diabolus Ex Nihilo: The climax of the third and fourth movies involve problems that appear out of nowhere, and presumably don't even exist before said climax. In the fourth movie, Proctor inadvertently causes the crisis. Fackler unknowingly caused one in the first film.
Disaster Dominoes: Fackler is often the cause of these. In the first movie, he causes a citywide riot completely by accident.
Disguised in Drag: Cadet Martin in the first movie did this to a minor degree to sneak in and out of female cadets' rooms.
Distracted by the Sexy: In the sixth movie, a man drops a barbell on his chest in the gym and almost dies because everyone is too busy watching Callahan to notice.
Donut Mess with a Cop: Surprisingly for a comedy movie series about the police, this trope doesn't get played until the fourth film. Then Zed tries to teach the students the most important thing to know while on patrol: how to eat a doughnut.
Expy: Multiple times characters left, but were replaced by other characters with identical personalities and characteristics. For example, Nick Lassard, who joins the cast in the fifth movie, is identical in character to Carey Mahoney, who left after the fourth movie. Kyle Connors, who shows up in the seventh movie, is also near-identical to Mahoney and Nick Lassard. The characters Thaddeus Harris and Mauser are also almost identical.
Extended Disarming: In the 2nd movie, it involves Tackleberry and Kathleen Kirkland (new partner-turned-paramour whom he would later marry) getting ready for romantic relations. After the lights go out a forgotten sidearm discharges. Followed by a satisfied moan from Kirkland.
Fantastic Rank System: Sort of: For most of the series Callahan fraternizes with Mahoney and friends, helping along with their schemes and pranks and following their lead as just one of the gang, even though she helped train them and outranks them all.
Fauxreigner: In the first movie, George Martin pretends to be Latin American because the ladies love it.
Flanderization: In the first and second films, Commandant Lassard is generally quite competent, if slightly ineffectual. Starting with the third film however, he becomes more and more absent-minded. May be justified because he is getting older. Harris and Callahan start out as stern but rather competent instructors, by the fourth film, Harris is a fumbling grump and Callahan is a sexy valkyrie.
Practically all of the recurring cast was horribly flanderized as the movies piled up, except maybe Mahoney.
Gilligan Cut: In 6, when Nick suggests he and Jones to go undercover at a possible hideout, Harris insist on going himself. Nick tries to talk him out of it, but a smug and confident Harris insist on going. Then we cut to him and Proctor disguised as window washers, with a terrified Harris clinging on the windows for his life.
Proctor:(washing the windows) Undercover work is sure exciting! Harris: Shut up, Proctor!
Groin Attack: In the seventh movie, Konali has Callahan in his personal bedroom while she's Bound and Gagged and dressed in a Go-Go Enslavement outfit. When Konali gets on top of Callahan from upon the bed and attempts to kiss her, she uses both of her knees to strike him in the family jewels, making him fall off the bed in a state of excruciating pain.
Hand Cannon: Tackleberry's sidearm. During its first appearance on the range in the first movie, when asked where he got it, he replies that it was from his mother.
Hassle-Free Hotwire: Zed, a criminal-turned-cop, accomplishes this by ripping out the appropriate wires and biting them.
Mission Pack Sequel: The fourth film has a near-identical plot to the third, the only major differences being that the third deals with new Police Academy recruits, and the fourth is based around a civilian training course. In fact, the two movies were meant to be shot back-to-back, but a combination of Art Metrano's injury and director Jerry Paris falling seriously ill (and later dying) forced them to delay shooting of the fourth film.
Murderous Thighs: Callahan's unarmed combat training includes this. After her first demonstration, everyone volunteers to be next.
Commadant Lassard: It seems like a good plan at the time. Harris: Ah yes, a fine plan. We lose a priceless diamond. The Wilson Heights gang pulls of the crime of the century, and we look like a bunch of jerks because we practically invited them. So do us a favor, Sergeant Lassard, the next time you have a brilliant idea, please, keep it... to... yourself. Jones:(pretends to cough) Asshole!
The Quiet One: Moses Hightower who usually says only a few words at a time.
Real Estate Scam: The Big Bad of the sixth film orchestrates a crimewave alongside an old bus route, which would soon be the route of a train line. The crimewave would then drive down property prices allowing him to buy them and then resell them when the train line is complete and the price skyrocketed.
Real Men Wear Pink: Moses Hightower owned a flower shop before becoming a cop, and the sixth movie reveals he does cross-stitch.
Also, Zed loves soap operas, even as a gang leader.
Satchel Switcheroo: In Mission Miami Beach Lassard's luggage was in a suitcase externally identical to one in which a gang of diamond smugglers had stashed their goods. They claim the wrong bags at the airport, setting off the main plot.
Shooting Gallery: One of the training exercises in the first movie, and used to demonstrate how nuts Tackleberry is. Barbara accidentally fires his shotgun as soon as he picks it up and "kills" an innocent target, and then turns around to ask the instructor what to do next; he sweeps the shotgun muzzle across the entire crowd and everybody hits the dirt... except Tackleberry, who calmly remains standing and smiling. Of course, Tackleberry being a gun nut, probably was staring at the weapon rather than the target, and noticed that he didn't re-cock it and so couldn't be fired anyway (still a dumb move, but more understandable).
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Lt. Mauser of the second and third films and Capt. Harris of the first and other sequels are extremely similar in personality. Both have an instant dislike of the protagonists and of Mahoney in particular, resulting in them being the butts of many pranks. In fact, they are so similar that when Harris returns for the other sequels, he's inherited Mauser's assistant, Proctor, and the character dynamic has not changed at all.
Sgt. Mahoney of the first four movies, Sgt. Nick Lassard of the fifth and sixth movies, and Cadet Kyle Connors of the seventh movie, since they're all good-natured troublemakers who fight for justice.
One new character in the fourth movie seems intended to inherit Mahoney's role. For added points, he's played by David Spade.
Tan Lines: In the fifth movie, Harris is tanning on the beach. Nick writes "DORK" in sunblock on his chest. When he wakes up and walks on the crowded beach, Hilarity Ensues.
He did it because Harris called him a buttwipe for standing in his sun.
Threatening Shark: Subverted in Police Academy 5. A shark swam up to the beach sending everybody running...until it ran right into Tackleberry, who pointed his gun right in the shark's face and said, "You leave the swimming area NOW, mister!", and the shark swam away.
Toilet Humour: Several times, including a fart in court, swapping a shampoo bottle with a bottle of quick-setting glue and a spray-deodorant can with a pepperspray can, and a surrepitously-relocated porta-potty. Colliding with a horse qualifies too.