Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986, Jerry Paris)


In this good-enough third entry, the police academy has to fight for its survival when the Governor announces he might close it. Let’s list some more of the series’s running gags and clichés…

Mahoney flirts and pulls pranks! – He’s coaching a women’s basketball team in his first scene – one of the players bumps into and lands on top of him. He flirts with new police recruit Karen Adams, then tries to convince her they’re roommates. He and Jones trick Mauser into putting some sticky tape over his eyes – when removed, it pulls off his eyebrows.

Hightower uses his strength! – He poses undercover as a woman to catch a mugger (blonde wig, usual ’tache). A new recruit mistakes him for a porter, so he flings the guy’s suitcase over a building. He rips a taxi meter out of a car when the cabbie tries to rip someone off. He tells a dog to sit – everyone nearby immediately sits down. He holds onto a speedboat as it attempts to drive off.

Tackleberry shoots! – He’s turned his backyard into a Vietnam-style jungle. We meet his in-laws from film two, but not his wife. He shoots a TV when he hears dialogue he doesn’t like (“You’re dead meat, copper!”); shoots a crossbow into a rude man’s cigar; and shoots a public phone when a woman’s quarter gets swallowed.

Jonesey’s sound effects! – Mauser speaking nonsense; music and a pair of voices to welcome new recruits; sound-effects of high-speed driving as he and Karen sit in a parked car; two further run-outs for his badly dubbed kung-fu-movie dialogue; a malfunctioning till in a bar; hip-hop music when bored; a scanner as he chases bad guys; and submarine sounds as he goes underwater.

Hooks shouts ‘Dirtbag!’ – Her shouty bit comes early – telling a busload of recruits to “Zip your lips, slap your butts to the seat and listen hard!” She later punches both Blanks and Copeland at the same time.

Callahan’s chest! – Back after a one-film absence. She meets recruit Nogata (see Homophobia!/Racism!), who’s at tit-height and falls in love with her. He later goes to her room – while she’s working out in a leotard – and they get it on.

Harris shouts ‘Proctor!’ – He’s not in this one.

Lassard is a bit, um, vague! – He gets distracted by a fly while listening to a speech (when he sees it on a woman’s face, he slaps her off her chair); slaps his baton on his desk and his fish flies into the air; drives his golf buggy into a lake; and drops his fishbowl out of a window (Mahoney catches it).

Bobcat! – The bad guy from film two is now a student at the academy. He shares a room with meek shopkeeper Sweetchuck, who he terrorised in the earlier movie. As well as every line being delivered in strained raspy voice, he screams at a door to open it (it works).

Obvious replacement characters! – It’s still Mauser rather than Harris. For plotting reasons he now runs a rival academy. Proctor’s still his sidekick.

Homophobic!/Racist! – One of Mauser’s recruits is Tomoko Nogata (“of Tachikawa Nogatas”). He misreads from a translation guide, is referred to as Fu Manchu and “stir-fried shrimp from outta town”, and is soon shipped off to Lassard’s academy, where he sleeps on a, um, bed of nails. A naked Proctor wanders into gay haunt The Blue Oyster.

Bare breasts! – There’s a close-up of Karen’s arse as she walks away from Mahoney. The hooker from the first movie returns – Mahoney convinced her to get Proctor naked and then shut him out of his hotel room. Proctor then ends up wandering the street and walks into the Blue Oyster bar. (The producers had by now presumably realised how much more cash they could make if these films were PGs. We get neither proper swearing nor boobs.)

Famous totty! – None.

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985, Jerry Paris)


In this first sequel, the Class of ’84 are sent out to staff a badly performing precinct in a rough area of town. Here I continue my attempt to track the series’s running gags and clichés…

Mahoney flirts and pulls pranks! – He flirts with women on the beach; pulls out Mauser’s floss when it’s stuck in his teeth; gives Tackleberry dating advice; swaps Mauser’s shampoo for epoxy resin; and then later arranges for him to have a body-cavity search.

Hightower uses his strength! – He throws a football so hard it knocks a guy off his feet; singlehandedly brings out a number of bad guys from the Blue Oyster bar; and is annoyed when mild-mannered Sweetchuck matches him on the funfair’s test-of-strength.

Tackleberry shoots! – He orders street-crossing kids around like soldiers; scares the shit out of a child (played by Lorraine Baines’s brother from Back to the Future) at his mother’s request; gets a romance subplot with Sgt Kathleen Kirkland when they bond over handguns; comes in all guns blazing when a lamp shop is being robbed; and, when getting amorous with Kirkland, takes ages to remove all his hidden weapons.

Jonesey’s sound effects! – Ugly eating noises to embarrass two diners; Mauser’s watch beeping; a fault with their car to annoy his grumpy partner; a vicious dog to scare a blinded Mauser; kung-fu-movie dubbed dialogue and fighting sound effects when beating up a pair of bad guys; an automatic popcorn machine; an impression of a bear; sounds of machine guns and the police arriving to intimidate a gang; and an instamatic camera at the wedding party.

Hooks shouts ‘Dirtbag!’ – She’s typically meek and mild, then punches Proctor when he won’t help Mahoney. Her “Don’t move, dirtbag!” comes at the end when pointing a gun at gang leader Zed.

Callahan’s chest! – She’s not in this one.

Harris shouts ‘Proctor!’ – He’s not in this one.

Lassard is a bit, um, vague! – He feeds his fish again, but accidentally puts a huge wodge of food in the bowl; misunderstands his brother’s request for “some healthy young men”; goes to a Chinese restaurant and leaves his fishbowl on a hot plate, then holds Eric’s hand down on it too.

Bobcat! – The first appearance of Bobcat Goldthwait as unpredictable, screeching, hyperactive, eccentric-talking Zed McGlunk. He’s the bad guy in this film. He and his gang ransack a supermarket and terrorise the city; when Mahoney asks Zed for a light, Zed sets his own hand on fire.

Obvious replacement characters! – In the place of Harris, we have Lieutenant Mauser as the antagonistic, arrogant, vain and up-himself policeman who the regulars take against. He has an odious sidekick called Proctor (the dumber of the two).

Homophobic!/Racist! – Proctor mishears ‘new recruits’ as ‘fruits’, so photographs some gay men. When he sees a very dirty Mahoney sitting next to Jones, he jokes that they’re brothers. While being chased by gang members, Sweetchuck runs into the Blue Oyster. (Proctor knows the address of the bar – and gets dubious looks.)

Bare breasts! – There are some topless sunbathers on the beach. Mahoney sticks a long balloon down his trousers when he’s being fitting for a new uniform. “Mahoney, I’m a virgin!” shouts Tackleberry just as the room quietens down. Mauser walks into the precinct lobby while naked, and when he later ends up with hair stuck to his palms, Mahoney makes a wanking gag.

Famous totty! – Colleen Camp (sexy French maid Yvette in Clue, one of the cops in Die Hard With a Vengeance, Reese Witherspoon’s mum in Election) plays Kathleen Kirkland.