Viewed – 12 February 2016 Blu-ray
I recently received the box set of this once much loved but ultimately milked to death franchise that I recall enjoying a lot in my formative years. I hadn’t really given the movies much thought in probably the last twenty years but the prospect of checking out at least the first one was surprisingly appealing.
This follows the story of a law being passed that relaxes the rules on citizens joining the Police force. One such scoundrel is Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg – remember him?) who following an altercation at a car park is arrested and given one final chance to ‘clean up his act’ by the Police chief whose had enough of seeing his face at the station. Mahoney therefore is forced to join the Police Academy alongside a number of other oddball characters. Here we’re introduced to many of the other series stalwarts … the gun-obsessed Tackleberry, the man-mountain Hightower, the squeaky voiced Hooks and series fave; the sound effects spouting Jones (Michael Winslow). We also get a love interest for Mahoney in the gorgeous shape of Kim Cattrall. There’s an immediate familiar charm to this movie, helped by a memorable theme tune and highly entertaining, albeit cartoon-like characters (who can forget the dictatory Lieutenant Harris, or the bumbling Commandant Lassard?). The humour is pretty tame and light by today’s standards but in the tradition of similar slightly risqué comedies like Animal House and Porkies, we still get plenty of innuendo, some gratuitous female nudity and even a podium blowjob scene (!). It never gets too crude though and there’s a fun-loving free spirited innocence to it all that most modern comedies should take notes from.
Looking back on this kind of comedy, the Blue Oyster bar scene, as comical a moment as it is, would probably be a definite no no today. Also the word ‘fag’ is thrown around occasionally, whereas sex-mad heterosexual guys are portrayed as heroes. Have we really come this far since the eighties? Yet with that being said, there’s no denying how entertaining and fun I still found this even if my brain has been ruined by much more outrageous fair. An 80s comedy classic worth re-visiting..
The Blu-ray boasts a very clean and at times eye-catching image quality especially for this type of movie. Colours are well realised and even though I feel a bit of grain reduction has occurred, overall it’s a good looking presentation. The audio in DTS HD Master Audio lacks some punch and the dialogue whilst clear is a little scratchy. Extras consist of a very welcome commentary with the director and much of the cast (including Guttenberg) and we also get a behind the scenes doc. Not too shabby at all.
(the movie) 3.5 /5
(the Blu-ray) 4 /5