Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)
  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime
  • Director: Jerry Paris
  • Cast: Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf


The part of the city which has the highest crime rate is under the care of Captain Pete Lassard, when the chief demands that he turn things around or he is out. He in turn calls his brother, Eric, the academy commandant, and requests some new people. He recommends recent graduates, Mahoney, Hightower, Jones, Tackleberry, Fackler, and Hooks. Now they are teamed up with some veteran officers, who are not exactly competent, and along with their inexperience they cause more trouble than the gang they are pursuing. And they also have to deal with Lieutenant Mauser, who wants them to fail, so that he could become the new Captain.

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  • When it comes to sequels, the ability to make it more appealing and better in every way compared to the original that it spawned from is a task many do not accomplish. When a product is made so special, powerful people try to capitalize on it. We all know things do not last forever and for movies, a concept’s popularity is only as good as its ticket sales. It really doesn’t matter how crafty the script, actors, direction or special effects are, if the movie sells tickets then prepare for another round of what was just made. This particular cycle does not happen all the time, but in most cases it does. The Police Academy (1984) franchise is one of those series during the 80s that was an immediate success. Once Warner Brothers saw the potential, they began making more sequels. The first film, although not high end comedy, did provide a number of laughs because of its cast and ridiculous situations. The continuation of that story is okay but the repetitiveness is starting to rear its ugly head.

    With a new script written by Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield who before this had only worked on SNL episodes, they did change some things but a good portion just repeats the same events from the past. Also because it was felt the last film was too crass, TV director Jerry Paris took over the production. The story starts after the first by having six of the original cast members moved to the worst precinct in need of law enforcement thus giving them, their first assignment; ergo the title. The cast members to return to the film are trouble maker Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), silent tough guy Hightower (Bubba Smith), gun-crazy Tackleberry (David Graf), sound effects master Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow), clueless Doug Fackler (Bruce Mahler), timid voiced Hooks (Marion Ramsey) and their boneheaded leader Commander Lassard (George Gaynes). Currently in charge of them is Howard Hesseman playing Lassard’s younger brother trying to get his act together.

    Also under command of Lassard’s brother is Lt. Mauser (Art Metrano) who states early on that he looks to have the new recruits fail in order for him to take over the precinct. The gang that terrorizes the city is led by Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait), a split personality type that frequently changes between finishing sentences. For the writing, there are a number of parts that don’t work. Since G.W. Bailey did not return Lt. Mauser is basically the substitute fodder for Mahoney and his gang. Plus, his motivations feel out of nowhere. There are also new goofy characters at the precinct, which were most likely created because only some of the original cast returned. This however oversaturates the number of funny characters. Adding too many quirky characters is overwhelming and it doesn’t leave much time to develop the new or old characters. There’s also no explanation to where the old cast members went – like Mahoney’s girlfriend. Speaking of which, this time Tackleberry has one.

    Tackleberry’s love interest is Kirkland (Colleen Camp) who loves guns just as much as he does. How cliché. Every original cast member gets a new partner that has their own weird habits. Mahoney has a partner (Peter Van Norden) who eats crap,…almost. What is nice to see is the remainder of the original cast. All of whom keep their characters like they were and play off each other well. Even Hightower gets more dialog and that’s appreciated. The comedy and gags are mostly okay. There are moments that are repeated but they are mostly the ones people enjoyed in the first film. There are new bits too and that calls upon the newer characters. The comedic parts that aren’t acceptable though are some of the homophobic and sexist jokes. Even though Hooks is timid in personality, she still can provide the right help. She did more in the first, but here she just sits at a desk mostly because she’s a woman. Wow, nice one screenwriters.

    There’s also a new character named Sweetchuck (Tim Kazurinsky) who owns a store and constantly unintentionally crosses paths with Zed’s gang. Some of those moments are comical to watch too. Cinematography was handled by James Crabe, the same director of photography for Rocky (1976) and The Karate Kid (1984). Here Crabe’s camerawork is steady and rightfully captures all the funny scenes. Composer Robert Folk returns to score the music to the series and maintains the same theme thankfully. Throughout the rest of the movie, the scenes have what feel like a stock 80s sound to them but that’s also a part of what made the first movie fun. Folk’s music continues to have the march of snare drum and flutes to give it that military feel even though the police force is not an army. Things could be worse but then again we are only at the first sequel. There are lots more to come and who knows how that’ll go. Only one way to find out though.

    This is just an average retread of the original. The script is too abundant in new hokey characters and it also doesn’t let the originals develop. Plus, there’s no reason given as to why some of the originals do not return. There are still some laughs to be had though with the original casts’ antics and silly moments. The jokes are thankfully toned down a bit too (some).

    Points Earned –> 5:10

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