Police Academy 3: Back In Training Review

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When the Governor declares that, due to public funding cutbacks, one of the city’s two police academies will have to close, Commandants Lassard and Mauser begin to battle it out to win the Governor’s approval. Useless graduates Mahoney, Hightower et al return to Lassard’s academy as instructors to help the cause.


Not so much a sequel, more a retread of the first film’s “glories”, this is a slight improvement on Their First Assignment. Returning to the academy milieu of the original, Back In Training ups the gusto, tempers the bawdiness and — perhaps due to its constant referencing of the first flick — boasts more assurance this time round. Little of the new recruits get much screen time — the standout here is Brian Tochi’s Asian exchange student Nogata, who falls for busty Lt. Callaghan — and so its left to the old hands to deliver familiar, if good natured, schtick; Mahoney’s ruse about waxing Mauser’s eyebrows with duct tape, Jones makes funny sound effects with his mouth and the meek Hooks erupts with a “Don’t move, dirtbag!” Perhaps the most interesting addition here is the return of the first flick’s bad guy Zed (Bobcat Goldthwaite) who, now enrolled as a cadet, has nerdy Mr Sweetchuck (his nemesis from the first flick) as his roomie. Be it badgering Sweetchuck for the loan of his soap or engaging in late night bongo sessions, Goldthwait manages to make Zed’s incessant droning funny.

There is a nice nod to the original when porn star Georgina Spelvin, who assisted Lassard from under the podium in the franchise’s most memorable sequence, lures Proctor into stripping off, locks him out of her hotel room, resulting in the hapless cop stumbling into a never-ending Tango contest at the gay watering hole The Blue Oyster. Efficiently marshalled by Jerry Paris (his last film, he died the same year), the film unsurprisingly never goes beyond Paris’ sit-com roots and everything is delivered with a sledgehammer subtlety. But, looking at it with hindsight, considering the rest of the series, it now looks like something approaching a Golden Ages of Police Academy.

It has all the required Police Academy staples and is one of the better sequels but this whole franchise is so dated that isn't saying much. .