Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol Review

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Believing that the police force is overworked and understaffed, Commandant Lassard comes up with a hairbrained scheme to recruit civilians into the police with a programme called Citizens On Patrol. The Police Academy gang are chosen to train up the new lawmen.


Citizens On Patrol might well have been subtitled When The Rot Set In. In many respects, this is the end of an era as it marked the last appearance for series regulars Mahoney, Copeland, Zed and Sweetchuck (the latter did pop up in the ill fated ’97 TV spin off) and, without director Jerry Paris at the helm, it really feels like a franchise that has run out of steam, ideas and audience goodwill. Yet surprisingly, the film did well enough in international territories to see the franchise struggle on for three more entries.

Everybody does their requisite schtick — Tackleberry is militant, Callahan is big breasted, Hightower is, well, tall — but the only ones who emerge with anything approaching credit are Bailey’s Capt. Harris who supplies a broad essay in comic exasperation as he plots against Lassard’s plans and Goldthwait-Kazurinsky’s double act who instill a genuine strand of silliness into the lame pedestrian proceedings.

The film is of note for an early appearance of a pre Basic Instinct Sharon Stone who turns up as Mahoney’s listless love interest — most of her scenes are in the deleted scenes section on the DVD, as does the groin sniffing police mutt Clarence — and for its sins, it is also the first film to unleash David Spade on the world. Yet things go from worse to Oh-My-God when the film delivers an action packed third act that takes in some bad skateboarding antics (interestingly enough, skateboard guru Tony Hawk was fired from the film’s stunt team) and ends on a truly abysmal hot air balloon battle. There is more unintentional laughter here than in the rest of the sorry mess that proceeds it.

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