Although dumbbell slapstick dates back to the Silent Era, the vulgar species of such comedies first drew big box-office dividends with the seminal ANIMAL HOUSE. Humor on the level of food fights came into its own with additional National Lampoon entries, with the REVENGE OF THE NERDS
flicks, and with those contemporary Keystone Kops, the Police Academy recruits. Since all these revisited series have run out of steam, this sorry sequel is only recommended for aging nostalgists.
Their superiors recruit the Academy squad for a cooperative mission to help Muscovite cops. Endeavoring to clip the wings of elusive Russkie mobster Konstantin Konali (Ron Perlman) and his illegal video-game export biz, rookie Kyle Conners (Charlie Schlatter) upgrades his records so he can, along
with Tackleberry (David Graff), Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), and Jones (Michael Winslow), make Red Square safe from profiteers. Although Commander Lassard (George Gaynes) mistakenly attaches himself to a typical Russian family when his men need him most, his valiant crew pitches in to liquidate
Konali's business, which is planning to market a new compu-viral version of his popular games which will enable Konali to plug into the world's data systems and attain omniscient power. Callahan tries unsuccessfully to seduce Konali's top secrets out of him.
Using local acrobats to infiltrate Konali headquarters (and even masquerading as stars of the Bolshoi), the Americanski cops end up disgracing themselves by not gathering sufficient evidence to indict Konali. Before departing in disgrace, the yanks must rescue a kidnapped Callahan, locate the
invaluable computer key (held on the person of the video game's inventor), and prevent Konali from interfacing with Moscow's police computer system. Proving Konali's guilt concretely and hooking up with fearless leader Lassard, the Americans return home vindicated by derailing Konali's world-power
Frenetic without being that funny, POLICE ACADEMY 7 follows its own formulas so doggedly it gives up on the goal of actually being amusing. Guffaw-deficient, the film offers recycled sight gags, sexist shenanigans, lousy second-unit staging of car chases, and crudely choreographed physical comedy
set-pieces. Although the series regulars are game (and Gaynes is as superb as ever), Schlatter fails to fill Steve Guttenberg's tiny shoes and Perlman falls short as a nemesis.
Only the scenes involving the acrobatic Russians soar to any giddy heights of irreverence as they literally jump at the chance to catch the crooks. Still, if you enjoy standardized shtick then this seventh installment will make for painless viewing. With its thin plot and catch-as-catch-can
jokiness, POLICE ACADEMY 7 needed much zestier direction to maximize its broadly conceived hijinks. Often cutting away to reaction shots, the director makes the audience feel as if they should look to the series regulars for indications on how to respond. The filmmakers cue us in to giggle the way
second-rate warm-up comics point to light-up applause signs to squeeze reactions out of jaded audiences at late-night talk shows.(Violence, profanity.)
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