This is a new feature on Internet Follies where I will review the definitive list of the greatest movies ever made. This ain't your AFI's Top 100.
Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach
The 5th, and best, movie in the Police Academy (PA) series premiered in 1988 to little fanfare. It would take over a decade and thousands of afternoon airings on HBO to cement its status as one of the greatest movies ever created. To the casual fan, Assignment: Miami Beach was just another installment in a tired franchise. No one made a sequel Citizen Kane but thats because Police Academy is better. It took them 5 movies to achieve perfection.
Of course the film maintains some classic dogmas of the series: Tackleberry loves guns, Jones will confuse people with sound effects, Capt. Harris is a dick, Callahan has huge tits, and Hooks will be required to scream through a megaphone at some point, etc. Hey why fix something that ain't broken? But first time PA director Alan Meyerson had the audacity to alter one element that was essential to the previous four films. The infamous Sgt. Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg) would not be making the trip to Miami.
He was replaced by Sgt. Nick Lassard (Matt McCoy), the Commodant's nephew. It doesn't matter that the character was essentially the same person as Mahoney. Some may argue that Guttenberg terminated his involvement in the PA franchise because at this point he had a "career". I, however, think that PA got rid of the Gut (pronounced goot). This was an enormous risk. Casablanca without Rick? Meyerson stuck his neck out and created a masterpiece.
The plot is pretty simple and unimportant. Cmndt. Lassard is retiring and being honored as the "Police Chief of the Decade" at a convention in Miami. Lassard invites the whole force along with him. While at the baggage check in Miami, Lassard accidentally picks up the wrong bag. This wrong bag is full of stolen diamonds! The criminals have a whale of a time trying to sneakily switch their bags back. This movie has more plot contrivances and pratfalls than a Moliere! Frustrated with this unexpected difficulty, the criminals reach the only logical solution. They kidnap the most prominent police officer in the city of Miami! This ignites a madcap series of events that ends up in the Everglades on air boats. The Cmdt. is saved, the criminals brought to justice, and there is a graduation type of awards ceremony at the end. This isn't the one with the hot air balloon though.
WHY THIS MOVIE IS GREAT:
4. Tackleberry scares an enormous great white shark away with only a hand gun, as he says one of the greatest quotes in the history of cinema: "Leave the swimming area NOW, mister."
-This is rivalled by the time he shoots the smiley face when engaged in a bullet shooting competition in the inferior PA 6.
3. Replacement Guttenberg character Nick Lassard writes DORK on Harris' chest in sunscreen while he is asleep on the beach. Harris being the dick he is doesn't realize this and walks around the beach for awhile and has no idea why everyone is referring to him as a DORK, including the mayor of Miami himself!
2. Cmdnt. Lassard thinks the kidnappers are actually policeman practicing a kidnapping simulation! Though they are incredibly inept at kidnapping, Lassard provides them with incredibly helpful tips that help evade the police that are actually trying to save him. This makes the rescue attempt incredibly complicated. But hey it wouldn't be a PA movie if it was easy. If they were real cops, the Chicago fires would still be burning and the South would still be segregated.
1. PA 5 Assignment: Miami Beach is the first motion picture to use sound.