Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)

On Rotten Tomatoes, this movie has a rare approval rating of 0%, meaning no favorable reviews whatsoever. I’m going to say it right here and now: fuck you Rotten Tomatoes. Fuck you for ruining great looking posters with your shitty logo, fuck you for weaponizing criticism and fuck you for not having the sense of humor collectively to love this movie.

Well, I feel better. I’m also never getting to be a certified viewer on that site.

When he’s not talking to his fish Birdie, Commandant Eric Lassard has a good idea every now and then. Because the police force is overworked and understaffed, he’s recruiting civilian volunteers to work with his officers in a program called “Citizens On Patrol” (COP).

This movie neatly reinvents the premise of the first film, with Sergeant Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), Hightower (Bubba Smith), Jones (Michael Winslow), Tackleberry (David Graf), Sweetchuck (Tim Kazurisnky), Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait), Tackleberry’s wife Kathleen (Colleen Camp), Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), and Nagata (Brian Tochi) training the new class while Captain Harris (G.W. Bailey) and Proctor (Lance Kinsey) back to torment them.

The Citizens on Patrol are played by Corinne Bohrer as Zed’s love interest Laura (she’s also in Joysticks, the immortal Surf IIZapped! and Stewardess School, so you know she’s in my soul); voiceover actor Derek McGrath as Milt Butterworth; Scott Thomson — not from Kids In the Hall — as Sgt. Chad Copeland; Billie Bird as Tackleberry’s new best friend Mrs. Lois Feldman; David Spade (with Tony Hawk doing his skateboard stunts) as Kyle Rumford; Brian Backer (Rat from Fast Times At Ridgemont High) as Arnie Lewis and Tab Thacker (who would return to the series) as Tommy “House” Conklin.

If you were a skater back in 1987, this movie meant a lot to you. Beyond Hawk, Steve Caballero, Chris Miller, Tommy Guerrero, Lance Mountain and Mike McGill — pretty much the entire Bones Brigade — do an elaborate skating sequence. Stacy Peralta worked as the second-unit director on the film and ended up having to replace Hawk as David Spade’s stunt double as he was too tall.

They skate to Woodbine Centre, where Shazam! and The Freshman were also filmed before they get busted and forced into the COP — again, much like Mahoney in the initial film in this series.

Randall “Tex” Cobb and several gangs — including ninjas — end the movie pretty much reenacting Death Wish 3 without all the rape and gore.

Also, in the tradition of future big stars being in these movies, Sharon Stone plays Mahoney’s love interest. She attributes the collapse of her first marriage to why she made this movie, saying “hanging out with a gang of comedians, it was the best therapy.”

While this movie was being made, the cast also appeared in a full-motion Police Academy video game for Hasbro’s NEMO console. NBA Jam creator Mark Turmell told Polgyon, ““We actually made an interactive Police Academy game,” he says. “With the actors. We actually went down and had all of the production, weeks of filming, and it was all interactive. You could choose this path or that path. Everything was a big flow chart — that was a very exciting project.”

When Hasbro pulled the funding for the VHS powered video game system, the footage went away too. Somewhere, it still exists — a lost Police Academy film.


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