Steve Guttenberg is gone, off filming Three Men and a Baby. That’s the cover story, because he not only turned down the lead role, he said no to all of the sequels that came after. Years later, he would say that he regretted this decision and has been trying to make a comeback for the series.
Sadly, the producers replaced him with Matt McCoy as Sergeant Nick Lassard, the grandson of series regular Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes). Bobcat Goldthwait and Tim Kazukinsky also did not return.
The elder Lassard is a central character, as he’s due for mandatory retirement due to the machinations of the villainous Captain Thaddeus Harris (G. W. Bailey) and his henchman Lieutenant Carl Proctor ( Lance Kinsey). Can the boys in blue save their boss? Of course. Come on. This is Police Academy.
Before he retires, Lassard is chosen as Police Officer of the Decade and brings his favorite students, including Hightower (Bubba Smith), Jones (Michael Winslow), Tackleberry (David Graf), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) and his newest graduate Officer Thomas “House” Conklin (Tab Thacker), along for a vacation to Miami Beach. Janet Jones — soon to be the wife of Wayne Gretsky — is also on hand as Officer Kate Stratton.
In between the many gags at the police convention, Lassard unwittingly takes a bag of stolen diamonds. The finale of the film, where Lassard has no idea that he’s part of a real hostage situation, is one of the funniest moments of the franchise.
I love that the Police Academy movies have great actors n them as the villains. This time, that would be Rene Auberjonois, who surely deserves better but is a game sport. In an interview, he would say, “Why I choose to do things is a mystery to me sometimes. I’ve done things that, on the face of it, you think, “Why would anybody do Police Academy 5?” I had to look at the role, and see if there’s a reason to do it. I did it because it was an opportunity to play a character that nobody else was ever going to let me play. I had a great time doing it, don’t regret it for a moment, and I’d do it again in a minute.”
As a side note, I’d like to call out that there was a Police Academy stunt show at Australia’s Warner Brothers Movie World which was was also one of the longest-running stunt shows in the world, with over 18,000 shows performed. The show also ran in their Germany location and if this website is any indication, the Madrid location still has this show running. Police Academy lives — even 26 years after the last film.
When Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol was released, critic — and star of Myra Breckinridge — Rex Reed said, “If they make another Police Academy movie, I’ll leave the business.” Producer Paul Maslansky would say when this movie was released, “Reed’s one of the reasons I’m making Police Academy 5. I expect him to be a man of his word.” Sadly, Rex kept at it.