Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)

I spent lots of money to get this on DVD. Obviously, my love for the Police Academy movies — not to mention Christopher Lee and owning absolute junk on physical media — is unmatched.

You know what’s awesome about the world that we live in? Of all the movies to be amongst the first Western films to be shot in the Soviet Union, one of the Police Academy films would be one of them, lensing right in the midst of Red Square.

Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes), Sergeant Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow), Sergeant Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf) and Captain Debbie Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) are joined by Cadet Kyle  Connors (Charlie Schlatter) and the despised Capt. Thaddeus Harris (G. W. Bailey).

Wait? Where’s Captain Moses Hightower? Well, Bubba Smith was asked to return, but when he was told that Sergeant Laverne Hooks (Marion Ramsey) wouldn’t be involved, he quit. This is exactly like the scene in the first Police Academy, which kind of makes me emotional.

Russian gangster Konstantine Konali (Ron Perlman!) is using Tetris to launder money. Russian Commandant Alexandrei Nikolaivich Rakov (Christopher Lee!) beings in help from the man he met at a police convention, Commandant Lassard.

Hijinks, as they say, ensue.

Is that Claire Forlani? Is that original Mousketeer Lonnie Burr as a gay Russian? Would you believe that the October 4, 1993 assault on the Russian parliament building almost took out the entire production team?

For his part, Perlman considers his work in this movie “a public service”, as he felt that he shut down the series, exclaiming, “I’m not going to apologize. I did that piece of shit.”

He forgets — as does most of the rest of the non-bonkers world, that there was a 1997 syndicated Police Academy series that followed a new crew of recruits across 26 episodes. Only Winslow would return as Jones, but there were guest-starring roles for Easterbrook with Callahan becoming a district attorney, Art Metrano as Mauser, Gaynes as Lassard, Graf as Tackleberry, who is now a Captain, Colleen Camp appearing in archival footage and Tim Kazurinsky as Sweetchuck. Bubba Smith would finally come back as well, with Hightower being promoted to Captain in episode 19.

There was also a 65-episode cartoon series that spawned a comic book and Kenner action figure line, which is amazing when you consider that the original Police Academy movies earned their R rating.

While the TV series is unavailable on DVD or even streaming, the cartoon certainly is. It was animated by Toei. Yes, the same studio that made Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon.

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