Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Citizens (back) on Patrol

OK, so the return to blogging hasn't quite taken off as instantly as I thought last week. I was waiting for a suitably weighty subject on which to give an opinion, so which shall it be: the Ed Miliband rebrand? David Cameron telling Scotland to shove off or stop whinging? The New Hampshire primary? HS2?

No, there's only one story that has grabbed my interest, grabbed it like a Moroccan carpet-seller grasps a window-shopping tourist, pours him a cup of sweet tea and manages to sell him a rug that he doesn't have room for, and that is the impending remake of Police Academy.

Police Academy was part of my childhood. More even than Ghostbusters and The Goonies, perhaps second only to Star Wars, the Academy films were the ones I would stick in the video player again and again. David Graf's gun-happy Tackleberry, Bubba Smith as the mild-mannered florist Hightower and Michael Winslow's sound effects copper Jones were my heroes.

The early films had all the right ingredients to appeal to teenage boys
  • loveable failures as the heroes
  • comic-book baddies who either have mullets and pencil moustaches or are bully-boy jocks
  • slapstick
  • car crashes (you can never go wrong with a police car on its roof, lights still rotating)
  • a reformed druggie (Zed) who spoke like the Tasmanian Devil
  • a dominatrix with pneumatic breasts
  • a very tall character and a very short one sent on patrol together
  • an absent-minded man in charge with a goldfish fetish and no idea of what is going on
  • someone trapped outside naked with only dustbin lids for protection
  • someone impersonating the bad dubbing of martial arts films
  • and, of course, the Blue Oyster.
Even now, if you whistle the first six notes of a 1970s tango called El Bimbo to men of a certain age you will get a sudden smile and, if they are of a certain orientation, perhaps a wink as they recognise the music played whenever someone was lured into the over-the-top Village People gay bar.

The Police Academy films tailed off quite a bit by the time you got to the sixth and seventh in the franchise - for some reason, it was never as good when Steve Guttenberg left, even those his character, Mahoney, was insufferably smug - but if New Line, who have bought the rights, can avoid taking the remake too seriously and keep it as a borderline camp, puerile visual comedy, they could be on to a hit.


Peter McGuinness said...

Gday Paddy,

Calculator cricket and Star Wars. When did Dungeons & Dragons rear it's head? It must have been fun watching the girls jostle for position. Who would you like cast in the re-make mate?

Paddy said...

Surprising that the girls weren't forming a long queue.

Ah yes, Dungeons & Dragons. Many happy afternoons spent rolling a 20-sided die...

I'd cast unknowns in the remake, as they did in the original. Put stars in these things - as they did with Starsky and Hutch - and it only encourages people to take it seriously, which definitely would be a bad idea.

All well in Oz? I hear you have discovered a game called cricket...