Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Movie Review: "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" (1988)

Director: David Zucker
Year: 1988
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Lt. Frank Drebin investigates and attempts to uncover and prevent a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

The Naked Gun 1988 movie still Leslie Nielsen
"In a case where there are no leads, you have to start somewhere." (Image Source)
Though the television show "Police Squad!" was canceled after a mere six episodes, lead character  Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Neilsen) would live on to make us laugh once more, only this time, in a major motion picture. "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" is directed by David Zucker, who is known for directing films like "Top Secret!," "Ruthless People," and "BASEketball." When Drebin's partner Officer Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) is gunned down at the Los Angeles shipping docks and left in critical condition and is accused of being a dirty cop, the bungling police officer looks to prove his partner's innocence. Following vague clues from the half-conscious Nordberg, Frank is led to a shipping company run by well-connected and well-respected businessman Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban). As Frank looks into Ludwig, he uncovers a sinister plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II. Though his superiors don't believe him, Frank must convince them and/or find a way to put an end to the plot before it's too late.
The Naked Gun 1988 movie Priscilla Presley
"Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he's behind bars. Now, let's grab a bite to eat." (Image Source)
"The Naked Gun" is an outrageous, bawdy spoof that still manages to bring tons of laughs even 31 years after its initial release. Sure, there are some dated elements such as references to political figures like Mikhail Gorbachev, Idi Amin, Momar Gadaffi, Iatola Khomani, and Fidel Castro, all of whom are now either out of power or dead. Yes, the film does star O.J. Simpson as the bumbling but loveable partner of Frank Drebin (which is hard to wrap your head around considering where he wound up a few years later), but if you look past these minuscule details and think back to a simpler time before the genocides and the double homicide, chances are, you may have a good time with this film and find it hilarious. Much of the credit has to go to the well written, witty, sometimes silly dialogue combined with the comedic abilities and expert timing (and sometimes lack thereof) of Leslie Nielsen. His supporting cast is excellent as well. Both Pricilla Presley and George Kennedy have several moments of stupid fun where they get to shine. Actually, a lot of what happens in this movie could be considered dopey or low brow, but we can't help but enjoy ourselves every goofy step of the way.
The Naked Gun 1988 movie Jeannette Charles
" It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day." (Image Source)
The youths of today will watch a movie like "The Naked Gun" and wonder why people ever thought something so stupid was so damn hilarious. Well, youths, Leslie Nielsen and the Police Squad crew may have worn out their welcome after the first sequel, but the original is surprisingly droll. The manner in which this movie was made has rarely been properly duplicated by today's spoof-makers, the rare exceptions including movies like "Blazing Saddles" (pretty much any of Mel Brook's pre-1990's films) and the first "Austin Powers." Some people may hate this film, and that's their right. We will continue loving it enough for them.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.6/10
RT Rating: ~87%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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