Warner Bros. // 1994 // 83 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // May 15th, 2004
"They waited five years to make another chapter in this mindless series. It wasn't worth the wait." -- Leonard Maltin
Russian gangster Constantine Konali (Ron Perlman, Hellboy, Alien: Resurrection) is laundering money under the guise of a legitimate business. The business: a highly addictive video game titled "The Game." Desperate to nail Konali, Russian Commandant Rakov (Christopher Lee, Horror of Dracula, Sleepy Hollow) sends for help from America. Aid comes in the form of Commandant Lassard and his motley crew of misfit officers. As they plan to nail Konali, he has cooked up a new scheme -- create an even more addictive form of "The Game." Only this version can tap into the databases of world powers.
After ending the series on a high point with 1989's Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, a moderately popular animated series and comic book followed. Five years later, the Powers That Be crapped out Mission to Moscow. Even hardcore Police Academy fans had a hard time accepting this idiotic mess. Granted, the series was based on low, dumb humor. Sadly, Moscow is a film with surprisingly few laughs. One would think that the Russian locations would have inspired some funny gags.
Alas, comedy is not the emphasis of this film. The filmmakers create situations but fail to follow up on them. Too much of the film is taken up by a courtship of a cadet (Charlie Schlatter, 18 Again) and a gorgeous Russian translator (Claire Forlani, Meet Joe Black). It's sweet, but it doesn't belong in a Police Academy movie. Lassard is quickly taken out of the picture by having him mistakenly end up with a strange family. As is the case with this film, not enough is done with it.
Not even the cast does well with this thin material. Michael Winslow is given virtually nothing to do. When he is given a good situation, they cut away from him. It's depressing when the man responsible for the comic highpoints of previous entries is slighted as he is here. G.W. Bailey's cantankerous Captain Harris is also wasted, but the lack of a lackey gives him no one to bounce jokes off of. The only cast members to more or less escape untouched are David Graf, who has a few funny moments as gun crazy Tackleberry, and Ron Perlman. At least they remembered that this was supposed to be a comedy and made the most of a bad script.
Warner Bros. presents Mission to Moscow in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Without a doubt, this is a good looking transfer. There is some light grain and edge enhancement, the sole flaws to an otherwise perfect image. It's a shame that the absolute worst entry of the series received the best treatment.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. This is the sole entry to be given a surround mix. Don't ask me why. I'm only the messenger. They do not do much with the track, other than isolating the music and dialogue to separate channels. It sounds clean, but no better than the mono mixes of the previous six.
As with the sequels, Warner includes the original theatrical trailer in anamorphic widescreen. Also, an eight minute featurette discussing the production is included. It's worth seeing just to hear G.W. Bailey's comments.
Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow is available as part of a seven-disc box set or separately. Most stores are charging $9.99 for the disc. Only a completist (such as myself) would want to own it. A rental is even asking too much. Catch this mission when it airs on HBO Comedy.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Treadway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Theatrical Trailer
* Making-of Featurette