Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986) starring Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Marion Ramsey, Leslie Easterbrook, Art Metrano, Tim Kazurinsky, Bobcat Goldthwait, George Gaynes, Shawn Weatherly, Lance Kinsey, Brian Tochi, Andrew Paris directed by Jerry Paris Movie Review

Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Leslie Easterbrook and Brian Tochi in Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)

Elvis has Entered the Academy

Now whilst I enjoyed "Police Academy" and "Police Academy 2" I didn't enjoy them enough, even back in the 80s, that I wanted them to keep on going with one lesser sequel after another. But that is what they unfortunately did and so for the third year in a row we got another one, this time "Police Academy 3: Back in Training" and as you can guess from the title the action and comedy returns to the Academy. And what does this mean? Well other than a slim storyline about budget cuts and two police academy's competing to be saved from closure you basically have new recruits going through 14 weeks of training under the watchful eyes of all our old favourites. And it also means that many of the gags which filled the first two movies are re-appropriated in "Police Academy 3" and to be honest whilst there are gags which make you laugh or make you smile due to their connection there are a lot more which end up stupid on many levels.

With the Governor forced to issue budget cuts he decides that one of the police academies must also close. In order to be fair the two academies will compete against each other as they are judged by an independent body. But Cmdt. Mauser (Art Metrano) plans to play dirty and approaches Copeland (Scott Thomson) and Blanks (Brant von Hoffman) from Lassard's academy to put a spanner in the works and make Lassard (George Gaynes) and his new recruits such as Cadet Elvis Nogata (Brian Tochi) look bad. But Cmdt. Lassard has a secret weapon, well 6 in fact as he calls on Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg), Jones (Michael Winslow), Hightower (Bubba Smith) and their fellow officers to come back and put the latest recruits through their paces.

Bubba Smith as Sgt. Moses Hightower in Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)

So as already mentioned the storyline to "Police Academy 3: Back in Training" does end up pretty much a rehash of the first movie as we return to the Academy and a new bunch of recruits being put through their paces. Padding this out you now have the Governor wanting to close one of the two academies and so they both compete to be the best. And in traditional "Police Academy" story you have someone trying to make Lassard's academy and cadets look bad, but I do wonder how Mauser who went from a lieutenant to a captain in "Police Academy 2" now finds himself Commandant of an Academy with Sgt. Proctor as his right hand man. Okay so you don't expect a proper storyline but all of this makes this third movie weak and predictable to the point that you know come the end of the movie Lassard's clumsy cadets will save the day when they come across some real trouble and yes the baddie is even the same baddie from the first movie.

What this means is that many of the gags which filled the first movie and some which filled the second are now rehashed in this third movie. So we get Mahoney being the laid back ladies man getting one over on Mauser, you have Sgt. Larvelle Jones doing more sound effects and Bruce Lee impressions, plus there is Lt. Debbie Callahan whose sizeable chest becomes the centre of attention for new cadet Elvis Nogata. And it goes on as on top of Mauser returning from the second movie we also get Tackleberry's brother in law as well as Zed and Mr. Sweetchuck. All of which come with the same jokes which they used before and whilst you smile at the gags it's more because you remember them the first time around rather than for being funny this time. It is all very tired and predictable and whilst you do laugh at George Gaynes as the absent minded Comdt. Eric Lassard and the eyebrow scene with Comdt. Mauser you end up groaning when ever Copeland and Blanks appear.

And like the movie the actual performances are predictable and tired even from the new characters such as Brian Tochi as Cadet Elvis Nogata. Yes Steve Guttenberg is amusing as Mahoney and Bobcat Goldthwait gets the most laughs as the very strange Cadet Zed, it still seems like everyone is on autopilot. If only the jokes had been new and fresh then it would probably have ended up feeling different and the long list of stars would have had something more to do rather than coast through.

What this all boils down to is that "Police Academy 3: Back in Training" is a movie which never needed to be made and the "Police Academy" movies would have been fine at just the two. But we got this third movie and what we got were the same characters delivering the same jokes in the same location and whilst there are moments which are genuinely funny it is a case of them being in the minority. But ironically there were more "Police Academy" movies and "Police Academy 3: Back in Training" most definitely wasn't the worst of the bunch.