In 1988, Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) spoofed police and buddy films everywhere with the breakthrough The Naked Gun! From the Files of Police Squad! Three years later, The Naked Gun 2.5: The Smell Of Fear followed, with The Naked Gun 33.3: The Final Insult arriving in 1994. Over six years, Nielsen worked with David Zucker and then Peter Segal to deliver commentary, laughs, and impossible-to-predict gags that you’ll laugh really hard at … or not get at all. Such is life in the great U.S. of A. Now, Warner Brothers Archive has released the second and third films from the vault on Blu-ray, just in time for some merrymaking at Christmastime.
In the first sequel, Drebin must battle the forces of fossil fuel interests who are deeply distressed that GW Bush Sr. has empowered Dr. Albert Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths) to seek sustainable energy options [the play on Oppenheimer is one of the ways the film is more clever than you might think flipping by]. But the evil power-mad… power brokers have replaced Meinheimer with a fake who is working for them. At the same time as he battles the bad guys, Drebin is trying to win back the affection of Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley). But you’ve also got George Kennedy as Drebin’s boss, O.J. Simpson as Detective Nordberg, and the likes of Robert Goulet as Jane’s other option. For my money, the gags involving poor ‘Barbara Bush’ are the funniest in this one.
In the second one, Drebin is grateful to be pulled out of retirement by his old pals, leaving Presley’s Mrs. Spencer-Drebin wishing that he’d settle down and have their first child with her. Drebin goes undercover as a would-be terrorist with Rocco Dillard (Fred Ward) to gain his trust and stop a major event from occurring on U.S. soil (which ends up going down at the Academy Awards). Anna Nicole Smith is the other ‘major’ guest star, while Weird Al Yankovic shows up again just because he’s Weird Al.
These are both bare bones releases; that is, they’re solely the movie in high definition. But given all of the tougher entertainment there is to cover, it was nice to sit down and watch something that was purely frivolous. It won’t be for everyone and it’s certainly over-the-top at times, but Drebin’s straight ahead antics are still bound to give you a chuckle, or at least the shake of the head.