Ahh, the memories from this movie. This movie reintroduced me to the comedic talents of Leslie Nielsen, who I had not seen since Airplane 2: The Sequel. When this movie came out, I didn’t get the chance to see it in theaters but I remember one of the TV stations started re-airing the original Police Squad! TV show, so I got a little dose of what I could expect from that. Then, when the movie aired on one of the premium channels, my grandmother taped it for me and I watched that movie countless times. So let’s get some laughs going with today’s movie, The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!.
The plot: In Beirut, a secret meeting is held between some of America’s greatest enemies (including Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, and Mikhail Gorbachev), who are plotting to commit an act of terrorism that will humiliate the U.S. Suddenly, a disguised Lt. Frank Drebin, who was vacationing in Beirut, reveals himself and proceeds to beat up all of the leaders in the room, then warns them not to let him catch them in America but as he goes to leave, he is hit in the face by the window shutters and ends up falling out the window. Back in Los Angeles, Officer Nordberg is doing surveillance on a ship named I Love You and overhears the people inside discussing the sale of heroin. Nordberg tries to make the bust but he finds himself out gunned and the leader of the group, Vincent Ludwig, orders his men to kill him. Nordberg is shot multiple times and ends up falling overboard. When Frank returns from Beirut, he is met at the airport by Captain Ed Hocken, who tell him about Nordberg as well as Frank’s girlfriend Victoria running off and getting married. Frank and Ed go to see Nordberg and Nordberg attempts to tell Frank about the drugs but Frank misunderstands what he is saying. When Nordberg’s wife shows them a picture of the boat, they realize what Nordberg was trying to tell them and make plans to head to the docks. Frank wants some more men placed on the case but Ed tells him he can’t as Police Squad is in charge of protecting Queen Elizabeth when she comes to town. Frank is sent to be the representative for the mayor’s press conference concerning the Queen’s visit and when his lapel microphone doesn’t work, he borrows one from the woman next to him in order to give his statement, then heads to the restroom as the mayor speaks, where he unknowingly broadcasts his urinating and farting for everyone at the press conference, and those watching at home, to hear. Frank and Ed go to the docks and Frank learns the Nordberg was working for Ludwig and supposedly selling heroin. Frank goes to see Ludwig and after Ludwig shows some of the priceless items in his office, they begin discussing the Nordberg’s shooting but while Ludwig’s back is turned, Frank accidentally ruins a priceless pen and kills an expensive fish with it. Frank asks to see the employment records for the dock and Ludwig summons his assistant, Jane Spencer, to help Frank. Frank and Jane are instantly attracted to each other and after getting the records, Frank asks her to dinner but Jane says she can’t that night and asks for a rain check. When Frank leaves, Ludwig goes to see Jane and asks her to get close to Frank so they can keep tabs on the investigation and find out if anything wrong is going on in the company. Frank heads back to headquarters and heads to the lab, where the head scientist, Ted, has tested the fibers from Nordberg’s coat and found traces of heroin in it. Ed tells Frank that they can’t have the story leak out with the Queen set to visit so he gives him 24 hours to clear Nordberg’s name. Meanwhile, Ludwig meets with a man named Pahpshmir, who was at the Beirut meeting, and they discuss assassinating Queen Elizabeth. After agreeing to Ludwig’s price of $20 million, Ludwig reveals his plan of using post hypnotic suggestion to have someone kill the Queen and then him/herself, showing how it would work when Ludwig has his secretary attempt to kill Pahpshmir. Frank goes to see Nordberg to see if he is able to tell them anything else and finds the doctor, under a hypnotic suggestion, attempting to kill Nordberg. Frank stops the assassination and chases after the doctor as he tries to escape. When the doctor grabs a car to flee, Frank commandeers a student driver car and the teenage driver chases after the doctor, who eventually crashes into a gas truck, then a ballistic missile transport, where he ends up riding the missile into a fireworks store and is killed in the explosion. Frank returns home and finds Jane there cooking dinner and during dinner, Frank asks her about the I Love You, as it doesn’t show up in the records. Jane says it is probably an oversight and the two continue talking before the end up having sex. The next day, Frank spends the day with Jane before leaving to go on a stakeout with Ed. The two wait outside Ludwig’s building, as Frank suspects Ludwig for attempting to have Nordberg killed, and when he leaves for the night, Frank breaks into his office and finds a note concerning the payment to be wired to a bank account but he accidentally sets it on fire and when he tries to put it out, he ends up setting the whole office on fire. Forced to go out the window to escape the blaze, Frank accidentally gropes a woman as he makes his way along the building, then accidentally breaks into her apartment as she calls the police. Frank is brought before the mayor, who lists all of the offences he committed and takes him off of the queen’s protective detail. Frank heads home to get some food when Jane shows up. Frank tries to warn Jane that he feels Ludwig is dirty but Jane says he is wrong, then tells Frank that Jane wants to meet with him at the stockyards that night. Frank heads to the meeting and is attacked by one of Ludwig’s men but Frank survives when the man accidentally falls into one of the vats used to process meat for hot dogs. Frank heads to the Queen’s reception and tells Ed what happened, then heads to the table where Ludwig and Jane are sitting. Ludwig is surprised to see Frank and tells him unless he has proof to back off. Frank then confronts Jane about the meeting and believes she set him up and that she was sent to seduce him, causing Jane to slap him. As Frank keeps watch, the Queen arrives and Frank is disoriented when the trumpets sound right next to his ears and, believing Ludwig is going to shoot the Queen with the musket he is presenting as a gift, Frank tackles the Queen and ends up embarrassing the department when the pictures are taken. Frank is kicked off the force and cleaning out his desk when Jane shows up at the station and tells him that she overheard Ludwig saying that one of the players at the baseball game will kill the Queen during the 7th inning stretch. Frank and Ed head to the ball park and Frank tries to figure out a way to search the players without being overly conspicuous, as the mayor would have him arrested, and he ends up taking the place of Enrico Pallazzo, the opera singer who will sing the National Anthem, but the police try to arrest him after he finishes singing. Frank then disguises himself as the home plate umpire and searches the players throughout the game but is unable to find a weapon on any of them. As the top of the seventh inning is almost over, Frank tries to stall it, interfering with the game in the process but the 7th inning stretch occurs and Ludwig activates the signal, causing Reggie Jackson. Jane alerts Frank but Ludwig grabs her, then watches Reggie approach the queen with a gun that was hidden under 3rd base. Frank tackles Reggie, causing a brawl to occur between the two teams. Reggie gets free and takes aim at the queen but Frank uses his stun cuffs on him, accidentally hitting a fan who falls on top of Reggie and saves the Queen. Frank sees Ludwig trying to escape with Jane as a hostage and after confronting him, uses his second cuff on Ludwig, who ends up falling from the top of the stadium and getting run over by a bus, a steam roller, and finally the USC marching band. Unfortunately, Ludwig’s signal is activated and Jane grabs his gun and moves to kill Frank but Frank manages to talk her out of it, showing her the engagement ring he bought for her and telling her he loves her. Jane breaks the hypnotic control and tells Frank she loves him, to the cheers of the crowd. The mayor and Ed approach Frank and the mayor thanks him and says he has his job back. Frank sees Nordberg arriving in a wheelchair, who says he should be able to return to work in a week, and Frank slaps him on the back in celebration, causing Nordberg’s wheelchair to roll down the stairs and he is catapulted out onto the field as Jane tells Frank everyone should have a friend like him.
The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad! met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “The Naked Gun is chock full of gags that are goofy, unapologetically crass, and ultimately hilarious.” The movie was a big-screen version of the Police Squad! TV show but to avoid confusion with the Police Academy movies, the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams were given a list of titles to choose from and they chose The Naked Gun because, “it promised so much more than it could possibly deliver.” The movie was a box office hit, earning $78.8 million off of a $12 million budget.
This is such an incredibly funny movie to watch. Leslie Nielsen was fantastic, using equal parts slapstick and quick-witted dialogue to make for some very funny moments. George Kennedy (Ed), Priscilla Presley (Jane), and O.J. Simpson (Nordberg) also provided for some great comedy, while Ricardo Montalban (Ludwig) made for an excellent straight man and villain. The story was pretty good, but I honestly would expect nothing less from the Zucker brothers, doing a good job of not going too overboard with the comedy and allowing the plot to flow pretty smoothly throughout the movie. The comedy and special effects used for it were pretty good, though a few times they did look a little cheap, but I think that was intentional and actually made for some more laughs. Definitely a must watch movie and always good for some laughs.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5