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

Director – David Zucker
Producer – Robert K. Weiss
Writers – Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Pat Proft

Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Police Squad – these words mean action. Bad guys’ plans will be thwarted, the innocent will be protected (whether they want it or not!), and plenty of chaos will ensue.
 
Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is, in his own way, well-meaning and committed. However, he doesn’t think very much before he acts and has a knack for messing things up. When his friend and colleague Nordberg (O. J. Simpson) tries to bust a drug deal, he ends up in hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and is suspected of dealing heroin. Drebin decides to find the culprits and clear Nordberg’s name. His search leads him to Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalbán), villainous owner of a dubious shipping company. It also leads him to Ludwig’s gorgeous if clumsy secretary Jane (Priscilla Presley), whom Drebin is excessively interested in and vice versa, and the seemingly quiet and inoffensive Mr Pahpshmir (Raye Birk), who conspires with Ludwig to kill the Queen of England during her visit to the US. Contains romance, explosions, post-hypnotic suggestion, baseball and a cameo appearance by Weird Al Yankovic.
 
Absurd? Yes, and wonderfully so. The film is fast-paced, silly, full of slapstick, puns and visual gags, often tasteless, always brilliantly funny. There are plenty of nods to other films: the plot is based on 1977 spy film Telefon and quotes some lines verbatim; the policemen’s special gadgets (such as cufflinks that can be used as darts) are similar to the ones in James Bond movies; the scenes between Frank and Jane parody clichés from romantic films (“It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day…” “Good Year?” “No, the worst.”). The whole film makes fun of ‘serious’ cop shows with heroic cops and includes some wry criticism of the police: While Drebin is a likeable character who wants to do the right thing, he is also incompetent and sometimes excessively violent, giving the film a sharp, critical edge.
 
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! is based on a 1982 US television show called Police Squad! and references many of its characters and jokes. Unlike the show, it was very successful, leading to two sequels. It is hilarious, irreverent and worth watching multiple times.

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