Combat Academy (Review)

Combat Academy

aka Combat High

Keith Gordon as Max Mendelsson
Wally Ward as Perry Barnett
George Clooney as Biff Woods

A made for TV movie from 1986 styled after Police Academy, except they forgot the funny. And the Guy who makes noises. Gotta have Michael Winslow. They try to make up for it with lots of guest stars from TV shows at the time. This movie has only seen the light of day on DVD due to George Clooney’s early performance. George Clooney’s past is our misfortune. Read on, you apes, you wanna live forever?

Be Cool…To your School! Because you may never get another! Be Cool…To your School! In the name of Rock and Roll!

is advised to us via the opening credits while a montage of exploding lockers, pigs, sprinklers, restrooms changing gender signs, room number changes, fireworks, and a shot of room 227 litter the credits like bullet shells on a battle field. As you can imagine, such hijinks fail to impress Principal Dick Van Patten, and Our Heroes are called into his office. They are: Max Mendelsson, the “cool” dude who looks like Randal from Clerks had he had black hair; and Perry Barnett, school nerd. They get suspended for their dastardly deeds, then Perry is ran over by George Clooney! Well, Clooney is the passenger and his Jock Friend was driver. They argue with Our Heroes for a few.

Max and Perry convince some construction workers to dig up the wrong side of a street, and are sent to jail. John Ratzenberger from Cheers plays Perry’s father, and Mr. Mendelsson is played by Bernie Kopell of Love Boat fame, they are at the trial while Judge Sherman Hemsley sentences Our Heroes to military school.

At the school, Army Guy Jamie Farr notices some cadets are stealing things, but crazy paranoid General Woods is more worried about Commies arrive to steal things. General Woods is played by Robert Culp from I Spy and 6,000 bad movies afterwards, General Woods is the father of George Clooney’s character, Major Biff Woods (Biff?), which Our Heroes will be rooming with, along with one of Biff’s jock friends. As they are unimpressed with each other, tensions mount. Sgt. Andrea Pritchett (Played by Dana Hill — Audrey from National Lampoon’s European Vacation) is another cadet who has the hots for Biff’s jock friends, but the love is unrequited. Perry also manages to find a girl that doesn’t run away screaming from his nerdliness. Lunchtime shows the cadets eating in step, which Our Heroes reject.

Biff is the cadet stealing things, and he is spotted by Jamie Farr. Nothing of note happens though. Richard Moll (Night Court) plays crazy science teacher Colonel Long. Long’s son attends the school as well, he is played by Marc Price, Skippy from Family Ties. All of these guest stars have an discomforting effect on Our Heroes and they plan to escape before an episode of Circus of the Stars breaks out. How to escape, in an mid-80’s Police Academy rip off way? A prank medley to Burning Down the House! Goats, pepper, cannons, dinosaurs, chains, and ever growing turtles make up this batch of pranks. It backfires, as they are unable to be kicked out of the school (a la Mahoney in Police Academy)

The resulting non-expulsion causes Our Heroes to feud with each other, and Mendelsson also spars with Biff, leading to a fight in the courtyard which Mendelsson attends dressed like a Crazy Rambo and hops around like he’s on drugs.

The Russians arrive for some sort of exchange program, which I’m sure we did a lot of at military academies during the Cold War. Along with them is Elya Baskin playing an interpreter. Elya Baskin is in hundreds of movies that require a random Russian spy/terrorist/military guy/scientist. Mendelsson prepares for a dance, while the Drama-Llama hits Perry when he finds out his girlfriend has a boyfriend–and it isn’t him! Women. At the dance, Biff steals the watch of a Russian General, and Mendelsson takes the blame in a startling incorrect rendition of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Well, the Prisoner’s Dilemma doesn’t have much to do with this scene, I’m just improving the movie for you. This movie is improved significantly if you have the sound muted and you’re playing around on the internet. Biff confesses ten seconds later, and we find out Jamie Farr was covering for him as well (which was revealed earlier)

Biff loses command of the American side in the War Games that are to be played with the Russians, and his jerk friend gets command instead. Mendelsson gets Jerk Friend captured by the Russians, and convinces Biff to lead the troops anyway. Both the Russians and the Americans end up declaring peace in the War Games, which saves the day, every in happy, they sing and buy the world a Coke, Earth becomes Hippy fantasy land, Jimmy Hendricks rises from the dead to play a Woodstock revival, Tiny Tim will live, Old Yeller turns out to not have rabies and lives a long life, Solar Power becomes viable, and World Hunger is cured.

Actually, just Biff and his dad make up. Perry gets out of the school, and ends up getting the girl despite her having a pre-existing boyfriend. Mendelsson stays at the school, gets Andrea Pritchett, and ends the movie with a new prank, causing chaos once more, as the movie remembered it was supposed to be like Police Academy again in the last seconds.

This movie is nothing like Police Academy. It is not as good as Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment. It is not as good as Police Academy 3: Back in Training. It is not as good as Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. It is not as good as Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach. It is not as good as Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. It is not as good as Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow. It is about as good as Police Academy: The Series. But not as good as Police Academy: The Animated Series. The main problem with this movie is it is entirely forgettable, I’ve forgotten what happens already.

Rated 4/10 (freaky cadet, Prez George, Prez Ron, Reply of Tongue)

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