The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

Hapless cop Frank Drebin causes more problems than he solves while trying to stop a deadly plot involving Queen Elizabeth II.

Year: 1988
Certificate: 15
Runtime: 1hr 25m
Director: David Zucker
Starring: Leslie NielsenPriscilla PresleyGeorge KennedyRicardo MontalbanO.J. SimpsonRaye BirkSusan BeaubianNancy Marchand

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After a rather crappy couple of weeks I fancied watching something a bit more lighthearted and something relatively short. I decided to make use of The Randomiser and came across the 1988 comedy “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!”. It’s been years since I saw this and had fond memories of watching this type of film as a family growing up – so I thought, why not?

The film opens in Beirut where a conglomerate of America’s enemies (Colonel Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev, and some others I didn’t recognise) are in a meeting discussing how to carry out a humiliating terrorist attack on the USA. Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is also there on holiday and ends up foiling their plan. Cue a humorous slapstick fight with lots of visual gags as Drebin vanquishes America’s foes. Jumping back to America and we see Officer Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) as he attempts a drug bust in a Los Angeles harbour owned by Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban) that doesn’t quite go to plan and the owner manages to escape. As in Beirut, there is lots of slapstick action as well as visual gags and a few puns thrown in for good measure.

The opening scenes of “The Naked Gun”, as it is usually shortened to, set the tone of the rest of the film. It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s very visual, but it is, in essence, a crime film – a silly one, but a crime film nonetheless. The film is a spin-off/continuation of the popular 1982 series “Police Squad!” but it doesn’t need any prior knowledge of the show.

The plot, of the film, as you may be able to guess, is also somewhat absurd: Queen Elizabeth II is visiting Los Angeles and Drebin learns of a plot for Ludwig to assassinate her by using a mind-control. Drebin and his team must try to find a way to stop the assassination at any cost. What follows is an amusing police story with a few twists and turns alongside some fun action scenes and lots of slapstick comedy and visuals.

Overall, “The Naked Gun” is a fairly easy and enjoyable watch but with the amount of visual gags it is something you need to actually watch and I don’t think it would work were you just ‘watching’ it as a background film. It has an interesting story that’s not too complex and fits in well with the film’s police comedy stylings. Speaking of comedy, the comedy isn’t necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, but it is certainly humorous and there’s plenty of it throughout to make it worthwhile.

Note: In the UK the film is rated 15 (last rated in 2011) but I honestly think it would be suitable for 12+. There’s a bit of innuendo and a bit of violence (but even that’s so over the top you can’t really take it seriously). 

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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