Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
Director: Peter Segal
Screenplay:David Zucker & Pat Proft and Robert LoCash
Stars: Leslie Nielsen (Lt. Frank Drebin), Priscilla Presley (Jane Spencer-Drebin), George Kennedy(Capt. Ed Hocken), O.J. Simpson (Nordberg), Fred Ward (Rocco Dillon), KathleenFreeman (Muriel Dillon), Anna Nicole Smith (Tanya Peters), Ellen Greene (Louise), EdWilliams (Ted)
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Year of Release: 1994
Country: USA
Naked Gun 33 1/3 Poster

"Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" opens with what is perhaps the most inspiredsequence in the entire series: an outrageous parody of the shoot-out in the Chicago trainstation from Brian De Palma's "The Untouchables" (1987). Those who have seen "TheUntouchables" remember the train station scene as the center piece of the film, a brilliantslow-motion homage to Eisenstein's infamous Odessa Steps sequence in "BattleshipPotemkin" (1921). In "Naked Gun 33 1/3," one baby cart rolling down the steps is replacedwith no less than four, and the Mafia gangsters are joined by a Middle Eastern terrorist, thePresident and the Pope running for their lives, and an army of machine-gun-wieldingdisgruntled postal workers.

And, at the center of it all once again, is Lt. Frank Drebin, played by Leslie Nielsen for thethird time (not counting the ill-fated 1982 TV series "Police Squad!" on which the films arebased). Lt. Drebin is just as we remember him, except in this outing he has retired fromPolice Squad and is settling down in his marriage with long-time girlfriend Jane (PriscillaPresley), who is now a lawyer. This means that Drebin has become a homemaker, and thefilm has fun showing the various disasters he causes at the grocery store and his newfoundoccupation of ironing, folding laundry, cleaning the house, and making cupcakes (in a frillyapron with pink fuzzy slippers, no less).

Of course, Drebin can't be kept in the kitchen forever, and his old friends on the force,Capt. Ed Hocken (George Kennedy) and Nordberg (O.J. Simpson), convince him to comeout of retirement to go undercover to find out what terrorist Rocco Dillon (Fred Ward) isplanning. This sets up a series of undercover gags, the first of which involves Drebin goingto a clinic to find out what Rocco's girlfriend, Tanya (voluptuous Playboy Playmate AnnaNicole Smith) knows, only to find out that he's at a fertility clinic and sperm bank. Theresults are predictably vulgar (it even includes a sheep joke), but still funny.

Drebin then goes undercover in prison, where he convinces Rocco that he is actually a serialkiller named "The Slasher" McGerk. The film climaxes in typical "Naked Gun" fashionwith Drebin trying desperately to foil Rocco's plans in a very public arena (this time, theAcademy Awards). The location allows for a gaggle of celebrity cameos (including OlympiaDukakis, Raquel Welch, and James Earl Jones, who gets the funniest line in the movie), notto mention a hysterical musical number by Pia Zadora that Drebin turns into a disaster(Zadora winds up stuck in a tuba).

While "Naked Gun 33 1/3" has its share of solid laughs, it still feels a bit lacking. By thethird outing, you can sense that the filmmakers are getting a bit desperate. David Zucker,who directed the first two movies, turned the directing reins over to Peter Segal ("NuttyProfessor II") and took a less prominent role as co-writer and co-producer. Segal does agood job of maintaining the manic energy and nonstop assault of gags and puns thatcharacterized the earlier films. His entry in the series is heaviest on the slapstick comedyand movie spoofs (in addition to "The Untouchables," "The Crying Game," "SaturdayNight Fever," "Jurassic Park," and "Thelma & Louise" are all lampooned with varyingdegrees of success).

Yet, the jokes just aren't quite as funny, and the story doesn't have many places to go. Infact, the domestic scenes with Frank and Jane (especially their trip to a marriage counselor)are some of the funniest in the movie simply because they feel fresh. Watching Drebinstumble his way through solving another master-plot crime has its share of enjoyment, butis also has a distinctly been-there-done-that feel that won't go away.

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final InsultDVD

AudioDolby Digital 5.1Surround
Dolby 2.0 Surround
LanguagesEnglish (5.1, 2.0)
French (2.0)
ExtrasAudio commentary by directorPeter Segal, producers David Zucker and Robert Weiss, and associate producer MichaelEwing
Original theatrical trailer

Of the three "Naked Gun" DVDs, this third installment has thebest image quality. While the first two films were somewhat grainy,"Naked Gun 33 1/3" has a distinctively smoother picture quality, with only a hint of grainin the darker sequences. Colors are also sharp and lively, with good saturation and nobleeding. Detail level is good, especially with the benefit of anamorphicenhancement.

Like "Naked Gun 2 1/2," this disc offers an audio choice betweena newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and a standard Dolby 2.0 surroundtrack. Once again, there is not a great deal of difference between them, although thissoundtrack is generally more lively than the first two, with greater surround effects anddirectionality. This is especially true of the opening train station shoot-out sequence,where the sound effects are nicely separated to create an enveloping sensation. IraNewborn's score is again the highlight of the soundtrack. A French 2.0 soundtrack is alsoincluded.

The scene-specific running audio commentary is switched up thistime by dropping host Peter Tilden and adding director Peter Segal and associate producerMichael Ewing to the line-up that also includes producers David Zucker and Robert Weiss,both of whom contributed to the commentaries on the first two films,. What was true ofthe first two commentaries applies here as well: It is generally very funny, with theparticipants making a lot of jokes and spending a lot of time pointing out who people are(many family members are included) and small jokes and sight gags that you might notnotice the first time. Overall, it is a very enjoyable commentary, and the participants playoff each other well. The disc also includes the original theatrical trailer in anamorphicwidescreen.

©2000 James Kendrick

Overall Rating: (2.5)

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