Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult [DVD]
Screenplay : David Zucker & Pat Proft and Robert LoCash
MPAA Rating : PG-13
Year of Release : 1994
Stars : Leslie Nielsen (Lt. Frank Drebin), Priscilla Presley (Jane Spencer-Drebin), George Kennedy (Capt. Ed Hocken), O.J. Simpson (Nordberg), Fred Ward (Rocco Dillon), Kathleen Freeman (Muriel Dillon), Anna Nicole Smith (Tanya Peters), Ellen Greene (Louise), Ed Williams (Ted)
"Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" opens with what is perhaps the most inspired sequence in the entire series: an outrageous parody of the shoot-out in the Chicago train station from Brian De Palma's "The Untouchables" (1987). Those who have seen "The Untouchables" remember the train station scene as the center piece of the film, a brilliant slow-motion homage to Eisenstein's infamous Odessa Steps sequence in "Battleship Potemkin" (1921). In "Naked Gun 33 1/3," one baby cart rolling down the steps is replaced with no less than four, and the Mafia gangsters are joined by a Middle Eastern terrorist, the President and the Pope running for their lives, and an army of machine-gun-wielding disgruntled postal workers.
And, at the center of it all once again, is Lt. Frank Drebin, played by Leslie Nielsen for the third time (not counting the ill-fated 1982 TV series "Police Squad!" on which the films are based). Lt. Drebin is just as we remember him, except in this outing he has retired from Police Squad and is settling down in his marriage with long-time girlfriend Jane (Priscilla Presley), who is now a lawyer. This means that Drebin has become a homemaker, and the film has fun showing the various disasters he causes at the grocery store and his newfound occupation of ironing, folding laundry, cleaning the house, and making cupcakes (in a frilly apron 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 come out of retirement to go undercover to find out what terrorist Rocco Dillon (Fred Ward) is planning. This sets up a series of undercover gags, the first of which involves Drebin going to a clinic to find out what Rocco's girlfriend, Tanya (voluptuous Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith) knows, only to find out that he's at a fertility clinic and sperm bank. The results 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 serial killer named "The Slasher" McGerk. The film climaxes in typical "Naked Gun" fashion with Drebin trying desperately to foil Rocco's plans in a very public arena (this time, the Academy Awards). The location allows for a gaggle of celebrity cameos (including Olympia Dukakis, Raquel Welch, and James Earl Jones, who gets the funniest line in the movie), not to 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 the third 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 ("Nutty Professor II") and took a less prominent role as co-writer and co-producer. Segal does a good job of maintaining the manic energy and nonstop assault of gags and puns that characterized the earlier films. His entry in the series is heaviest on the slapstick comedy and movie spoofs (in addition to "The Untouchables," "The Crying Game," "Saturday Night Fever," "Jurassic Park," and "Thelma & Louise" are all lampooned with varying degrees of success).
Yet, the jokes just aren't quite as funny, and the story doesn't have many places to go. In fact, 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 Drebin stumble his way through solving another master-plot crime has its share of enjoyment, but is also has a distinctly been-there-done-that feel that won't go away.
|Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult DVD|
|Audio||Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround|
Dolby 2.0 Surround
|Languages||English (5.1, 2.0) |
|Extras||Audio commentary by director Peter Segal, producers David Zucker and Robert Weiss, and associate producer Michael Ewing|
Original theatrical trailer
|Of the three "Naked Gun" DVDs, this third installment has the best 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 grain in the darker sequences. Colors are also sharp and lively, with good saturation and no bleeding. Detail level is good, especially with the benefit of anamorphic enhancement.|
|Like "Naked Gun 2 1/2," this disc offers an audio choice between a newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and a standard Dolby 2.0 surround track. Once again, there is not a great deal of difference between them, although this soundtrack is generally more lively than the first two, with greater surround effects and directionality. This is especially true of the opening train station shoot-out sequence, where the sound effects are nicely separated to create an enveloping sensation. Ira Newborn's score is again the highlight of the soundtrack. A French 2.0 soundtrack is also included.|
|The scene-specific running audio commentary is switched up this time by dropping host Peter Tilden and adding director Peter Segal and associate producer Michael 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 of the first two commentaries applies here as well: It is generally very funny, with the participants 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 not notice the first time. Overall, it is a very enjoyable commentary, and the participants play off each other well. The disc also includes the original theatrical trailer in anamorphic widescreen.|
©2000 James Kendrick