The Final ‘Police Academy’ Movie Was Filmed in a Political War Zone

The ‘Mission to Moscow’ didn’t go so smoothly
The Final ‘Police Academy’ Movie Was Filmed in a Political War Zone

Back when America found the idea of dangerously incompetent law enforcement officers positively hilarious, Hollywood just kept churning out Police Academy sequels. All-in-all, we got a total of seven movies in just 10 years. The final entry in the franchise, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, found Commandant Lassard and his gang of bumbling cops taking on a Russian mob boss that wants to take over the world with a Tetris-like game. Yeah, even the video game that literally just involved guiding colorful shapes wasn’t immune from scaremongering in the ‘90s. 

Despite the fact that it was a massive financial disaster, and reviled by most critics, Mission to Moscow was somewhat historic. Following the collapse of the Soviet Unionthe seventh Police Academy movie became one of the first Hollywood productions to film on location in Russia.

Yeah, for some reason the same franchise that Steve Guttenberg thought he was too good for went to painstaking lengths for the sake of geographical accuracy. Unfortunately for the cast and crew, their shoot was interrupted by the 1993 Russian Constitutional Crisis, in which Boris Yeltsin shelled the Russian parliament building following his impeachment, and clashes between protesters and police resulted in the “deadliest single event of street fighting in Moscow’s history since the Revolutions of 1917.”

While this bloody moment in Russian history was taking place, the 52 people making Police Academy 7 were forced to halt working on their goofy-ass movie and hole up in hotel rooms for safety reasons. As actor and sound effects whiz Michael Winslow recalled, “There are not a lot of folks who can brag about hanging out in Moscow during a revolution. It was my first revolution. Hopefully my last revolution.”

When filming resumed, things still didn’t go smoothly. According to producer Paul Maslansky, the crew was turned away from an airport where they had previously been given permission to shoot due to the “state of emergency.” Worse, there was a “tense” day of filming at a cemetery where the “dead from the civil disturbance were being buried.” Yeah, just when you thought Police Academy 7 couldn’t get any less funny. 

More nerve-racking still, one day Winslow had to perform a scene in which he makes dog noises and screams Russian expletives while riding a bicycle in Gorky Park. The set was suddenly “surrounded” by military vehicles. Mysterious men in trench coats rushed to Winslow and scanned his body. It turned out that his wireless microphone was set to the same frequency as the military’s walkie-talkies, and he had been inadvertently broadcasting his offensive hijinks. 

Thankfully the Russians were familiar with the Police Academy series, and nobody went to jail for making a movie that currently has a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

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