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Soundtrack review: Police Academy (Robert Folk, 1984, 2014)

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Soundtrack review: Police Academy (Robert Folk, 1984, 2014)


80s weekend time, and I feel it’s only fair to talk about the score that launched the other most famous comedy franchise started in the 1980’s: Police Academy. Again, after many many years of wishing and waiting, La La Land records released Robert Folk’s score for the first movie and it’s a real treat for the fans.
Silly, inept and sometimes even offensive as the first movie was, I loved it growing up. I had fun with the characters, and I think I know “Police academy” by heart. I especially liked Steve Guttenberg’s character, Mahoney, and I liked to pretend I was him when I was playing. He was a smart ass. I can actually still remember conversations we used to have at school, in the fifth or sixth grade, about this movie.
Regardless of how the movie is viewed or remembered, the main theme is awesome. It’s so awesome that I have never forgotten it since I first heard it. The “Police academy march” is jolly, it’s catchy, it’s downright infectious, and I would name it among the first if I was asked about my top 10 themes from the 1980s. Robert Folk is one of the most underrated composers in the business, and I have to admit that only after getting hooked on the “Police academy theme” I started discovering his other scores.
I think that just like me, all the fans of the movie will be especially happy  with this release because it also includes, as a bonus,  “El bimbo”, the tango played at the infamous Blue Oyster bar, in one of the most recognizable and funniest scenes of the movie. That’s a scene I still remember today while talking to my friends, not just when I was in grade school. The rest of the score is mostly very short cues (under two minutes) and the main theme comes back very often. For me, that’s OK, because I never get tired of it. For others, it might get a little repetitive and boring at some point.
But fear not. There’s music to enjoy also when the march isn’t present. There’s the almost period sounding “Jam up”, which makes me think of Peter Sellers movies. And then, towards the end of this release, are the “riot cues”. It’s a sweet funky, period, it includes the tracks “Riot gear”, “Sob”, “Match” and “Where’s Harris”, and they are all awesome, a bonanza of early 1980s funk action music. They make me think of the music Quentin Tarantino sometimes likes to use in his movies, he had a bunch of similar mood in “Kill Bill” for example.
This score, especially the main theme, is part of my childhood, and this release is truly a wonderful gift for all the fans of the movie.
My ratings:
Cue rating: 82 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 26 / 43
Album excellence: 62%
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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