On November 28, 2010, Leslie Nielsen died of complications from pneumonia in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Yahoo! News states that Nielsen was Canadian.
Nielsen’s “Naked Gun” character Lieutenant Detective Frank Drebin was originated on the short-lived television comedy “Police Squad.” Lieutenant Drebin works closely with Captain Ed Hocken (George Kennedy) and Detective Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) to solve crimes. Along with other crime fighting personal, the team is known as Police Squad! A special police department branch that is full of buffoons and idiots who can’t figure out how a paper bag gets wet. That’s what makes this comedy movie trilogy so funny.
Frank Drebin is the biggest buffoon of them all. In honor of Leslie Nielsen, this article will review all three “Naked Gun” movies.
“The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad”
The first “Naked Gun” begins in Beirut. Lieutenant Frank Drebin foils a plot to attack America. In Los Angeles, Detective Nordberg attempts to bust a drug operation on the docks that is run by Vincent Ludwig. Nordberg failed and got shot multiple times by Ludwig’s dealers.
Drebin races back to L.A. to investigate Nordberg’s shooting and bust the drug ring. Drebin’s head clears from his usual fog and actually follows a clue to Ludwig’s shipping company. During his investigation, Drebin meets and falls in love with Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), Ludwig’s assistant. Also during the investigation, Drebin stumbles upon Ludwig’s plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II (Jeannette Charles). Drebin foils Ludwig’s plot at a baseball game and asked Jane to marry him in the end. It was really quite cute.
“The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear”
“The Naked Gun 2 1/2” starts with Frank Drebin being honored at the White House for shooting 1,000 of drug dealers during his illustrious career. During the dinner, President George Bush Sr. announced that his new energy program would be based on Dr. Albert Meinheimer’s research. The heads of coal, nuclear, and oil industries are upset at this turn of events.
Next we catch up with Jane Spencer. She works for Dr. Meinheimer at his research institute. Jane is crying over Frank. Apparently, they never got married and experienced a very nasty break up. During her cry fest, Jane sees a man running to a red van. A few minutes later a bomb goes off.
Police Squad is called in to investigate the explosion. Frank is shocked to see Jane and is less than thrilled to meet her new boyfriend Quentin Hapsburg. He’s intelligent and suave. The funny face Drebin pales in comparison. However, Hapsburg isn’t as good and charming as he pretends to be. Hapsburg kidnaps Dr. Meinheimer and hired a double to take his place. Hapsburg is in cahoots with the heads of the oil, nuclear, and coal industries. These guys changed Dr. Meinheimer’s speech to the president to endorse fossil and nuclear fuels instead of solar energy.
“The Naked Gun 2 1/2” ends with a happily ever after between Jane and Frank and Mrs. Bush hanging off a balcony in her slip.
“The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult”
When they gave this movie the subtitle “The Final Insult” they weren’t kidding. This is where the movie series goes downhill. This installment is missing the comedic timing, subtle sexual innuendos, and a simple plot. “The Naked Gun 33 1/3” suffers from TMSGO. Too Much Stuff Going On. Instead of this movie being partly character driven like the first two, it is plot driven just to give famous people a bigger cameo in the movie.
In “Naked Gun 33 1/3” Jane and Frank are married. Jane Spencer Drebin is a lawyer who is desperate to have a baby. Frank Drebin retired from police work to become a househusband. Why don’t you just give Drebin a razor and he can shave his on boys off? He’s cooking cupcakes and ironing for God’s sake!
Luckily, Ed and Nordberg ask Frank to help them on an investigation. Rocco Dillon, an escaped convict, was hired by a guy to conduct a terrorist attack on the U.S. Ed and Nordberg wants Frank to follow figure out where Dillon and his gang would strike. Jane finds out about this and leaves Frank. She didn’t want him doing police work anymore.
In the first two “Naked Guns” the romantic chemistry between Presley and Nielsen is quite extraordinary. He had to be 20 years older than Presley, yet they executed cute, funny, and sometimes sizzling scenes. Unfortunately, that chemistry was lost in 33 1/3. The writers changed the characters too much. Jane lost that independent, yet sexy damsel in distress quality and Frank just lost his…um scruples lets say. The audience is cheated out of plot driven jokes with Ed and Nordberg. It’s only at the end of the movie when you see resemblances of good “Naked Gun” quality material.
Despite the fact that “The Naked Gun 33 1/3” wasn’t as good as the movies before it, Leslie Nielsen did a good acting job with what he was given to work with. Nielsen always proved to be a good sport.
Frank Drebin: He’s a Bad Mother…
“The Naked Gun” movies are no longer made, but Frank Drebin was never forgotten. Nielsen has played Drebin on various programs. In 1994, Frank and Ed appeared on WWE’s SummerSlam pay per view. Nelson also portrayed Frank Drebin in a Monday Night Football promo.
Let this be a warning to Hollywood. No one does Frank Drebin better than Leslie Nielsen. Nobody. Let it rest. Don’t even think about doing a remake of the “Naked Gun” movies. True, the third one wasn’t as good, but leave it alone anyway. Leslie Neilson and Frank Drebin are like Clark Gable and Rhett Butler. Let the magic live on through old clips.
“The Naked Gun”: The Bottom Line Review
All three “Naked Guns” are not child viewing friendly. Cursing is practically non-existent, but the sexual hinted jokes are definitely present. The sexual jokes aren’t overly vulgar, but they do approach the borderline sometimes.
The only time a sexual joke went too far was in “The Naked Gun 33 1/3” when Anna Nicole Smith took off her evening gown. You could tell where all the parts were in the silhouette. Especially a curved part down below that had no business being there. Poor Frank Drebin saw it and threw up in a tuba. By the way, a guy was playing the tuba at the time. Gross.
However, “The Naked Gun” and “The Naked Gun 2 1/2” are good comedy movies to watch on a fun date night at home with your spouse.
“Leslie Nielsen Dies of Pneumonia Complications at 84,” Yahoo! News.
“The Naked Gun,” Wikipedia.
“Lieutenant Frank Drebin,” Wikipedia.