"The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear"
"The Naked Gun Trilogy Disc 2"
Soundtrack Album Review Part 2
Music By Ira Newborn
La-La Land Records
28 Tracks/Disc Time: 57:32
Grade: B (BEST OF 2014)
Back in 1980, the comedy directing and writing team of Jerry Zucker, David Zucker and Jim Abrahams were coming off the success of hilarious and underrated "Kentucky Fried Movie" working with Director John Landis until the biggest surprise happend, "Airplane!" which was released during that Summer to become one of the years' biggest hits but also one of the greatest comedies ever made according to the American Film Institute. Due to their success on the film, they pooled their resources into what would be a great reviewed and hilarious comedy series on ABC that only lasted six episodes which would feature a scene stealing Leslie Nielsen from "Airplane!". "Police Squad" was a spoof of all of those cop buddy shows that were running rampid from late 60's to early 80's which starred Nielsen as the goofy and somewhat inept Lt.Frank Drebin who with his partner (Alan North) would solve crimes all throughout Los Angeles despite how silly and bizzare they were. ABC pulled the plug as they did with many series in during that time including "Bosom Buddies" starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scorlari after two seasons, "Working Stiffs" featuring the debuts of both Michael Keaton and Jim Belushi and many other shows.After scoring some success with the hilarious WW2 spoof "Top Secret!" starring Val Kilmer, the troupe would go back to "Police Squad" to revive it as a film with Nielsen returning to reprise his now famous character.
After "The Naked Gun" was released during Christmas 1988 to a surprise blockbuster success, it was all but assured that Paramount had a potential franchise in its hands and with that, "Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear" was spawned. Released three years after its hit predecessor, the sequel featured the return of Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) Lt. Frank Drebbin returning to save the day once again with the help of his inept Captain Hockin (George Kennedy). When a top scientist Dr. Mainheimer is about to publish his report on energy supply for the future, things don't look good for the traditional suppliers; oil, coal and nuclear. To save their industries, the suppliers kidnap Mainheimer and replace him with a decoy with a more favorable report. At the head of this conspiracy is millionare Quentin Hapsberg (singer Robert Goulet, who originally appeared as one of the "six" special guests that were killed off during the original "Police Squad" episodes) who happens to be the boyfriend of his former love, Jane Drebin (Priscilla Presley), now a full blown redhead and also happens to be Dr. Manheimer's secretary. After rekindling his love for Jane (including a great spoof of the hit film, "Ghost"), Frank and company must rescue Manheimer, reveal the imposter and stop Hapsberg from starting a disaster. The film was just as big of a hit during the Summer of 1991 as the original one was and was assured that yet another sequel would be in the works.
Along for this fun ride and has been since the television series is Composer Ira Newborn, who scored the original “Police Squad” episodes and creating a very memorable main theme. Newborn would go on the score John Hughes’ hit films “Sixteen Candles”, “Weird Science”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Planes, Trains & Automobiles and “Uncle Buck”. Newborn would re-team with The Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams for a reunion for “The Naked Gun” providing one of the 80’s best comedy scores as well his chance to really shine using a wonderful big band approach that would give the series its' signature sound featuring two great distinctive themes in "Drebin The Hero" and the classic "Main Title" music that is pure wonderful big band that Glenn Miller would've been proud of.
The score to "Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear" is a little more broad and expansive than the original with a little more emphasis on urgent suspense material, but definitely keeps what made the original score so brilliant. Leading off is Newborn's material for Drebin's attempts to foil the plot which results in well, not so positive results at first which has Newborn ramping up action, suspense and slapstick all at the same time. Highlighted by the tracks "Transition To Wharf/Bad Boys & Meinheimers", "We Got Work to Do/Nordberg Plants The Bug", "Frank Moves In/Frank’s Bust Is Busted", "Introducing Dr. Meinheimer/He Can Walk/I’m Tired of Being The Sting King/We’ll See About This", and "Roof, Roof!" which have the sound and feel as Newborn's music for the 1990 action-comedy "Short Time" starring Dabney Coleman, but it is much more balanced and energetic. Newborn also touches upon the love theme for Frank and Jane as well as some wonderful sultry jazz in "Hey Look At These/We Don’t Have Any Kids/Transition To Blue Note Bar", "The Date/Ba Ba Ba Again" and "Staying Here With You/A Real Bomb" that I wish was touched upon a little more in this score. The score ends with the audacious and memorable "Intro To Ozone Layer/I Want A World/End Credits" that reprises the main theme in a more romantic and slower vain leading up to the more uptempo big band jazz version that we're used to hearing.
La-La Land's latest release which features all three complete scores from the films for the first time ever after being released in a brief CD featuring music from the first two films by Varese Sarabande in 1991. While this score isn't quite as good as the original, but there is plenty to like here and watching Newborn really expanding his musical pallette is a great thing to see and always great to hear. This set is a wonderful package of CD's that really were a long time in coming for a series of films that really are still some of the well written and feature some hilarious gags and Nielsen became a comedy legend because of it. Twenty years later, "The Naked Gun" films still hold their own with the best of them. Ira Newborn's music is still a classic and really deserves even more attention now as it did back then. Thumbs up for this score! Big thumbs up for this box set!