Arnold Schwarzenegger goes undercover as a preschool teacher to find a dangerous criminal in Kindergarten Cop, the opposite of 2017’s Aftermath in which he tracks down a man in witness relocation to murder him.
Like everything involving Schwarzenegger, this film is extremely strange; a creepy mismatch of family comedy and violent crime that could only have seemed like a good idea in 1990. Ping-ponging between kids being cute and Arnie threatening them with violence, it covers murder, child abuse, drug deals, kidnapping and at least one lingering shot of a corpse. Fortunately the mood is lightened by plot points involving food poisoning and a ferret, mercifully not in combination.
That it’s still easily the best of the Ivan Reitman/Arnold Schwarzenegger trilogy speaks volumes about Twins and Junior. Not only is Schwarzenegger much more convincing as a goofy police officer (despite the glued-on facial hair) than a scientist or genius, Kindergarten Cop even has funny moments – some of which are actually intentional. The flimsy premise sets up some classic Arnie quotes and amusing interactions with the children, whom he endangers by his presence and running around the school brandishing a gun.
Despite the typically awful romance and weird nonsensical plot (why does he use his real name when he’s undercover?), the solid jokes and Arnie’s eccentricity make Kindergarten Cop tonally confused but surprisingly enjoyable.