I love spoof movies, but not what they’ve become. A genre once defined by Airplane!” and “Blazing Saddles” has deteriorated into crapitude like “Epic Movie,” “Meet The Spartans” and “Disaster Movie.” There’s nowhere left to go, except a parody called “Spoof Movie” I guess. Off and on, I’d heard talk of doing a fourth “Naked Gun” movie, but none of it really seemed to go anywhere. The last one “Naked Gun 33⅓” underperformed and everybody only really liked the first film. On every level, it seemed like a bad idea, especially since Leslie Nielsen is ninetysomething, so I was pretty surprised to read a rave review at www.hollywoodelsewhere.com for a script called “THE NAKED GUN: WHAT 4? THE RHYTHM OF EVIL.” It wasn’t written by anyone involved with the original films, usually not a good sign, but it is written by the same guy that created the TV series “ Sledge Hammer!” so he s got some spoof cred. I was able to get my hands on the script and was pretty skeptical… until I started reading it. THE NAKED GUN: WHAT 4? reinvents the premise and is as funny as the first film and better than the other two sequels. NG4 takes “The Files of Police Squad” and shifts it into the gritty, super violent world of contemporary “bad cop” movies like “Training Day,” “Internal Affairs,” “Dark Blue” and “The Departed.” Police corruption in Los Angeles is shown as out of control with cops snatching purses, highway patrolmen accepting credit cards and one section of the city literally transformed into a “Grand Theft Auto” video game. Everyone wonders how you can make a “Naked Gun” movie without mentioning O.J. and the screenplay addresses this head on and rather brilliantly within the first three pages. Without giving too much away, the character of Nordberg and Simpson’s fa tes paralle l each other pretty closely. An ambitious Commissioner decides the only way to save the city is to reactivate the long inactive Police Squad, a division with a reputation similar to “The Untouchables,” and calls a retired Frank Drebin for guidance. Drebin initially thinks he’s being called back to active duty. He’s excited: “I can still do everything I did thirty years ago… just slower and with more mistakes,” but instead gets persuaded to name a successor. Throughout, Drebin is depicted like Obi Wan and even offers some early voice over narration but has to stop because the entire city can hear it. A young detective named Vince Conklin arrives on the scene. He’s Drebin ’s pick, a guy who quit a promising career in law enforcement and no one knows why, including Conklin as he has a void in his memory, a mystery that gets revealed, and he’s teamed with an Internal Affairs investigator, Lt. Erica Litvak, to handpick uncorrupted people to comprise Police Squad 2.0. The script features the requisite rapid-fire jokes and sight gags one would expect from “The Naked Gun,” the formula the beloved ZAZ team defined, but also has a very different level of satire and social commentary throughout. There’s a dig at the last “Die Hard” movie as anytime a character says “fuck” the word gets conveniently clipped off by either a gunshot or car horn. A marquee at a Magic Johnson movie theater reads: “Indiana Jones & The All White Cast.” There are cameos, like Gordon Ramsey wigging out about food on a plane and leading a “United 93” charge of the cockpit. The TV shows “CSI” and “Law & Order” get lampooned with an interrogation scene so dimly20lit no one can find the door at the end, as well as a hot female coroner that performs an autopsy that goes gorily wrong. There seems to be a shot taken in the direction of “24” with a split screen sequence that shows inconsequential stuff happening as well as a scene from another movie entirely. Besides the high batting average for laughs, ultimately what makes the screenplay work is that it features an actual story with a real investigation and a twist ending. It’s a real whodunit. Similar to the first “Naked Gun,” Conklin gets romantically involved with the main female character and discovers she might have ties to the bad guys. I actually cared about the resolution, which surprised me. Probably the biggest surp rise is this script appears to have been written for Paramount’s DVD division, either that or it got shifted over since so many spoof movies have bombed. This shouldn’t be the case for this one not just because of an inspired script, but also because the legacy of “The Naked Gun” deserves better. While anything called __________ Movie should be flushed, “The Naked Gun: What 4?” is the shit. It restores quality control to a badly damaged genre and reboots a much loved film series.