Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)

Director: Ken Finkleman
Cast: Robert Hays, Julie
Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Stephen Stucker, Chuck Conners and William Shatner

The very last thing I remember writing in my review for Airplane! was that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. This was before seeing Airplane II: The Sequel and it turns out I was explosively accurate with the statement.

The plot:
Ted Striker’s (Hays) luck hasn’t changed a bit. Having saved a plane full of passengers from their deaths and a lack of coffee in the first film, things were looking up. He even got the girl, Elaine (Julie Hagerty) as he departed the aircraft. And yet, he finds himself locked up in a lunatic asylum simply for passing negative judgement on revolutionary space shuttle, The Mayflower. Now, the Mayflower is launching into outer space. Cue computer malfunctions, romance, and William Shatner.

Airplane II: The Sequel  is every bit the cash-in that its title suggests. So much so, that I suspect this will be the shortest review I ever write. Essentially, what you have here is the exact same film that varies only slightly on puns, plot and cast. It borders on the offensive, given that one sketch sees a character have a flashback to the first film. The gag in this particular sketch is actually the exact same footage from the previous film. It is clear that, while the writers had great ideas for jokes in Airplane!, they had completely ran out of material by the time the end credits had rolled.

While it was never about the plot, it is painfully obvious that Airplane II is lazily re-telling the exact same story. Aside from the airplane being a space shuttle, there are virtually no differences at all. Striker still has the same problems with his girlfriend, despite winning her back at the end of the first film. The crew all become incapacitated again. And, surprise surprise, Striker has to land the plane/shuttle.

The iconic Leslie Nielson is replaced, somewhat, by one William Shatner as the central comedy figure of the film. And while he only arrives in the final act, he is admittedly well used, supplying some of the only decent original gags of the film. If there is any one reason to see Airplane II, it is to see him in action.

The jokes are largely repeated, most being only slightly varied versions from the first film. Aside from Shatner, the one thing the sequel has over the original is that Controller ‘Leon is getting laaaarrggerrr!’ Jacobs has more screen time in this one. However, it is still massively irksome that the very best gags in the film, e.g. Strikers drinking problem, are direct repeats, shot almost frame by frame identically from the original film.

Airplane II: The Sequel is a funny film, like the original. It has jokes aplenty, like the first film. It has an original and quirky sense of humour, like the first film. In case you can’t see what I’m getting at here, Airplane II is, in just about every respect, a recycled version of the original. This may appeal to some major fans of the first movie. But if all you want is the same jokes, doesn’t it make more sense to just watch the original again? The only way this could be properly enjoyed is by watching it in isolation, but with a title like The Sequel, it is unlikely that anyone will take this course of action.

Awful Rating: 4/10

(Jacobs, what have you got on Elaine Dickinson?)
“Well, I’m two inches taller, a better dancer, and much more fun to be with.” – Controller Jacobs

Shamelessly Awful Facts:

  • A friend once tried to show me a trailer of this film once. She searched YouTube for the guts of about twenty minutes, getting increasingly frustrated that she couldn’t find a video that didn’t have the sound removed. Eventually, she yelled angrily at the internet. I just didn’t have the heart to tell her the speakers were off.
Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 9:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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