It is a sad day when I realize that my tastes have changed in some aspects. Take comedy for instance. Some movies I will always find funny, like Airplane or Hot Fuzz, but there are others that I might have found hilarious as a kid but just don’t seem to be as funny now. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t funny movies on the whole, but that some parts just aren’t as funny the second time watching. Lucky for me, parodies tend to be immune from that because their humor is a mix of slapstick and subtle references. Take today’s movie for instance. Is it an Academy Award winning? Of course not, but Hot Shots! Part Deux does provide for some laughs, which is all that I ask.
The plot: A special forces team is sent to Iraq to rescue soldiers that were captured during Operation Desert Storm, as well as assassinate Saddam Hussein. As the team splits up into two groups to accomplish their tasks, they find themselves ambushed by Iraqi soldiers, who were waiting for them, and they are all captured except for the team leader, who mysteriously disappeared. Back in the US, the news reports discuss the failed mission and comment on how it is hurting President Tug Benson’s lead over his presidential opponent. At the White House, Benson is discussing the matter with Colonel Denton Walters and CIA Director Michelle Huddleston and they believe that someone is trying to sabotage their missions. Michelle recommends Walters lead the next mission and suggests that they recruit Topper Harley to join him. Benson agrees to it and Walters and Michelle head to Thailand, where Topper now lives after quitting the Navy. They find Topper participating in an underground fight and after the fight, head to the monastery that he lives at to speak with him. Walters and Michelle talk to Topper about the mission but Topper refuses to go, saying his war is over. Walters speaks to Topper alone (leaving Michelle to be entertained by the monks, who are vying for her attention) and tells Topper that he needs to stop running from the fact that Ramada left him and become the warrior he was meant to be, but Topper still refuses. As Topper watches them leave, he thinks back to his time with Ramada and the last dinner that they had together before they were set to move to the countryside. 2 weeks later, Walters is captured ad tortured by the Iraqis and Topper sees a televised video of Walters speaking on behalf of the Iraqi government. Topper heads to Washington, where Benson is hosting a state dinner for the Japanese Prime Minister and ends up throwing up in his lap. After speaking with Benson about the mission, Topper and Michelle head back to her place to discuss the mission details. They start making out in the limo, with the limo driver watching and filming it, and end up having sex at her place, with the limo driver continuing to watch them. The next day, Michelle says that she has fallen in love with Topper but Topper is still distracted by his feelings for Ramada. Topper and Michelle head to the staging area and meet up with Harbinger (the team leader from the previous mission), Williams (their communication officer), and Rabinowitz (their demolitions expert). Receiving word that the prisoners are being moved, the team prepares to leave and Michelle says she will meet them at the rendezvous point but before they leave, she gives Topper her lucky mole to wear and kisses him goodbye. After jumping out of their plane into the jungle, they make their way to meet up with their contact, Bench Press. Topper sees a masked individual making his way through the trees and goes to confront him but after a brief fight, the individual is revealed to be Ramada, who happens to be Bench Press. Ramada and Topper comment about the last time they saw each other but Ramada says Topper has changed, commenting on the mole which Topper quickly takes off and puts in his pocket. Realizing that they are running late, Ramada leads them on a shortcut to a fishing boat which they can use to head downstream. While riding in the boat, Ramada approaches Topper and explains that she was married before she had met him and when she received word that her husband was still alive, she was ordered not to tell anyone, which is why she stood him up at the train station. When an enemy patrol boat shows up and goes to inspect their boat, the men all work to act as fishermen but Topper notices that Harbinger has disappeared. The soldiers start to leave but when they notice the disguised Ramada entering the ladies restroom, they begin shooting at the team. Topper and the others fire back but Topper tells everyone to swim for shore while he holds them off, managing to kill the enemy soldiers before the ship is blown up and he is sent flying. When Benson receives word that Topper’s team has come under fire, he decides to head up a support mission himself to rescue everyone. Ramada and the others make it to shore, followed by Topper and Ramada goes to bandage Topper’s wounds but while she does this, Topper questions Harbinger about his disappearance, suspecting him of being the saboteur. As they head for the prison camp, Ramada notices the mole had fallen out of Topper’s pocket and she places it in her coin purse. At the prison camp, Topper goes to silence the perimeter guard when Ramada stops him and tells him that one of the prisoners is the renown freedom fighter Dexter Hayman, who also happens to be her husband. After making their way inside the prison camp, the quietly take out some of the guards and locate Walters but just as they manage to free him, the guard wakes up and sounds the alarm as Walters takes him out. Topper and his team start killing the soldiers as they work on rescuing the prisoners and Topper finds Harbinger hiding behind some crates. Topper accuses Harbinger of being the saboteur but Harbinger says he has simply lost his will to kill anymore but after a pep talk from Topper, he regains his fighting spirit and leaps back into the fight. Meanwhile, Benson and two SEALS are making their way underwater towards the palace and hear the fire fight going on. When a patrol boat appears above them, they are forced to stop but Benson ends up farting and when the gas reaches the surface, it knocks out the soldiers on the boat. Topper continues to kill the enemy soldiers (with a body count tracker eventually reporting this to be the bloodiest movie of all time) but as the last of the prisoners are freed, they learn that Dexter is being held at the palace. Topper tells Ramada to lead the others to the rendezvous point while he goes after Dexter. Making his way inside the palace, Topper encounters Saddam, who threatens to shoot Topper but Topper manages to disarm him. Drawing swords, the two begin dueling, with Topper’s sword getting broken and forcing him to use a cordless phone with the antennae extended to fight. As Saddam gets the upper hand, President Benson arrives and takes over fighting Saddam while Topper goes to free Dexter. Topper locates Dexter and find that Dexter is unable to move due to the Iraqis’ tying his shoelaces together so Topper is forced to carry him. Meanwhile, Benson and Saddam continue to fight but Benson manages to freeze Saddam (and his dog) with a fire extinguisher and pushes Saddam, causing him to fall onto his dog and shatter into hundreds of pieces. Benson leaves but the fire in the fireplace causes the frozen pieces to melt and Saddam reforms, though with the dog’s head fur, nose, and ears. At the rendezvous point, Michelle is planning on aborting the mission and leaving but Ramada and the others show up. When Michelle says they have to leave, Walters says they can’t without Topper and Ramada says that was Michelle’s plan and it is revealed that they were college roommates and that Michelle was upset with Ramada for refusing to bungee jump with her. Michelle makes a run for it and Ramada chases after her, with the two making their way through the American Gladiators obstacle course. When they get to the jousting platforms, Michelle says she tried to win Topper’s heart but couldn’t as he was still in love with Ramada, which distracts Ramada but she is able to overcome it and beats Michelle. When Topper arrives with Dexter, he is surprised to see Michelle in handcuffs but refuses her request to help her. Ramada goes to Dexter, who is happy to see her and says that he plans to go on all of the talk shows as this will make them famous. Topper tells them to leave while he goes back for Benson and Ramada says that she wants to stay with him but he tells her that she needs to stay with Dexter. Dexter decides to take a picture of the two of them together but as he hops around to get a good angle, he ends up falling off a cliff and dying. Benson shows up and they take off just as Saddam and his army arrives. Saddam aims an RPG at them but when the pilot says they need to lose some weight, Topper and Ramada push the piano that was on board off of the helicopter and it falls onto Saddam and squashes him. As the helicopter flies off into the sunset, Topper and Ramada embrace and kiss.
Hot Shots! Part Deux did not fare as well as it’s predecessor did, only earning a 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics that liked it felt that, while not as good as the original, fit the mold for a sequel. To help promote the movie, a mockumentary aired on HBO, parodying the documentary Hearts Of Darkenss: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which was about the making of Apocalypse Now; a point that made it even funnier when the scene involving Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen (who starred in Apocalypse Now) occurred. The movie was a box office success, earning $133.8 million off of a $25 million budget.
Not as good as the original but this was still a funny movie. Charlie Sheen (Topper) and Valeria Golino (Ramada) did a good job in reprising their roles. I also liked Richard Crenna basically spoofing his own character of Col. Trautman from the Rambo franchise and thought that Brenda Bakke (Michelle) and Rowan Atkinson (Dexter) were both good but I was still disappointed in how little that Lloyd Bridges was used. The story was good, mainly spoofing aspects of the 2nd and 3rd Rambo movies while also spoofingor referencing other films such as Lady & The Tramp, Basic Instinct, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Casablanca, Star Wars, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Wizard Of Oz, and The Guns Of Navarone, with a bit of Loony Toons thrown in as well. The special effects used for the comedy was pretty good for the most part, though there were some times that they seemed a little cheap. All in all, it’s not going to be considered groundbreaking but it is a good sequel and good for some laughs.
Rating: 3 out of 5