HOT SHOTS PART DEUX
Review by Michael Jacobson
Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Valerie Golino, Brenda Bakke, Miguel Ferrer,
Director: Jim Abrahams
Audio: Dolby Digital 4.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: Two Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: August 6, 2002
at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Hot Shots was not a movie I thought merited a sequel, but I’m
certainly glad someone thought otherwise. Hot
Shots Part Deux is as sharp and relentlessly funny as they come.
original film mostly spoofed Top Gun, a film that was way too old at the
time for a spoof and a picture that I never cared much for.
Thankfully, the writing team of Jim Abrahams and Pat Proft thought of
using the Rambo movies as a jumping off point for the second take….films that
were more immediate and more ripe to be kidded.
Sheen returns as Topper Harley, no longer the Tom Cruise knockoff, but instead
sporting Stallone’s long locks and physique.
His first scene is straight out of Rambo III, and as funny an
introduction as any character could hope for.
the time that followed the first movie, inept Admiral “Tug” Benson (the
inimitable Bridges) has become President, Desert Storm has come and gone, and
Saddam Hussein is still in power, living in a goofy pleasure palace complete
with Western touches. We learn that
two missions to enter Iraq and extract our prisoners of war have failed.
Now, it’s up to Topper to go in and get the men that went in to get the
men that went in to get the men.
is asked by none other than Richard Crenna, who, in a show of great
sportsmanship, kids his Trautman role from the Rambo films to a tee.
He ends up captured in the most recent failed mission, which brings
Topper out of his retirement and back into the fray.
him are the alluring Michelle Huddleston (Bakke) from the CIA (who shares with
Sheen one of the funniest bedroom scenes ever filmed), and of course, his love
interest from the first movie, Ramada (Golino). Things did not go smoothly for the couple in between films.
“Why did you have to show up here?” Topper asks.
“I had to come,” she says. “It’s
mission to free the hostages is just an excuse for one Rambo-styled combat scene
after another, each served sunny-side up courtesy of director Abrahams.
The weapons of war are a scream, as are the little nods to films like Terminator
2 and others. One can only
wonder what Iraq is doing with so much jungle terrain, but never mind…
continued to prove that comedy was his forte with this film, but the whole cast
was up to the challenge. The scenes
with Lloyd Bridges are one riot after another, and the breaking ground for the
presidential library scene ought to be remembered as an all time classic.
Bakke, Golino and Crenna are equally funny and impressive in how they
manage to keep straight faces in the most absurd of situations.
But I have to give credit to my old favorite Miguel Ferrer:
he doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but he does get the movie’s
funniest line (quoted above, for those who might have missed it).
Shots Part Deux is simply a chuckle fest from start to finish.
I’ve seen it countless times, know every joke by heart, but I still
laugh and laugh hard every time. This
is the rare case of a sequel surpassing the original, and even though the
original was no thoroughbred, it doesn’t take anything away from it.
As my comrade Gordon has pointed out, Abrahams and his cohorts
are filmmakers who like to fill their end credits with extra gags, so keep an
eye out for them. My personal
favorite: “Baseball superstar
Darryl Strawberry spends his winters thinking up new excuses.”
delivers a hit and miss anamorphic transfer here. Some stretches look exemplary; others look like poop.
Darker and mid-level lit shots suffer the worst, with less definition and
sometimes a bit of haziness or shimmer. Brighter
scenes come across like new, with strong coloring and sharp detail.
Overall, it’s watchable, but the range from really good to really poor
gives this one a split score.
a 4.0 track is unusual (the box incorrectly states “stereo”), it’s
actually quite good, using both left and right speakers in the front and back.
Some scenes desperately miss the subwoofer, but the surround mix is quite
good and fairly bold, especially during the combat scenes.
Dynamic range is better than average, and dialogue is clear
throughout…no noise or interference gumming up the works.
A quality effort overall.
features are a bit light…the “Adventure in Filmmaking” featurette is
narrated in Spanish, for reasons I couldn’t begin to explain (though the
interview clips are in English). One
last practical joke, I suppose. There
is also a shorter “Early Awareness” featurette and the original trailer
(which is a scream), plus trailers for four other Fox films out on DVD.