Given the success of the original "Hot Shots!", a sequel was a given. However, much like the "Naked Gun" series (of which writer/director Jim Abrahams was also a part of), the sequel doesn't have the inspired laughs that the first picture brought, even if it does come closer than most comedic sequels do. The second film continues to try and offer the fine balance of a slight story and loads of jokes - while the film mainly parodies one picture, there's always clever digs at other movies around the corner, not to mention some small sight gags.
In this second movie, Charlie Sheen returns as ace pilot Topper Harley. Found by members of the Government in a secret village of monks, Harley is requested to return to duty once again to save American soldiers who were going to rescue other American soldiers who were going to rescue...well, you get the point. The film generally spoofs "Rambo", but occasionally stops for "Basic Instinct", "Lady and the Tramp" and, in one classic scene that's worth the price of admission, "Apocalypse Now".
"Part Deux" doesn't quite achieve the rate of jokes that the first picture did; while that film seemed to throw out everything it could think of, "Part Deux" has a bit more space between gags. However, most of the gags work fairly well and only a few of them fall flat or completely flat. I liked many of the film's smallest moments - two characters are watching a news broadcast and one of the leading stories is how Nebraska's governor made a public apology that day for his state being so flat. As I discussed in my review of the first film, there are jokes in the second picture that wouldn't have worked if it wasn't for the timing and visual sense that Abrahams has. Some directors cut away from a gag too early, some let them go on too long, but Abrahams (and the Zucker Brothers who he worked with on the "Naked Gun" series) have a remarkable sense of comedic timing.
VIDEO: Thankfully, "Part Deux" looks considerably better than the original picture did. Fox presents "Part Deux" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and the image quality is consistently quite good. Sharpness and detail are very good, as the picture maintained a nice level of definition and rarely appeared as noticably soft as the original occasionally did.
On another positive note, the sequel also didn't present the kind of wear that the original showed. Although a few specks and the occasional mark did surface, the majority of the film looked clear and clean. Pixelation remained absent, while edge enhancement only was spotted in trace amounts.
Colors also looked improved on the presentation of the sequel, appearing crisper, more vivid and nicely saturated. While certainly not nearly reference quality, this is still a very pleasing presentation.
SOUND: "Part Deux" recieves a Dolby Digital 5.0 remix by Fox and, like the 5.1 soundtrack for the original, this newly remixed soundtrack is only a couple of steps above the usual slapstick comedy audio. The surrounds are hardly put into use for most of the movie, but during a few action sequences, the rear speakers do deliver some sound effects. Audio quality was fine, as dialogue and sound effects remained clear.
MENUS: Basic, non-animated main and sub-menus with film-themed images as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: 2 brief "making of" featurettes, the trailer and 4 trailers for other Fox comedies.
Final Thoughts: "Hot Shots: Part Deux" offers several solid laughs, but a fair amount of flops and a few stretches that lack any humor. Still, not a bad movie and pretty close to the original. Fox's DVD offers audio/video quality that's improved over the original film, but still little in the way of supplements. Recommended.
The Film ** 1/2