In defence of…Airplane 2


During a jam packed screening for Alice in Wonderland I started to think about how the movie going public embraces one film over another

With Avatar now the highest grossing film of all time (inflation anyone?) certain films ‘hit’ and others ‘miss’

Airplane 2 missed. Everyone knows Airplane – Zucker and Abrahams mad cap send up of ’70’s disaster films starring Leslie Nielson. Its considered a classic. Airplane 2 is not – and I’m here to defend what I consider the funnier film.

The bulk of the Airplane cast is back from the first film led by Robert Hays as Ted Striker, the pilot with a literal drinking problem.

At the heart of things is a belief that Airplane 2 just recycles the jokes of Airplane – not to mention the premise  (out of control shuttle vs out of control plane). This isn’t untrue as such – but I see these jokes as being refined, not recycled. Airplane 2 manages a higher tempo – and while thats at the expense of any resemblance of a good story – its faster to get going than Airplane and holds that temp almost to the end.

Airplane 2 manages plenty of new material – while Leslie Nielson isnt a part of proceedings he’s replaced by William Shatner – in a role hand crafted for him.

Shatner plays clueless moon base commander Buck Murdock who’s previously served with Ted Striker. Now, its this ”history” thats Airplane 2’s ace in the hole. Striker lost his fighter squadron in the ‘war’ (Vietnam, but some wonderfully dated WW2 footage is used for comedy effect). Striker is asked to clarify where this event occured, ‘over Mucho Grande?’  to which he replies literally  ”No, I dont think I’ll ever get over Mucho Grande’.

The clever wordplay never lets up – a courtroom scene and an instance in a psychiatric hospital are real highlights. Airplane 2 constantly plays on the literally interpretation of everything said – when high command wants to see Ted Strikers medical record they are handed an LP of a truly frightful looking album Strikers recorded, ‘my god, its worse than I feared!’

So much of Airplane 2 can only be appreciated with an actual viewing – watch it with an open mind, savour its sight gags and general nonsense. Sure, there is no plot here – but this is a comedy. In an age of reboots, sequals, prequals and ‘reimaginings’ the similiarities between Airplane 1 and 2 shouldn’t obscure the fact that both films are fantastic – I urge you to fill a 90 min slot with Airplane 2



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One Response to “In defence of…Airplane 2”

  1. Danjo Kazooe Says:

    Haha. I never thought I would see Avatar and Airplane 2 mentioned in the same article 😛

    I havent seen Airplaine II in a few years – I remember it being funny, but I remember the original much clearer and with more affection. This is probably due to the fact that the first movie is more in the public domain, than the sequel – which I imagine is because of the same reasons you mention. The first is regarded as comedy classic, the second is not, and is therefore shown more frequently on TV, and more readily avalible to rent and buy.

    You review reminds me of the overwhelming disregard for Ghostbusters II. The general consensus amongst critics and the fans, is that the second movie is a complete mess in comparison to the first. I completely disagree. In fact, I think it is one of few sequels that successfully re-captures the humor and tone of the first film, aswell as bringing some new ideas to table.

    Anyway – take it easy ya`ll!

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