Starring: Robert Hayes, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Chad Everett, Peter Graves, Rip Torn, Stephen Stucker, Wendy Phillips, Sonny Bono, and William Shatner.
Directed by: Ken Finkleman.
Released: December 10th, 1982.
Airplane II: The Sequel picks up after the first film, taking on a slightly more advanced approach, so-to-speak. Our moon has now been colonized, supporting a surface station headed by William Shatner, and a prototype lunar shuttle caleld Mayflower One acts like a cheaper version of today’s Space Adventures offered by NASA. Meanwhile, Elaine (played by Julie Hagerty) has left Ted Striker (played by Robert Hayes) and is almost married to Simon Kurtz (played by Chad Everett) who is one of the flight crew members on the shuttle.
As for Striker, he now spends his days in a mental institution, having been deemed mentally incompetent due to lawsuit involving a lunar shuttle crash. Of course, we’re led to believe that this was all done to keep him quiet and hide the truth. After learning of the Mayflower One’s upcoming launch, Striker sets out to escape the loony bin and board the flight before it meets an impending doom, which consists of a short circuit that screws with the ship’s computer, sending it flying towards the sun itself.
The magic that was produced by the first Airplane movie was amazingly funny, but in the sequel, it begins with a hint of that comedic touch but that inspiration tends to run dry rather quick. To begin with, this film is nothing more than a retelling of the first movie, reintroducing us to similar situations, characters, and comedic gags. For example, instead of a commercial airplane, we have a space shuttle. Secondly, and this might help explain some things, it appears that the Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams, both whom were involved in the original, had no connection whatsoever to Airplane II.
Thirdly, the sequel rehires much of the original cast just for the sake of it and not so much to actually put them to good use, hence why we have Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, and Robert Stack doing the same things they did in the first movie. At least Die Hard 2: Die Harder gave us enough variety with a familiar plot that it was actually an enjoyable sequel, that is not the case here with Airplane II. The last surviving worthwhile joke of this film is a bit during the credits when they indicate that we should expect Airplane III to be coming soon, as if they actually expected this one to do well, talk about irony.