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Ex-hot shot pilot Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) has retired from Navy life and is now living in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. When his old pal Col. Denton Walters (Richard Crenna) turns up with a top secret assignment to go to the Middle East and rescue some American soldiers that had been left there during the first Gulf War and stop an Iraqi terrorist dictator, Topper refuses, but soon changes his mind when Walters goes in without him and is captured. Now it's personal and Topper along with CIA operative Michelle Huddleston (Brenda Bakke) must go in to get the men, who went in to get the men, who went in to get the men!

Review by Craig Miller
There's a very simple yet crucial mantra that any self-respecting spoof comedy series must follow to be successful, and that is to keep the action rolling along for no more than an hour and a half and, in that time, cram in as many jokes, satirical stabs and as much off-the-cuff humour as possible, hoping that at least half will hit, leaving you the other half to re-use in the sequel.

It's a simple formula, and one that has worked well for every parody comedy franchise from Flying High to Austin Powers, with Hot Shots being no exception.

Although the original 1991 offering was much funnier, Part Deux has some generally amusing moments, taking the piss on some of the biggest films of the late 1980s & early 1990s including Rambo 3 and Basic Instinct, as well as classics like Lady and the Tramp, Casablanca and Apocalypse Now.

Like all satirical film franchises, success lies with the comedic abilities of the actors, and you could be forgiven for thinking this series looks doomed from the start. However..

Charlie Sheen's deadpan delivery is perfect for the role of Topper Harley, delivering lines with the wackiest of ease, and is seemingly impenetrable to looking like a dickhead in this film, even when he uses a chicken as a make-shift arrow and a cordless phone aerial as a sword. Now that's comedy! Not content on just delivering from a comedic point of view, Sheen goes all out in his Rambo rip-off role, bulking up to the size of a small two-bedroom cottage, and looks like he could bench press a Datsun.

Lloyd Bridges also nails his role as the eccentric, ex-admiral turned US President "Tug" Benson. Bridges has had some big-time experience in this comedy style, having starred in probably the greatest spoof comedy of all time, Flying High, and it's this experience that serves him well here, with his strong comedic timing benefiting this sequel greatly.

Humour, and what's funny, is a very subjective thing, and let's face it, most of the time these spoof comedy series are little more than an opportunity to rehash the same jokes over and over again. They ain't champagne comedy, but if you've got a cheap cask on hand, they will certainly do the job!

Published: July 1, 2004

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(US, 1993)

CAST: Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Valeria Golino, Richard Crenna, Miguel Ferrer, Rowan Atkinson, Brenda Bakke

DIRECTOR: Jim Abrahams

SCRIPT: Jim Abrahams & Pat Proft

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced; Dolby Digital 2.0


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: June 10, 2004

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