Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)

The original movie turned out to be a big success so the inevitable sequel came along, this time they primarily went for an out n out spoof of 'Rambo III'. Most of the same cast members are back from the original in the same roles accept for Ryan Stiles who reappears again but as another character oddly (I guess we didn't see him properly in the first flick). As for the title...deux is obviously French for the number two, so was this suppose to be a funny alternative to simply having 'part 2'? bit lame.

So everything you got with the first movie you get all over again with this...accept this time the belly laughs are much greater and the visual tomfoolery is much better. The plot follows along the lines of 'Rambo III' with the obligatory changes and simplifications here and there, again this is a complete story and not just a collection of jokes or skits tied together. Once again its directed and written by Jim Abrahams so the quality is still on par with his previous offering.

The comedy angle in this movie is much more politically satirical in places with a slightly more grown up vibe. The film starts off with a brilliant sequence showing the dastardly Saddam Hussein (the 90's remember) getting ready for bed in his lavish palace. The entire scene is chock full of brilliant little visual gags, childish gags and some genuinely clever comedy, naturally it all ends in a farcical bit of slapstick but its all really well directed. Jerry Haleva who portrays Hussein really hams it up perfectly giving a great little dialog free performance whilst looking quite authentic. I watch today in amazement that they got away with such blasphemy, these days I'm sure there would be some nasty backlash.

From that sharp controversial lampooning we move onto the next big sequence involving the introduction of Sheen's character Topper. Topper is now a buffed up Buddhist living in a small Thai village where he fights for the sheer pleasure of manly violence. Here we see a quite ingenious fight sequence littered with many great visual moments such as Topper's candy coated hand wraps, Richard Crenna's pig snout sub with running mustard, a crowd member getting his head kicked off and the fight ref getting his head squashed between the two fighters flying kicks.

It sounds horrific at times and lets not beat around the bush there is some heavy Tom & Jerry style violence in here. But as before the effects are so cheap and tacky looking, so utterly ridiculous and hokey, its quite clear no one (including kids) is gonna be upset by anything here, its a complete cartoon once again. That's not to say the effects are purposely hokey everywhere, far from it, there are also some quite lovely little touches dotted throughout the picture. Who can forget the excellent freezing and shattering of Saddam ala 'T2', the enemy soldier splattered across the side of a hut and Saddam getting crushed under the grand piano. Some of the makeup effects are really nicely done too, clearly the budget for this was much beefier than before.

What did impress about this movie was how action packed it was, one exciting scene after another. The attack on the enemy camp as the plot reached its climax is probably the most iconic although the riverboat attack sequence was pretty sweet too. Sheen looks pretty darn good all buffed which was surprising really, he actually went to a lot of trouble to actually look ripped just for a stupid spoof. Anyhow this is where Sheen shines as he runs around this enemy camp doing a Schwarzenegger ('Predator' if anything) and gunning down hordes of armed soldiers without getting a scratch. The videogame high score text that pops up on screen telling us the body count and what other ultra violent adult movies the movie now equals and consequently tops, is totally inane but admittedly clever. I love how completely bonkers the action sequence gets trying to lampoon classic action set pieces...even to the point where Topper just grabs a handful of loose ammo and throws it at a bunch of enemy soldiers  causing them to drop dead in overly theatrical ways. The action sequences in this movie literately lampoon the classic action man flicks to pieces...and it works.

Stand out performances again go to Bridges who just gets better as he goes, some of his scenes are fecking hilarious and the way he whips out some of his dialog is monumentally montorific! Richard Crenna has a small part but his send-up of his Rambo character is super sweet, love his prison cage escape scene with Sheen. I've also gotta throw out a kudos to the small role of the Iraqi Captain played by Greg Sierra. I loved his little performances, he looked the part and has some great facial expressions. He's the bad guy who Crenna's character spits at and a huge bucket load of water hits him in the face...brilliant stuff.

What I personally loved about this sequel was the fact that its crammed with so many little visual gags, there's lots going on both foreground and background, even more so than the original movie. Not only is there a lot of lampoonery going on its all of high quality, pretty much all of the jokes still hit their target even to this day. From the political jabs to the movie parodies to the out n out dumbass visual gags, like the now infamous bow and chicken firing scene. Even Rowan Atkinson in one of his first major film roles was pretty good. So yeah...I prefer this over the original any day of the week, its much funnier, wittier, visually more exciting, better effects and with much better in depth performances.

'We'll settle this the old Navy way, first guy to die...LOSES!'