If you’ve seen the first Airplane, then you’ve already seen most of the sequel; the amount of recycled jokes applied to this one (occasionally even using footage from the first one) is probably enough to offset the film’s carbon footprint. Despite the fact that the original film’s progenitors, the Zucker/Abrams/Zucker team, had nothing whatsoever to do with the sequel, there does still remain some small glimmers of quality here.
The plot is more or less an illogical repeat of the first one, as Ted Striker (Robert Hays) once again finds himself trying to land a haywire craft after the crew get knocked out, except this time it’s a space shuttle and his landing strip is the moon, and the cause of the crew’s absence is a HAL-like evil computer! Beyond the repeated gags, there is still a decent deal of new material here, especially in the excellent opening ten minutes. There is a certain spark missing however, and it goes by the name of Leslie Nielsen. Though many of the earlier film’s stars return and there is the addition of one William Shatner, the lack of any Nielsen is a blow to the Airplane II’s flow. It’s incredibly difficult to craft a genuinely successful joke-a-minute comedy in the vein of the first Airplane, and let’s face it, no other actor was better at holding such a straight face in such a mad film as ol’ Leslie.
There’s nothing much to say beyond that. Why am I even writing this. I challenged myself to try and find four hundred words to say about Airplane II, and this is about two hundred and seventy and yeah. I didn’t mind it too much. I love the first film and considering its quality I’m ok with a few repeated jokes here and there, even if the overall effect is nowhere near as good. Three hundred and sixteen! Close enough.