Hot Shots is a parody of Top Gun, very funny, but
somewhat hamstrung by the fact that it stays largely within that
On the surface, Part Deux is a parody of Rambo III, but
it manages to take a swipe at just about every movie from the 70's
and 80's, every political event from the same period, classic movies, and
every movie cliché ever conceived. It is must viewing for movie
geeks, for the references as well as the humor. It is the wilder,
less disciplined of the two films, delivering a masterful example of
comic open field running. From Bob Vila's tips for remodeling a
monastery to Geronimo jumping out of a plane and yelling "me", it's
just non-stop gags, and a lot of them are hilarious. Some of my
Sheen and his date parody the eating scene in Lady and
Sheen's lover has a diving board above her bed.
Sheen's girlfriend never makes it on the train to
Hawaii, but she sends a card. It's a pre-printed Hallmark card
especially for the occasion of abandoning lovers at stations. He
looks at it while she reads it in voice-over, ending with "this card
is printed on recyclable paper".
- Saddam Hussein is a major character, and his
refrigerator is chock full of Old Iraqi beer. He's holding the
hostages between Iraq and a hard place.
Part Deux suffers a bit from comic dating in two
- First, there are too many topical references to
political and cinematic subjects completely familiar at the moment,
but now obscure.
- Second, Lloyd Bridges does a pretty thinly
disguised impersonation of the ever-clueless Ronald Reagan, with a bit
of George Bush the First thrown into the mix. I thought this
impersonation was hilarious at the time, when I thought Reagan was
merely a simpleton. Time has made the comedy seem too mean-spirited to
me, however, given what we now know about Reagan, and given that my
mom suffered the same fate.
The comic stars of both movies are Charlie Sheen and
Lloyd Bridges, who play the young hot shot and the doddering authority
figure respectively. Sheen has taken a beating over the years for his
personal life and some of his poorer script choices, but when you give
this guy the right script and the right jokes, he is a straight-faced
If you are not familiar with all the movies and
political situations they are spoofing, don't worry. You'll lose some
of the humor, but there is plenty to go around.
In the past week I have seen these two films and
Goldmember, and these two just shine with a light of comic inspiration
that Goldmember can't even dream of.
- Hot Shots took in $69 million in the USA,
$107 million overseas
- Part Deux grossed only $39 million in the
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description, both
films are C+. People who hate spoofs are not going to change
their minds when they see these films, but those who love the
genre will get to see the masters at work, near the top of their
games. Most people prefer the first one, but I love the
free-wheeling humor of the second, which reminds me of the comic
anarchy of the Marx brothers classic, Duck Soup.