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Fox Home Entertainment presents
"We'll settle this the old Navy way. First guy to die, loses."
DVD ReviewMost comedy sequels just retread the same ground, and often reuse many of the same jokes. The Airplane films were guilty of this laziness, but it's a bullet dodged by this sequel to the popular Hot Shots!. While not always as successful in evoking laughs as the original, it at least tries to take the story in some new directions.
Ace pilot Harley Topper (Charlie Sheen) is now hiding out in the Far East, kickboxing to forget his romance with Ramada (Valeria Golino). He's summoned by former Admiral and now President Benson (Lloyd Bridges) to go to Iraq to rescue a rescue team that failed to rescue the previous rescue team that was after hostages taken by Saddam Hussein (Jerry Haleva) during Desert Storm. Reluctant at first, he is convinced by voluptuous CIA agent Michelle Huddleston (Brenda Bakke) to make the trip. President Benson, true to clumsy form, comes along.
Top Gun is clearly left behind here, and the movie instead ventures into Rambo territory, which is itself fertile ground for satire. The comparison is aided by the newly buff Charlie Sheen, who makes a convincing Stallone clone. The first half of the film carries on much of the anarchic spirit of the original, recycling only a couple of gags. However, the second half with the rescue attempt drags a bit; part of the problem is that it seems to start taking itself seriously and the pacing begins to lag badly. Before long, it feels almost as if you're actually watching a Rambo movie. The saving grace of this segment is Rowan Atkinson (better known for Black Adder and Mr. Bean) as an insufferable hostage who makes excessive demands upon his would-be rescuers.
The first half really sparkles, with the sequences with Bridges as President quite hilarious, though for full effect one needs to recall President George Bush's misadventures in vomiting on Japanese dignitaries. This is taken to disgusting and hilarious lengths and quite improves upon a similar sequence in Naked Gun 2 1/2.
Not content to skewer Rambo, the picture also takes swipes at Lady and the Tramp, Basic Instinct, Star Wars, Terminator2 (including a takeoff on the special effects that's very well done) and in an evocative bit starring Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now. Hussein is also given fairly savage treatment with a funny look inside his refrigerator and his private life.
Unlike Hot Shots!, this disc features the original burned-in onscreen subtitles, which is an improvement over using player-generated ones. This film is also more deserving of the PG-13 rating, with a fairly explicit sex sequence and somewhat fouler language.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks very good, though not as fine as the first film. The picture tends to be rather soft much of the time, causing a loss of detail. Color is excellent and natural appearing. Black levels are very good, but there is plenty of shadow detail as well. A very occasional speck might be seen, but by and large this looks brand new. Again, the fact that this fairly short film is presented on an RSDL disc allows for a high bit rate.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The 3.1 sound (advertised incorrectly on the keepcase as Dolby Surround) is also quite effective, with plenty of directionality and a surprisingly effective amount of low bass. No hiss, noise or distortion was noted. Dialogue is fine throughout.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Kung Pow, Dude, Where's My Car?, Freddy Got Fingered, Monkeybone
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Layers Switch: 00h:36m:29s
Extras Review: The primary extras are a promotional documentary (22m:36s), An Adventure in Filmmaking and a shorter (3m:52s) Early Awareness featurette. Both consist about half of clips of the best gags from the movie and half from tongue-in-cheek interviews with the cast. The documentary, strangely enough, is narrated in Spanish, without subtitles. I guess this was supposed to be a gag, but it gets pretty tiresome long before the midway point is reached. I speak Spanish, so I wasn't quite as perturbed as some nonspeakers may well be. The interviews don't have the same comic effect as in the accompanying material for the first installment, and this isn't really worthwhile. The shorter featurette, on the other hand, is more surgically calculated to be humorous and does a much more effective job of selling the film.
Besides that, there's a set of trailers. That for the feature is pan & scan, as are all of the others except Kung Pow, which is nonanamorphic widescreen. Chaptering is decent.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsWhile not as constant a laugh-fest as the first installment, this picture at least commendably tries something different with the same characters. Extras are iffy, but the transfer is quite good overall.
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