Monday, 7 February 2011
Dun-dun-derrrrrr! - Cannonball Run II (Warner Bros/Golden Harvest, 1984)
Boasting a huge cast, some of the fastest cars on Earth, and a sense of not taking itself to seriously, Cannonball Run II is set a year after the first (which was actually made in 1981. Confused? Just a tad.), in which Prince Shiek Abdul Falafel (Jamie Farr - M*A*S*H) is sent by his father (Ricardo Montalban) back to America, to 'buy' a Cannonball Run, in which to compete and win. Assembling the other runners, this motley band of racers consists of, among others, J.J McClure (Burt Reynolds) and his friend and business partner Victor Prinzim/alter ego Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Fenderbaum (Sammy Davis, Jr) and Blake (Dean Martin) and Hi-Tec (Jackie Chan) and his driver Arnold (Richard Kiel).
Starting from Redondo Beach, and driving to Conectticut, the winner gets $1 million in cold hard cash as a prize for being the fastest. But, there's trouble afoot, in the form of some gangsters who want to rip off Falafel, and hold him for ransom to pay off Don Don's $9 million debt to Heimy Kaplan (Telly Savalas). The rest of the film plays out like a live-action Looney Tunes movie (much like Needham's earlier movie Cactus Jack a.k.a The Villain), with the gang of bumbling gangsters trying every trick in the book to capture the sheik, with plans ranging from a huge magnet on the bottom of a helicopter, to grabbers on the front of their car.
Being a follow up, the two hot chicks from Cannonball Run (Adrienne Barbareu and Tara Buckman) have been replaced with Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke from Dukes of Hazzard) and Susan Anton (although both play the same characters from the first movie), and use their sex appeal, which normally boils down to unzipping their tops to show copious amounts of cleavage, to hitch rides after their cars either run out of gas or break down. Even though they are different actresses', they are still a bit on the phwoor side of things. The film is just as funny as the first, even more so, with Doug MacClure as the sheik's servant (he's an actor. Hasn't had a series in 7 years. Actually, 9 years!) putting in a really funny turn, and Jack Elam returns as the doctor who really doesn't know what he's doing (even going so far as to eat shaving foam off a brush, believing it to be desert!).
If you liked the first Cannonball Run, you'll know what to expect with the second, as I feel it's just as funny. If you didn't like the first, then don't bother as it'll never change your mind. If you do, just be prepared for gas-fuelled shenanigans aplenty.
Posted by Mike Wilcox