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Hot Shots! Part Deux Review

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Topper Harley is sent in to save some hostages from dreaded Middle Eastern bad guys but on the mission he bumps into the girl that got away...

★★★★★

AS ONE WHO FOUND HOT SHOTS! A threadbare Top Gun spoof, this review­er is tickled to see Airplane! and Naked Gun collaborator Jim Abrahams back on zany form with this much funnier sequel in which Sheen's Topper Harley is recalled to action with pumped-up muscles, shaved chest and headband for a Rambo leg pull.

His mission : to "save the men who went in to get the men who went in to get the men" following a failed hostage rescue "somewhere in the Middle East". His commander-in-chief: US President Tug Benson (Bridges), even more gaga than Reaganbush. Also on hand is Richard Crenna to reprise his hostage colonel in Rambo Whichever.

Naturally Abrahams and co-jokester Pat Proft are not content just to send up the Stallone action man cycle and plunder everything from The Wizard Of Oz to Star Wars, T2, Basic Instinct, No Way Out and Robin Hood : Prince Of Thieves. In one scene alone — a flashback to happier times and a romantic dinner for two in an Italian restaurant — there are nods to The Godfather, Casablanca and Lady And The Tramp, emphasising that the best laughs are reliant on the complicity of a knowing audience.

And as always with Abrahams, what's glimpsed going on in the background is often as funny as what's notionally happening immediately in front of the camera — just check out those saffron-robed monks while Topper is being recruited from his monastery retreat. Best bit : an Apocalypse Now gag guaranteed to bring the house down. Shamelessly artless, silly beyond absurd and truly juvenile

One of those rare things...a sequel that's funnier and more successful.

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