Movie Review: Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the adventure comedy starring Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty.

Synopsis: Years after becoming a hero by saving Trans American Flight 209, Ted Striker has been committed to an insane asylum following a failed test flight of a new passenger space shuttle, a crash he blamed on computer issues. In an effort to save his relationship with Elaine, he escapes the asylum and boards the inaugural Mayflower flight only to once again be forced to take the pilot controls after the ship’s computer malfunctions and sends the craft toward the sun.


I came across this film on one of our movie channels yesterday afternoon and, realizing I hadn’t seen the entire film in a long time, decided to record it. Even though I had planned on saving the movie for the weekend, I ended up watching it this morning before work and thought it was fantastic.

OK, to be completely honest, this sequel isn’t as good as the original (I personally think that was because it was missing Leslie Nielsen).  And, granted, some of the material, especially with the now-defunct space shuttle program, is a bit dated. But, while I could understand why this movie didn’t win any Academy Awards, I also thought it was very entertaining.

One thing I liked about this movie was the way (much like the original) it used normal, everyday things as a way of producing jokes. The man behind the information desk, for example, answered just about every question thrown at him, whether it was about the airport or everyday life. And, I loved the scene where the new mom had to choose between her child and her bag when she was told she was only allowed one carry-on item.

When I started watching this, I was a little afraid the movie would spend too much time referencing the original (a mistake made by too many sequels). That, however, wasn’t the case. There were some returning characters, a few flashbacks and some subtle references, such as Ted’s (Hays) “drinking” problem. But, for the most part, this was its own movie.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about the twist involving the bomb-carrying passenger (Bono) because it did seem to be a bit too much. However, once I realized how that storyline related to the rest of the movie, I did have to admit it was pretty clever, partly because the writers gave the heroes a solution to their problem well in advance of the problem actually occurring. Oh, and I also admittedly liked the fact he could just walk in and buy that bomb at a convenience store.

My only real problem with this movie is the malfunctioning computer issue was resolved a little too easily. There was a quite a bit of talk about how difficult it would be to shut it down, especially because it had plenty of defense mechanisms in place, making the actual effort a bit of a letdown. However, I also thought the movie redeemed itself a bit by having other issues arise as he was trying to land the shuttle manually. If nothing else, the ending wasn’t dull, especially when Shatner’s Buck Murdock got involved.

Final Opinion

As I said, this isn’t as good as the original. However, the movie, while a bit dated, is still fun to watch and I was definitely entertained. If you haven’t seen it, I do recommend giving it a chance.

My Grade: B

Updated: 01/21/2021, StevenHelmer
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