War Movies Month 4 – Hot Shots! Part Deux

As much as war is a serious subject, whenever I do a War Movies Month on this blog, I like to talk about at least one movie that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Last time, I looked at Hitler: Dead Or Alive, a movie from the early 40s about a bunch of gangsters sent to assassinate Hitler. At the time, it was propaganda movie encouraging America’s involvement in the Second World War. In hindsight, it’s hilarious, even if awkwardly so at times, and it’s got some legitimately awesome moments. Today’s subject was never a propaganda film though. It’s part of a popular trend in the 70s, 80s and early 90s for a very silly parody film.

Hot Shots! Part Deux is actually the second of the Hot Shots! Movies, the first being a parody of Top Gun. Part Deux, released in May of 1993, is a parody of Rambo II and Rambo III, with a touch of Terminator 2, Star Wars and even Goldilocks and the Three Bears thrown in. Rambo II (the main movie this one parodies) is focused on rescuing POWs from Vietnam after the war ended, a subject of several films due to over 1,000 suspected POWs never returning. In real life, they never found evidence that Vietnam were still holding prisoners, and the remaining MIAs may have been killed and never found. It’s a subject that’s still hard for a lot of people to think about today. Rambo II is about rescuing these hostages, and so is the Chuck Norris movie, Missing In Action. I also considered that for my final War Movie of the month, but ended up choosing this instead.

Hot Shots: Part Deux instead focuses on the Gulf War, the 1990-91 response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. A side note – the Gulf War contained 3 of the largest tank battles in American military history. Hot Shots! Part Deux sort-of takes on the same subject of POWs being held after the war, but the idea is more specifically about a number of failed rescue operations, where they end up needing to send someone in to rescue the team, sent to rescue the team, that was originally sent to rescue the hostages. All of this happening right around the same time as a presidential election.

Although the cast of this movie is relatively small, there are a lot of big names in here. Charlie Sheen stars as Topper Harley, who serves as this movie’s Rambo equivalent (he parodied Tom Cruise’s character in the first Hot Shots!). The late Lloyd Bridges portrays President Thomas Benson, a clumsy, clueless president who ends up getting directly involved in the mission anyway. Italian actress and director Valeria Golino is Ramada, Topper’s love interest in both Hot Shots! movies, and also acts as the main contact for the rescue mission. Then there’s the late Richard Crenna as Colonel Denton Walters, directly parodying his role from the first three Rambo movies as the one man Rambo actually trusts. When Crenna asked Sylvester Stallone how he felt about him appearing in a parody of Rambo, Stallone was all for it.

Rounding out the cast, you’ve got Rowan Atkinson (yes, Mr. Bean Atkinson) as Dexter, one of the main people who needs to be rescued, Jerry Haleva as Saddam Hussein (his entire acting career was portraying Saddam in 6 different movies between 1991 and 2002), Ryan Stiles (of Whose Line is it Anyway fame) as Rabinowitz, the team’s explosives expert, and Martin Sheen as Captain Benjamin Willard. On that note, Martin Sheen happens to be Charlie’s father.

With a budget of $25 million, Hot Shots! Part Deux earned $133.8 million, easily making it profitable. Although it didn’t do all that well with the critics, Roger Ebert said it best. “Movies like this are more or less impervious to the depredations of movie critics. Either you laugh, or you don’t. I laughed.”

As for myself, I first watched this with a bunch of people from my youth group from Church, and we all laughed. I don’t think we had the time to watch the entire movie before something came up, but we watched most of it. It was a few years later when I know for sure I saw the entire movie, and it was just as funny.

There’s not too much to say about this one. You don’t need to see the Rambo movies get the jokes, like how you don’t need to see any airplane disaster movies to appreciate the movie Airplane!. That said, it’s even funnier if you’ve seen the movies that are parodied and referenced. This specific kind of parody kind of died off in the 90s, and Hot Shots! Part Deux may have been the last truly entertaining example. There is the Scary Movie series later on, but that, and its spinoffs knows as “the Movie movies”, aren’t nearly as good. Most of the “movie movies”, like Disaster Movie, are absolute trash. At the same time, this kind of comedy isn’t for everyone. Instead of trying to explain further, just watch these clips. If you enjoy these clips, you’ll enjoy this movie. If not, feel free to skip this one.

Despite this movie’s very silly premise and nature, all of the performances are quite good. Charlie shows a fair amount of range, while still keeping the overall tone light. Haleva is very entertaining as a mockery of Saddam. Atkinson’s role is a more traditional role for him, showing some of his physical comedy and goofy side, but relying more on his comedic genius as an overly cynical character. At times, Golino shows a fair amount of depth, while other times her acting is intentionally dry, which is fairly common for these kinds of comedies. And of course, Bridges is very entertaining as always as a clueless buffoon, which he tended to play a lot in these kinds of movies … not that he didn’t have range. He was also known for his more serious roles in the 40s and 50s, including a number of westerns and spy thrillers.

I’m not sure what else there is to say. This movie is a late example of a lost era of comedy filmmaking. These movies are silly, over-the-top, and impossible to be taken seriously. Every year, I rewatch at least a couple of these slapstick parodies, be it Airplane!, Spaceballs, Top Secret, Robin Hood: Men In Tights … the list goes on.

To celebrate Christmas, I’ll be making fun of a bunch of cheesy Christian movies for December, starting with Second Glance. I haven’t completely nailed down exactly which movies I’ll be looking at, or even how many I’ll be looking at. Sometime next month I’ll also be posting about my soon to be finished bathroom renovation – my long delayed Adventures in Home Ownership blog post for the year. As for next year, I’ve figured out what the first four theme months will be. January will be Western Movie Month. February, I’ll be looking at the Back to the Future trilogy, but I may bleed an extra Western movie into the first week since it’s such a large and varied genre. March will be another hilariously bad movie month. I’ll follow that up with Box Office Bomb month, where I’ll look at some of the most significant cinematic flops in history. Not all of the flops I’ll look at are bad, but at least one of them should have never even made it past the conception phase. After that, I haven’t decided anything yet. Sooner or later I’ll be tossing around some ideas to see what everyone is interested in.

About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - www.healed1337.blogspot.com As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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5 Responses to War Movies Month 4 – Hot Shots! Part Deux

  1. Paul Bowler says:

    Hot Shots! Part Deux is such a fun and crazy movie. Been ages since I’ve seen this or the original, but I remember them being great fun and very silly. The plans you having in the works for new posts ect sound really good, especially Western movies, I love a good Western!


    • healed1337 says:

      I’m also considering a Steven Spielberg month at some point, and there should be at least one month where I look at superhero movies. Haven’t been all that motivated to watch MCU movies lately, so I might go for some of the other early 2000s superhero movies that I haven’t looked at yet, focusing on the ones that at least kind of work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul Bowler says:

        Yeah, I hear you about being motivated. The new MCU movies have been a mixed bag. Comics have also been up and down a lot for me, which I review a lot of normally, but there’s not really been anything that’s really grabbed my attention lately. I’ve had a busy year, so think I just need some time of the holiday season to recharge a bit. A Spielberg month sounds great as well!


  2. I’ve never seen either of the movies but I’m not often keen on purposely picking up parodies but it does sound like fun. It’s intriguing to hear about what movies this one parodies. I feel like if you know what it parodies, you’re more likely to appreciate the comedy here. Great write-up.


    • healed1337 says:

      The best advice I can give you is, if you like the clips I added to the post, you’ll most likely enjoy the movie. If you thought they were just ok, or you didn’t laugh, you probably wouldn’t like the movie. Beyond that, it’ll be funnier if you’ve seen Rambo II and III, but they’re not necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

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