It can’t be said that Airplane II is no better or worse than its predecessor. It is far worse, but might seem funnier had there been no original.
In the first Airplane, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker had a fresh satirical crack at that hoary old genre, the airborne disaster film. But they wisely chose not to tackle a sequel, leaving incoming writer-director Ken Finkleman a tough task for his feature debut.
Robert Hays is still solid as the fearful pilot destined to take the controls. Ditto his daffy girlfriend Julie Hagerty. But instead of their hilariously earnest efforts the first time around, they seem (perhaps subconsciously) too aware what they’re doing is supposed to be funny.
Peter Graves remains amusing as the captain with a fondness for naughty talk with young boys. Among those with nothing much to do are Raymond Burr, Sonny Bono, Chuck Connors, John Dehner, Rip Torn and Chad Everett. Among those with too much to do is William Shatner.