Film / Airplane II: The Sequel

The 1982 sequel to comedy classic Airplane!

Ted Striker is again forced to pilot an aircraft, this time a prototype lunar shuttle that malfunctions and goes off course due to a faulty computer.

The team behind the first film actually had nothing to do with this film, though it's hard to tell. Director and writer Ken Finkleman did an excellent job of capturing the tone of the original.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: William Shatner, one of the earliest examples of his willingness to self-parody.
  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: Complete with Shout-Out to 2001: A Space Odyssey — "What are you doing, Dave?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • "That's why we're worried. This clown is impotent, suicidal, and incredibly stupid!"
    • Combined with Bad News, Irrelevant News when Elaine announces all the problems to the passengers: off-course, no navigation, asteroids smashing into the ship. The passengers remain calm. Then Elaine admits there's also no more coffee. Cue riot.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Including a donut-shaped asteroid that the shuttle flies through.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Apparently, the Moon has an atmosphere and normal Earth gravity. Who knew?
  • Berserk Button: Joe Seluchi and "impotent".
    Seluchi: DON'T SAY THAT WORD!
  • Bilingual Bonus: The woman translating into sign during a TV spot doesn't think much of the woman speaking.
  • Billions of Buttons: Again, a slow pan across an endless panorama of buttons, knobs and switches, only this time at Alpha Beta Base, which sends Murdoch into a Freak Out. Even parodied when the crew state that despite all of them lighting up they have no clue as to what their functions are.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The African American navigator is ROK's first victim, although the white co-pilot is killed seconds later.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The passengers are freakishly calm when told that they are off course and asteroids are smashing into the ship. The coffee shortage, though...
  • The Cameo: Bob Costas, Pat Sajak, Jack Jones and Art Fleming.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In a scene cut from the final film (though occasionally added to television broadcasts to fill time), we see McCroskey in the Old Folk's Home (for senility) as the nurse mentions that he "...thinks he's Lloyd Bridges." He's hiding under his blankets with a snorkel sticking out of the top. You could say that by this time, his lungs were aching for air.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Joe Seluchi's bomb.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Brought up, then intentionally subverted, as this time Striker does know exactly what he's doing, but it's the shuttle that's malfunctioning.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • While talking to Buck Murdock on the radio, Ted says "Roger, Murdock". Roger Murdock was the character in Airplane! played by Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. The scene even does a beat so you don't miss it.
    • In the courtroom scene one of the jive talking passengers from the previous movie appears as a witness, as does the hysterical woman.
    • McCroskey's Droste Image gag is repeated. With one extra layer added.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Played for laughs. After the Mayflower space shuttle malfunctions, someone in the space traffic control room asks "What do your people think?" The audience is briefly granted the power of Telepathy so we can hear the controllers' thoughts.
    Controller #1: They're screwed.
    Controller #2: They're dead.
    Johnny: Did I leave the iron on?
  • Courtroom Antics: Both the prosecution and the defense during Ted Striker's trial.
  • Cow Tools: The machine in Alpha Beta Base.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Parodied. At the "Ronald Reagan Hospital for the Mentally Insane," the sign reads "We Cure People the Old Fashioned Way". Cut to a bunch of orderlies beating a patient with slapjacks, while telling him "It's for your own good!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The title.
    • Buck Murdock remarks that: "Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes".
  • Desperate Object Catch: The bomb is heroically caught in mid-air before it can crash down and explode. By the dog.
  • Dirty Coward: Simon abandons ship in the only escape pod as soon as the danger is revealed.
  • Does Not Like Men: The "Vegetarian Feminist" pretty much flat out state that the problems of the world would not be going on if it wasn't for the "meat eating males" running the world. Even the female Sign Language Signer notes how idiotic the speaking feminist is.
  • Droste Image: McCroskey in front of the framed photograph of himself, which contains a framed photograph of himself, etc. Recycled almost verbatim from the first film.
  • Exact Words: At one point Murdoch is shown Ted Striker's record: A vinyl LP titled "Ted Striker's 400 Polka Favorites".
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: "Point Five Worp." Well, close enough. See Ludicrous Speed.
  • Flashback: In Striker's flashback to his trial, a woman testifying has flashbacks to when everyone lined up to slap her out of her hysterics in the first movie. This memory sends her into hysterics...
  • Freak Out: Murdoch goes into a hysterical breakdown over the billions of blinking and beeping lights in the tower. Also the shuttle passengers upon learning there's no more coffee.
  • Foreshadowing: The bomber's reaction when asked by a stewardess (referring to his suitcase) if he wants help getting it up
  • Funny Background Event: The drug deal gone bad in the flight control center, among others.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: See Flashback above. This time, she's being slapped out of her hysterics in the courtoom.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Blow R.O.K.?" is followed by R.O.K. 9000's screen showing a smiley face.
  • Glad I Thought of It: The, "No, why don't you take care of it," Running Gag.
  • Hair Flip: Elaine after removing her bobby pin.
  • Heroic Dog: Scraps, little Joey's dog, catches the suitcase with Joe Seluchi's bomb before it can hit the ground.
  • Hypocritical Humor: There is a woman who assures Ted she never gets airsickness, only to reach for an airsickness bag moments later
  • Hysterical Woman: Recycled almost verbatim from the first film. As she testifies in court about her first episode, she goes into a fresh bout of hysterics.
  • Inner Monologue: The flight controllers' opinions about the passengers' chance of survival. Parodied by Johnny's, "Did I leave the iron on?"
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Commander Buck Murdock of Alpha Beta Base on the Moon. He just... keeps... talking...
  • Ignored Expert: Striker's treated this way in the first half of the film, as his warnings about the shuttle's safety problems (based on being the test pilot) go unheeded.
  • Just Ignore It: Provides the page quote.
  • Kangaroo Court: Striker was transparently framed for the crash of the prototype lunar shuttle to cover up the faulty wiring.
  • Karma Houdini: Simon escapes, gets no on-screen comeuppance for being a coward.
  • Lost Food Grievance: "We're also out of coffee" (enter the Mass "Oh, Crap!")
  • Ludicrous Speed: Point Five Worp does some strange things to people. Namely, give everyone a Nixon Mask.
  • Mile-High Club: A woman twice propositions men to have sex with her. The second time, we see a line of men waiting to take their turn... and later a donkey.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: A young woman claims to be a virgin (repeatedly) to seduce a long line of men apparently eager to relieve her of that problem.
    Woman: I don't mean to sound forward. I mean, I know I don't know you, but I don't think we're going to live through this, and I've never been with a man before. I know this isn't the right place...
  • Mr. Exposition: Parodied. McCroskey tries to get Johnny to do this, to his regret.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The events of the previous movie put Striker in the papers, and the Canadian Jewish News.
  • Not Actually the Ultimate Question: Johnny's response to McCroskey's ill-advised inquiry.
    McCroskey: I want you to tell me everything that's happened up until now.
    Johnny: Well, let's see. First the Earth cooled, and then the dinosaurs came. But they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes-Benzes. And Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. I couldn't believe it! He took her best summer dress and he put it on and went to town...
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • Overcrank: Parodied; when Joe Seluchi hurls the briefcase with the bomb into the air, its brief flight is shown in extreme slow motion, but during the scene one of the passengers, in normal time, checks his watch as if to wonder why everything's suddenly going so slowly.
  • Propaganda Machine: Parodied during the news reports segment on the malfunctioning spaceship. The Soviet newsreader 'happily' announces that several hundred American capitalists are expected to die... as an offscreen guard presses a gun against his head.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: When the passengers learn there's no more coffee.
    Oveur: Damn, if I told them once, I've told them a hundred times — store the extra coffee!!
  • Recycled INSPACE: It's more or less similar to the last film (the disaster being the biggest difference), but in space.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: As Joe Seluchi buys the bomb in the spaceport gift shop, in the background is a poster with a 90 year old man in boxing trunks and gloves with the wording "Rocky XXXVIII".
  • Right on Queue: The Get A Hold Of Yourself Man Flashback, the Mile-High Club scene above, plus when the flight controllers queue up to beat up a radio.
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted. McCroskey tries giving one to Striker like in the previous film, only for Ted to point out that he's fine; it's the ship that's screwed up. Later, Buck Murdock tries it, but gets so involved in his own narrative that he's completely oblivious to the fact that Striker has already landed.
  • Running Gag:
    • "No, why don't you take care of it?"; "No, not a 'bu-', a bomb," and many more.
    • (Following Ethel Merman in the first film). "He thinks he's Lloyd Bridges..."
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: The Moon base has automatic doors that make a Star Trek style whooshing sound when they open. However, unlike in Star Trek, they don't open or close on physical proximity, but when the person leans into the door's microphone pickup and makes the same "shh" sound.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: It's a lunar shuttle. Going to the Moon. That goes off course, through the asteroid belt, on the way to the Sun. In a few hours. Riiiiiight... Just a tad off course.
    Passenger: Stewardess, what exactly is a 'tad'?
    Elaine: In space terms, that's half a million miles.
  • Sequel Snark:
    • "It's like we've done all this before...."
    • Airplane III? That's exactly what they'll expect us to do!
  • Shaped Like Itself: "I guess irony can be pretty ironic sometimes."
  • Shout-Out
    • Guess what Shatner's character sees through the periscope?
    • When the shuttle takes off, the song playing is straight from the original Battlestar Galactica theme.
      • In fact, most (if not all) of the movie's soundtrack is actually the Battlestar Galactica theme. The Dramatic Theme played when we see the Mayflower 1 heading towards the sun is the "dramatic music" from the titles of Galactica's feature-length pilot episode Saga of a Star World.
      • The Galactica pilot music re-usage continues with the "Viper Launch theme" for when Mayflower 1 goes to 0.5 Worp; the "Cylon Basestar stinger" from the pilot sounds when the dog Scraps grabs Seluchi's bomb briefcase; and the "Nova of Madagon" cue plays during Mayflower 1's tilting ramp launch out of Thunderbirds.
    • To Jeopardy!: "Art, I'll take Air Shuttle Disasters for $40." "The answer is....the Mayflower!"
    • R.O.K. is a direct parody of H.A.L. 9000.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Ted uses one when he escapes from the insane asylum.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: A woman and a donkey.
  • Space Friction: When the space shuttle is about to crash into the sun, Striker finally regains control of it and brakes it to a halt. It fishtails 180 degrees and you can hear tires skidding.
  • Spit Take: Ted Striker, after the psychiatrist tells him that Elaine is getting married.
  • Split Screen: Lampshaded when President Reagan is talking to the Commissioner.
  • Steel Eardrums: Parodied. Bug Kruger and the Commissioner get into an elevator at one point where there are a bunch of other people who have their ears plugged because the elevator muzak is playing at full blast. Neither Kruger nor the commissioner see the need to plug their ears. The elevator doors close. When they get off, "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" is playing at full blast, and they're still finishing a conversation that started when they got on the elevator.
  • The Stinger: At the end, Joe Seluchi goes into the cockpit asking for his suitcase back.
  • Stock Sound Effects: When Elaine says, "sucked out," cue castle thundr. In space, mind you.
  • Take That!:
    • A brilliant one at Ronald Reagan that doubles as Harsher in Hindsight due to his Alzheimer's Disease.
      Airport officer 1: We could get McCroskey.
      Airport officer 2: I don't know. Ever since Reagan fired the controllers, he's been completely senile.
      Airport officer 1: Yeah, but what about McCroskey?
Airport officer 2: About the same as Reagan.
  • There's also one against Public Broadcasting: Two women discussing how the shuttle wouldn't have gotten into trouble in the first place if it had been piloted by vegetarian women instead of meat-eating men, while a third translates into sign language. Eventually, the translator gets frustrated, and just does the jerk-off gesture while the discussion continues.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Joe Seluchi tries to blow up the shuttle so his family can receive his insurance money; it turns out it was a car insurance policy, not a life insurance policy.
    FBI Man: That's right. This clown is impotent, suicidal, and incredibly stupid.
    • The suitcase with the bomb has stickers from touristy places like Dresden, Hiroshima, Iwo Jima...
  • There Will Be Toilet Paper: The man shaving himself in the shuttle bathroom... while it's crash landing.
  • They Do: Ted and Elaine marry at the end.
  • This is No Time to Panic: During a riot a sign flashes "DON'T PANIC", then changes to "OK, PANIC".
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Ted Striker decides that he'll have to take the shuttle to 0.5 Worp (half the speed of light) in order to get back to the Moon before they run out of air. He's warned that the Worp drive has never been tested and that the ship will come apart at that speed. It's later mentioned that no one has flown at that speed before.
  • Video Phone: Parodied. Someone on the moonbase turns on a screen and after some static and wavy lines appear is able to get through to Buck Murdock. There's a brief conversation, then Murdock opens the door in front of him to reveal that he was talking to the man through a window.
  • Visual Pun: Simon's turned to jelly!
  • Waiting Skeleton: This film continues its predecessor's Running Gag of Ted's boring stories making people kill themselves with this gag; after Ted tells an old woman a story, we see that she's now a skeleton.
  • We Sell Everything: In the airport gift shop.
    Joe Seluchi...Time, Newsweek, the Lifesavers, and the second time bomb from the right.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Simon leaves in the escape pod, never to be heard from again.
  • Who's on First?: When Oveur, Unger, and Dunn meet:
    Simon: Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet your captain, Captain Oveur.
    Oveur: Gentlemen, welcome aboard.
    Simon: Captain, your navigator, Mr. Unger, and your first officer, Mr. Dunn.
    Oveur: Unger.
    Unger: Oveur.
    Dunn: Oveur.
    Oveur: Dunn. Gentlemen, let's get to work.
    Simon: Unger, didn't you serve under Oveur in the Air Force?
    Unger: Not directly. Technically, Dunn was under Oveur and I was under Dunn.
    Dunn: Yep.
    Simon: So, Dunn, you were under Oveur and over Unger.
    Unger: Yep.
    Oveur: That's right. Dunn was over Unger and I was over Dunn.
    Unger: So, you see, both Dunn and I were under Oveur, even though I was under Dunn.
    Oveur: Dunn was over Unger, and I was over Dunn.
    • And during the courtroom testimony scene:
    Witness: Striker was the squadron leader. He brought us in real low. But he couldn't handle it.
    Prosecuting Attorney: Buddy couldn't handle it? Was Buddy one of your crew?
    Witness: Right. Buddy was the bombardier. But it was Striker who couldn't handle it, and he went to pieces.
    Prosecuting Attorney: Andy went to pieces?
    Witness: No. Andy was the navigator. He was all right. Buddy went to pieces. It was awful how he came unglued.
    Prosecuting Attorney: Howie came unglued?
    Witness: Oh, no. Howie was a rock, the best tailgunner in the outfit. Buddy came unglued.
    Prosecuting Attorney: And he bailed out?
    Witness: No. Andy hung tough. Buddy bailed out. How he survived, it was a miracle.
    Prosecuting Attorney: Then Howie survived?
    Witness: No, 'fraid not. We lost Howie the next day.
  • World of Pun