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Film / Airplane II: The Sequel

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"Ted, I have the strangest feeling we've been through this exact same thing before."

The 1982 sequel to comedy classic film Airplane!, featuring most of the original cast (with the notable exception of Leslie Nielsen, who was busy starring in Police Squad!) and written/directed by Ken Finkleman.

Ted Striker, reluctant heroic pilot, has been committed to an insane asylum after attempting to blow the whistle on a faulty prototype lunar shuttle. Elaine, his love interest, has moved on and is engaged to another pilot named Simon. Both are crew members on the shuttle's maiden voyage. Learning of the launch, Ted escapes from the asylum, boards the shuttle, and is forced into the cockpit again as a malfunctioning computer system kills the pilots and sends the spacecraft off course.

Although the Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker team had nothing to do with this one, the film tries and largely succeeds at capturing the tone of the original, largely through recycling many of the jokes.

This film provides examples of:

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: When McCroskey informs Striker of who's running the Alpha Beta Base, they have this exchange:
    Striker: Not Buck Murdock!
    McCroskey: No... Buck Murdock.
  • Adam Westing: William Shatner plays Buck Murdock, commander of Alpha Beta Base on the Moon, as an over-the-top parody of himself as Captain Kirk.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The R.O.K. computer, a Shout-Out to HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, malfunctions in-flight and tries to kill the crew.
  • Arcade Sounds: In the early scene where the kid takes control of and crashes the landing shuttle, the sound effects are taken straight from Yars' Revenge.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The federal agents relating Joe Seluchi's background to McCroskey: "That's why we're worried. This clown is impotent, suicidal, and incredibly stupid!"
  • Aside Glance: After Simon takes an escape capsule from the shuttle, Ted Striker says "Simon was a fool to eject now". Elaine asks "You mean...?" Ted turns slightly to look at the audience and says "That's right - premature ejection."
  • Asteroid Thicket: The shuttle transits the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt (on its way to the Moon), including a donut-shaped asteroid that the shuttle flies through.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: 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!
  • Bait-and-Switch: During the introduction to the asylum scene, we at one point see an accountant in a business suit talking to his brother in a plain t-shirt about his company doing well. Then the doctor comes in, says that visiting hours are over, and it turns out the businessman is the patient (who thinks he's an accountant).
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Apparently, the Moon has an atmosphere and normal Earth gravity. Who knew?
  • Berserk Button: Joe Seluchi does not like being called "impotent".
    Seluchi: DON'T SAY THAT WORD!
  • Bilingual Bonus: The woman translating into American Sign Language during a TV news broadcast 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. Played for Laughs as the crew state they have no clue what the machine does.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: This movie has a brief moment at the beginning where a child asks a security guard if his dog Scraps can go on the shuttle. The guard then says no and shoots the dog, which then falls down. After a beat for everyone to freak out, the guard announces that the gun is loaded with blanks and that Scraps is fine. The dog then gets up and everyone laughs.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The African American navigator is ROK's first victim, although the white co-pilot is killed seconds later.
  • The Bore: Ted's Running Gag of making people Driven to Suicide because he bores them with his reminiscing is taken up to eleven early on with him making what looks like the entire wing of his psychiatric hospital (patient and doctor alike) blow their brains out after he finishes his tale. He also kills a couple of people in the Mayflower.
  • 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...
  • Call-Back: The most acute one is when a display on R.O.K. smiles after Ted and Elaine discuss "blowing" the computer, a reference to Elaine needing to manually inflate Otto in the first film.
  • The Cameo: Bob Costas, Pat Sajak, Jack Jones and Art Fleming each cameo in roles from their respective TV news broadcasts and/or game shows.
  • 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 suicide bomb is used to blow up R.O.K., allowing Striker to regain control of the shuttle.
  • Closest Thing We Got: In an inversion from the first film, Ted knows exactly what he's doing, having been a test pilot for the lunar shuttle; rather, it's the shuttle itself 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.
    Jacobs: Did I leave the iron on?
  • Cow Tools: The machine in Alpha Beta Base that triggers Murdoch's Billions of Buttons Freak Out has no purpose that anyone on the crew can figure out. The lights just keep going back and forth.
  • Credits Gag:
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • The title of the film.
    • 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" asserts that the disaster would not be occurring if it wasn't for the "meat eating males" running the world. The sign language interpreter finds this utterly stupid.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Is Armed: Played for Black Comedy. After Ted Striker bores yet another group of people with his tales, they all pull out revolvers and blow their brains out simultaneously. The scene happens inside of a mental hospital, and most of the people who pull out said guns are patients, who should not even have access to said firearms.
  • Exact Words: At one point Murdoch is shown Ted Striker's record: A vinyl LP of Striker performing his favorite polka tunes.
  • The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: The German title is Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Raumschiff (The Incredible Journey on a Crazy Spaceship).
  • 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...
  • Fictional Document: "Ted Striker's 400 Polka Favorites".
  • Freak Out:
  • Foreshadowing: The bomber's reaction when asked by a stewardess (referring to his suitcase) if he wants help getting it up.
  • FTL Travel Sickness: Parodied. Ted Striker takes the shuttle to "point five Worp" to try to get back to the Moon before the shuttle's air supply runs out. This has the side effect of turning the passengers into mannequins wearing Nixon masks.
  • Funny Background Event: The drug deal gone bad in the flight control center, among others.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: The hysterical woman from the first film goes into hysterics again during the courtroom flashback, setting up another long line of people to slap her out of it.
  • Glad I Thought of It: The, "No, why don't you take care of it," Running Gag.
  • Hair Flip: Elaine does a dramatic slow-motion hair flip after removing her bobby pin, briefly distracting Striker.
  • 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 Jacobs', "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.
  • Jive Turkey: The jive man who fell ill in the original film testifies in Striker's defense, literally, in his own words:
    Check it, bleed. Bro... was ON! Didn't trip. But the folks was freakin', man. Hey, and the pilots were laid to the bone, Homes. So Blood hammered out and jammed jet ship. Tightened that bad sucker inside the runway like a mother. Shit.Translation 
  • 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: 0.5 Worp does some strange things to people, briefly turning them all into mannequins with Richard Nixon masks.
  • 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 Jacobs to do this, to his regret.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Everyone panics when they find out that the plane they're on ran out of coffee.
  • 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: Jacobs' response to McCroskey's ill-advised inquiry.
    McCroskey: I want you to tell me everything that's happened up until now.
    Jacobs: 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: Crossing over with Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • 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.
  • Polka Dork: Ted Striker's record indicates he's one of these.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Shatner's character looks through the periscope and sees the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Original Series.
    • Captain Oveur attempts to disconnect R.O.K. using the same key that Dave Bowman used to disconnect HAL in 2001. When R.O.K. responds by flooding the area with toxic gas, Oveur fights for survival to the theme to Mission: Impossible, which starred Oveur's actor, Peter Graves.
    • 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 I 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 I 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 I'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.
    • Seluchi's plan is lifted directly from the original Airport where Van Heflin's character plans to explode a bomb over the Atlantic so his wife can get the insurance.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Ted uses one when he escapes from the insane asylum.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: A woman and a donkey. The security guard at the airport also has a scanner machine which shows ordinary people with their clothes on but hot women naked (accompanied by the sound of a boxing round bell).
  • 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.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: As soon as Simon marries Elaine, he plans to have her resign her position as computer officer and force to be a stay-at-home wife and bear him children. And since he's her commanding officer, he intends to order her to do so. Luckily for Elaine, this doesn't pan out.
  • 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 version of "MacArthur Park" 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 of the major actors' credits, Joe Seluchi goes into the cockpit asking for his suitcase back!
    • At the very end, a title card announces "Coming Next Year: Airplane III"...followed by a clip of Murdock saying "That's exactly what they'll expect us to do!"
  • Stock Sound Effects: When Elaine says, "sucked out," cue castle thunder. In space, mind you.
  • Straight Gay: In a brief gag, two middle-aged businessmen who were talking about their company part by kissing each other, with one telling his partner to make sure he feeds the cats. Both are utterly ordinary, which is part of the joke.
  • Straw Feminist: On Public Broadcasting one is hosting a talk show who claims the entire disaster is the fault of meat-eating men (she also doubles as a straw vegetarian), saying this could have been avoided if a vegetarian woman were in charge. The sign language translator thinks she's full of it.
  • 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 Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Pearl Harbor.
  • There Will Be Toilet Paper: The man shaving himself in the shuttle bathroom... while it's crash landing.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: During a riot a sign flashes "DON'T PANIC." It immediately 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.
      Prosecuting Attorney: Over Macho Grande?
      Witness: No I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande, those wound run pretty deep.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: In the montage of news reports on the impending Mayflower disaster, there's an American Sign Language interpreter signing as a woman on PBS is commenting on how this is all the fault of meat-eating men. As she drones on, the interpreter stops signing, gives the jerk-off motion, and rolls her eyes.

"I don't know if this is a good time to ask, but would it be possible for me to get my briefcase back?"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Airplane 2 The Sequel


Over Macho Grande

"I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhosOnFirst

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