Cannonball Run II

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Cannonball Run II
Cannonball run ii.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Hal Needham
Produced by Albert S. Ruddy
Written by Harvey Miller
Hal Needham
Starring
Music by Al Capps
Cinematography Nick McLean
Edited by William D. Gordean
Carl Kress
Production
  company
Golden Harvest
Distributed by Warner Bros. (Theatrical)
20th Century Fox (Current)
Release date(s) June 29, 1984
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Hong Kong
Language English
Box office $28,078,073[citation needed]
See also Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash

Cannonball Run II (1984) is a comedy film featuring Burt Reynolds and an all-star cast, released by Warner Bros. and Golden Harvest. Like the original Cannonball Run, it is a set around an illegal cross-country race.

The film received eight Golden Raspberry Award nominations at the 1984 Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Actress, but no wins. Until 2013's Grown Ups 2, this film was tied with I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry for having the Most Golden Raspberry nominations without a single win.

This was the last of the "formula" comedies for Reynolds. It is also marked the final feature film appearances of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Their appearances, coupled with those of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Shirley MacLaine, marked the final on-screen appearance of the old Rat Pack team.

Plot[edit]

Having lost the first Cannonball Run race, Sheik Abdul ben Falafel (Jamie Farr) is ordered by his father (Ricardo Montalban) to go back to America and win another Cannonball Run in order to "emblazon the Falafel name as the fastest in the world." When Sheik Abdul points out that there is no Cannonball Run that year, his father simply tells him to "buy one."

To make sure his ulcer does not prevent him from winning, the Sheik hires Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing (Jack Elam), who teamed with JJ (Burt Reynolds) and Victor (Dom DeLuise) in the first race as his in-car physician. He brings along a blond-haired servant (Doug McClure), who receives numerous slaps in the face from both the sheik and his father. Most of the participants from the first race are lured back, including JJ and Victor, who have taken jobs working with a flying stunt crew.

In a subplot, Blake (Dean Martin) and Fenderbaum (Sammy Davis Jr.) are in financial trouble with Don Don Canneloni (Charles Nelson Reilly), who in turn is in financial trouble with mob enforcer Hymie Kaplan (Telly Savalas). After the Sheik manages to bail out Blake and Fenderbaum by handing one of Don Don's thugs a stack of cash, Don Don hatches a plot to kidnap the Sheik in an attempt to extort money from him.

The race begins with JJ and Victor dressed as a US Army general and his driver, a private. They catch the attention of Betty (Marilu Henner) and Veronica (Shirley MacLaine), who are dressed as nuns for a musical, but remain in character and hitch a ride with JJ and Victor when they think the guys could become overnight millionaires. They do not lose their habits until later.

Other racers include Mitsubishi engineer Jackie Chan, teamed with a giant behind the wheel (Richard Kiel) in a car able to go under water. In a red Lamborghini (white at first) with "two great-looking chicks in it" (as the cops chasing them continually say) is the duo of Susan Anton and Catherine Bach. Another team (Mel Tillis and Tony Danza) is accompanied by an orangutan, who at times appears to be the driver. They are pulled over at one point by traffic cops Tim Conway and Don Knotts.

JJ and Victor stop along the way to help a stranded soldier, Homer Lyle (Jim Nabors). They also get much better acquainted with their passengers, Betty and Veronica, who change into something a little more comfortable.

Don Don's enforcers (including Godfather film actors Alex Rocco, Abe Vigoda and Michael V. Gazzo) continue to blunder along the way, with disastrous and slapstick results.

The racers band together to invade a bordello. JJ, Victor, and Fenderbaum infiltrate it in drag, dressed as belly dancers. Others barrel in by car and rescue the Sheik, who is reluctant to leave, since he has his pick of women there. The three "dancers" and Blake go to their Leader (Frank Sinatra) to seek help, only to have him jump into the race himself.

In the end, the Sheik bankrolls Don Don's bordello and then declares that he is upping the stakes to $2 million for the winner. All jump into their vehicles and make a dash for the finish line, avoiding traffic patrollers on the way.

The Sheik, as it turns out, loses yet again, this time blaming the doctor who rode with him for injecting him with an unknown substance. But he convinces his father that he will win the return-trip race, having hired the winner of this one. It turns out to be an orangutan with a penchant for destructive behavior and giving elderly ladies the middle finger.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Cannonball Run II was met with harsher reviews than its predecessor, with a 14% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 14 critics.[1] Roger Ebert gave the film half a star out of four, calling it "one of the laziest insults to the intelligence of moviegoers that I can remember. Sheer arrogance made this picture."[2] Ebert's colleague and co-host of their program At the Movies Gene Siskel also detested the film, and he later would refer to it as his least favorite film. Siskel had a habit of being offended by films that were lazy in tone and gave off the impression that the filmmakers didn't try to make the film any good. Siskel described this film as such, and he also called it "a movie that gives movies a bad name".[3]

References[edit]

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