THE NAKED GUN 2 1.2, 1991
Lt. Frank Drebbin returns to save the day once again. This time he's out to foil the "big boys" in the energy business. A top scientist (Dr Mainheimer) is about to publish his report on energy supply for the future. Things don't look good for the traditional suppliers; oil, coal and nuclear. To save their industries, the suppliers kidnap Mainheimer and replace him with a decoy with a more favorable report. Jane, the Dr's secretary, is Drebbin's old flame; they're passionate love affair is thus rekindled.
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Most critics gave this film a decline from the first. Most spoof movies these days get lower and lower and lower in quality as the franchise goes on. Even when you think the bar can’t be lowered…these film makers pull out their shovels. But Naked Gun 2? I actually think is the strongest of the franchise.
The Story: The hardest thing about having a franchise is maintaining style, content and character while escalating the situations into new and fresh territories. Naked Gun 2 brilliantly takes same things from the genre that they spoofed in the first film and instead of just dulling them down and repeating jokes they throw them in to completely different situations. Last film we saw a floating outline in an ocean for a body. This go around we get an explosion of a building with chalk outlines not only showing random limbs spread about the building, but Egyptian hieroglyphics and a body that was spread into halves on an elevator door. In short the comedy level is still substantially high. In fact the tangential courses still occur, but this time they’re funny enough to keep you energized as to what’s going on. Furthermore, there’s an actual original, for the time, plot of hiding the advances of energy sources. And even more on top of that, there’s Robert Goulet’s character who is a breath of fresh air to the over the top villainy. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a good amount of O.J. in this one and somehow, his now tainted history just makes everything he does funnier. Oh and one last thing – one of my favorite pieces of dialogue in all of my film collection “Do you realize that because of you this city is being overrun by baboons?”
Directing: Zucker himself seems to have honed in his abilities this go around. From the writing, to the cinematography, to casting and production design. In short his show this time is perfectly balanced in it’s comedy and situations, characters and most of all, the pacing.
Cinematography: Maybe it was the change in time periods of the films that affected this film (the first film was made in 1988 and this one in 1991.), but it’s photographed a lot better than the first. There’s more color and well thought out lighting to it all. It’s as if the D.P. actually wanted to spoof the cinematography of the genre they were spoofing. Oh my, my, my. What a grand idea. And to think….it works!
Production Design: The production design is upped from the last go around, most likely due to a bigger budget. What’s strange here is that the production design was so bad last time, it was spoofing the genre and it was funny. This time, it’s so professional that it makes the other things funny. Like it’s so seriously real that it’s like “wow….that’s real” funny. What a great reversal.
Editing: Again, my biggest problem with the first film was the structure and pacing. This film was either lucky or understood that it needed to be fixed. Editing is much tighter here. They enter a scene get maximal information related to the plot out THROUGH the spoof and gags. That’s what works the best. And once it’s done that, bam – on to the next scene and gag. Which not only keeps the pacing up, but if some of the comedy doesn’t work for you it’s not run into the ground and makes you bored. No, they move on to new and fresher things.
Score: There’s something different about this score. It’s less jazzy than the first film, but still comedic. I don’t want to say that it’s generic comedy score, but it is. There is something different about it however. It just works so well with every situation and gives the film a steady tone and still doesn’t break franchise continuity.
Special Effects: Again, production level has been increased and so has this level. While there’s not much to go on, the effects still accomplish the man goal: make the audience laugh.
In closing: If you kinda liked the first one, you should love this one. I favor this one over the rest. Maybe because there’s a decent plot, better pacing, funnier bits and great comedic performances.