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Flying High II: The Sequel

Year: 1982
Studio: Paramount
Director: Ken Finkelman
Producer: Howard Koch
Writer: Ken Finkelman
Cast: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Peter Graves, William Shatner, Lloyd Bridges, Chuck Connors, Stephen Stucker, Rip Torn, Sonny Bono
The Zucker brothers wanted nothing to do with this movie, with the conviction to believe nothing could top the original. I call it conviction because 'foresight' isn't exactly the right word. Despite their apparently staunch belief the sequel shouldn't have been made (they haven't watched it to this day), it's got many of the elements that made the first one such a classic.

Anxious to tap the comic goldmine, Paramount rushed writer/director Ken Finkelman behind the megaphone and despite the Zuckers' digging their heels in, he does as good a job as they did - certainly better than even they've managed the last few tries.

With virtually the same story again, Striker (Hays) is again a broken man. After test piloting the first lunar lander, Mayflower 1, he's spoken out too loudly about design and engineering flaws and the powers that be (the boys on the board) have declared him a lunatic, locking him up in the Ronald Reagan Hospital for the Mentally Insane.

Elaine (Hagerty) is once again a stewardess, Captain Oveur (Graves) the pilot, and Ted manages to escape the hospital and board the shuttle. With more than an out of control jet full of innocent passengers to contend with, this time he has to circumvent Elaine's soap-operaish boyfriend Simon, who'll ultimately suffer premature ejection.

William Shatner dances the spindle-thin line between comedy and drama with the same aplomb as Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges and Peter Graves at their best, and there are just as many shrieks of laughter of both the obtusely visual and subtly scripted kind.

Once again, a classic you can quote and reference endlessly. Danger: Vacuum. 'Just a bridge, sir','Why the hell aren't I notified about these things?'. 'Dunn was over Unger and I was under Dunn'. 'He bought us in real low. But he couldn't handle it', 'Buddy couldn't handle it?'. 'Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?', 'Ain't no thang'. 'I'm sorry, I don't do impressions. My training is in psychiatry'. 'Should I fake my orgasms?', 'Yes, next'. Rocky XXXVIII. 'The second time bomb on the right.'

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