Movie Review: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell Of Fear

Image Source: Wikipedia

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: David Zucker
Producer: Robert K. Weiss
Scriptwriters: David Zucker and Pat Proft
Main Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson and Robert Goulet
Released: June 28 1991
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Certificate: 15

The sequel to The Naked Gun (as you may have guessed given its title), the second Naked Gun film sees the old crew return as they encounter a new yet similar quandary to that of the original picture: the US President at the time, George H W Bush (played by John Roarke), plans to base his recommendation for America’s renewable energy programme on the advice of Dr. Albert Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths). This upsets those in the oil, coal and nuclear industries, including Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet). Their solution: replace Albert with their own double for Meinheimer, Earl Hacker (also played by Griffiths, funnily enough). The switch is in line with Albert’s energy announcement at the upcoming National Press Club dinner.

However, the Police Squad, led again by Lt. Frank Dreben (Leslie Neilsen), get wind of the plot and attempt to prevent it, whilst at the same time dealing with Hapsburg’s hired goons. It all leads to the dinner itself, where their evil plot has to be foiled, but there’s a twist: in the event of his plan failing, Hapsburg has a bomb planted to take everybody out, including the President. Once again, it’s up to Dreben and co to stop it all happening, but events along the way mean that the Squad may not even get into the dinner. How will they do it?

Frank’s romance with Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley) is renewed here: Jane now works for Dr. Meinheimer, and they reacquaint when Frank explores the possibility of a plot against the good doctor. We aren’t told why Frank and Jane hadn’t seen each other since the first film, but it does result in this classic exchange:

Frank: “How are the children?”

Jane: “We didn’t have any children.”

Worryingly for Frank, though, she has a new boyfriend, who is none other than Hapsburg. Frank’s attempts to rekindle his love for Jane are again turbulent, but are less prominent than in the first movie, and all involved know whose side they are on by the time of the climax.

The sequel to The Naked Gun is slightly less into telling a story and more about providing funny lines and moments. And in the vein of the first film, there is a wealth of entertainment to be found here. The Squad and Jane are all played by the same cast, so expect the same kind of one-liners, humorous visuals and hammy expressions.

Image Source: Neon Reels

(By the way. this entry into the series also features Frank’s all-time best facial, as seen to the right).

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will simply say that if you enjoyed the first Naked Gun then you will love this movie. And, if you read my previous review, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of the trilogy and of Leslie’s work in particular, so yes I found this to be a hilarious comedy, the humour for which still holds up and always will in the future.

I mark it down a smudgeon just because the increased emphasis on humour means that the believability of one or two comedy moments is stretched and, whilst still funny, those jokes feel a bit forced. Overall, though, this is another exceptional chapter in the Naked Gun trilogy which will more than satisfy fans of the original, and fortunately the series wasn’t over there, as I will document in a future review.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10 – Classic