84 From ’84: Cannonball Run II

Cannonball Run II Header

Cannonball Run II

Cannonball Run II Poster

When a sheik decides to sponsor a cross-country race in hope of winning, racer J.J. McLure enters the competition along with his friend Victor. They aspire to claim the $1 million prize and pick up two women on the way. Meanwhile, the sheik helps Jamie Blake and Morris Fenderbaum with an angry mob boss. But when the sheik is kidnapped, the contestants must come together to help him

Cast:

  • Burt Reynolds as J.J. McClure
  • Dom DeLuise as Victor Prinzi/Captain Chaos
  • Dean Martin as Jamie Blake
  • Sammy Davis Jr. as Morris Fenderbaum
  • Jamie Farr as Sheik Abdul ben Falafel
  • Ricardo Montalbán as King Abdul ben Falafel
  • Telly Savalas as Hymie Kaplan
  • Marilu Henner as Betty
  • Shirley MacLaine as Veronica
  • Susan Anton as Jill Rivers (“Lamborghini Babe #1”)
  • Catherine Bach as Marcie Thatcher (“Lamborghini Babe #2”)
  • Jackie Chan as himself, Mitsubishi engineer
  • Richard Kiel as Arnold, Jackie’s driver

1984 viewing

I saw this on HBO back in 1984. I remember enjoying it back then, but always liked the first movie better.

I don’t recall much about the movie though. Fast cars, Daisy Duke, a chimp and some goofy antics.

Let’s see how it looks forty years later…

40th Anniversary Re-watch

Well that was a movie. It’s a sequel that no one wanted…or maybe they did want it but it isn’t a good sequel.

First I’ll say over the years I’ve combined Cannonball Run II and Smokey and the Bandit II. Both are bad sequels. I would swear the doctor in Cannonball Run II, James Elam, was the doctor in Smokey and the Bandit II. He’s not, Dom Deluise was the doctor in Smokey and the Bandit II.

Writer and director Hal Needham, has a prolific career as a stuntman and director. He directed some great movies including Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, Megaforce, Rad and many more. Burt Reynolds was at the height of his career and a guaranteed box office draw.

The all-star cast features many famous faces from the 70s and 80s. Yet with all the star power this movie is a mess.

King Abdul ben Falafel orders his son Sheik Abdul ben Falafel to start up the Cannonball Run again so he can win this time. All the same players are back, as well as a few new ones. Nothing that really stands out though.

Cannonball Run II Lambo Babes

There are a ton of cameos and bit parts in this movie, Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Frank Sinatra, Joe Theismann, Jim Nabors and many, many more.

The actors seem as uninspired as the script. It’s essentially a remake of the first Cannonball Run only not as fun. I didn’t buy Shirley MacLaine as a sex symbol, like say, Farah Fawcett in the first movie or even MacLaine’s partner Marilu Henner. This is the seconds movie with Marilu Henner, the other one was Johnny Dangerously. I liked her better in Cannonball Run II, but her part and MacLaine’s was inconsequential.

The Lamborghini Babes don’t even drive a Lamborghini for most of the movie. They spend their time breaking down and showing their cleavage to get a ride. It’s a strange choice. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Seem bored. While Frank Sinatra appears in the movie, it’s not clear if he’s actually in any of the scenes with other actors or if he filmed his scenes and they are edited in.

Favorite Line:

No excuses, you son of my ugliest wife

I was looking forward to the Jackie Chan scenes but even his fights are short and not the best. I remember liking this movie a lot more in 1984 than watching again in 2024.

Cannonball Run II made a decent profit at the box office. It pulled in over $56 million on a $18 million budget.

If you’re debating to watch this on the 40th anniversary I don’t recommend it. There are better movies from 1984 that you should spend your time on.

Did you watch Cannonball Run II? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on X(Twitter). The main Geekster channel is @TRNSocial and I’m @MileHighSamurai You can also find me on Bluesky @MileHighSamurai

5/10 stars

Check out the entire 84 From ’84 movie series

About Pitfall Gary 147 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

2 Comments

  1. My goodness, I remember watching that in my early teen days, along with the original and a few other Burt Reynolds movies. Thanks to the wonders of VHS rentals. Dad would rent just about every popular, and not so popular movies to keep his three boys entertained. On a side note, part of why I remember Cannonball Run II is that Menudo did their theme song, and this was the time they were starting to launch into the English language market (I had an aunt who was a huge Menudo fan back then; she had all their albums, but that is another tale).

    Do like the original better as well. For me, part of the charm was of course the cast of all those famous folks. So yea, via rentals watched the Cannonball Run movies, the Smokey and the Bandit movies, even Stroker Ace (yea, not that good but still amusing at times). Good times, thanks for the memories.

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