Hot Shots!


‘…if you fancy seeing Hollywood with its pants around its ankles, Hot Shots offers top fun…’

Back in the day, UK tv audiences were wowed by the Christmas spectaculars organised by top BBC comics Morecambe and Wise; Eric and Ernie used to be able to pull enough strings to fill their shows with celebrity cameos, giving the programming the unmissable air of an office party where the straight-laced newsreaders and presenters let their hair down for a good old fashioned knees up. Game-changing parody Airplane! captured a similar vibe during the same period; Seeing stars like Robert Stack, Leslie Nielsen and Lloyd Bridges sending themselves up added class to the stoner humour, and led Nielsen directly to Police Squad and the Naked Gun, and Bridges to the two successful Hot Shots movies.

Hot Shots Part Un is a direct skit of Top Gun, a film that, for all its merits, was ripe for parody; the opening scene squeezes every possible sight gag from the setting of an aircraft carrier. In place of Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen turns on his charm as Topper Harley, a maverick fly-boy who battles with Admiral Tug Benson, played by Bridges as a Ronald Reagan-like buffoon, addled by a myriad of war injuries.

Hot Shots keeps costs down by using footage from Flight of the Intruder to make sure that Jim Abraham’s movie looks the part, but there’s also some very elaborate gags to savour; Benson laments the lack of atmosphere on the base, but he’s actually standing in front of a painting rather than a window. Topper acts the gentleman and turns a lady away from the inferno consuming her lover, only to accidentally turn them both towards a mirror that provides her with a perfect view of the scene. The parodies are random, from 9 and a Half Weeks to The Fabulous Baker Boys, but most of them land; ‘What about your landlady?’ worries Topper as Ramada (Valeria Golino) sneaks him into her boarding house for some illicit nookie. ’You can do her too’ is her agreeably rude response.

Yes, that’s Valeria Golino, last spotted in Portrait of a Lady on Fire; she’s made it as a serious actress, but there’s no business more serious than comedy, and Golino is a riot here. Sure, there’s a few cringe jokes, but the best ones are belters, and the whole cast seem to be having fun; if you fancy seeing Hollywood with its pants around its ankles, Hot Shots offers top fun.


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  1. I proffered part deux and the lightsaber fight they have for some reason at the end. But then, I’ve not seen Top Gun so the jokes in this probably just went over my head. Although I did like the admiral losing his hat in the ocean and asking to turn the boat around, leading to his men having to tell him how bloodly long that would take.

            • Yup, I think there was comedy to be derived from the idea of incompetent presidents back then…

              • Ahhh, the good old days.
                I remember them like they were yesterday. When pizza was just a dollar and real italians made them right in front of you. Not like the effete and soulless frozen pizzas you see in the grocery stores today.

                ♪Where is my John Wayne?♪
                ♪Where is my prairie song♪
                ♪Where is my happy ending?♪
                ♪Where have all the pizzas gone?♪

                Isn’t it amazing how precisely music can fit even our most despondent moments?

                • Quite a fan of the old Two Brothers pizza joints. Two plain slices and a soda for $2.75. Good values. But if money is no object, Sbarros is good too. What toppings would you like?

                    • You talk about paying in unimaginable ways. And talk about manscaping over on Alex’s blog.
                      What other conclusion could I come to?

                      That you’re secretly italian and actually work at a pizza joint? See, I can imagine that….

                    • You seem to be able to image all sorts. But none of these things are happening. Sorry.

                    • Don’t be sorry. I’m the one who’s sorry. Now who is going to pay for my slices of pizza that I was promised in this review?

                    • Oh, Alex is paying? Then order me up some more of those extra large pepperoni pizzas! and make sure to include a big tip for yourself. Never let it be said I was cheap with someone else’s money!

                    • He’s sending pics of his bank card, front and back, so you can have dips and everything!

                    • Fantastic! This day is looking fatter already.
                      I’ll take 10bags of cheddar and sourcream ruffled potato chips and 5 things of french onion dip and 5 things of queso dip.

                      and feel free to triple that tip…

                    • You want to be tipped in gravel? Why not! Order yourself up a tractor trailer load’s worth. The more the merrier, right?

                    • Better check the limit on this card, must be getting close…he’ll tell us if we get close to the limit, right?

                    • I’m sure he will. Alex is a pretty generous guy.
                      I mean, who else would take a bullet for the team the way he does with every Charlie Chan movie he watches?

                    • I’m concerned he may have taken one too many, even he seems to be questioning his own choices now…

                    • Well, if he ever shows up crammed inside a grocery cart, THEN we can stage an intervention. Fraggle has some medical experience, so we can count on her to straighten him out.

                      The rest of us can eat pizza and gravel and give helpful comments from the sidelines.

      • Leslie Neilsen was a Canadian comic. Leslie Neilson was an uncredited assistant to the gaffer on some of the earlier Abrahams movies. I thought this could have used some of his touch.

        The earlier movie was Airplane!, by the way.

        • Flying High in some territories, surely. It’s better than Three Sisters anyway, what a drab title, hardly going to pull in an audience with a dud promise like that….not sure why Chekov even gets out of bed in the morning, best stick to piloting the Starship Enterprise.

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