Release Date(s)1984 (November 1, 2017)
Studio(s)Golden Harvest/Warner Bros./Fortune Star (Umbrella Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: C
- Extras Grade: F+
Three years after the success of The Cannonball Run, many of the main participants (Burt Reynolds, Hal Needham, Dom DeLuise, etc) came back for another bite at the broad comedy apple with Cannonball Run II. Although it did well at the box office, it was considerably less than its predecessor, which was one of the top grossing films of 1981. It was also attacked critically, more ferociously than its predecessor, even earning Razzie nominations. Was all of that negativity towards it worth it? Yes and no.
Cannonball Run II is clearly a movie that, like the first film, everybody had a great time making but no one was really that invested in. Many of the members of the all-star cast from the first film make their return, including Jamie Farr, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Jackie Chan, in addition to new cast members Frank Sinatra, Ricardo Montalbán, Marilu Henner, Shirley MacLaine, Telly Savalas, Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Alex Rocco, Abe Vigoda, Jim Nabors, Charles Nelson Reilly, Tony Danza, and Henry Silva. In fact, one could argue that Cannoball Run II had more stars in it than the first. However, the comedy is even less successful this time around. The film tries really, really hard to be funny, desperately trying to build up to punchlines, even throwing in a discourteous and hijinks-laden ape for good measure. Coming off as mostly awkward, not to mention long in the tooth, Cannonball Run II was perhaps too much.
Regardless, the film’s popularity state-side hasn’t been enough to warrant a Blu-ray release just yet. For its fans, Umbrella Entertainment comes to the rescue with a transfer that appears to be from an older master, but is a strong presentation nonetheless. Grain levels are fairly solid with good detail, much more than Warner Bros.’ Blu-ray release of the first film, albeit slightly softer by comparison. Color reproduction is good but nothing ever really pops, while skin tones tend to dip a bit towards pink. Blacks are a bit crushed while overall brightness and contrast is satisfactory, although it could have been a couple of notches brighter. The element that was used for the transfer is in good shape. The opening credits are a little rough, but things straighten up afterwards. It’s quite clean with only minor specking and mild wobble leftover. The audio is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital with optional English subtitles. It’s fairly flat and narrow in many scenes, but dialogue is clean and clear. The score and music selection have some minor fidelity, but sound effects tend to lack dimension. It’s a clean track though without hiss, clicks, or pops to get in the way. Unfortunately, there aren’t any extras included, not even a main menu.
Your enjoyment of Cannonball Run II will be highly dependent on your enjoyment of The Cannonball Run. Both offer plenty of nostalgia and novelty value due to the variety of guest stars who pop up in them, but if you dig the first film and somehow missed the second one, Umbrella Entertainment’s Region Free Blu-ray release is currently the best ticket in town for it.
- Tim Salmons