30 Years On… Naked Gun 2 ½ : The Smell of Fear

I was introduced to the work of the Zucker brothers by my dad in my early teens – swept away by the bizarreness of Airplane, I was keen to see The Naked Gun soon after. My dad originally saw these films in the 80s and remembers the theatre being packed with people howling throughout these comedy hits. Emma Irvine-Robertson’s Concrete review is alternatively harsh towards The Naked Gun’s sequel released in 1992, calling it “lazy and much less entertaining.” I was curious to see if I would agree.

The comedic genius Leslie Nielsen returns as Lieutenant Frank Drebin, an incompetent detective – this time he must stop a kidnapping and an anti-green plot at a presidential conference. It was a pleasing surprise to see Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon in Harry Potter) pop up in this film playing an environmental scientist.  

The only thing to expect with the writing of these films is just plain silliness in the space of 90 minutes. Think puns, think slapstick, think outdated, politically skewed jokes. As Emma remarks, you need to be in the right mood for it as it’s just gag after gag. Rather than paying attention to the (incoherent) plot, one should focus on not missing a joke by a millisecond!In my case, this film served its purpose in perking me up after a gloomy day in January, but it does lack the same vibrant energy as the original film. I’m also not sure the woke Gen-Z of today would appreciate The Naked Gun franchise in the same way as it was back then.

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Laura Patterson

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August 2022
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