Directionless sequel that once again proves that the pictures that are the most fun to make aren't necessarily the most fun to watch. Burt Reynolds and a host of notable performers seem to be having a hell of a good time wandering through this meandering, episodic farce, but rarely is
their good mood shared by the viewer. Perhaps it's the episodic, randomly-connected nature of the plot, which once again centers around a group of auto enthusiasts engaged in a cross-country race. This simple premise provides director Needham with a reason to indulge in all the requisite car-chase
cliches, while the cast ham it up in and out of their respective vehicles. At this point in time, it was evident that Reynolds and Needham were still simply coasting on their success with SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. In retrospect, however, CANNONBALL RUN II earns a foonote in film history for
containing not only one of the first English-speaking performances of martial-arts star Jackie Chan (Chan was then under contract to Golden Harvest, the co-producers of the film), but also for featuring the last on-screen teaming of the three seminal Rat Pack members, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis
Jr., and Dean Martin (his last screen appearance). Like its precursor, this picture made a lot of money; foreign rentals and videocassette distributors were presold on the strength of the first CANNONBALL RUN. The film's plotline, itself derived from earlier road-race movies, was lifted for SPEED
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