Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
Smokey and the Bandit
It's sad to see a successful and highly original formula being milked dry of all the juice it once had, even if the motivation for the filmmakers was just as much to have fun as to make money. Smokey and the Bandit II sets up an almost identical premise as the original, adds an elephant and Dom DeLuise, and hopes the performers' charisma will do the rest. At first glance, the film might seem like fun, but this time the fun is superficial and gimmickry. It comes from a desire to copy a winning formula, but without the spontaneity which made the first Smokey so great. It's much like trying to recreate that fun trip you had in your youth after you've grown up and settled. The result here is a film with no sting or relevance, and even Burt seems dejected by what he's in on. I guess it's safe to say that this was the beginning of the decline for the Needham/Reynolds partnership.