Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
“The Bandit is back and better than ever!”
Director: Hal Needham
Cast: Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed
Synopsis: The Bandit goes on another cross-country run, transporting an elephant from Florida to Texas. And, once again, Sheriff Buford T. Justice is on his tail.
Apparently director Hal Needham had a full-page picture of himself sitting atop a wheelbarrow full of money published in trade papers in response to the justifiable drubbing Smokey and the Bandit II received from the critics. I suppose that pretty much explains where Mr. Needham’s priorities lay, and why this movie resembles the stuff that comes out from beneath Charlotte the elephant’s tail. The ‘humour’ is non- existent and the stars involved all manage to look suitably sheepish about it all, as the egotistical Bandit (Burt Reynolds) once again embarks on a cross-country dash with Sheriff Buford Justice (Jackie Gleason) in hot pursuit. This time, the Bandit’s cargo is a pregnant elephant named Charlotte, which just about shows how hard the scriptwriters worked to come up with something fresh for the opportunistic sequel to an unexpected box office smash. Shame on everyone – even me for sitting through every miserable minute of it.