Major League II (1994) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for language and adult humor
Running Time: 105 min.
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Eric Brusskotter, David Keith, Takaaki Ishibashi, Michelle Burke, Alison Doody, James Gammon, Omar Epps, Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haysbert, Bob Uecker, Margaret Whitton
Director: David S. Ward
Screenplay: R.J. Stewart
Review published February 25, 2005
*** The following review contains spoilers for the first Major League ***
Five years after Major League became a hit on home video, the sequel is released, which finally answers the question, "What happened to the team after they won the division? Did they go to the World Series, or what?" Apparently, they didn't.
It's now the next season, and the team has come back to try to win it all, but the surprising success of the team has changed the chemistry, and getting there proves to be an even harder challenge. Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Sheen, Young Guns) has (apparently) been given a job as a starting pitcher, and his hot model girlfriend (Doody, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) converts his bad boy image to clean cut, in order to score big with endorsement deals. Unfortunately, he has lost his edge as a result.
He isn't the only one to lose aggressiveness, as Pedro Cerrano (Haysbert, Far from Heaven) has found inner peace through Buddhism, and doesn't care if he does well -- he just loves everyone. Meanwhile, Jake (Berenger, Butch and Sundance: The Early Years) finds himself in a three-way race for the starting catcher position, made especially difficult with hard-hitting free agent Jack Parkman (Keith, Daredevil) in the running. Willie Mays Hayes (now played by Omar Epps (The Mod Squad), instead of Wesley Snipes) is trying to change himself into a power hitter, which will bring more fame and fortune to his budding career as an actor. Lastly, Roger Dorn (Bernsen, "L.A. Law") has hung up the cleats to concentrate on being the team's owner, but finds it hard to keep the money from drying out when the team starts performing so poorly.
Although most of the original cast is back, there is a decidedly different vibe this time around, and with charm being Major League's only real asset, it doesn't bode well for the film's success. The main thrust of this sequel now surrounds Rick Vaughn (probably due to Sheen's stardom at the time), which is unfortunate because he is probably the most one-dimensional character of the bunch. Watching a bad boy turn squeaky clean isn't really rife with comedic moments, and it certainly isn't worth expending half of the movie to explore. Some of the newer facets of the film have become more cartoonish, especially a subplot involving the not-so-bright hayseed catcher that can't throw the ball back to the pitcher because he thinks too much. There are some decent moments, enough to find the overall experience easy to endure, but, like a pitcher who has lost his control, director David S. Ward and writer R.J. Stewart (The Rundown) seem to be trying too hard.
Two-thirds of the way through, Ward decides to completely recreate the formula of the first film, trotting out the loathsome team owner from the first film to antagonize the men into victory. This brings the team (and the movie) back to life, but it's too little, too late -- been there, done that.
Major League II is strictly a cash in proposition, content to try to placate the fans with more of the same instead of offering something new and appealing, so if you've seen the first film, you've seen all there is to see. As a way to kill time, perhaps you may find it to be a relatively easy-going diversion, but Major League II is so juvenile and mechanical, it is the sports movie equivalent of T-Ball.
-- Followed by Major League: Back to the Minors.
©2005 Vince Leo