Cars Planes 2: Fire & Rescue
dir Bobs Gannaway
prd Ferrell Barron
scr Bobs Gannaway, Jeffrey M Howard
voices Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Curtis Armstrong, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Wes Studi, Regina King, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Cedric the Entertainer
release US 18.Jul.14, UK 8.Aug.14
14/US Disney 1h23
Planes 2: Fire & Rescue
Here we come to save the day: Dipper, Dusty and Blade

cook harris bowen
See also:
Planes (2013)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Planes 2: Fire & Rescue The "World of Cars" expands with this sequel to last year's spin-off, another mildly enjoyable adventure overshadowed by that nagging sensation that something is wrong in a universe where there are talking cars, planes and trains, but no people. So why are they planning a big Corn Festival? Try not to think about it.

Now a global racing champ, Dusty (voiced by Cook) is crushed when a dodgy gearbox ends his career. He can still fly, but he can't handle too much stress. When his hometown airfield is threatened with closure for fire-safety issues, Dusty volunteers to retrain as an aerial firefighter. So he heads off to be mentored by Blade (Harris) and his crew, including the starstruck Dipper (Bowen), noble Windlifter (Studi), sassy Dynamite (King) and ace mechanic Maru (Armstrong). But a growing wildfire is heading for the nearby Fusel Lodge. Is Dusty ready for such a challenge?

Silly question. But at least the screenwriters try to throw the audience off the scent by making Dusty rather arrogant, getting himself into trouble because he always thinks he knows better. It's impossible to doubt that he'll make good on all the problems he causes, but at least there are some surprising diversions in the standard plotline, which includes a flashy park superintendent (Higgins) who thinks evacuating the guests is unnecessary.

There's also a steady stream of terrible puns and silly innuendo, which gives the cast members plenty to play with, even if the characters are fairly simplistic. Along with Cook's more bullheaded Dusty, Bowen has the most fun as the amorous fan who is thrilled to work alongside pin-up idol. As with other Cars and Planes movies, the character animation is somewhat awkward, and not just because all of the characters are, ahem, inanimate. But also because the filmmakers indulge in shameless ethnic stereotyping and simplistic hero/villain morality.

The aerial antics give the filmmakers a chance to create seriously eye-catching landscapes, and some of the firefighting sequences are genuinely thrilling, even if they're badly over-egged. But there are some terrific moments along the way, several genuinely witty gags and, even if there's never the slightest doubt where this is headed, a willingness to admit that usually a hero is merely a flawed person who doesn't give up.

cert u themes, violence, some innuendo 20.Jul.14

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