10 June 2003 | kingklassy
Separate it from the original and it's not as bad as some make it out to be...
Okay, the original "Major League" (1989) was a great movie and the surprise hit of 1989. So, it's no surprise that not only did they want to sequelize it, but that they toned the humor down to PG level to reach a wider audience. Unlike alot of other sequels, most of the original crowd is back (including Charlie Sheen as Rick Vaughn and Tom Berenger as Jake Taylor), save for Wesley Snipes, whose role of Willie "Mays" Hayes is reprised by then-up-and-coming Omar Epps (who pokes fun at Snipes' then-rising career as an action film star in a very funny sequence with Jake Ventura).
The original film focused more on the story of a bunch of has-beens and never-will-bes trying to have "one last good day in the sun" playing for the struggling Cleveland Indians. This sequel follows similar ground, with most of the players having gained large egos from their sudden success and not caring much about the game anymore. "Major League II" seems to like to jump quickly through the story, however, so you don't get as much of a sense of what's on the line for the team like you did in the original.
The film starts with some new characters (like a new and arrogant catcher) that provide some pretty necessary tension, but soon gets rid of them to make way for broader characters (like the Japanese outfielder). Perhaps the most irritating is the brilliantly misused Randy Quaid, who plays a die-hard fan that turns coat on the team when they start to lose. The odd part about his appearance is that his character behaves and acts like a returning character, yet there was no sign of him in the first one. He even hangs out with the die-hards from the first film (remember the three man wave in the stands?), but he is totally unfamiliar that he's almost unnecessary.
The return of former-turned-current team owner Rachel Phelps is unncessary and seems like a rehashing of the tension created by her presence in the first film. He appearance midway through the film (combined with alot of other mid-mark plot changes) makes it seem like the writers and director changed their minds on the story halfway through making the film and tried to weld it all together into something cohesive.
There are alot of great lines in this film though and some truly funny parts. I think the major problem with this sequel is that it follows the superb original. If you were to watch it without constant comparison to the first, it is a pretty entertaining film and better than alot of other sequels. But I guess it must be hard to follow-up something so great that wasn't really trying to be in the first place.