Directed again by Jim Abrahams, the film stars Charlie Sheen, Lloyd Bridges, Valeria Golino, Richard Crenna, Brenda Bakke, Miguel Ferrer, Rowan Atkinson and Jerry Haleva. Sheen, who portrays a spoof of John Rambo, went through a tough weight lifting/training program to gain the physique needed to play the role of an action hero.
Abrahams and Pat Proft wrote the screenplay. Members of both men's families have roles as extras.
One night, an American special forces team invades Saddam Hussein's (Haleva) palace and a nearby prison camp to rescue captured soldiers from Operation Desert Storm and to eliminate Saddam, but they find the Iraqis prepared for them, and the entire rescue team is captured. This failed operation turns out to be the latest in a series of rescue attempts which were foiled by the Iraqis, and consequently the advisors of President Benson (Admiral Benson in the previous film, played by Bridges) suspect sabotage in their own ranks. Colonel Denton Walters (Crenna) suggests to gain the aid of war hero Topper Harley (Sheen) for the next mission, but Topper has retired from the United States Navy and become a Buddhist in a small Thai village. Walters and Michelle Huddleston (Bakke), CIA, arrive and try to persuade him to come out of retirement in order to rescue the imprisoned soldiers and the previous rescue parties.
Topper initially refuses, but when yet another rescue mission (this one, in turn, led by Walters) goes awry, he agrees to lead a small group of soldiers into Iraq. He is joined by Williams (Colyar), Rabinowitz (Stiles) and Harbinger (Ferrer), the sole escapee of the prior rescue mission and whom Topper suspects to be the wanted saboteur. They parachute into an Iraqi jungle close to the heavily guarded hostage camp and set off to meet their contact, who turns out to be Topper's former love, Ramada (Golino). Ramada guides them to a fishing boat that she prepared for their transportation. As they move towards the camp, she and Topper reminisce, and she explains that she was married before she met him. When she was informed that her husband, Dexter (Atkinson), was still alive and a prisoner in Iraq, she volunteered to participate in his liberation, but was instructed to keep this strictly confidential, forcing her to break up with Topper just as they were ready to start a new life together; this also led to Topper's decision to retire.
Topper's team proceeds to the prison camp disguised as river fishermen, but a confrontation with an Iraqi patrol boat thwarts them. When President Benson hears of the apparent failure of another mission, he takes matters into his own hands and joins additional forces in Iraq. However, Topper and his teammates have survived, and soon reach the Iraqi hostage camp. In the course of the operation, the alarm is raised and a gunfight ensues, during which Topper finds out that Harbinger is not the saboteur, but has merely lost faith in fighting, and manages to motivate him. After the prisoners are freed, Topper decides to rescue Dexter, who has been brought to Saddam's palace.
While the squad evacuates the hostages, Topper enters Saddam's palace and runs into the dictator himself, who pulls out his machine pistol and commands Topper to surrender. Topper disarms Saddam, and they engage in a sword fight. President Benson arrives and orders Topper to rescue Dexter while Benson and Saddam continue the duel. Benson defeats Saddam by spraying him with a fire extinguisher, upon which he and his dog solidify and crack into pieces, only to subsequently liquify, combine and reform as Saddam with his dog's head fur, nose and ears. In the meantime, Topper manages to find and liberate Dexter, but is forced to carry him out on his shoulder as the Iraqis have tied Dexter's shoelaces together.
The squad heads back to the army helicopter, where Ramada, after a complicated revelation involving unfounded jealousy, reveals and arrests Michelle as the saboteur who betrayed the previous rescue attempts to the Iraqis. Dexter arrives with Topper and insists on taking a picture of him and Ramada, but backs away too far and topples over a cliff. President Benson joins the escapees, and the evacuation team lifts off; Saddam is about to shoot down the chopper when Topper and Ramada get rid of extra weight in it by pushing a piano out the open door, which crushes him. Topper and Ramada kiss as they ride off into the sunset.Charlie Sheen as Topper Harley
Lloyd Bridges as President Thomas "Tug" Benson
Valeria Golino as Ramada Rodham Hayman
Brenda Bakke as Michelle Huddleston
Richard Crenna as Colonel Denton Walters
Miguel Ferrer as Commander Arvid Harbinger
Rowan Atkinson as Dexter Hayman
Jerry Haleva as Saddam Hussein
David Wohl as Gerou
Mitchell Ryan as Senator Gray Edwards
Michael Colyar as Williams
Ryan Stiles as Rabinowitz
Gregory Sierra as The Captain (uncredited)
Clyde Kusatsu as Prime Minister Soto (uncredited)
Martin Sheen as Benjamin L. Willard (uncredited)
Bob Vila as himself
Reviews for Hot Shots! Part Deux were generally favorable, although not to the extent of its predecessor. Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 59% based on reviews from 29 critics.
Roger Ebert noted that the film references such movies as Rambo III, Lady and the Tramp and Apocalypse Now, as well as the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Ebert concluded, "Movies like this are more or less impervious to the depredations of movie critics. Either you laugh, or you don't. I laughed."
The film became a financial success at the box office in 1993, grossing over $130 million worldwide.
As part of the film's promotion, a mockumentary was aired on Home Box Office. Titled Hearts of Hot Shots! Part Deux—A Filmmaker's Apology, the mockumentary parodied Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, the 1991 documentary about the making of the film Apocalypse Now (which starred Charlie Sheen's father, Martin Sheen). Martin and Charlie Sheen briefly encounter each other in a scene, parodying Apocalypse Now and Platoon, where they pass each other in PBR vessels along a river, and shout across to each other, "I loved you in Wall Street!".