Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own, is racing in the Monte Carlo Rally. Unbeknownst to Herbie's driver, thieves have hidden a cache of stolen diamonds in Herbie's gas tank, and are now trying to get them back.
Jim Douglas and his partner Bo ran a small driving school with a very "human" Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie, who could think for "himself" and frequently got Jim into some sticky comic ... See full summary »
Two would-be safe-crackers 'sort of' kidnap the two grandchildren of millionaire J. W. Osborne. In a story somewhat reminiscent of O. Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief, the ransom amount ... See full summary »
Alonzo Hawk is a mean-spirited property developer who has bought several blocks of land in the downtown district in order to build a gigantic shopping mall. There is one problem however; an elderly widow named Steinmetz won't sell the one remaining lot that Hawk needs to proceed with his scheme. So he resorts to all manner of chicanery, legal or otherwise, to get it. Fortunately, the widow Steinmetz has an ace up her sleeve in the form of Herbie, the miraculous Volkswagen. Written by
When Herbie starts calling up other Volkswagens to defend the firehouse, the first one is another Herbie with the "53" logo painted over. The front seat of that car is also removed and a driver's head is visible (covered in a cap that's the same color as the rest of the car seats). He is almost out of sight, but not quite. See more »
[as they go for a ride in Herbie]
Let's stop kidding ourselves, okay? This is just an ordinary little car. Like a million other ordinary, rather unattractive...
[suddenly, Herbie takes off down the road]
I don't think you should've said that. Herbie's very sensitive about his appearance!
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The much-loved original is still hailed as one of the better live-action Disney films so I'm wondering why it took them a comparatively long time to throw out a sequel. However, it would appear that despite the long gestation that someone forgot to include pretty much anything that made "The Love Bug" such a smash. That's not to say that this is entirely worthless but it is a disappointment when you consider it next to its older brother.
Property developer Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn) is preparing to construct a huge tower overlooking San Fransisco but his diggers are kept back by the last remaining resident still on the plot. Mrs Steinmetz (Helen Hayes) lives in an old fire station with Nicole Harris (Stephanie Powers) and they vigorously fight against Hawk and his team of crooked lawyers trying to get them out of the way. But when Hawks hoodwinks his naive nephew Willoughby Whitfield (Ken Berry) into trying to get Mrs Steinmetz to move, he hadn't reckoned on the heart and soul of Herbie - the infamous Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own - getting in the way as well.
In "The Love Bug", Herbie was a racer with numerous tricks up his sleeve but in "Herbie Rides Again", he's now some crime-fighting vigilante on four wheels. The stuff he gets up to - driving up sheer cliff faces or climbing the Golden Gate Bridge - never feels believable and as a result, the car loses some of its charm and personality in the process. Notice how in the poster, they've given Herbie eyes instead of headlights. The other thing that weakens the film is that Powers, Berry and Hayes are simply not as interesting as the stars of the first film
in fact, the funniest and most entertaining person is actually the
baddie. Wynn has the best lines and scenes - the dream sequence he has is probably the highlight of the film - but what's the point if you're supposed to root for the others?
It feels wrong to criticise such a kiddie friendly movie but I'm afraid "Herbie Rides Again" simply isn't as good as its predecessor. It's sillier and not as funny, littered with laboured performances from the protagonists and completely at odds with the story that went before it. The first film didn't rely on model shots or crude blue-screen effects and it was much more enjoyable. I realise that there might not have been much mileage in a car that thinks for itself plot wise but by turning Herbie into a crusader for the little people in the face of corporate greed, it made what was always slightly silly completely ridiculous. Stick with "The Love Bug" instead of this stalling sequel because it's more fun, more enjoyable and didn't feel like it lasted an age - I cannot recall 88 minutes feeling like such a long time.
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