Frank Sinatra's cameo was his final acting role in a theatrical film, though he would make one final appearance in the TV movie Young at Heart (1995). All his other appearances from here on would be in documentaries and retrospectives.
According to his memoirs Roger Moore was again offered the role of Seymour Goldfarb but turned it down, feeling the joke could go no further. His final female companion had been injured in a car crash on the last day of shooting the original film which was also influential in his refusing the sequel.
Roger Moore later regretted his decision to turn down a role in this film after finding out Frank Sinatra was appearing. In his autobiography, he states of this, "Regrets, I've had a few, but too few to mention..."
Final of the 1970s-1980s action car stunt comedies for Burt Reynolds. These films included the 'Smokey and the Bandit' and 'Cannonball Run' movie series as well as Stroker Ace (1983) and Hooper (1978).
The car used by Jackie Chan in this movie is a Mitsubishi Starion, sold in the United States under that name but more commonly known as a Conquest, sold by Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler dealerships. With only trivial exceptions, the ones sold in domestic dealerships differed from the Starion in name only. Within the last few years, the car Chan used in the movie was salvaged and restored by a member of StarQuestClub, the national owner's club for Starions and Conquests, and is now roadworthy again.
The stretched Chrysler Imperial limousine (stretched by 36 inches) used by Burt Reynolds was converted by ASC (American Sunroof Corporation) outside Detroit, Michigan, using the front doors from a 1979-81 Dodge St. Regis sedan. This limousine was used in Reynolds, previous films Sharky's Machine (1981) and Stick (1985). Co-star Frank Sinatra had a similar limousine converted by the same coachbuilder, which is still owned by the Sinatra family.
Hal Needham, on the first film's commentary, talked about how Frank Sinatra showed up very early on the set of this film to get his parts shot, and then left before the other actors even showed up. If you watch closely during the office scene, Sinatra is never on film with the other actors. A few times his back is shown with the other characters facing him, but this is a double.
Roger Moore parodied his James Bond persona in the first "Cannonball Run" film, driving an Aston Martin and frequently, when on camera, a scene was introduced with James Bondesque music. Though Moore does not return in this sequel, there are numerous new James Bond connections: Richard Kiel who had played Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), and Telly Savalas, who had played Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). This movie features a car that can turn itself into a submersible vehicle a la the underwater car from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), while Kiel is often seen brandishing his teeth (real, not metal) in numerous shots. Savalas' character "Hymie Kaplan" is seen spinning out of control after Arnold (Kiel) gives him the right hook--similar to the scene where Bond dispatches Sir Hugo Drax out of an airlock in "Moonraker".
In the scene where Victor suggests he and J.J. bring along the two nuns, Victor says if they do, God will be their co-pilot. In The Cannonball Run (1981), Fenderbaum says the same line to Blake when they're at Jimmy the Greek's betting place. Blake then slaps Fenderbaum's face saying "Where's (God) He gonna sit?"
At some point during their first scene in the film, Sammy Davis Jr.. sang a few lines form his popular 1972 song "The Candyman". Dean Martin, meanwhile, sang few lines from the chorus of his 1964 trademark song "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes" before entering the room. Both songs were considered their most successful and hit #1 in The Billboard Hot 100.
According to Hal Needham in the first film's commentary, they almost got in trouble with the Bond producers because of Roger Moore's role; being that he, among other things, had a car with gadgets. In this film, Jackie Chan's car has all the gadgets a la James Bond (even more than Chan's car had in the first film); and Chan's partner is Richard Kiel, most famous for his role as James Bond's nemesis "Jaws".
Aside from playing Victor, Dom DeLuise also played the mob boss Don Cannelloni, who behaves and speaks similar to The Godfather (1972)'s main character, Don Corleone. Nine years later Deluise again played a similar character in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), a film directed by his long time collaborator Mel Brooks. He also played a similar character in The Godson (1998).
On certain original beta video covers it stated this movie was the debut of the monster truck Bigfoot in motion picture movie, cashing in on the popularity of the truck in the mid 1980s. It's actually not a true fact, as Bigfoot first appeared in Take This Job and Shove It (1981).
Frank Sinatra was not happy with the film, asking how his character was supposed to win the Cannonball Run after joining it on its final leg. He was under the impression it was a race where the first person across the finish line was the winner, and no one explained you clock in at the start and clock off at the end.
The Mitsubishi driven by Jackie Chan and Richard Kiel drove into a lake, and recreated the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me that changed into a submarine. While under water, the theme from Jaws was played that reference Richard Kiel's character JAWS from Thre Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.