The Scoop: 1990 R, directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Peter Weller, Tom Noonan, and Nancy Allen
Tagline: He’s back to protect the innocents.
Summary Capsule: Robo returns to take down a major drug dealer and a lot of 80’s-wimpy-feel-good-pansies who are out to make him more huggable
Justin’s Rating: Is RoboCop training to become a cage fighter?
Justin’s Review: As a movie lover, there are few things more exciting than witnessing the golden herald of a sequel to a film I adored. It evokes powerfully nostalgic feelings for a movie that perhaps was out in theaters a mere year ago, but nostalgia reigns nonetheless. As the studio hype fills your living soul with promises that even very few miracle-slinging prophets could keep, a small bud of hope blossoms deep inside of you. Maybe it’ll be just as good as the first! Maybe better! More special effects! More developments! More catchy phrases and big name actors! More exclamation points!
Of course, if you listen to any of the other MRFH staffers, or probably any other sane human being, they’ll be quick to denounce all sequels universally and emphatically. I can’t blame them; they’ve been hurt too many times and now lay bleeding from celluloid-inflicted wounds on the wrists, asking the universe at large why Speed 2 had to be made. Sequels almost inevitably let us down — the studios play it safe and would rather try to dazzle audiences with glitz than truly continue the next chapter of a story. To sum up a “Well duh” thought: some sequels have been worthy of creation, but most worthy of a foul pit in hell.
But call me Silly Buns, because I just have a morbidly excited fascination for sequels. With arms outstretched, I welcome them, daring them to entertain while inwardly preparing for a disaster of enjoyable proportions. It’s people like me that keep getting sequels greenlit, and I’m proud of my horrid legacy.
RoboCop 2 seems to be the most typical example of a perfect sequel. It’s certainly not better than the first movie, but it does boast a larger special effects budget, renegade RoboCop prototypes committing suicide, and more blissful MS-DOS command prompt references. Not to mention all the great lines from RoboCop are brought out of the freezer, warmed up, and served to us still semi-frozen.
One of the rarely promoted benefits of sequels is that they allow the filmmakers to cut straight to the story without having to do so much background, character origins, and pesky explanations. Hey, we know who this dude is — a cyborg cop, brought back from death to serve and protect the public, and equipped with an automatic pistol located where his femur used to be. We don’t need much more than that to go on: Go get ‘em, Robo!
In the RoboCop tradition, RoboCop 2 features twin threats to our fair Detroit police department. There’s a super-evil dude named Cain — just look at that facial hair and tell me it doesn’t spell evil in some sort of follicle Braille code — who’s speeding up the disaster of the city by supplying a highly addictive drug called Nuke. Remember, this was back in the late 80’s-early 90’s, when street drugs actually existed and were a dangerous problem. Thank goodness those days are over!
RoboCop’s biggest threat, however, comes from the very company that made him, the insidious OCP. In a move to take over Detroit — and as a citizen residing there currently, they are more than welcome to it — OCP stops paying the cops and reprograms RoboCop to become the biggest robotic sissy this side of that round beach ball Jinx from SpaceCamp. Will RoboCop retain his humanity, defeat a cyborgianized Cain, and hock a big loogie in the face of OCP? Or will this be one of the most depressing sequels ever?
While RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven is absent this time around, RoboCop 2 tries quite a bit to retain that cynical consumer-satire edge that Verhoeven gave the series. There are plenty of fake commercials and sarcastic newscasts, but they’re obvious imitations and lack even the shock value that the first movie had.
It’s not a terrible sequel, but not a brilliant one either. At least it retains its R rating with some well-deserved gory effects, and proved to the world that stop motion animation, when combined with robotic killing machines, can still be fun to watch.
- Sin City’s Frank Miller wrote the original script to this movie. Miller turned around and later published his script as a comic book in 2003.
- Tim Hunter, who was set to direct but quit the project over “creative differences” during pre-production and was replaced by Irvin Kershner.
- I want Magnavolt! And I won’t even worry that it may electrocute me on the off chance of a malfunction!
- The news in the future is so much more upbeat
- What did that police car ever do to you?
- Inner-thigh holsters rock
- Making drugs is a family business now! Day care provided!
- Robo can’t shoot kids
- Detroit’s fully under corporate control… well, better than being under the thumb of that hyperexcited mayor
- The RoboCop 2 demos
- Elvis is DEAD
- The point-of-view shots from Robocop include references to MS-DOS, while the point-of-view shots from Robocop 2 feature a Apple MacIntosh-style interface, with a skull instead of the Apple logo.
- In the scene where Robocop was being reprogrammed by Dr. Juliette Faxx, the following hex numbers scroll quickly up the screen: “50 45 54 45 20 4B 55 52 41 4E 20 49 53 20 41 20 47 52 45 41 54 20 47 55 59”. Converted to ASCII text, it reads: “PETE KURAN IS A GREAT GUY”. Peter Kuran was the special effects photographer.
- When Juliette Faxx is going through death row inmates’ files on the computer the first picture you see is that of director Irvin Kershner
[Robocop shoots at man with cigarette]
RoboCop: Thank you for not smoking.
Cain: You want me?
RoboCop: Dead or alive.
Cain: One of us must die.
RoboCop: Dead, then.
RoboCop: Patience, Lewis. We’re only human.
RoboCop: Isn’t the moon wonderful tonight?
Lewis: It’s daylight.
RoboCop: It’s the thought that counts.
RoboCop: Bad language makes for bad feelings.
[Robocop’s new directives]
DIRECTIVE 233 Restrain hostile feelings
DIRECTIVE 234 Promote positive attitude
DIRECTIVE 235 Suppress aggressiveness
DIRECTIVE 236 Promote pro-social values
DIRECTIVE 246 Don’t rush traffic lights (repeated below)
DIRECTIVE 254 Encourage awareness
DIRECTIVE 256 Discourage harsh language
DIRECTIVE 258 Commend sincere efforts
DIRECTIVE 261 Talk things out
DIRECTIVE 262 Avoid Orion meetings
DIRECTIVE 266 Smile
DIRECTIVE 267 Keep an open mind
DIRECTIVE 268 Encourage participation
DIRECTIVE 273 Avoid stereotyping
DIRECTIVE 278 Seek non-violent solutions
DIRECTIVE 238 Avoid destructive behavior
DIRECTIVE 239 Be accessible
DIRECTIVE 240 Participate in group activities
DIRECTIVE 241 Avoid interpersonal conflicts
DIRECTIVE 242 Avoid premature value judgements
DIRECTIVE 243 Pool opinions before expressing yourself
DIRECTIVE 244 Discourage feelings of negativity and hostility
DIRECTIVE 245 If you haven’t got anything nice to say don’t talk
DIRECTIVE 246 Don’t rush traffic lights
DIRECTIVE 247 Don’t run through puddles and splash pedestrians or other cars
DIRECTIVE 248 Don’t say that you are always prompt when you are not
DIRECTIVE 249 Don’t be oversensitive to the hostility and negativity of others
DIRECTIVE 250 Don’t walk across a ballroom floor swinging your arms
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Starship Troopers