Every once in a while. I like to look back at a movie that has gotten some hatred and try my best to give it a proper review. This time I’m looking back at a movie that I loved when I was a kid. Yes that’s right a 12 year old kid. “RoboCop 2”
Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Gabriel Damon
Writers: Frank Miller, Walon Green
Director: Irvin Kershner
From Irvin Kershner the director of one of the best movies in the Star Wars saga “The Empire Strikes Back“. Comes another sequel that is only just OK. Now to be fair. When I was a kid I heavily enjoyed this movie. Why? Well the answer is simple. I didn’t have to wait for Alex Murphy(Peter Weller) to get killed and become a cyborg. Robocop just shows up with that big gun and I’m like. “Hell yes”. Now as a somewhat serious critic I can tell you that this movie has it’s share of faults but the kid in me still really enjoys this flick a lot. This was a movie that me and one of my childhood friends watched a lot when we were kids. It was either “RoboCop 2“, “Spaceballs“, “Die Hard“, and “Little Shop of Horrors” that we watched on repeat a lot. Now this movie does have a lot the same satirical jokes as the first one. It even opens with a great ad for a new car security system called Magna/Volt. It just seems that someone forgot to tell the director the difference between making a joke that comments on certain social issues versus a joke that is just used to get a cheap laugh. It also doesn’t help matters that Murphy aka Robocop is way different here then he was at the ending of the first movie.
When Murphy says his name at the end of the first one, we felt that he got his humanity back, and will continue to fight crime as himself and not a robot. That idea is quickly disposed of and instead we get the same robotic voice and movements in this sequel. A lot of characters from the first movie seem to have a big personality switch. Even the old man(Dan O’Herlihy) that he saved is more corrupt in this one. It’s like the asshole gene got passed over after Dick Jones was thrown through the window. Ann Lewis(Nancy Allen) also returns but I never understood why. We never got any background on her character in the first movie and we don’t in this one either. So what’s the point of even including her.
The new baddies that Murphy is up against are drug dealers and terrorists of a new drug called Nuke. Among them is Cain(Tom Noonan), who is very much copying the teachings and mannerisms of Charles Manson. He views himself as some sort of religious figure and gets many people in his cult to do things for him. His right hand man in this operation is a 12 year old boy namded Hob(Gabriel Damon). Now I have read the complaints that having a young kid say and do some pretty horrendous things will make younger kids who see it(and they will because Robocop is awesome) think that it’s OK too. I never once had that notion. The stuff that kid does did not appeal to me when I was a kid and they will not for anyone who watches it now. I just wish they would have written his character a bit better because he was in my mind a better villain then Cain.
To fight this new drug, OCP wants to build a new robot called RoboCop 2. However all of the applicants have not been as good as Murphy. So instead of seeking out another cop. They want to put the mind of a criminal inside their machine. The idea is that they can make it do what it wants be appeasing to it’s addiction. I’m just glad they chose someone who was addicted to drugs instead of rape and murder. They find a new specimen and it looks like our hero may has met his match, Not really. The stop motion animation from Phill Tippet looks cool, but everything else about him feels dated. Especially his CGI face behind the mask. I would have rather seen any of ED 209’s then this thing.
The first movie I’m sure had it’s complainers who felt that this violent R rated movie was being marketed towards kids.
Hmmm, I don’t know why.
So in this one they have a plot point where RoboCop gets destroyed by the supporters of Nuke,and has to be rebuilt by OCP. But instead of getting back his three prime directives. A focus group is brought in to tweak his personality. Turning him into more like Mr. Rogers and less then a cop. The basic idea of this moment is good because I think the whole idea of a focus group is pointless for a movie. Your not going to please everyone, and the movies that try do are not ones I like anyways. Having RoboCop act all nice was kind of funny and it could have expanded upon the issue of what is considered political correctness and who should be a role model. However that idea is quickly thrown out after he electrocutes himself and becomes normal again. Yes, that whole plot thread was completely pointless.
Don’t be discouraged. There are a lot of other plot threads that are abandon in this movie.
One of them I wish they would have kept is Murphy trying to get in contact with his wife and son. They show him outside her house and she even once comes to the station to confront OCP. She can see that it’s him and Murphy (from the first movie) clearly knows who he is. I would have loved to see him get back more of his humanity by trying to be a better husband and father. If you’re not going to touch upon issues of what makes us human besides our flesh. Why bother in including it.
Now I don’t want to hate on this movie too much because I do still enjoy it. I like it’s very over the top nature and that it goes for a more extreme tone then the first one did. It becomes a comic book movie with the heavy emphases on the word “Comic”. While Verhoven’s version was a satire on certain American ideals. Kershner’s version just wants to tell a simple action story, and I’m OK with that. So if you go into this thinking that it will be as good as the first one. You will hate it. But if you just let that inner child come out and enjoy watching one of your heroes kick some major ass. You will love it.