Robocop 2

THREE GUYS AND… A MOVIE

series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson

“ROBOCOP 2”

written by Dominick Cappello

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POSITIVE:

Irvin Kershner had directed one of the greatest sequels of all time… “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). Did he still have the “Midas” touch a decade later? The story of “RoboCop 2,” which was penned in part by comic book legend Frank Miller, centers around a cult leader, Cain, played by Tom Noonan, who is poisoning the streets of Old Detroit with a designer drug called NUKE.

The police are on strike because they are being mistreated by O.C.P. (Omni Consumer Products). Luckily, RoboCop is still on patrol. Peter Weller reprises his role as the titular character as does Nancy Allan as his partner, Officer Anne Lewis. They’re doing there best to clean up the streets and stop the production and distribution of NUKE.

RoboCop still has memories of his life as Officer Alex Murphy, so he is ordered by bureaucrats to remind his widow that her husband is gone. A scene which really tugs at one’s heartstrings. Even police officers are addicted to NUKE, so things are looking bleak. RoboCop follows a bent cop to a neon lit arcade and beats the truth out of him, then follows his leads to an abandoned factory. Every action movie seems to have a scene like this. Almost all villains use abandoned factories as their secret hideouts. I guess that’s because it’s a cheap location for filmmakers to blow to hell. RoboCop is captured and dismantled by Cain and his goons, a scene that mirrors his construction in the first movie. The smashed RoboCop animatronics still hold up visually after all these years, proving that practical special effects are superior in many ways to CGI.

Belinda Bauer plays Dr. Juliette Faxx, a woman sleeping her way to the top of Omni Consumer Products, undermining The Old Man, played again by Dan O’Herlihy. Dr. Faxx reprograms RoboCop to be more obedient and a better mascot for the police force, eliminating what is left of his humanity. Lewis immediately knows that there something wrong with him. RoboCop takes matters into his own hands, electrocuting himself. A risky move, but this shorts out his new programming and returns him to his original state.

RoboCop tracks Cain down and after being mangled in a truck crash, Cain’s consciousness is transferred into a giant robot. All of this was arranged by Dr. Faxx. In many ways, she was the real antagonist of the film. Dr. Faxx uses NUKE to control Cain-bot (I don’t know what else to call him).

Omni Consumer Products is still trying to reshape Old Detroit into the futuristic Delta City. At a presentation of this proposed city is when RoboCop and Cain-bot have their final showdown. They fight in all the usual places you’d expect to see in an action flick like elevator shafts and rooftops. Cain-bot seems to be unstoppable, so Lewis dupes him by offering him a canister of NUKE, allowing RoboCop to sneak up on him. After a scuffle, RoboCop removes Cain’s brain from the robot and smashes it on the pavement.

The whole incident is blamed on Dr. Faxx. Lewis is angered that The Old Man will once again avoid the long arm of the law, but RoboCop is confident that they will get another chance. RoboCop movies appeals to those of a certain age. You needed to be young when first exposed to this franchise. If you didn’t see a RoboCop movie until you were already an adult, you likely find it to be a most ridiculous farce. Myself, I still get a kick out Peter Weller’s performance. I just wish that Basil Poledouris’ theme from the original film was reused in the sequel. I superhero needs his signature music.

– Dr. Jelly

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NEGATIVE:

This movie gives me such a bad migraine. The sort of debilitating migraine that’s usually a symptom of “Batman & Robin” (1997). Remember all of that clever satire in “RoboCop” (1987)? Well, the satire is back, but it’s not so clever this time around. Actually, it’s pretty fucking stupid.

It’s bad when you’re lacking the subtle touch of Paul Verhoeven. He opted to direct “Total Recall” (1990) instead. I think he made the right decision. Otherwise, it would be toss up between this and “Showgirls” (1995) as to which is his worst film. Hookers mug people in this movie. What’s the point of being scantily clad if you’re going to use brute force? That seems counter productive. One of the villains is a foul-mouthed little kid. Kids should be banned from appearing in movies. They ruin everything.

Dan O’Herlihy returns as the head of Omni Consumer Products. His character’s name is still The Old Man. Since this is the second movie he is appearing in, you’d assume that his character would have been given an actual name. Besides, I thought that he and RoboCop became buddies at the end of the first film? But, even though RoboCop saved his life, he’s still a cheap slime-ball and screwing over the police force. I guess that the motto of this film was “the hell with continuity.” I was feeling ill before, now I’m just becoming enraged.

RoboCop is smashed to pieces and put back together by some hot scientist chick. Because when you put dorky glasses on a hot chick, that automatically makes her brainy. You have to love movie logic… or not. RoboCop returns to action in time stop a gang of little leaguers from robbing a store. More freaking kids!? Give me a damn break! The character of RoboCop is sullied for all time when a different bunch of punk kids cover him with graffiti. I warned you that kids were going to ruin this movie. Not that it was too good to begin with. A kid takes over the bag guy’s gang and steals his sexy girlfriend. How the hell did this lousy kid get cast as a love interest for a sultry Hispanic chick? This isn’t just my opinion. I’m not bitter. Everyone who saw this movie was incredibly offended by the concept of a child drug lord.

The main bad guy comes back from the dead as a robot or something and kills his ex-gang. The mayor escapes the assault. I’m not sure why the mayor was there to begin with, but this isn’t a crime drama, it’s a dumb fucking RoboCop movie, so I don’t care about political intrigue. Old fashioned stop-motion effects were used for the final battle and they don’t really hold up. This was the pre “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991) and “Jurassic Park” (1993) era of special effects. I cannot believe that this steaming pile of shit was directed by the guy responsible for “The Empire Strikes Back.” How the might have fallen. It’s my hope to never have to watch anything RoboCop related ever again. I’ll only watch “RoboCop 3” (1993) if I lose a bet.

– Dr. Frisbee

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INDIFFERENT:

An Orion Pictures release. Man, that brings me back to the 1980s even if this movie hit theaters in 1990. The antagonist of this film is played by Tom Noonan, a preferred character actor of mine from such films as Michael Mann’s “Manhunter” (1986). After you’ve established your hero in the first film, it’s so important for him to have a worth adversary in the sequel. Casting Tom Noonan was good decision, but did they utilize him correctly? It’s tough to say.

Frank Miller wrote the second draft of the screenplay, but his vision was apparently too grandiose for the budget, so the script was paired down without his input. I don’t know if he had any sour grapes about that. I guess that he took it in stride because he made a cameo, working in a drug lab. It’s hard for me to watch all of scenes depicting drug use since characters prick themselves in the necks to introduce the narcotic into their bloodstreams. I’m usually not squeamish, I’m actually desensitized to most R rated adult content, but this movie makes me a tad uncomfortable. I suppose that pinpricks are my only weakness.

Omni Consumer Products failed in its attempts to create a new and improved RoboCop, which reminded me of the senate hearing scene from “Iron Man 2” (2010). Dan O’Herlihy is still running Omni Consumer Products, but he can never really top his performance from “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982) as Conal Cochran. Tom Noonan’s character ends up as just a brain, eyeballs, and a spinal cord floating in a glass jar. Creepy stuff like that reminds of a Hammer Films production of “Frankenstein” with Peter Cushing. Then, when Tom Noonan ends up inside of the robot and his face is primitive CGI on a computer screen, it seemed like a precursor to Jeff Fahey’s character in Stephen King’s “The Lawnmower Man” (1992).

As pro wrestling fan, I will always remember WCW (World Championship Wrestling) Capitol Combat. “The Icon” Sting was trapped in a steel cage by The Four Horsemen. Just when it looked like all hope was lost, the camera cuts to the entranceway as RoboCop emerged from backlit smoke. Play-by-play commentator Jim Ross then made the classic call, “But here comes RoboCop!” All of this malarkey was promotion for the upcoming film, though I hope that it was a stuntman and not Peter Weller in the suit. RoboCop proceeded to free Sting by ripping the cage door of its hinges as if it was made of papier-mâché. Jim Ross conducted an interview with Sting in 2014 and neither man had fond memories of RoboCop appearing on a pro wrestling pap-per-view event. Myself, I’d qualify it as something so awful that it’s tremendous.

Peter Weller was not happy while shooting “RoboCop 2” and disappointed with finished product, so he did not return for “RoboCop 3.” The titular character was played by Robert John Burke, who did a fair job of emulating his predecessor. As per her request, Nancy Allan’s character was killed off in the final sequel. Richard Eden starred in the “RoboCop: The Series” (1994) and Page Fletcher starred in the mini-series “RoboCop: Prime Directives” (2001). The film series was rebooted in 2014, starring Joel Kinnaman. But, just like all gritty reboots, the character was given a makeover. RoboCop now wears a sleek black suit because heaven forbid any superhero wears anything other than black. RoboCop has almost become like a low rent James Bond with five different actors playing the part over the course of 27 years.

– Dr. Rochester

Author: Dominick

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