RoboCop 2 (1990)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
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Overall Rating 58%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,462
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Connections: RoboCop

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Review by Crispy
Added: January 02, 2012
RoboCop was one of those rare movies that was able to mix action and storyline with extremely successful results. Three years later, RoboCop 2 tried to recreate the mixture; granted, they ended up putting a little extra weight on the plotline side of the scale, but considering how excellently it flows off the first film, this isn't too much of a problem. Now, this movie was slammed by critics and fans alike upon its release, and while I'll agree that it's not exactly the same caliber as the first movie, it's still a worthy sequel.

As the movie starts, Detroit is in the midst of a crime wave the likes of which has never been seen before. If you'll remember, the Detroit Police Department has been bought out by the private corporation, OCP, and they've cut the cops' salaries in half and completely knocked out their pension. None to happy about this, a large majority have gone on strike. With Detroit a veritable warzone, the mayor can not make the payment to OCP, and due to the terms of the contract they signed, this automatically grants ownership of the city to the corporation. They plan on leveling the city and starting from scratch, and since the ED-209 units are less than reliable, they've dumped millions of dollars into building a new RoboCop. Unfortunately, they've discovered that most cops find this robotic existence unbearable, and these RoboCop 2 attempts quickly go suicidal. Deducing that the original RoboCop only survived due to his unusually high sense of duty to the law, and realizing they aren't going to find another cop of his standing, they turn their eyes outside the Force, hoping to find someone with a similar passion. Speaking of the original RoboCop, he's been working overtime due to the strike, primarily focusing on the distribution of a new, super-addictive drug called nuke. It was created by Cain, a sadistic man who compares himself to Jesus leading his flock to salvation. The ongoing battle between RoboCop and Cain's group amounts to a lot of damage and bloodshed on both sides, but comes to a head when OCP realizes Cain epitomizes the mentality they've been looking for.

Like I said, this movie wasn't received to favorably on its release. There have been a lot of complaints that RoboCop 2 is too violent, and while I see where this criticism is stemming from, it's not the violence itself that's the issue. After all, the whole premise of the movie is that this police strike has reduced the city to a war-zone; it's supposed to be violent. No, the problem lies in the way that Kirshner depicted this violence. He was trying to emulate the first movie's gritty, over-violent tone, but couldn't balance the fine line between over-violence and super-violence. You see, he went too far with it, resulting in bloodshed that is not really graphic or distasteful, but rather a cartoony caricature. Even the series' trademark commercials show this shift. Again, he was trying to emulate his predecessor's style, but Verhoeven used a subtlety that was completely lost on Kirshner. One guy showed how global nuclear war had become so mundane that it was the subject of a family board game, the other shows a car alarm that kills potential carjackers. The point was horribly missed.

I also mentioned how 2 piled a bit more story onto the table here. You see, the main focus is on OCP putting their master plan into motion, resulting in RoboCop himself and his private war against Kane and his nuke relegated mostly to the back burner a bit. This has been another source of critical complaint, along with the fact that RoboCop has seemingly regressed from his humanity in the first movie. I didn't see it this way. Personally, I saw the first movie as him reclaiming his humanity, and the second as him trying to deal with the robotic influence and trying to balance the two. A subtle change I think a lot of people missed. Now, this overabundance in plot, what with OCP's motives and RoboCop's development, it didn't have to be a bad thing. There was plenty of action to support the movie, and from a franchise point of view, it's brilliant, setting OCP up as the ultimate evil to overcome in part three.

For all the heat RoboCop 2 has taken, it's not a bad action movie by any means. It just suffers from the long-accepted sequel syndrome. In no way is it better than RoboCop's debut, but it still stands just fine. 7/10.
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