As I mentioned last week, in preparation of the release of the Robocop remake/reboot that’s coming in a couple of weeks, I have been watching the original trilogy of films. Last week, I gave my stamp of approval to the first film. Now it’s time to see how the second film fares.
Once again, I’ll try to make this review as SPOILER FREE as possible.
Robocop 2 takes place a couple of years after the first film. Robocop has proven to be a successful project for Omni Consumer Products (OCP). Spurred on by this, the company has pooled a lot of resources to creating an upgraded version of the mechanical police officer. However, they have been met with failure as the people selected for the project become suicidal after realizing they become machines. A new employee figures out that they may need a test subject that’s not totally insane. So, she selects Cain, an insane druglord addicted to a new drug called Nuke.
Like before, I have to talk about the acting first. Peter Weller still is great as Robocop/Alex Murphy. Nancy Allen’s portrayal of Anne Lewis is still good. In fact, the returning cast from the first movie perform their roles well. I like the fact that they expanded the role of OCP Vice President Donald Johnson. Played by Felton Perry, his performance of the “bootlicker” and suck up to the Old Man is genuinely funny.
However, the new cast of characters is incredibly uneven. I don’t have a problem with the performance of the guy who plays the Mayor. He actually pulls off a pretty tough role of being the comedy relief in a fairly serious movie. My issues are with the new villains. It’s not that they’re not acted well (they do give passable performances); it’s just that they’re not that interesting. Take Hob, the kid psychopath. He should be a very interesting character (a kid that becomes a gang leader) but the role is severely undermined by the fact that he’s kind of inconsequential in the overall story.
The action scenes do make up for this somewhat. They are generally fun to watch and exhilarating. The climactic battle between Robocop and the robot version of Cain is a spectacular sequence and one of the most action-packed ten minutes I’ve watched! Essentially, it’s an intense battle that’s worth the price of admission.
The special effects are pretty good and are passable in this day of CGI. The design of “Robo-Cain” is fantastic. It’s a hulking menacing piece of machinery. I do like the look of ED-209 much more than Robo-Cain, though. But I think it’s because ED-209 looks like it has more armor. Robo-Cain’s limbs look a little too exposed and skinny for my liking. Still, great design!
I would have to say that the story is actually the weakest part of the movie. Robocop 2 does sprinkle those weird social commentary humor that made the first film great to watch. But the jokes seem to fall kind of flat overall. On a purely storytelling point of view, you can practically cut out a good 30 minutes of the film since they don’t really add anything to the conclusion.
A lot of people complain about the music since they did change Robocop’s theme song. The original song gave more of a feeling that Robocop was some unstoppable machine. The new theme song sounds a little more dramatic; it even has a choir singing Robocop’s name. Oddly enough, I do think the new song fits the new feel this movie has. It isn’t as good as the first song, though.
My biggest issue with Robocop 2 is the overall tone of the movie as it’s extremely different from the first movie. It feels like someone trying to copy what the first movie did and it just feels… off. I guess this is because the original director, Paul Verhoeven, didn’t direct the sequel. It’s a shame really because I think, if Mr. Verhoeven directed Robocop 2, it would have come off better.
That doesn’t mean that Robocop 2 isn’t an enjoyable movie. Like I said, the final action sequence is incredibly satisfying and a good enough reason to watch the entire movie. I just wish it did a better job copying how the original film looked and felt. It’s a great popcorn movie and something I do recommend watching.
Next week, I’ll review Robocop 3 before finally reviewing the remake the week after that! See you then!
Have you watched Robocop 2? What did you think of the movie? How does it compare to the first film? Place your comments in the comments section below!