It’s impossible for the second Robocop to come close to the first film, but you’d think that it would turn out better than this. Directed by Irvin Kershner, who directed The Empire Strikes Back, and co-written by Frank Miller, I don’t understand how such a mediocre film was created.
Following the events of the first film, Robocop (Peter Weller) continues to patrol the streets while much of the police force is on strike. OCP, the company that owns the police department, has been cutting salaries. They’re trying to create a city that nobody will live in, so they can take over and build their vision of the future. As long as Robocop is around, they’re never going to get their way. They decide that a more aggressive Robocop is needed, and when a drug dealing cult leader winds up in hospital, a shady businesswoman uses his criminal brain inside of a new, more powerful, Robocop.
It’s not that this film is terrible, it’s enjoyable enough. It’s just that it fails in some of the most important areas. The villains are boring, with only Hob (Gabriel Damon) being memorable. Not because of anything he does though, but because he’s just a kid in the movie. Listening to some of the foul language he spouts is enough to make him interesting in the film, but I couldn’t even remember he was in it until I saw him onscreen. Even more disappointing is that the main villain, Cain (Tom Noonan), is just too lame to even care about. Compared to Clarence in the first film, Cain seems like a Sunday school teacher. Eventually, Cain winds up being Robocop 2, because a more creative name couldn’t be found. How they managed to create such a cool looking hero with Robocop, but can’t come up with an awesome looking evil robot is beyond me.
The film frequently tries to go for laughs, which are never that funny. At one point, they fill Robocop with so many useless directives that he’s barely able to form a sentence. He wants to talk to kids about nutrition, and respect, which will manage to crack a smile on your face, but it’s not exactly what you want from Robocop. The violence from the first film is also toned down. Lots of people still get shot, but not in the same bloody way that was witnessed the first time around. This film seems more concerned with explosions and less with bloody gun battles. I had to wonder if Michael Bay had something to do with the film after a bit.
Maybe it’s the fact that this comes after Robocop that hurts it so much. Nothing can quite match the heights that the first film set, so the second one seems worse in comparison. On it’s own, it’s not a terrible movie. There are some great scenes, such as Robocop being chopped up, and there’s still some great one liners. There’s even some great action sequences, and the final battle ends on a squishy note. It’s just not Robocop, and that’s the biggest problem. While I can remember so much about the first film, there was almost nothing I could remember about this one. I knew it wasn’t as good, but I didn’t realize how bored I would wind up being. Looking at the talent that helped create this film, it’s mediocrity is a letdown.
Under the marquee – Will