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• Short Circuit 2

I must be a sucker for punishment because here I am, reviewing Short Circuit 2 (1988).  This time around the writers copied the fish-out-of-water in New York City formula from Crocodile Dundee, which had been the surprise hit of 1986.  Fisher Stevens returns in his role as Ben (thick accent in tow), who has lost his job at NOVA Robotics and is peddling a toy version of Johnny 5 on the streets.  He gets swindled into a business deal with conman Fred (played by Michael McKean) to build a thousand of the toys in just one month for a toy company.  That’s a problem, because Ben calculates it will take at least a year to fill the order.

A convenient plot device puts a pair of bumbling crooks underneath our hero’s makeshift workshop.  They’re digging into the bank vault across the street to get their hands on some expensive diamonds.  Fearing their plan will be jeopardized, the crooks try to scare them away by roughing up the place when they discover Johnny 5.

Johnny 5 can build the toys in no time but gets distracted by what the city has to offer. The mandatory scenes of Johnny 5 causing a stir in public are present and accounted for, as he gets into trouble looking for more input. That wouldn’t be quite enough to fill out a feature length film, so of course the burglars take advantage of Johnny 5’s gullibility to break into the bank.  It’s a by-the-numbers plot, but at least it’s better than the first film (though, that’s not really saying much).

Of course Johnny 5 is still a great looking robot character, and it’s easy to see why so many people love him.  He even becomes the first robotic American citizen!  It’s a light-hearted kid’s movie, so don’t expect many laughs if you’re over the age of 8.

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