RoboCop 2 feels like a rehash of the first film, and the few new ideas introduced are bad ones. RoboCop is once again hunting down a drug cartel in Old Detroit, the corrupt mega corporation OCP is up to its old dirty tricks, and there are references to trendy topics like the Ozone Layer. Where the first film had an understated and dark sense of humor, here RoboCop clowns around for cheap laughs. It insults the viewer’s intelligence and defies believability too often to dismiss.
It doesn’t take long for RoboCop to discover that the drug cartel is operating out of an abandoned industrial site that looks awfully familiar. I guess all criminals in Detroit have secret hideouts in old steel mills. They soon capture our hero with some sort of electrical harpoon before dismantling him piece by piece in a caricature of officer Murphy’s death scene from the first film. They decide to drop what’s left of him in front of police headquarters (rather than tossing them into a trash compactor) which makes rebuilding him rather convenient.
The first film was certainly ridiculous in its own way, but the sequel really jumps the shark. One of the main villains is a little boy who becomes a crime lord. Then there’s the robbery perpetrated by what appears to be a Little League team. And to top it all off OCP’s resident psychologist decides that death row inmates are the best candidates to become next-generation RoboCops. According to her reasoning, there’s nothing wrong with giving the worst criminals power over a nearly invincible robot body.
It doesn’t make a shred of sense, but in the end, the drug cartel’s leader is the one who undergoes the operation. As one might expect, he proves difficult to control and soon goes on a rampage. Like the rest of the movie, the final confrontation hasn’t aged well at all. There are some pretty decent animatronic special effects, but the computer graphics look like something from an N64 game. And the jerky stop-motion scenes have about as much impact as a pair of action figures grappling in an amateur animation project. It’s pretty amazing that only one year later the incredible Terminator 2 would hit theaters.
In an attempt to appeal to a wider demographic – and perhaps to sell more action figures – RoboCop 2 forfeits the originality and edginess that made the first one popular. Still, as bad as it is, it’s probably something of a guilty pleasure for some sci-fi fans. Sadly, things didn’t end there…
A fitting visual metaphor
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