Monday, April 15, 2013

MR RoboCop 2

RoboCop is back to protect the innocent.

"Even in the future of law enforcement there is room for improvement..."

Movie: RoboCop 2
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Release date 1990
Genre Science-fiction action
Country USA

A mere three years after the original a RoboCop 2 was launched in production due to the huge success the original was able to gather.

But Paul Verhoeven and the original crew from the first one wanted more time to properly come up with a worthy sequel. Verhoeven was working on Total Recall at the time.

Orion Pictures wanted it right away. A animated series was launched shortly to make some profit of the popularity RoboCop was having at the time.

They didn't bother with Paul Verhoeven and instead got comic book Frank Miller to work on the story., fresh of the success of The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel. Alan Moore also almost worked on it but he simply turned down the offer early on.

The original script had way too many ideas and required a huge budget. It was deemed unfilmable. The script had to be rewritten. It was Walon Green who tried to cut and change as many elements as possible.

Director Tim Hunter was originally going direct it, but he quit quickly due to having the studio messing around. And that is how we ended up with the great Irvin Kershner (Empire Strikes Back), a director that could stand in for the sequel while best trying to mimic the style of the previous installment.

All these reasons are why the movie feels a bit rushed or not well thought. A lot was going on behind the scene, as well as in Miller's very dense story...

The story takes place in a dystopian future.

Detroit is about to be bought over by Omni Consumer Products (OCP).

The OCP wants to rid streets of crime to build their utopic Delta City over the old Detroit and also want to win over the favors of the citizens. So they make various attempts at building another more efficient Robocop. But all prototypes fail miserably, most cyborgs can't handle their newfound resurrection or become homicidal.

Meanwhile a new drug called Nuke is overwhelming the streets. With a god-like figure named Cain at their head as well as an annoying evil kid Hob as his right hand man.

When RoboCop with some help from his partner Anne Lewis are able to put a momentary stop to Cain, Dr. Faxx at OCP sees an opportunity to tries something different. Instead of using cops in their RoboCop project, why not use a wannabe immoral and drug addicted as test subject?

It all comes down in an epic fight at the OCP's headquarter to save Detroit with our ol' Alex Murphy fighting an enhanced Cain now turned RoboCop 2!!

Most of the cast returned for this sequel.

Peter Weller is back once again as RoboCop. As well as Nancy Allen as Officer Lewis. They're both great in their respective roles and carry much of the good parts of the film. The old man at the head CEO of OCP acts completely different though, more like his ruthless senior president was in RoboCop 1.

The new villain Cain played by Tom Noonan is a ruthless psycho. As frightening as a human as he later is as a machine.

We also have a corrupt cop named Duffy Hobbs (Gabriel Damon), the psychologists in charge of Robocop 2, Dr. Faxx (Belinda Bauer) and many new additions.

I just want to say I find the kid Hob very annoying. I get it, this evil kid's here to mirror Murphy's own son, but was he necessary?

The kid main character was added because of the cartoon airing around the movie. Kids loved RoboCop back then, so they inserted a face for them. But the movie's still an R-Rated picture and let's just say no one would like to be in this kid's place at the end...

The problem is that there's way too many things going on, which makes the movie long without it being necessary while the rhythm simply doesn't follow.

We have a city takeover, a drug running the streets, the satire, an Elvis-loving cult, a kid drug lord...

This movie was Irvin Kershner’s last production. He kept the satirical tone of Paul Verhoeven right down to the great fake commercials. He added some black humor of his own though. As it usually goes with sequels, things are bigger and there's more of everything in this one. More robots, more explosions, etc.

The movie continues to progress several themes from the first one. My problem being it also seems to regress the "now called Murphy at the end of the original"-RoboCop to a machine. Like they did forget all of the character development he went through.

The original had an over-the-top nature. So you'd think a comic book writer from the 80s would love to work on RoboCop and be a natural fit.

RoboCop 2 was Frank Miller's Hollywood debut. He wrote the story and while the screenplay was edited a lot it didn't detract too much from his guidelines. Miller was even present on set every day through the production. They offered him a cameo as a scientist, "Frank", who's responsible for the Nuke (aka the "plot device").

RoboCop 2 has some good going for it though. Like the great stop motion final fight. Granted it  aged a bit by now but least less than CGi usually does. The character still look real enough and "present" on screen. Actually I find the jerky movements perfect and they make "RoboCain" all the more of a real robot.

There's a  a nice opposition between RoboCop and RoboCain. This "RoboCop 2's" slow introduction slowly revealing his feet first and then his shadow, outline, before he first appears on screen mimic's RoboCop's own first appearance in the original film. While Murphy's first person view was based around MS-DOS screens, RoboCain's point of view as more of an Apple MacIntosh interface, with a skull for the Apple logo.

The movie does suffer a bit from its musical score. Basil Poledouris did not return to score RoboCop. Instead it's Leonard Rosenman this time around. His music is.. .basic. There's some decent cues, but he didn't use any of the themes from the first film. Also for some reason there's a very dumb choir chanting "Ro~bo~cooooop!~" for some reason...

Overall, it's an okay film. Fans of the character of the first film will like it no doubt.

As far as sequels go, this is probably one of the better ones out there.

The movie mocks corporates messing around stuff.. yet it suffers from this very reasons.

RoboCop 2's essentially not a really bad movie. It offers more of the same. Even if Frank Miller says they didn't transpose his story very well, I'm pretty sure the core idea and general tone stayed the same. Actually I blame R2's problems on him. It ends with a cliché stereotypical good vs. evil combat. A hero fighting his evil double - usually a bigger, grittier and often robotic, it has become such an overused trope in the comic book genre (Hulk vs. Abomination in Incredible Hulk, Iron Man vs. the Iron Monger in Marvel's Iron Man, Thor vs. the Destroyer in Marvel's Thor, Blade vs. Dracula in that godawful third Blade movie and many, many more...).

But there's also some plain ridiculous decisions. Like they were put in the film just to sell some toys. RoboCop's unexpectedly more blue this time around. Surely it wasn't a coincidence all of RoboCop's action figures tend to depict him that way usually. And the way RoboCop rides a bike as a node to the Terminator in T2 seems like a great way to promote a toy.

But the movie is still very much a R-Rated production despite all that. It's as violent as the original. Definitively not for children.

Frank Miller's original ideas and script would be recycled much later in a comic book mini-series he wrote in the 2000s which he went to say actually represent the film as he originally intended it to be.

I give it:
2 / 3 UFOs!

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