RoboCop 2 (Blu-ray)
In 1987, director Paul Verhoeven brought the world a dystopian future Detroit, a crime-ridden city where a near-dead cop is infused with robotics… ROBOCOP was born. While Verhoeven hasn’t necessarily been know for his great story-telling ability, his worlds are fantastic and incredible. I wish the same could be said for the sequels to his films, but like his later hit STARSHIP TROOPERS, ROBOCOP was followed by significantly below-average sequels directed by other people. ROBOCOP 2 was just released on a standalone Blu-ray, previously only available as part of the ROBOCOP trilogy.
ROBOCOP 2 tells the continuing story of our future cyborg hero. The world hasn’t changed as much as you might have hoped since RoboCop came onto the scene, but that hasn’t stopped OCP (Omni Consumer Products), the big-bad corporation at the heart of the series. They are trying to buy out the city like it is a failing business to clean it up. We’re introduced to the world through a breaking-news style report in the films opening; a disconcerting place where little league teams loot stores, business men mug old ladies in the middle of the street and people just don’t seem to like each other.
While the RoboCop project has been successful they have not been able to replicate it with any other cyborgs. RoboCop (Peter Weller) is still on the job and working with his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). But Detroit faces a new hardship. A drug called Nuke has been released onto the streets and is officially the most addictive drug in recorded history. The people selling Nuke are led by a mysterious man named Cain (the talented Tom Noonan) who is terrorizing the city. OCP is planning an ‘urban pacification project,’ to clean up the streets for good, but they require a new and improved RoboCop. The problem is all of the potential candidates kill themselves or others due to the trauma of the process.
To top it off, the Detroit Police are on strike (thanks to having their salaries and benefits cut by OCP) and RoboCop still has memories from before his death which are causing him to ‘malfunction’ at unfortunate times. Even with all of this, you want to believe that RoboCop can still save the city. Until Dr. Juliette Faxx (Belinda Bauer) enters the scene. Incredibly ambitious and manipulative, this OCP psychologist believes that the RoboCop 2 project (a new, more controllable model) could be more successful if they could get the original RoboCop out of the way. She resets RoboCop’s memory and gives him new directives which don’t allow him to be successful.
When Cain is injured during a raid, Faxx sees her chance. Perhaps she can use Cain’s hatred of RoboCop and his addiction to Nuke to keep him under control. Of course this doesn’t work out as planned and Detroit then has to deal with a new, stronger cyborg who has no compassion for anyone or anything.
One of the major problems with ROBOCOP 2 is that the tagline and trailers for the movie sold the premise of the two cyborgs versus another. It is an exciting concept, but it happens late in the film and appears to be presented as a surprise “oh no you didn’t” moment. This is completely ruined by the marketing and set up of the film (not to mention the Blu-ray box), and doesn’t even begin to address some of the deeper issues that could have provided more depth to this weak script. The best sequels take a great story and add a new element or two that take you to a new place. Bad sequels (like this one) try to regurgitate what we have already enjoyed and do very little to add any new dimension to the film. With the pedigree of Director Irvin Kershner (STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) and a story/concept by Frank Miller (SIN CITY), I expected more from this movie and it simply doesn’t deliver.
Video: (1080p, 1.85:1 Widescreen) The transfer is decent, but it is not incredible. The world feels real and gritty but HD hurts the presentation of some of the special effects.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is competently presented but there are some really difficult to hear moments in the film thanks to a slightly uneven mix.