RoboCop 2 (1990) Review

Verdict
4

Summary

I think RoboCop 2 is underrated; despite not being as great as the first, there is still plenty to enjoy and it has enough violence for all the family. It was the last good Robocop film before the “family oriented” 3rd movie killed the series.

Plot: Cyborg Detroit policeman Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is the sole officer on duty after the police force goes on strike against evil conglomerate Omni Consumer Products and its push to foreclose on the city of Detroit. Aside from dealing with the normal level of crime, Murphy must take on crime boss Cain (Tom Noonan), the spread of a dangerous new drug called “Nuke” and the attempt by psychologist Dr. Juliette Faxx (Belinda Bauer) to create another Robocop using a hardened criminal.

Review: Everyone loves to hate on this movie because it isn’t as good as the original. True, it isn’t a patch as the 1987 classic but that’s not to say it’s a bad film. There’s still plenty to enjoy, especially the satirical tone carried over from the first. I adored this film as a kid and although most of the satire was lost on me at the time, I still enjoyed the film for the action.

It is essentially another dig at big business as OCP are the “evil corporation” except it’s not quite as subtle as the first film. For example, the OCP flag looks remarkably similar to the Nazi Swastika and you have characters with names like Attorney General Sphincter, which still gives me a chuckle. The Mayor is frankly hilarious in it with “You senile old bastard!” rants, once again providing a lot of the humour.

Directed by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) the action is well directed and the pacing flows nicely. Robocop 2 still has the brutal violence of the original, especially the scene where Officer Duffy gets some unnecessary surgery with a scalpel. Interestingly, the US version is uncut but the version I grew up watching in the UK wasn’t anywhere near as disturbing.

I remember the PC Brigade were all so shocked when the film was initially released because one of the bad guys was a kid who swears (Heaven forbid!). He’s one of the best things about the film and I love his transformer-style gun.

Tom Noonan always terrified me as the Pre-cyborg Cain as he is always creepily calm. He’ll kill you and not even blink while doing it; he was a worthy successor to Clarence Boddicker who remains one of the all-time great action movie villains.

Peter Weller is still fantastic as Robocop/Murphy and despite his face being covered for most of the film, he still manages to portray the loss of humanity and struggling emotions well.

The film is not without its flaws however, the effects for Cain are very stop-motiony looking now and have dated badly. The music score just isn’t as good as Basil Poledouris’s classic original either. It’s not a terrible score though and it does at least have a memorable theme tune. Whenever Robo and Cain have their final battle there is an old-school monster movie feel to the music which works well. I also miss the “I’d buy that for a dollar” guy too.

Overall, I think RoboCop 2 is underrated; despite not being as great as the first, there is still plenty to enjoy and it has enough violence for all the family. It was the last good Robocop film before the “family oriented” 3rd movie killed the series.