RoboCop 2

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This article is about the film. For the video game, see RoboCop 2 (video game).
RoboCop 2
Robo2poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Produced by Jon Davison
Screenplay by Frank Miller
Walon Green
Story by Frank Miller
Based on Characters by
Edward Neumeier
Michael Miner
Starring
Music by Leonard Rosenman
Cinematography Mark Irwin
Edited by Armen Minasian
Lee Smith
Deborah Zeitman
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Live Entertainment
Orion Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 22, 1990 (1990-06-22)
Running time 117 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million
Box office $45,681,173 (United States)[1][2]

RoboCop 2 is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan and Gabriel Damon. Set in the near future in a dystopian metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, it is the sequel to the 1987 film RoboCop.[3]

The film received mixed reviews from critics.[4] The plot element of Detroit filing for bankruptcy later received attention from the news media after the fictionalized event actually happened in 2013.[5]

It was the final film directed by Irvin Kershner, who died in November 2010.

Plot[edit]

A year later in 2030, after the events of the previous movie, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) plans to have Detroit default on its debt so that OCP can foreclose on the entire city, take over its government, and replace the old neighborhoods with Delta City, a new community development which was already planned; with the effectiveness of the RoboCop program, development of Delta City now set in motion. Towards that goal, OCP forces a police strike by terminating their pension plan and cutting salaries. As RoboCop is legally the property of OCP, he cannot strike due to his secret fourth command, and continues on duty with the assistance of his partner Anne Lewis.

Meanwhile, the Security Concepts division of OCP continues to sink millions into the development of a more advanced "RoboCop 2." However, each project ends in disaster - all of the formerly deceased officers picked for the project have committed suicide. Dr. Juliette Faxx, an unscrupulous company psychologist, concludes that Murphy's exceedingly strong sense of duty and his moral objection to suicide was the sole reason behind his adaptation to his program. Faxx approaches the Old Man to convince him to let her take over the project, this time using a criminal, with a desire for power and immortality, to the objection of the other executives on the project.

At the same time, a new designer drug named "Nuke" has been plaguing the streets of Detroit. The distributor, Cain, believes that Nuke is the way to paradise, and is obsessed with power. He is assisted by his girlfriend Angie, his juvenile apprentice Hob, and corrupt police officer Duffy, who is addicted to Nuke. Having beaten Cain's location out of Duffy, RoboCop confronts Cain and his gang at an abandoned construction site. However, they overwhelm Murphy and literally disassemble his body, dumping all of the pieces in front of his local precinct. Duffy is later killed by vivisection.

Dr. Faxx and a new team repair Murphy, programming him with over 300 new directives added for Public Relations, confusing his mind to the point of compromising his work since he cannot violently attack or take drastic actions among other restrictions. After the original RoboCop team realizes that he would need a massive electrical charge to reboot his system, Murphy grabs onto a dangerous powerline transformer to erase all of his directives, both new and old. The concerned picketing officers are then motivated by Murphy to aid him in raiding Cain's hideout. Cain is badly injured in the getaway when his truck flips over. With Cain immobilized, Hob takes control. Dr. Faxx selects Cain for the RoboCop 2 project, and turns off his life support, installing his brain into RoboCop 2.

Hob arranges a meeting with Detroit's mayor, offering to bail out the city's debt to OCP, but only if he agrees to a hands-off policy for the legal distribution of Nuke. Since this would hinder OCP's attempt to open Delta City, they send Cain to slaughter everyone at the meeting, so they could install their operatives and take control. Though everyone else at the meeting is killed, the mayor manages to escape. RoboCop arrives too late, but finds a dying Hob, who identifies Cain as the attacker.

During the unveiling of Delta City and Cain at a press conference, the OCP President unwittingly presents a canister filled with Nuke. Cain, whose brain is still dependent on the drug, loses control, violates every directive installed into him, destroys the remote control that arms his weapons, and opens fire on the crowd. RoboCop arrives and the two cyborgs battle, eventually falling off the roof and crashing through to an underground facility. As the rest of the police force arrives and engages Cain, RoboCop heads back to the OCP building and recovers the canister of Nuke. Seeing the canister, Cain stops fighting to administer the drug. While Cain is distracted, RoboCop manages to jump onto his back, punches through to Cain's brain and rips it out of the machine before destroying it, effectively killing him for good.

The Old Man, Johnson and OCP's defense attorney, Holzgang, discuss the company's liability for the massacre, and indirectly decide to use Faxx as a scapegoat, since she is the one who created the RoboCain project. Lewis complains about how OCP is escaping accountability yet again, while RoboCop insists they must be patient as "We're only human".

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Screenwriter Frank Miller (right) plays the illegal drug chemist "Frank" working for Tom Noonan's "Cain" (left) while Gabriel Damon's "Hob" appears in the background (center).

RoboCop 2 was directed by Irvin Kershner, since Paul Verhoeven was already committed to directing Total Recall. It was based on a script by Frank Miller and Walon Green. Edward Neumeier, one of the screenwriters for the first film, already had a first draft written, but dropped out of the project due to a writers' strike. After the success of The Dark Knight Returns (comic book mini-series), Frank Miller was contacted by producer Jon Davison about writing the sequel, and Miller accepted.

Miller's script was labeled "unfilmable" by producers and studio executives.[citation needed] His script was changed, through rewrites, into what became the final script. Even when his tenure as screenwriter was officially over, Miller showed up on set everyday. He was given a cameo as Frank, a chemist in Cain's drug lab; this was the first of a pattern where Miller appeared briefly in films to which he contributed writing to.

RoboCop is again played by Peter Weller. This was the last time Weller played the role. He complained about how cumbersome and exhausting it was to wear the suit and found RoboCop 2 to be a very negative and disappointing film to work on. He was also upset that some important scenes did not make it into the final cut: "There was a couple of things that made the character more human that weren't used. I can't remember exactly what the scenes were, I just remember wondering why they weren't in." These deleted scenes have never been included on home video releases. Weller's co-star, Nancy Allen, also had negative feelings regarding the second film.

Despite not being directed by Verhoeven, RoboCop 2 contains many of his familiar touches, including satirical television commercials (such as for an ultra powerful sunblock to deal with Earth's depleted ozone layer) and ironically upbeat news broadcasts. The events in the sequel closely follow the events in the first film (the ED-209 unit, for example, is mentioned as being deployed but is constantly malfunctioning).

Filming[edit]

RoboCop 2 was chiefly filmed in Houston in 1989.[6][7] In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Kershner mentioned that Houston was an ideal location because of the relative calmness of Downtown Houston at night. He also claimed that because the film needed to be shot in the winter, too much snow and rain would be an inappropriate climate to produce the film in.

The Historic Jefferson Davis Hospital, a landmark rumored to be haunted, was used as the location where the fictitious drug "nuke" was manufactured.[8] The grand finale of the film was filmed in the Houston Theater District with Wortham Theater Center and Alley Theatre being displayed.[9] Cullen Center was depicted as the headquarters of Omni Consumer Products, while Houston City Hall was shown during a scene with Mayor Kuzak giving a speech. Scenes with the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Bank of America Center were also included in the film.

Marketing[edit]

To promote the film, RoboCop made a guest appearance at WCW's pay-per-view event Capital Combat, where he rescued Sting from The Four Horsemen.[10][11]

Soundtrack[edit]

RoboCop 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Leonard Rosenman
Released August 31, 1993
Recorded 1990
Genre Soundtrack
Length 30:19
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Leonard Rosenman
Leonard Rosenman chronology
Where Pigeons Go to Die
(1990)
RoboCop 2
(1990)
Aftermath: A Test of Love
(1991)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Soundtrack-express.com 4.0/5 stars[12]
Soundtrackcollector.com 4.0/5 stars[13]
SoundtrackNet (3.1/5)[14]
Runmovies.eu 1.0/5 stars[15]

The film score was composed and conducted by Leonard Rosenman, who did not use any of Basil Poledouris's themes from the first film; the soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande. It was not well received by fans or film music reviewers, many of whom complained about Rosenman's use of a choir chanting "Robocop."

The glam metal group Babylon A.D. released a song called "The Kid Goes Wild", written by members Derek Davis, Vic Pepe, and Jack Ponti.[16] The song is played in the background in the middle part of the film, and it was also used to promote the film. The group created a music video featuring RoboCop targeting the band and having a shootout with some bad guys (footage of the film was also used).

Track listing
  1. "Overture: Robocop" – 6:02
  2. "City Mayhem" – 3:37
  3. "Happier Days" – 1:28
  4. "Robo Cruiser" – 4:40
  5. "Robo Memories" – 2:07
  6. "Robo and Nuke" – 2:22
  7. "Robo Fanfare" – 0:32
  8. "Robo and Cain Chase" – 2:41
  9. "Creating the Monster" – 2:47
  10. "Robo I vs. Robo II" – 3:41


Reception[edit]

Box office and critical response[edit]

RoboCop 2 debuted as the second-highest grossing film at the box office in its opening weekend,[17][18] in spite of receiving mixed reviews from critics. While the special effects and action sequences are widely praised, a common complaint was that the film did not focus enough on RoboCop and his partner Lewis and that the film's human story of the man trapped inside the machine was ultimately lost within a sea of violence.

In his Chicago Sun Times review, Roger Ebert wrote: "Cain's sidekicks include a violent, foul-mouthed young boy named Hob, who looks to be about 12 years old but kills people without remorse, swears like Eddie Murphy, and eventually takes over the drug business... The movie's screenplay is a confusion of half-baked and unfinished ideas... the use of that killer child is beneath contempt.."[19]

Additionally, the film "reset" RoboCop's character by turning him back into the monotone-voiced peacekeeper seen early in the first film (despite the fact that by the end of the first film, he had regained his human identity and speech mannerisms). Many were also critical of the child villain Hob; David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews stated: "That the film asks us to swallow a moment late in the story that features Robo taking pity on an injured Hob is heavy-handed and ridiculous (we should probably be thankful the screenwriters didn't have RoboCop say something like, 'Look at what these vile drugs have done to this innocent boy')."[20]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote: "Unlike RoboCop, a clever and original science-fiction film with a genuinely tragic vision of its central character, Robocop 2 doesn't bother to do anything new. It freely borrows the situation, characters and moral questions posed by the first film." She further adds, "The difference between Robocop and its sequel, [...] is the difference between an idea and an afterthought." She also expressed her opinion about the Hob character, "The aimlessness of Robocop 2 runs so deep that after exploiting the inherent shock value of such an innocent-looking killer, the film tries to capitalize on his youth by also giving him a tearful deathbed scene."[21] The Los Angeles Times published a review panning the film as well.[22]

Jay Scott, of the Toronto Globe and Mail, was one of the few prominent critics who admired the film calling it a "sleek and clever sequel. For fans of violent but clever action films, RoboCop 2 may be the sultry season's best bet: you get the gore of Total Recall and the satiric smarts of Gremlins 2: The New Batch in one high-tech package held together by modest B-movie strings. RoboCop 2 alludes to classics of horror and science-fiction (Frankenstein, Metropolis, Westworld), for sure, but it also evokes less rarefied examples of the same genres–Forbidden Planet, Godzilla, and that Z-movie about Hitler's brain in a bottle. It's ironic that the directorial coach of the first RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven, went on to Total Recall; couldn't he see that the script for Robo 2 was sleeker and swifter than Arnie's cumbersome vehicle? His absence in the driver's seat is happily unnoticed because Irvin Kershner, the engineer of sequels that often zip qualitatively past the originals (The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of a Man Called Horse, and the best Sean ConneryJames Bond of all, Never Say Never Again), has tuned-up the premise until it purrs."[23]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected 31 reviews to give the film a score of 35%, with average rating of 4.5 out of 10.[4]

Years later, the plot element of Detroit filing for bankruptcy later received attention from the news media after the fictionalized event actually happened in 2013. As recounted by the New York Post, "On Dec. 3, judge Steven Rhodes looked at Detroit’s $18.5 billion debt and deemed the city bankrupt—making it the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history."[5]

Home Media[edit]

The film was first released to VHS on October 11, 1990, and was later released to DVD in June 2004. The film first received a Blu-ray Disc release on September 13, 2011.

Adaptations[edit]

Novel[edit]

A mass market paperback novelization by Ed Naha, titled RoboCop 2: A Novel, was published by Jove Books. Marvel Comics produced a three-issue adaptation of the film by Alan Grant. Like the novelization, the comic book series includes scenes omitted from the finished movie. Ocean and Data East published a series of video games based on RoboCop 2.

Frank Miller's Robocop[edit]

Frank Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2 took on an almost "urban legend" status, and was later turned into a nine-part comic book series called Frank Miller's RoboCop. Critical reaction to the comic adaptation of the Miller script were mixed. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the comic a "D" score, criticizing the "tired story" and lack of "interesting action."[24] A recap written for the pop culture humor website I-Mockery said, "Having spent quite a lot of time with these comics over the past several days researching and writing this article, I can honestly say that it makes me want to watch the movie version of RoboCop 2 again just so I can get the bad taste out of my mouth. Or prove to myself that the movie couldn't be worse than this."[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ RoboCop 2 @ BoxOfficeMojo
  2. ^ http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1990/0RCP2.php
  3. ^ Kershner, Irvin (1990-07-16). "RoboCop 2: Entertainment, Yes but Also a Hero for Our Times". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  4. ^ a b "RoboCop 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  5. ^ a b http://nypost.com/2014/02/09/robocop-predictions-that-came-true-and-those-that-did-not/
  6. ^ Westbrook, Bruce (1990-06-22). "'RoboCop 2' creators give city rave reviews". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  7. ^ Westbrook, Bruce (1990-12-14). "'Gremlins' sequel better than the original film". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  8. ^ J.R. Gonzales (1 Feb 2009). "Old Jeff Davis Hospital gets state recognition". http://www.houstonchronicle.com. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Dyer, R.A. (1989-10-13). "Hollywood in Houston? Scores flock to filming of 'Robocop 2'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  10. ^ Kelly, Tim (2013-03-19). "When RoboCop Saved Sting and Ruined Professional Wrestling". CHUD.com. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  11. ^ Mrosko, Greg (2012-06-24). "Video: WWE Are You Serious? Makes Fun of WCW, RoboCop Rescuing Sting". Cageside Seats. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  12. ^ Soundtrack-express Review
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ SoundtrackNet Review
  15. ^ Runmovies.eu Review
  16. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/song/the-kid-goes-wild-t14889430
  17. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1990-06-25). "'Tracy' Stands Firm at No. 1; 'RoboCop2' Is 2". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  18. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1990-06-26). "'Dick Tracy' Clings to No. 1 Spot Second Week in a Row". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  19. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 22, 1990). "Robocop 2". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  20. ^ Nusair, David. "Robocop 2". Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  21. ^ Maslin, Janet (June 22, 1990). "Review / Film; New Challenge and Enemy For a Cybernetic Organism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  22. ^ Rainer, Peter (1990-06-22). "An Overhauled 'RoboCop 2'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  23. ^ Scott, Jay (22 June 1990). "RoboCop 2". The Globe and Mail. p. C.8. 
  24. ^ Review by Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, September 5, 2003
  25. ^ "Frank Miller's Roboflop", I-Mockery, March 31, 2008

External links[edit]