Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Irvin Kershner|
|Produced by||Jon Davison|
|Screenplay by||Frank Miller
|Story by||Frank Miller|
|Based on||Characters by
|Music by||Leonard Rosenman|
|Edited by||Armen Minasian
|Running time||117 minutes|
|Box office||$45,681,173 (United States)|
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.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. The plot element of Detroit filing for bankruptcy later received attention from the news media after the fictionalized event actually happened in 2013.
It was the final film directed by Irvin Kershner, who died in November 2010.
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 planned city center. Due to the effectiveness of the RoboCop program, the Delta City project is free to proceed. To rally public opinion behind urban redevelopment, OCP sparks an increase in street crime by terminating police pension plans and cutting salaries, fomenting a police strike. RoboCop is legally the property of OCP and cannot strike due to his secret fourth command, and remains on duty with his partner, Anne Lewis.
The Security Concepts division of OCP continues to sink millions into the development of a more advanced "RoboCop 2". Each attempt ends in disaster - all of the formerly deceased officers picked for the project committed suicide, unable to deal with the loss of their organic bodies. Dr. Juliette Faxx, an unscrupulous company psychologist, concludes that Alex Murphy's strong sense of duty and his moral objection to suicide were the reasons behind his ability to adapt to his resurrection as the original RoboCop. Faxx convinces the Old Man 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.
A new designer drug, "Nuke", has been plaguing the streets of Detroit. The distributor, Cain, believes that Nuke is the way to paradise, and he 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. The criminals overwhelm Murphy and disassemble his body, dumping all of the pieces in front of his precinct. Cain has Duffy killed for revealing their location.
Murphy is repaired, but Faxx reprograms him with over 300 new directives developed by a focus group to improve public relations. The new directives compromise his ability to perform his normal duties. He cannot attack suspects and must be friendly at all times, among other restrictions. When one of his original technicians suggests that a massive electrical charge might reboot his system and restore his original programming, Murphy connects to a high voltage transformer. The charge erases all of his directives, including his original ones. Murphy motivates the picketing officers to aid him in raiding Cain's hideout. Cain is badly injured while making a getaway, and Hob takes control. Faxx selects Cain for the RoboCop 2 project.
Hob arranges a meeting with the mayor, offering to pay off the city's debt to OCP, in exchange for the legalization of Nuke. OCP's Delta City plans are threatened by this meeting, and they send RoboCop 2 to slaughter everyone there. Only the mayor manages to escape. RoboCop arrives too late, but Hob identifies Cain as the attacker before he dies.
During the unveiling ceremony for Delta City and RoboCop 2, the Old Man presents a canister of Nuke as a symbol of the current crime wave. Cain, whose brain is still dependent on the drug, goes berserk and attacks the crowd. RoboCop arrives and the two cyborgs conduct a running battle throughout the building. The rest of the police force arrives and engages Cain. RoboCop recovers the canister of Nuke and uses it to distract Cain, who stops fighting to administer the drug to himself. RoboCop leaps onto his back, punches through Cain's armor and rips out Cain's brain stem.
The Old Man, Johnson and OCP's defense attorney, Holzgang, decide to deflect blame for the fiasco by scapegoating Faxx for the errors of the RoboCop 2 program. Lewis complains that OCP is escaping accountability again, but RoboCop (who previously was forced by law to deny his humanity) insists they must be patient because "We're only human."
- Peter Weller as Alex Murphy/RoboCop
- Nancy Allen as Officer Anne Lewis
- Belinda Bauer as Dr. Juliette Faxx
- Dan O'Herlihy as "The Old Man" OCP President
- Felton Perry as OCP Vice President Donald Johnson
- Tom Noonan as Cain
- Roger Aaron Brown as Whittaker
- Willard E. Pugh as Mayor Marvin Kuzak
- Gabriel Damon as Hob
- Galyn Görg as Angie
- Stephen Lee as Officer Duffy
- Robert DoQui as Sgt. Reed (as Robert Do'Qui)
- Frank Miller as Frank
- Ken Lerner as Delaney
- Jeff McCarthy as Holzgang
- Linda Thompson as Mother with Baby
- Brandon Smith as Flint
- Thomas Rosales, Jr. as Chet (as Tommy Rosales)
- Tzi Ma as Tak Akita
- Wanda De Jesus as Estevez
- John Glover as Magnavolt Salesman
- Mario Machado as Casey Wong
- Patricia Charbonneau as Robocop Technician
- Leeza Gibbons as Jess Perkins
- John Ingle as Surgeon General
- Fabiana Udenio as Sunblock Woman
- Barry Martin as OCP Cop
- Mark Rolston as Stef
- Wayne Dehart as Vendor
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, 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. 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 time that Miller appeared briefly in films to which he contributed writing.
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).
RoboCop 2 was chiefly filmed in Houston in 1989. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Kershner mentioned that Houston was an ideal location due to the relative calmness of Downtown Houston at night. He also claimed that they were shooting in winter, and snow and rain would be an inappropriate climate for film production.
Jefferson Davis Hospital was used as the location for the Nuke manufacturing plant. The finale of the film was shot in the Houston Theater District near Wortham Theater Center and Alley Theatre. Cullen Center was depicted as the headquarters of Omni Consumer Products, while Houston City Hall was shown in a scene in which Mayor Kuzak speaks to the press. The George R. Brown Convention Center and the Bank of America Center were also included in the film. Additional footage was filmed at the decommissioned Hiram Clarke Power Plant.
|RoboCop 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Film score by Leonard Rosenman|
|Released||August 31, 1993|
|Leonard Rosenman chronology|
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. 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
- "Overture: Robocop" – 6:02
- "City Mayhem" – 3:37
- "Happier Days" – 1:28
- "Robo Cruiser" – 4:40
- "Robo Memories" – 2:07
- "Robo and Nuke" – 2:22
- "Robo Fanfare" – 0:32
- "Robo and Cain Chase" – 2:41
- "Creating the Monster" – 2:47
- "Robo I vs. Robo II" – 3:41
Box office and critical response
RoboCop 2 debuted as the second-highest grossing film at the box office in its opening weekend, 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."
Additionally, the film "reset" RoboCop's character by turning him back into the monotone-voiced peacekeeper seen early in the first film, despite his reclaiming his human identity and personality by the end of that film. 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')."
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." The Los Angeles Times published a review panning the film as well.
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 Connery–James Bond of all, Never Say Never Again), has tuned-up the premise until it purrs."
Years later, the plot element of Detroit filing for bankruptcy later received attention from the news media after it 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."
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.
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.
Frank Miller's Robocop
Frank Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2 took on an almost legendary status, and was later turned into a nine-part comic book series titled Frank Miller's RoboCop. Critical reaction to the comic adaptation of the Miller script was mixed. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the comic a "D" score, criticizing the "tired story" and lack of "interesting action." 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."
- RoboCop 2 @ BoxOfficeMojo
- Kershner, Irvin (1990-07-16). "RoboCop 2: Entertainment, Yes but Also a Hero for Our Times". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- "RoboCop 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- Westbrook, Bruce (1990-06-22). "'RoboCop 2' creators give city rave reviews". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- Westbrook, Bruce (1990-12-14). "'Gremlins' sequel better than the original film". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- J.R. Gonzales (1 Feb 2009). "Old Jeff Davis Hospital gets state recognition". http://www.houstonchronicle.com. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
- Dyer, R.A. (1989-10-13). "Hollywood in Houston? Scores flock to filming of 'Robocop 2'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- Kelly, Tim (2013-03-19). "When RoboCop Saved Sting and Ruined Professional Wrestling". CHUD.com. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
- Mrosko, Greg (2012-06-24). "Video: WWE Are You Serious? Makes Fun of WCW, RoboCop Rescuing Sting". Cageside Seats. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
- Soundtrack-express Review
- SoundtrackNet Review
- Runmovies.eu Review
- Broeske, Pat H. (1990-06-25). "'Tracy' Stands Firm at No. 1; 'RoboCop2' Is 2". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- 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.
- Ebert, Roger (June 22, 1990). "Robocop 2". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- Nusair, David. "Robocop 2". Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- Maslin, Janet (June 22, 1990). "Review / Film; New Challenge and Enemy For a Cybernetic Organism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- Rainer, Peter (1990-06-22). "An Overhauled 'RoboCop 2'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Scott, Jay (22 June 1990). "RoboCop 2". The Globe and Mail. p. C.8.
- Review by Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, September 5, 2003
- "Frank Miller's Roboflop", I-Mockery, March 31, 2008
- RoboCop 2 at AllMovie
- RoboCop 2 at Box Office Mojo
- RoboCop 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- RoboCop 2 at Rotten Tomatoes