Short Circuit 2

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Short Circuit 2
Short circuit two ver2.jpg
Promotional one-sheet poster.
Directed by Kenneth Johnson
Produced by David Foster
Gary Foster
Lawrence Turman
Written by Brent Maddock
S.S. Wilson
Starring Fisher Stevens
Michael McKean
Cynthia Gibb
Jack Weston
Tim Blaney
Music by Charles Fox
Jim Steinman (song: "Holding Out for a Hero")
Cinematography John McPher
Edited by Conrad Buff
The Turman-Foster Company
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • July 6, 1988 (1988-07-06)
Running time
110 min
Country United States
Language English
Box office US$21,630,088 (domestic)[1]

Short Circuit 2 is an American 1988 comic science fiction film, the sequel to 1986's film Short Circuit. It was directed by Kenneth Johnson, and starred Fisher Stevens as Ben Jahveri,[2] Michael McKean as Fred Ritter, Cynthia Gibb as Sandy Banatoni, and Tim Blaney as the voice of Johnny 5 (the main character – a friendly, naive, self-aware robot). Filming for this film took place in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Benjamin Jahrvi (Fisher Stevens), is selling toy versions of Johnny 5 in New York City, and Skroeder has been fired from NOVA by Dr. Howard Marner for disobeying orders to capturing Johnny 5. Sandy Banatoni (Cynthia Gibb) orders 1,000 of his toys. Ben is manufacturing them with the help of con artist Fred Ritter (Michael McKean) in a warehouse which is revealed to be the base of operations for a small group of thieves who have been hired by bank teller Oscar Baldwin (Jack Weston) to steal a set of jewels known as the Vanderveer Collection. The thieves prevent Ben and Fred from completing their toys in time. Thereafter Ben's friends Stephanie and Newton send Johnny 5 from Montana to build the toys rapidly, allowing Ben to study for his U.S. citizenship test. Considering Johnny's thirst for data, Fred is sworn not to reveal their location to Johnny, believing that the robot would become over-excited. When Fred reveals their location, the robot leaves the warehouse to explore the city and inadvertently befriends Oscar himself. Fred, having learned that Johnny is worth $11,002,076.17, tries to sell the robot to a few businessmen. Upon discovering this, Johnny escapes into the city, disappointed in his inability to convince others of his sentience. Johnny is later retrieved by Ben from the police's stolen-goods warehouse, where-after Johnny encourages Ben to court Sandy. The thieves later lock Ben and Fred in the freezer of a Chinese restaurant, while Oscar persuades Johnny to finish the tunnel leading to the bank. Ben and Fred manage to get Sandy to come and save them via Morse code using songs that Ben learned on his date with her. Having discovered the Vanderveer Collection, Johnny deduces Oscar's true intentions but is pursued, then severely damaged by the thieves causing his systems to malfunction. With only 2 hours for repairs, Johnny manages to scare the thieves away with a remote controlled plane.

Ben and Fred are assisted by Sandy in escaping before Ben and Sandy are captured by the police for the robbery. They are then later released by the 2 police officers who found Johnny earlier after they discover who the real robber is. After a long search, Fred, who managed to escape from the police, finds Johnny in the alley and enables his self-repair. Enraged upon learning that, while he was physically harmed, whilst Ben and Fred were simply locked away, he vows revenge stating "Sure, kidnap the humans, destroy the machine!" Johnny then proceeds to track and locate Oscar and traps his accomplices. However, Oscar himself flees and steals a boat. Johnny, now even more enraged, uses a dockside crane to capture Oscar, who is caught and deprived of the stolen collection. The effort exhausts Johnny entirely but he is revived by Ben. Later scenes show Johnny as a celebrity, allowing Sandy, Ben, and Fred to establish a business in his image. The film concludes with Ben and Johnny becoming US citizens, which he shares with a newly restored and gold-plated Johnny. Asked about his new status, Johnny enthusiastically jumps into the air, shouting that he feels "alive!".



The film received mostly mixed reviews at the time of release. It is rated 38% on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] The NY Times Vincent Canby gave it a negative review. He wrote "For anyone over the age of 6, the film is as much fun as wearing wet sneakers." [4] Rita Kempley of the The Washington Post gave a mixed to positive review (6/10) with qualifiers saying "Short Circuit 2" is unabashedly mawkish and sophomoric, and the actors support the technology. But if you're a kid, or an adult with an Erector Set, you might just enjoy this summer-weight caper.[5] Most of the positive reviews in fact were nice but accepting of the film's obvious flaws. Variety added "Mild and meek, Short Circuit 2 has an uncomplicated sweetness as a successful followup to the original robot kiddie comedy."[6] Siskel & Ebert, having disliked the first film, gave the film "two thumbs up" and called the film "even better than the original."[7] In a 1988 Los Angeles Times article, the review noted that "Wilson and Maddock have improved considerably here....Their construction is more deft, their dialogue is better, and they make Number Five come more alive..."[8]

At the boxoffice, Short Circuit 2 disappointed, landing in 7th place on its first weekend making only $3,843,067. It went on to finish with $21,630,088. That was down almost half of what the first Short Circuit made. It ranked 45th at the U.S. Box office for 1988. [9]

Paul Barber of the Courier-Journal stated that "The movie had the same aurora of the original, but none of the magic that Steve Guttenburg brought which really hurt the overall movie." [10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Honored with the Winsor McCay Award [for career achievement]
Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome
Saturn Awards
Best Science Fiction Film Nominated
Best Special Effects Eric Allard, Jeff Jarvis Nominated

DVD release[edit]

Short Circuit 2 was re-released on DVD on April 24, 2007,[7] which included a "making-of featurette" on actor Fisher Stevens. In 2010, the film was released once again with alternative cover-art. A Blu-ray disc of the film was also released in April 2011, though no extras were included.

Hot Cars, Cold Facts[edit]

Hot Cars, Cold Facts, made in 1990, is a short educational film featuring the Johnny 5 character, voiced by Russell Turner. It also starred Gina Revarra as Lisa, John Hugh as Officer Dave and Donald Bishop as Howard. The film takes place after Short Circuit 2.


External links[edit]