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
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Box office||$45.7 million|
RoboCop 2 is a 1990 American cyberpunk 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.
It was the final film directed by Irvin Kershner.
After the success of the RoboCop program, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) has a new scheme to have Detroit completely under their control. They plan to have the city default on its debt, then foreclose on the entire city, taking over its government. They will then replace the old neighborhoods with Delta City, a new planned city center independent of the United States government.
To rally public opinion behind urban redevelopment and Delta City construction, OCP sparks an increase in street crime. As Detroid Police Department is owned by OCP, they terminate police pension plans and cut salaries, triggering a police strike. RoboCop, due to his directives, is unable to strike and remains on duty with his partner, Anne Lewis. The two raid a manufacturing plan of Nuke, a new designer drug that has been plaguing the streets of Detroit. RoboCop kills all the criminals, except for a young criminal named Hob, who shoots him and escapes.
Meanwhile, OCP struggles to develop "RoboCop 2", which is expected to be mass-produced and completely replace police officers. To their frustration, all the newly resurrected officers immediately commit suicide. Dr. Juliette Faxx, an unscrupulous 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 RoboCop. Faxx convinces the Old Man to let her control the project, this time using a criminal with a desire for power and immortality. Despite other executives' objection, Faxx is allowed to proceed.
Nuke's distributor, the power-hungry Cain, feels threatened by the Delta City plan. He fears that he will lose his market if the city is redeveloped into a capitalistic utopia. He is assisted by his girlfriend Angie, his apprentice Hob, and Duffy, a corrupt police officer and Nuke addict. RoboCop tracks down Duffy and beats Cain's location out of him. He confronts Cain's gang at an abandoned construction site, but is overwhelmed. The criminals cut apart his body and dump the pieces in front of his precinct. Cain has Duffy tortured to death for revealing their location, and forces Hob to watch.
RoboCop is repaired, but Faxx reprograms him with over 300 new directives, severely impeding his ability to perform his duties. One of his original technicians suggests that a massive electrical charge might reboot his system. RoboCop shocks himself with a high voltage transformer. The charge erases all of his directives, including the original ones, allowing him to be in complete control. Murphy motivates the officers to aid him in raiding Cain's hideout. As Cain tries to escape, RoboCop intercepts and heavily wounds him. Hob escapes and takes control of Cain's drug empire. Believing she can control him with Nuke, Faxx selects Cain for the RoboCop 2 project, and puts his brain in a towering and heavily armed body.
Hob arranges a meeting with the Detroit mayor, offering to pay off the city's debt. In exchange, Nuke is to be legalized in Detroit and the Delta City project is scrapped. Threatened by this move, OCP sends RoboCop 2/Cain to the meeting to kill Hob. Cain slaughters everyone in sight, except the the mayor who manages to escape. He kills Angie and fatally wounds Hob. As RoboCop arrives, Hob identifies the attacker and 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. Seeing Nuke, Cain goes berserk and attacks the crowd. RoboCop arrives and fights Cain. The two battle throughout the building, and the fight eventually extends to the street. The police force arrives and engages Cain, who opens fire at officers and civilians alike. RoboCop recovers the Nuke canister and have Lewis give it to Cain, who stops fighting to administer the drug to himself. As Cain feels the drug's effect, RoboCop leaps onto his back, shoots through his armor and rips out his brain. He crushes the brain, ending Cain's rampage.
The Old Man decides to scapegoat Faxx to escape blame, and leaves. As Lewis complains that OCP is escaping accountability again, RoboCop 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)
- Patricia Charbonneau as Linda Garcia (uncredited; character's name is never spoken in the movie but can be seen on her name tag)
- Frank Miller as Frank (drug chemist)
- 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
- Leeza Gibbons as Jess Perkins
- John Ingle as Surgeon General
- Fabiana Udenio as Sunblock Woman
- Barry Martin as OCP Cop
- Mark Rolston as Stef
- Gary Bullock as Hack Doctor
- Wayne Dehart as Vendor
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2014)|
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 every day. 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.
Despite not being directed by Verhoeven, RoboCop 2 contains many of his familiar touches, including satirical television commercials (such as an ultra powerful sunblock to deal with Earth's depleted ozone layer, that may itself cause skin cancer) 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.
- Gross, Max (2014-02-09). "'RoboCop' predictions that came true – and those that did not". New York Post.
- 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. External link in
- 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