RoboCop 2 is a 1990 American cyberpunk superhero action film directed by Irvin Kershner, written by Frank Miller and Walon Green, and starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Patricia Charbonneau, Dan O'Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan and Gabriel Damon. It is the first sequel to the 1987 film, RoboCop and the second entry in the RoboCop media franchise. Set in the near future in a dystopian metropolitan Detroit, the plot centers around the eponymous RoboCop (Weller) as he becomes embroiled in a scheme by Omni Consumer Products to bankrupt and take over the city while also fighting the spread of a highly-addictive street drug and its leader, the cult-like Cain (Noonan). The film was shot on-location in Houston. It was the final theatrically-released film directed by Kershner.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Irvin Kershner|
|Produced by||Jon Davison|
|Story by||Frank Miller|
|Music by||Leonard Rosenman|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Box office||$45.7 million|
While receiving mixed reviews from critics and fans, the film received attention in 2013 from news media due to its plot predicting Detroit filing for bankruptcy in the future. It was nominated for three Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Performance by a Younger Actor (for Damon), and Best Special Effects (for Phil Tippett, Rob Bottin, and Peter Kuran).
In the near future, the city of Detroit is on the verge of bankruptcy after failing to pay off its debts to conglomerate Omni Consumer Products (OCP). In a scheme completely under their control, the company's Chairman intends to have the city default on its debt, then foreclose on all public property, effectively taking over its government and allowing for a radical urban redevelopment plan, gentrifying the old neighbourhoods into a utopian model community known as Delta City.
To rally public opinion behind the project, OCP sparks an increase in street crime by terminating the now-privatized Detroit Police Department's pension plans and cutting 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 plant of Nuke, a new, highly addictive designer drug that has been plaguing the streets of Detroit. RoboCop and Lewis manage to kill or subdue most of the criminals, but the cartel's leader Cain and his adolescent accomplice Hob manage to escape, Hob managing to shoot and damage RoboCop due to his programming preventing the execution of minors.
Experiencing repeated flashbacks to his previous life as Alex Murphy, RoboCop has begun watching his wife and son outside their home. Still grieving over the death of her husband, his wife brings litigation against OCP, complaining of harassment. He is told by his handlers that he can never have his old life back, and to not bother her again. He tells her the same to spare her feelings effectively allowing his wife to move on, which she finds hard to do, knowing that what's left of her husband will never be the same again.
Meanwhile, OCP struggles to develop "RoboCop 2", which is expected to be mass-produced and completely replace both the striking police officers and the outdated ED-209. To their frustration, all the newly resurrected officers immediately malfunction and commit suicide, thus having damages cost up to $90 million. Dr. Juliette Faxx, an unscrupulous psychologist, concludes that Alex Murphy's strong sense of duty and his moral objection to suicide due to his Irish Catholic religion were the reasons behind his ability to adapt to his resurrection as RoboCop. Faxx convinces the Chairman to let her control the project, this time using a criminal with a desire for power and immortality. Despite his chief executive Donald Johnson's (Felton Perry) objection, Faxx is allowed to proceed.
Nuke kingpin Cain, a power-hungry gang leader with a messianic cult-of-personality, fears losing his grip in the wake of the Delta City project, and uses corrupt police officer and addict Duffy to undermine both OCP and RoboCop's enforcement efforts. RoboCop tracks down Duffy and beats the location of Cain's hideout out of him. He confronts Cain's gang at an abandoned construction site, but the raid is a trap and RoboCop is overwhelmed. The criminals cut apart his body and dump the pieces in front of his precinct. Cain has Duffy vivisected for revealing their location and forces Hob to watch.
RoboCop is repaired, but Faxx reprograms him with over 300 new directives at the insistence of the OCP Board of Directors, 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 his human brain (Murphy) to be in complete control. Murphy motivates the striking officers to aid him in raiding Cain's hideout. As Cain tries to escape, RoboCop intercepts and severely 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.
After failing to pay the city's debts via voluntary fundraising, the Mayor is contacted by and meets Hob, who offers to retire the city's entire debt to in exchange for a "hands off" policy towards Nuke, thereby nullifying OCP's scheme and preventing Delta City's construction. Threatened by this move, OCP sends RoboCop 2 to the meeting to kill Hob. Cain slaughters everyone in sight, except for the Mayor who manages to escape. RoboCop arrives to find a mortally wounded Hob, who identifies the attacker before dying.
During the unveiling ceremony for Delta City and RoboCop 2, the Chairman presents a canister of Nuke as a symbol of the current crime wave. Seeing Nuke, Cain breaks from his programming and goes berserk, attacking 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 has 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 Chairman and Johnson decide to scapegoat Faxx to free OCP from blame, and leave. 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 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
- Frank Miller as Frank
- Ken Lerner as Delaney
- Jeff McCarthy as Holzgang
- John Doolittle as Schenk
- Angie Bolling as Ellen Murphy
- Brandon Mychal Smith as Flint
- Thomas Rosales Jr. as Chet
- Tzi Ma as Tak Akita
- Wanda De Jesus as Estevez
- George Cheung as Gilette
- Phil Rubenstein as Poulos
- Michael Medeiros as Catzo
- Mark Rolston as Stef
- Gary Bullock as Doc
- Linda Thompson as Mother with Baby
- John Glover as Magnavolt Salesman
- Mario Machado as Casey Wong
- Patricia Charbonneau as Lab Tech Linda Garcia (uncredited)
- Leeza Gibbons as Jess Perkins
- John Ingle as Surgeon General
- Fabiana Udenio as Sunblock Woman
- Barry Martin as OCP Cop
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 debuted as the second-highest-grossing film at the box office in its opening weekend. It went on to gross $45.7 million at the U.S. box office and additional $22,505,000 from video rentals.
It received 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 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."
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected 36 reviews to give the film a score of 31%, with an average rating of 4.45 out of 10. The site's consensus reads, "A less satisfying rehash that generally lives down to the negative stereotype of sequels, Robocop 2 tries to deliver more of everything and ends up with less". The plot element of Detroit's bankruptcy received attention from the news media after this actually happened in 2013.
|RoboCop 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Film score by|
|Released||December 21, 1992|
|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, instead composing entirely new themes and leitmotifs. The soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande.
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
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 RobocopEdit
Frank Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2 was 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."
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- 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.
- "Box office / business for RoboCop 2 (1990)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
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- 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.
- www.allmusic.com https://www.allmusic.com/album/robocop-2-original-motion-picture-soundtrack-mw0000308286. Missing or empty
- "The Kid Goes Wild - Babylon A.D. - Song Info". AllMusic.
- Review by Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, September 5, 2003
- "Frank Miller's Roboflop", I-Mockery, March 31, 2008