RoboCop returns to protect the citizens of Detroit from an
evil version of himself created by a rogue OCP member.
RoboCop 2 (1990)
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Written by Frank Miller and Walon Green
Starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Tom Noonan,
Dan O’Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, Gabriel Damon, Donald Johnson
Sequel to 1987's RoboCop
There isn’t much one can do to up the ante after Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 banger that was RoboCop. So, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, add some Tom Noonan as a transcendental drug lord peddling his designer drug to the citizens of Detroit under the watchful eye of the Old Man from OCP tower and you’ve got your recipe for RoboCop 2! Murphy is back on the beat, busting bad guys, riding a sweet hog, and going up against the corporation that created him.
OCP is still trying to take over Detroit and has hatched a plan that involves terminating the Detroit Police Department’s pensions triggering a strike by the force that leads to an increase in crime on the streets and leaving RoboCop and Lewis (Allen) the only cops protecting the city. Murphy has also been parking outside the house of his wife and son which leads to her filing harassment charges. This leads to a dressing down by OCP doctors and, in a heartbreaking scene between Murphy and his wife, she asks if her husband is still alive and Murphy has no choice but to break her heart and tell her that he is dead. He is being forced to renounce his humanity in service to OCP, something that will come back to bite them in their ass. They are the ones standing in the way of the spread of Nuke, a new designer drug created by Cain (Noonan) that OCP is helping to flood the streets with. Since the untimely departure (from a 30 story window courtesy of RoboCop) of Dick Jones in the last movie, the Old Man steps from the shadows to lead the way and press for the downfall of Detroit. One of the crazy parallels between this film and reality is that Detroit actually filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2013, something that this film was dealing with in its plot for the first and second flicks. It is OCP using Cain’s drug and rampant street crime as their hammer to crush the city and reshape it in their image as Delta City. All the while, they are planning to replicate their unforeseen success with Murphy in a not-so-subtly titled project RoboCop 2 but have been getting poor results. There are some hilarious tests they show with some of their cyborgs killing themselves, shooting the scientists, or just falling apart altogether. Enter Dr. Juliette Faxx (Bauer), a psychologist with a god complex who thinks she knows what to do and how to get it done. There is a lot of corporate back stabbing between her and the Old Man’s assistant, Felton Perry (Johnson), to garner favor with him. Ultimately, Faxx chooses Cain (complete with a wonderful brain and eyes in a jar scene) as her template for her robot enforcer and she uses his addiction to Nuke as the incentive. The graphics for Cain’s ‘face’ are on par with Lawnmower Man so look out for that. It culminates in another show down between Murphy and Cain as RoboCop proves once again that you can’t keep a good cop down or hide him behind a bunch of metal, wires, and program directives.
This movie got a lot of flack upon its initial release for its over the top violence and the fact that Cain’s right hand man is a kid named Hob (Damon) who he grooms to become a ruthless drug lord himself and he eagerly fills the vacuum of power left when Cain is taken for parts. While it is genuinely disturbing to see a kid commit murder, he also uses that to his advantage and I think it speaks to the depths that Detroit has plummeted at the hands of OCP which is more to blame. I think Verhoeven’s flick has the right balance of critique and subversion that this movie tries to emulate but doesn’t quite get there. I still enjoy this one and Rob Bottin’s initial design is still there because you can’t touch that man’s work. So, make sure to arm your MagnaVolt and park your ass on the couch for another ride with Murphy and Lewis, RoboCop 2 is worth the time.