With the surprise success–both critical and commercial–of Robocop, it was inevitable that a sequel would emerge (actually, two sequels). But this follow-up lacked the dyspeptically funny vision of filmmaker Paul Verhoeven and wound up skimming the surface to repeat only the most superficial elements of the original: the big, clunky hero (played by Peter Weller), the ultra-violence (minus a dark sense of humor), and the plethora of action sequences. What plot there is deals with the corporation that runs the cops and its two-pronged attempt to squeeze every dime out of the populace and the city: create a new drug crisis (with an incredibly addictive synthetic drug the corporation manufactures, spread by a charismatic drug lord) and then attack with a bigger robot, one that eliminates Robocop at the same time. Would that they had.

Studio: MGM
Year: 1990
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Run time: 117 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD
Region: A

Robocop 2 is probably the most under-rated and most harshly criticized sequel in history (tying with Predator 2, which came out the same year). Because of a few missing elements from the first and a slightly more cartoonish approach to the violence, the critics and public alike were not pleased and opinions and feelings toward the franchise nosedived with the just plain awful Robocop 3.

Don’t con yourself out of a good movie though. Robocop 2 still has the same savage sense of humor, cynical social commentary and character pathos of the first film. It’s a hyper-realistic vision of an America populated by gun-loving psychos, a democracy owned by big business and the poverty-stricken addicted to drugs dealt to them by peddlers believing themselves to be the second coming of Christ.

Far-fetched could be the typical way of describing it. Completely-over-the-top would be more appropriate. Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner chucks in as much sadistic violence, deafening gunfire, endless destruction and loss of human life that the film just begs you not to take it seriously.

Some of the blame was placed on writer Frank Miller for the film being more cartoonish than the original. I don’t think this is very fair. I read Miller’s original script when I was in high school and it is rather different and, dare I say, unfilmable. Robocop 2 himself was not Nuke Lord Caine, the psychotic hippie with delusions of Godhood. He was called Kong, a psychotic cop who pretty much killed everybody he came across. Sgt. Reed and the Old Man died and there wasn’t much humor. Screenwriter Walon Green was hired to doctor the script and much of what appears on screen is actually his work. Frank Miller’s original ideas are pretty much just left as the framework for the whole movie and some of his story was recycled into Robocop 3 (don’t blame him for that one either). Miller was obviously upset with this but was still a good enough sport to appear in the film (keep a lookout for him playing Doctor Frank), though he vowed not to work in Hollywood again for fear of being taken advantage of. Until Robert Rodriguez promised to make good on his Sin City graphic novels.

Verhoven may be gone but Irvin Kershner tries hard to deliver the same mix mirth and magic and actually does get it right. Basil Poledouris’ brooding score is also gone (it returns in Robocop 3) but new composer Leonard Rosenman creates a wonderfully heroic and upbeat theme that suits the film more than Poledouris’ moody, tormented score to the first.
Movie Quality: 8.5/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1:85:1 aspect ratio. It is a shame that we still have an MPEG-2 transfer here with ‘Robocop’ and not an updated release. Colors are kind of drab with the original 1987 film, the sequels tend to have a better picture quality in the color department. Black levels are good, but not great and could have used a bit more effort. Details and clarity are on the softer side than what I would have hoped. By the time we get to the third film, a lot of these issues are gone and we have a better looking image in high definition where colors pop and there is much more details.
Print Quality: 7/10

The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. I found the audio mix to follow the same pattern as the video having that complete 90′s action film sound that sounds rather hollow to the more dynamic audio mixes with the later two films. The soundfield is very dynamic at all times with bullets panning in the background and explosions occurring. With each film the mix sounded more and more aggressive. Dialogue is also well placed in the center channel sounding crisp and clear.
Print Quality: 8/10

Special Features

  • No Special features

Special Features: 0/10

Final Thoughts

Robocop 2, the inevitable sequal to the first blockbuster Robcop film. Not nearlly as good as the first one,but entertaining to say the least. This film takes a more comic bookish means of showing the film so it is a little campy, but all intentional.
Overall Rating: 7/10