The Sci-Fi Chronicles lets me check in with Robocop next, and since I’d previously reviewed the first film, I’m jumping right to the second instalment. This film should have a lot going for it, Peter Weller returning to the role, directed by Irvin Kershner (the last film before his death) and a story by Frank Miller (though his story couldn’t be completely realised on-screen, but was in a comic book).
Unfortunately it doesn’t have the same snap as the original film, the heavy satire and social commentary that made the first film more than a B-movie action film isn’t handled with the same panache, and this time around the story just seems over-the-top for the sake of being so.
With the Detroit police being forced to strike, Murphy aka Robocop (Weller) seems to be the only cop in the city.
All of this is the machinations of the nefarious OCP corporation, as the have a new Robocop programme to introduce to the dangerous streets. Add to that a new drug on the streets called Nuke, and it’s chief distributor, Cain (Tom Noonan) waging war on every part of America, it would seem that Murphy has his robotic hands full.
While undeniably violent, the film doesn’t have the same grittiness that the original had, and in fact, it looks a little too clean.
The film, sadly lacks the punch of the first film, there are hints of possibility, especially with the political correctness that they wish to introduce to Robocop’s program, and the idea of privatising the city of Detroit.
Weller brings Robocop to life in a great way, the way he moves and interacts is a great performance, just like in the first film. It’s just too bad the film doesn’t achieve all it could. The action sequences are a little lacklustre, and while the stop-motion work is fun, the computer-generated imagery is dated, all of it adds up to one stunning realisation – this film had a larger budget than the first.
It almost feels like a movie made by committee, with each member championing the angle they thought made the film successful, and then amping that up, while the creative look of the film, the satire, the commentary, are completely lost. It almost feels like a send-up instead of a sequel.
It misses the mark, it drops some story threads completely to follow others, which is unfortunate because without some of the threads, the characters have no real arcs, and just wander through the story.
Oh well, it is still a stronger film than the third one in the series (and still went for an R rating), and that one is coming up.