Robocop 2 Reviews
The predecessor hit its share of tropes, sure, but in so many ways, it was truly original, and with this sequel, that originality has begun to expire, and it doesn't help that the narrative is, at the very least, as formulaic as the predecessor, with conventions that are harder to ignore, due to the lack of freshness, and the conformity to cheesily problematic tropes. Just in time for the turn into the '90s, this film proves to be more of a generic '80s action film than its predecessor, complete with trite dialogue and cornball comic relief, as well as action about as over the top as many narrative attributes. More so than the predecessor, this film ought to feel inconsequential as an action fluff piece, and more often than not, it is just that, but it sometimes incorporates dramatic touches which are noble, yet leave the film to take itself too seriously, at least enough to drive inconsistency in tone, and stress the limitations of the story concept. Again, on the whole, this is inconsequential action fluff, and although it is plenty of fun, with some surprisingly compelling occasions, there shouldn't be much to it, and it grows harder and harder to deny that the more the film tries to keep busy. Clocking in just shy of two hours, and therefore being longer than its predecessor, this film, to be so inconsequential, is too long, and when it isn't bloated with totally expendable filler, it's taking on ultimately expendable layers which lead to certain focal inconsistencies and wear down momentum to aimlessness, despite all of the predictability. Overblown, this film tries to be memorable, and it ultimately offer plenty of memorable, fun moments, but the conventions, cheese, unevenness and overall inconsequentiality render the final product even more underwhelming than a predecessor which let down some potential. Still, the point is that this film is plenty of fun if you can take it for what it is, and even embrace its script for what it is.
There's both too much and not much to Wallon Green's and action comic legend and first-time screenwriter Frank Miller's thin and cheesy, yet still draggy and uneven script, but as excessive as the narrative is altogether, every set piece is tight, with enough dynamicity and material to hold your attention, despite a lack of depth. If there is some humanity here, then it's found in the cast, that is, to an extent, as there is some overacting within the supporting cast, but the leads do a decent job, with the surprisingly unevenly used Peter Weller projecting a presence of authority, punctuated by some arguably unfitting subtlety to dramatic projections which are actually pretty effective. Weller helps in giving the film a heart, but at the end of the day, it is all about the fluff, and in order for that to work, this film needs to look at, not so much storytelling proficiency, but technical proficiency. Sure enough, while this film doesn't do as much as one might expect to up the spectacle of the last film, the effects, in spite of some dating, are well-conceived and flashy, helping in immersing you in this futuristic world. Of course, the technical value most immerses you in the action, which is about as solid as it was in the predecessor, with tight, dynamic staging and explosive visuals to mark heights in tension and even entertainment value to Irvin Kershner. You can see Kershner's directorial inspiration slipping with this, his final directorial performance, and quite frankly, I never thought he was an especially strong filmmaker, but he's always known entertainment value, and he sure knows how to showcase that here, with enough colorful scene structuring and attention to solid technicality to sustain, if nothing else, a fun factor through and through. This film isn't quite up to par with an already underwhelming predecessor, but I don't feel that it descends as far from the bar as many are saying, keeping up that entertainment value enough be a fun, if nevertheless inconsequential action flick.
Altogether, the film is nothing new, but it is plenty cheesy, and even then, it sometimes takes itself too seriously to keep consistent with tone, just as it's too overlong to keep consistent with focus, making it harder to deny the inconsequentiality which secures the final product as underwhelming, but lively scripting, charismatic performances, flashy effects, solid action and entertaining direction make "RoboCop 2" a fun, worthy follow-up to a classic, if also flawed action thriller.
2.5/5 - Fair
While the action scenes are gory and some of the satire is back, Robocop 2 looses track of any direction it started andfalls into a mean spirited shoot em up with no interest in plot
The real failing of this sequel lies in the story, which is full of threads that are either resolved badly (the attempt to reprogram RoboCop with new directives) or not resolved at all (RoboCop's memories of his wife). Considering that not a single second in the original was wasted when it came to drawing the viewer into the hero's mind or building some emotional connection, the lack of sympathy one feels with even Lewis or the Sergeant is worrying. Then there's the villian. A film with a superhero, like Robocop or the Bond series, is only as effective as its main villian. Cain is not an effective villian, and gets very little development in the bargain, the exact opposite of the situation with Clarence Boddicker in the original.
The mock commercials are something of a hit and miss affair. The OCP Communications commercial was hilarious, but the Sunblock 5000 commercial was just plain tasteless. The use of children in RoboCop 2 also counts against it. There were no children in the original, reflecting the fact that the film just wasn't made with children in mind. The use of children in RoboCop 2 smacks of a cheap attempt to appeal to the children who are allowed by their parents or whomever to see the film. It doesn't work because the writers are trying to transplant adult dialogue into a child's mouth. Similarly, the attempt to transplant the manner in which the Christian Coalition think children talk into Robocop fails.
All in all, RoboCop 2 is a passable sequel, but it pales in comparison to the harsh perfection that is the original. Give it a chance because it does have some entertainment value.