BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Orion Pictures, the independent studio that got lucky from time to time at the box office, was in deep financial woes during the making of RoboCop 2. They needed Murphy’s return to the streets to be a big hit. It wasn’t. Scream Factory, providing the critically panned movie with a new 2K scan from the original 35mm print, gives the b-movie new life on blu-ray. It also gives those who have long argued the film is a decent attempt at a sequel a chance to proudly beat their chests and scream, “See, see! I told you so!”
The sequel to 1987’s surprise hit RoboCop was born with a target on its Kevlar-laminated titanium back. It was three long years in between films and, since Orion had filled the many months between the two films with one dud after another at the box office, they needed to somehow stop the bleeding. A sequel to their highest grossing film was a no-brainer; it’s just that the timing sucked and no amount of money spent could save it.
Due to the Writer’s Guild Strike in 1988, they had to go with a relatively unknown screenwriter named Frank Miller. Yes, THAT Frank Miller. By now, we all know his style and know of his many skills at creating worlds of action and myth; he truly isn’t afraid to tear through our heroes and give them a new dimension. His initial draft of RoboCop 2 was dark and demented and, due to Orion’s insistence, would eventually be written and re-written many, many times.
Unfortunately, the rewrites went right up to the actual filming of the movie as Miller literally handed new pages to director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again) while in the middle of the scene. Not a way to handle the filming of a movie, but if anyone wants to know what Miller originally had in mind, check out the graphic novel Frank Miller’s RoboCop.
Miller and Kershner nailed it when they predicted the dismantling of Detroit due to bankruptcy. In RoboCop 2, the Omni Consumer Products company essentially forces Detroit to default on its debts and then takes over the city and its government, establishing Delta City, a commercial city center that is separate from the government. The response from the public leads to the rise of a deadly drug and an infiltration of criminal activity in the youth of the city. Not even little league teams are safe from inner city exploits.
The kicker in this sequel is that there actually is a RoboCop 2. The first attempt to replace Officer Murphy (Peter Weller in his final outing as the man/machine) hilariously malfunctions and kills his makers before killing himself. The second attempt is a bit more demented, combining both the highly addictive drug Nuke and its main power-starved distributor, Cain (Tom Noonan, who should have been in a suit and not merely a projection), is more lethal and more unstable than anyone could have thought possible.
And the poor in Detroit pay for it with a massive shoot’em up finale that is both ridiculous and entertaining, combining stop-motion effects with full-sized models.
Manufactured by Omni Corp, the new officer called RoboCop 2 is designed ultimately to protect the capitalist utopia of Delta City. It instead tangoes with both Officer Murphy and his partner, Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) who face all sorts of new trouble due to the foul-mouthed, cop-killing antics of the 12-year-old Hob (Gabriel Damon), which many critics and audience members found troubling when the film was originally released; the tragic commentary about youth gone wild was heard by few.
So what we have in RoboCop 2 is an ultra-violent sequel that pushes things to the extreme at almost every chance. It might be a bit underwhelming when it comes to the two main protagonists, but the film largely gets everything else in this future fantasy absolutely correct. The surrounding Detroit details concerning the poor and the powerless makes for a memorable cityscape and, as those set dressings satirizes social issues, there’s a lot of discoveries to be made with a modern-day viewing.
RoboCop 2 is a much better film than we previously thought.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 117 mins
Director: Irvin Kershner
Writer: Frank Miller & Walon Green
Cast: Peter Weller, Belinda Bauer, John Glover
Genre: Action | Sci-fi
Tagline: He's back to protect the innocents.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm gonna die. You know what that's like, don't you? It really sucks."
Theatrical Distributor: Orion Pictures
Release Date: June 22, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 21, 2017
Synopsis: Cyborg law enforcer RoboCop returns to protect the citizens of old Detroit but faces a deadly challenge when a rogue OCP member secretly creates a new, evil RoboCop 2.
Robocop 2: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray
Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - March 21, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
The NEW 2K Scan of the interpositive achieves a remarkably fresh look for this film. RoboCop 2 is presented by Scream Factory with a detailed 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. With a 1.85:1 ratio and a an excellent DTS-HD MA soundtrack, in either 5.1 surround sound or 2.0 stereo, the blistering griminess of the busted city at the heart of this movie is still present. Talk about an enhancement. The print has been cleaned up to preserve the grain structure and enhance the colors – which pop with dynamics – and the shadows as they are now seen with more purpose instead of murky corners. Thick lines engage the vision with crispness previously unseen in any version. Shot in Houston, the transfer presents the town with a nice fluidity of neon and cyberpunk intent.
There are two NEW and fun commentaries included with the film. The first is from Author/CG Supervisor Paul M. Sammon and the second is with Gary Smart, Chris Griffiths And Eastwood Allen, the makers of "RoboDoc: The Creation Of RoboCop" documentary.
What’s NOT to love about Scream Factory’s handling of RoboCop2? It’s loaded with new commentaries, new interviews, new documentaries covering its history, new interviews with Tom Noonan and Nancy Allen, a new look at the FX of the film, and new information regarding the screenplay and beyond! Complete with reversible sleeve art, RoboCop 2 deserves a spot on your shelf.
- Corporate Wars: The Making Of ROBOCOP 2
- Machine Parts: The FX Of ROBOCOP 2
- Adapting Frank Miller's ROBOCOP 2
- NEW OCP Declassified
- Theatrical Trailer
- Teaser Trailers
- TV Spots
- Deleted Scenes Still Gallery
- Still Galleries