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Robocop 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 26, 2011 by  



While the first “Robocop” film was incredible, it sequel was more action-oriented with a storyline that was just bland and ridiculous.  If you enjoyed the sequel, it’s definitely a step up from the original DVD in terms of picture quality and lossless audio.

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Images courtesy of © 1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Robocop 2

FILM RELEASE DATE: 1990

DURATION: 117 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

RATED: R

COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2011

Directed by Irvin Kershner

Character by Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner

Story by Frank Miller

Screenplay by Frank Miller and Walon Green

Produced by Jon Davison

Executive Producer: Patrick Crowley

Associate Producer: Jane Bartelme, Phil Tippett

Music by Leonard Rosenman

Cinematography by Mark Irwin

Edited by Armen Minasian, Lee Smith, Deborah Zeitman

Casting by Sally dennison, Justine Jacoby, Julie Selzer

Production Design by Peter Jamison

Art Directionb y Pamela Marcotte

Set Decoration by Ronald R. Reiss

Costume Design by Rosanna Norton

Starring:

Peter Weller as Alex Murphy/RoboCop

Nancy Allen as Officer Anne Lewis

Belinda Bauer as Dr. Juliette Faxx

Dan O’Herlihy as “The Old Man” OCP President

Felton Perry as OCP Vice President Donald Johnson

Tom Noonan as Cain/RoboCop 2

Roger Aaron Brown as Whittaker

Willard E. Pugh as Mayor Marvin Kuzak

Gabriel Damon as Hob

Galyn Görg as Angie

Stephen Lee as Officer Duffy

Robert DoQui as Sgt. Reed (as Robert Do’Qui)

Ken Lerner as Delaney

Jeff McCarthy as Holzgang

Linda Thompson as Mother with Baby

Brandon Smith as Flint

Thomas Rosales, Jr. as Chet (as Tommy Rosales)

Tzi Ma as Tak Akita

Wanda De Jesus as Estevez

John Glover as Magnavolt Salesman

Mario Machado as Casey Wong

Patricia Charbonneau as Robocop Technician

Leeza Gibbons as Jess Perkins


Robocop returns to fight his toughest opponent yet: his replacement!  Robocop 2 pits two unstoppable cyborgs against each other in a battle to the death that will leave only the strongest standing!  Containing the latest in gadgetry and weaponry as well as the brain of the madman who designed the drug “Nuke”, this new cyborg isn’t just more sophisticated than his predecessor…he’s psychotic and out of control!  It will take everything Robocop has to save Detroit -and himself- from total destruction.

In 1987, “Robocop” burst into theaters and was a success in the box office earning over $53 million and made with only a budget of $13 million.

So, a sequel pretty much was guaranteed but instead of going back to Paul Verhoeven to direct the sequel, producer Jon Davison went with filmmaker and actor Irvin Kershner (“Star Wars: Episode V – the Empires Strikes Back”, “The Return of a Man Called Horse”) and for writer, Davison went for popular comic book writer Frank Miller.

Unfortunately, Frank Miller’s screenplay was unfilmmable but it was the opportunity for the writer to learn the business (which would lead to Miller writing hits such as “Sin City” and “300”) but also releasing a comic book version of his original screenplay.  But joining Miller to do rewrites on the screenplay was Walon Green (“ER”, “Law & Order”, “Conviction”).

And so in 1990, “Robocop 2” was released in theaters and received mix reviews partly because of its child antagonist, disliked by its two main talent Peter Weller and Nancy Allen but the film did make over $45 million in the box office and ensured that their would be one more film left to create a trilogy.

“Robocop 2” takes place after the first film.  Alex Murphy (played by Peter Weller) realizes that his life as Murphy is over and knows that because he is now Robocop, he can never become a normal family man and tells his wife that the face of her husband was placed on Robocop to honor Alex Murphy.

Meanwhile, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is up to no good as they are planning to have the city of Detroit default on its debt and push the city to foreclosure and take over the city.  But also create a police strike when they try to terminate the officer’s pension plans and cut their salaries.  Because Robocop is OCP property, they use him to take on the chaos that is taking over the city.  So, both Robocop and Officer Anne Lewis (played by Nancy Allen) and fellow officers try to take on the escalating crime.

But while this is happening, OCP is also developing a new version of “Robocop” known as “Robocop 2”.   But somehow, it’s not working and for some apparent reasons, the officers that have become Robocop 2 have turned suicidal.  They realize that the reason why Alex Murphy made a good Robocop was because of his strong sense of duty as police officer and because he was an Irish-Catholic (which suicide is a major sin). So, the OCP has their psychologist, Dr. Juliette Faxx (played by Belinda Bauer) to take over the project and Faxx decides to use criminals because of their desire for power and immortality.

As the chaos and crime continues to build within the city, a new drug known as “Nuke” has been causing problems in the streets and the primary distributor is Cain, a cult leader who works with his girlfriend Angie (played by Galyn Gorg), a young apprentice named Hob (played by Gabriel Damon) and a corrupt police officer named Officer Duffy (played by Stephen Lee).

When Robocop tries to stop them, he is literally destroyed in pieces, but he still remains alive.  But fortunately, Dr. Faxx manages to add new directives to Robocop which prevents him to take aggressive action on criminals, defend himself or innocent civilians.

As for Cain, he gets into a car accident and Dr. Faxx decides to use Cain as the human who will be behind Robocop 2 project.  But what happens when Robocop 2 goes haywire and Cain wants “Nuke”.

VIDEO:

“Robocop 2” is presented in 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 1:85:1).  It’s important to remember that this film was created in 1990, so one should not expect pristine picture quality.  There is a good amount of grain for this film, the higher bit-rate definitely adds a bit more detail and I saw no artifacts, banding or edge enhancement.

For the most part, “Robocop 2” does look very good on Blu-ray versus its previously released video release counterparts on DVD and LD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Robocop 2” is presented in Englsih 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. It’s been awhile since I watched the film but I was surprised to see how the action sequences, especially the final half hour sounded via lossless.  Each bullet shot, machine guns, explosions galore…you can hear it via the surround channels.  The dialogue is crystal clear as with the music and sound effects through the center and front channels but fans of the film should enjoy that battle between Robocop vs. Robocop 2 via lossless.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Robocop 2” comes with two theatrical trailers.

Robocop is back!

I loved the first film while the second, was more like a popcorn action film lacking the deeper storyline elements of the first film.   While I was happy to see Frank Miller writing the film at the time, I was a bit let down when I watched the film because I came in with high expectations.

I can understand having a new version of “Robocop” but to use a drug kingpin to be the person in charge of the next version… It didn’t fly well with me.  Especially to see a profane child criminal like Hob, which I’m sorry… it was one of the most ridiculous things about this film which I (as well as many other critics) disliked.

If anything, the sequel seems to take the heart and soul of what made the first film so exciting and try to cheapen it with bad criminals and I felt that there was far less Robocop and Officer Anne Lewis.  And unfortunately things just go downhill from this second film to the third.

But despite how I feel about this film now, I know that it’s a film I did watch a few times during my younger years and was easily accepting of this film as a straightforward chaos-driven popcorn action film.  It worked for me when I was a teenager and I know it worked for many others, but watching it today, I just couldn’t get my mind how ridiculous the film was.

The Blu-ray release does feature better picture quality and as mentioned, I was pretty surprised of how well the lossless audio was for the film, especially during the final 15-20 minutes.  As for special features, it’s pretty much a barebone release with two theatrical trailers.

Overall, “Robocop 2” is a straight-up popcorn action film that doesn’t retain the same strength as the original storyline for the first film which was unique and entertaining.  If anything, “Robocop 2” was too ridiculous and rode on the repetitive strength of its action sequences than its overall, bland storyline.  If you are a big fan of the films, I recommend going after the trilogy Blu-ray set but because these releases are quite cheap to begin with, if you really enjoyed “Robocop 2”, then definitely upgrade to Blu-ray.  Otherwise, all you probably need in your Blu-ray collection is the very first film.

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