ROBOCOP 2 - RETROSPECTIVE
I remember watching the original when I was younger, and I always thought `DAYUM! Wouldn't it be great if Murphy someday 'found' his family again.` I always thought part of the grip the RoboCop series had on me was the question 'Will Alex Murphy ever see his family again?'
RoboCop 2 came out in 1990. I was 9 years old, and I did love the violence in the original, I also loved the emotion that went with the original, in fact, when I first watchd ROBOCOP at the age of 7, I ran out of the room screaming when Murphy was getting blown to pieces....I'd never seen anything SO graphic, and I'd never seen anything SO evil (Boddiker).
When RoboCop 2 came around I was nievely expecting a movie just as good. I didn't enjoy it as much, I didn't like the lack of ED-209, I hated the loss of Poledouris's RoboCop theme, and the story didn't capitivate me as much.
I bought all 3 films in late 1995 and watched them all through. I now thought that 2 was the best of the trilogy. I appreciatd the look of the film, the good direction, and thought that it was unfair to criticize the story as scenes that fleshed out characters and plot were deleted. This film had MASSIVE spectacle though, Rosenman's score now made me feel that I was watching some MASSIVE movie phenomena, and the blue ROBO suit looked amazing on screen with the flurry of sparks and other colours on the screen.
Anyway, now I'm feeling more inclined to watch the original over the sequel. I think that RoboCop 2 is a VERY GOOD Sci-Fi movie. One of the best Science Fiction sequels ever. There aren't really any other SCI FI franchises apart from Terminator and Star Wars. RoboCop 2 pisses on films like Phoenix, XTRO, Screamers, and other SCI FI films.
The enjoyment of ROBOCOP 2 as a film can be damaged if you compare it to the original though.
I thought Kershner did a TREMENDOUS job on 2. He didn't really have any material to get his teeth into, but brought some of that Star Wars type FLAIR to the action sequences. I thought RoboCop's entrance into the film was one of the best entrances a movie character has EVER made. The car getting blown to pieces, the heavy artillery, the foot hitting the ground...it was ALL amazing. I'm a complete SUCKER for art, and for films that look good. I ask any RoboCop fan to watch this scene again and just look at the flurry of sparks, the graffitied walls, the metallic blue Robo suit, and the burning car. Its like an oil painting, on screen, I love it! I loved the way Kerschner put a lot of focus on the Ford Taurus RoboCruiser. The shots of it driving to the Sludge Plant accompanied by Rosenman's superhero type composition 'RoboCruiser' were amazing. I always thought the original RoboCop had little 'sight' things that made people go WOW! The Robo gun, the sleek and good looking Ford Taurus, the 'cool' police uniforms. Kershner took those things and put emphasis on them. The unity of 'Murphy and his car' really came into its own here.
Officially, this film was written by Frank Miller, Walon Green, Ed Neumeir, and Michael Miner. As ideas from all four found there way into the script. I think that Frank Miller laid the barebones of the RoboCop 2 script, Walon Green changed it around, deleted characters-added characters, and action set pieces from Ed and Miner probably found there way in there, taken from their orignal ROBOCOP 2 first draft. Frank's take on ROBOCOP 2 was the sequel we got and Robocop 3 rolled into one. Green took the DELTA CITY construction aspect out of the script, idiot, that was the most prominent story handle left over by the first film, 2 lacked story, it could have done with a plotline like that to work around the FX and RoboCop 2 monster. I feel sorry for Miller, in that he hasn't worked in the film industry since penning ROBOCOP 2. I think the script was weak, but only due to lack of plot, the characters and dialogue were sharp. Cain was a little 2D, but other characters such as the Old Man were explored. We saw the darker side of the Old Man, something only hinted to us in the first film. Johnson is a EXCELLENT Robo character, he was also given a larger role, one that he filled well. Holzgang and Fax were also welcome additions to the OCP corporate team, I enjoyed these BASTARD characters very much, they were damn right evil at times. The 'Duffy' character was great, I liked the thing about police corruption and thought he was a fun character. I also liked the way Miller brought the city government into the satircal circle and showed conflict between governors and corporate excutives, because you can bet it will be ALL OUT WAR between these two fations in the near future as both try to get a stranglehold on our society. I feel the faults with the RoboCop 2 script were the lack of dimensions to Cain's character, a lack of Murphy's feelings and desires for his wife and son, a lack of common sense, I know I would have put 3 ED-209s on RoboCop 2 outside the Civic Centrum if I was a writer, can you imagine the battle?! ED-209s, Murphy, and Cain running rampage around the building! Saliva is dripping onto my keyboard, as I think about it!!
Anyone else feel RoboCop and RoboCop 2 had the same atmosphere and 'feel' to them? I feel this was down to Jon Davison. 3 missed Davison's production skills, and I'm sure you all will agree, regardless of toned down violence and language, it just felt DIFFERENT to 1 and 2. Patrick Crowley.......You produced 3 and you were also part of ORION PICTURES CORPORATION...could this be the man behind the scenes that almost killed a franchise? 3 was a studio/producer orientated film, maybe THIS guy actually was to blame?
I want to see RoboCop 2 with the deleted scenes fleshing out Cain's character, with his insane religious beliefs, his love for Elvis, and his relations with Faxx. I feel a few scenes like this would make this movie 'complete' and make this movie a much more coherent package. The Elvis/religion stuff in the movie was presented to the viewer with little understanding. When Robo passed Elvis's body, guitars and when Cain started spouting gospel like 'Jesus...had days like this' the viewer was left thinking 'WHAT THE FUCK?!'. It just wasn't fleshed out enough and I was left thinking.....'ur yeah...'. Catzo, the Elvis lookalike could have been interesting also, I found it annoying that he dissapeared half way through the film with no mention of what became of him.
The climatic battle between RoboCop and RoboCop 2 seemed tacked on also. I was enjoyed the heartfelt scene between Murphy and Hob which took Murphy back to his relationship between him and Jimmy, and Hobs understanding of Murphy dying. It was like Hob saying 'I'm so sorry, I realise you're a really decent person, like a father I never had, here for me as I breathe my last breaths,' It really grabbed me. 'Im going to die...you know what thats like don't you...it really sucks'. A young child dying holding Murphy's hand. Then Murphy utters 'Yes' as if hes welled up with tears. That scene captured the emotion of the first film and I loved it. Thats what pissed me off, the way in which the viewer was taken to a Mediabreak broadcast immediately after, then a gunfight between RoboCop 2 and Murphy, then the ending credits. It felt like someone had ripped a chunk out of the film, it ended to abruptly. The stop motion was incredible, but give me story content anyday over special FX.
I think RoboCop 2 still remains a VERY GOOD science fiction movie. Rosenman's score is harshly written off. With the material there...there wasn't really any place for a more emotion driven score like Poledouris's. If you watch the film, Rosenmans compositions DO suit the on screen antics, I can't picture Poledouris's tracks on there. It just isnt't the right material.
RoboCop is about a mans struggle with life(?) as a cyborg though. I would LOVE to see Murphy back with his family again. He was just such a damn nice bloke. 2 is a cinematic masterpiece compared to 3, but when I watch the original, as an aspiring writer/director 2 just doesn't compare anymore.