RoboCop 2: Collector’s Edition, 1990.
Directed by Irvin Kershner.
Starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O’Herlihy, Tom Noonan, Belinda Bauer, and Gabriel Damon.
Shout! Factory continues its series of minor classics from the 70s through 90s with the release of Collector’s Editions of RoboCop 2. In the sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s hit 1987 film, RoboCop battles the corporate bad guys from the first film as well as a new criminal kingpin, but his biggest test is fighting a new RoboCop. Shout!’s Collector’s Edition features a new 2K scan, improved audio, and a nice batch of bonus features.
Fans of the original RoboCop were intrigued by the notion of Irvin Kershner directing the sequel, as well as the involvement of comic book legend Frank Miller in the screenplay. However, anyone expecting the film to attain the kind of status that The Empire Strikes Back has reached in pop culture was sorely disappointed by a movie that wrapped an intriguing storyline inside some laughably clunky action.
RoboCop 2 opens with promise, as well as some eerily prescient storytelling, as corporate bad guys Omni Consumer Products (OCP) scheme to control all of Detroit by pushing the city into a scam that will force it to default on its debt and leave itself vulnerable to foreclosure. Once that happens, Delta City will arise from the ashes of the old, a city center independent of the US government. (Tell me that’s not something which disciples of Ayn Rand would love to see.)
Part of the plan involves OCP creating an increase in street crime while simultaneously getting rid of police pensions and cutting officers’ salaries, pushing them toward striking. RoboCop, of course, remains on duty with his partner, Anne Lewis, oblivious that OCP is creating a “RoboCop 2” that will be mass-produced and will replace all the officers. RoboCop is also dealing with the rampant sale of a drug called Nuke and the criminal, Cain, who’s behind its distribution.
OCP’s scheme and RoboCop’s fight with the bad guys run along parallel paths before colliding in act three. Unsurprisingly, here’s a final confrontation between RoboCop and the RoboCop 2 that’s the prototype for the new robotic police force, but the clunky effects leave much to be desired. Other sequences miss the mark too, although Kershner does engage in some nice character building when RoboCop can’t resist visiting the neighborhood where his ex-wife and son live, leading to some stalking accusations. While RoboCop’s actions are creepy, it’s easy to understand the emotions driving him in that direction.
This new Blu-ray from Shout! Factory is a Collector’s Edition aimed at those who enjoy building a collection of cheesy movies with high-quality presentations. The company even invested in a new 2K scan for some excellent video quality, along with a DTS-HD MA soundtrack for a theatrical quality experience. (Theatrical quality as it was in the 90s, of course.)
The bonus features kick off with a pair of commentary tracks, one with writer and CG supervisor Paul M. Sammon and the other with the makers of Robodoc: The Creation of RoboCop. They’re mostly complementary of each other, with Sammon offering some peaks into what went on during production and the documentary team discussing the film from an in-depth fan perspective.
Sammon returns for two more bonus pieces, one that features 46 minutes of footage he shot during the production, with behind-the-scenes glimpses and interviews with crew members, and another that runs 32 minutes and offers more of the same, except the interviews were conducted recently by him, so they have more of a retrospective feel.
There are a couple more short featurettes that detail the special effects work as well as an interview with Steven Grant, who wrote a comic book adaptation of Frank Miller’s script. It’s common knowledge that Miller was very unhappy with the changes that were made to his screenplay; a quick Google search can help supplement what Grant talks about.
Theatrical trailers, TV spots, and three still gallery collections, which include behind-the-scenes shots as well as stills from deleted scenes, round out this disc.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★