Released by: Shout! Factory
Released on: March 21st, 2017.
Director: Irvin Kershner
Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Tom Noonan
Year: 1990 Purchase From Amazon
This second outing in the RoboCop franchise was helmed by director Irvin Kershner (of The Empire Strikes Back). RoboCop 2 finds Murphy (once again played by Peter Weller) back in action on the streets of Detroit (which is actually Dallas, TX once again), one year after the events of the first film. Crime is back on the rise again, and OCP plans to totally demolish the city as it stands today. Their goal? To kick out the riff raff, and build an entirely new city in its place called Delta City.
There's also a new drug problem plaguing Detroit in the form of Nuke, a highly addictive and highly dangerous narcotic being peddled faster than the cops can take down the dealers bringing it to the streets. OCP needs to get this problem under control and fast, so they investigate the possibilities of building a few more automated police units that can outdo RoboCop. Not wanting to be put out of business, Cain (Tom Noonan), one of the Nuke drug lords, has his men capture RoboCop and disassemble him. He's put back together by OCP when he's found later, but this time RoboCop has been reprogrammed to be less violent and more talkative.
Meanwhile, OCP has been experimenting with test subjects for their new combat police unit. When the test subject, a former drug addict, goes rogue it's up to RoboCop and his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) to take him down and save the day once again.
RoboCop 2 gets most of it right and is a pretty solid sequel in its own right. Verhoeven's sense of satire is missed but Weller is great once again as the lead and it's nice to see Nancy Allen in action alongside him. These two have great chemistry together and if Weller isn't given as much dramatic acting to do this time around, he's still great in the part. The whole man vs. machine aspect of the first movie is underplayed here, however. Outside of one scene where Murphy's wife sees him, the movie really doesn't go there. But it doesn't matter. The picture doesn't need to be a rehash of the first movie's themes to work when it offers up as much dystopic mechanized mayhem as this picture does!
Irvin Kershner keeps the film moving at a good clips and the film features decent production values and a good score too. If it isn't quite as clever as the original picture, we can easily forgive that because based on its own merits RoboCop 2 is a really solid action film. The movie is also insanely violent. When gunfights break out in this picture - and it happens frequently - everyone is a target: cops, bad guys and even innocent bystanders unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The action scenes are bloody and over the top and the movie definitely earns its R-rating.
Additionally, there's still a lot of great black humor in the film to keep things interesting and the effects are just as good if not better than those onscreen in the first film. Comic book writer/artist Frank Miller, who wrote the screenplay, can be seen in a quick cameo as the chemist making the Nuke for Cain. Too bad he wasn't talked into a commentary track for this release as his screenplay was changed drastically before the production began (a few years back it was released in comic book form as Frank Miller's RoboCop by Avatar Press).
Shout Factory presents RoboCop 2 on Blu-ray on a 50GB disc that presents the movie in 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new 2k scan of the interpositive. This looks really good. Colors are reproduced beautifully and black levels are nice and solid. There doesn't appear to be any overzealous noise reduction here nor any artificial sharpening or edge enhancement. The image is clean but filmic, presenting the picture with very solid detail and texture throughout.
English language tracks are provided in DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound. The stereo track is the more authentic of the two, it sounds stronger and a bit more distinct but the 5.1 mix is fun during the action scenes where the rear channels open up the soundstage a bit more. Both tracks sound clean and clear and are free of any hiss or distortion. Optional English subtitles are provided.
Extras are plentiful and extensive, starting off with an audio commentary with author/CG supervisor Paul M. Sammon. There's some good discussion here about the effects work featured in the picture and what went into creating that as well as talk of what it was like on set, working alongside the different cast and crew members on the production and a fair bit more. A second commentary features the makers of the 2017 RoboDoc: The Creation Of RoboCop documentary (recently funded on Kickstarter), they being Gary Smart, Chris Griffiths and Eastwood Allen. These guys are basically RoboCop historians and as they take us through the movie they point out interesting aspects of the performances, costumes, sets and set pieces while offering up interesting bits and pieces of trivia and what not. It's a well-paced track and their affinity for the subject matter is infectious.
From there we move on to some exclusive featurettes, beginning with Corporate Wars: The Making of RoboCop 2. This thirty-two minute segments is primarily made up of new and vintage interviews with director Irvin Kershner, producer Jon Davidson, cast members Tom Noonan, Nancy Allen, Galyn Gorg, executive producer Patrick Crowley, associate producer Phil Tippett, cinematographer Mark Irwin and author/CG supervision Paul M. Sammon. This piece is interesting and thorough as it gives us a well-rounded look at how the movie came to be, some of the changes that it went through during production, what it was like bringing the iconic character back to the big screen after the success of the first picture, how some of the effects work featured in the picture was pulled off and more.
Machine Parts: The FX Of RoboCop 2 is up next, and this thirty-one minute piece features Phil Tippett, Peter Kuran, Craig Hayes, Jim Aupperle, Kirk Thatcher, Paul Gentry, Don Waller, Justin Kohn, Randal Dutra and Kevin Kutchaver. This one is understandably more technical than the first featurette was as it dives into the specifics of bringing the robotic creations featured in the movie to life as well as some of the other more effects intensive aspects of the film. Some great behind the scenes stories here, and some interesting images and clips pop up throughout.
In the nine minute Robo-Fabricator we sit down for a chat with RoboCop armor fabricator James Belohovek who speaks about what went into tweaking the armor featured in this second film. This is a very specific talk but it's quite interesting. The six minute Adapting Frank Miller's RoboCop 2 is an interesting six minute long interview with comic book writer Steven Grant who talks about Miller's original script and what happened to it.
The forty-six minute OCP Declassified section is an interesting selection of rare archival production and behind-the-scenes videos. Here we're treated to interviews with director Irvin Kershner as well as actors Peter Weller and Dan O'Herlihy. Additionally there's a look at the filming of some deleted scene.
The disc also includes the film's original theatrical trailer, a handful of teaser trailers, a few TV spots, a still gallery showing off some missing deleted scenes (these are quite interesting, it's a shame that the content is gone), a few other still galleries (behind-the-scenes photos, stills, posters and lobby cards), animated menus and chapter selection. The disc also comes packaged with some nice reversible cover art and a nifty cardboard slipcover.
The Final Word:
RoboCop 2 isn't deep but it is a lot of over the top fun. Shout! Factory has rolled out the red carpet for this picture with a seriously stacked special edition that presents the movie in excellent shape with a massive array of supplements.
Click on the image below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!