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Title: RoboCop 2 Collector's Edition

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:81

The 80s and 90s were defined as having some of the best action movies in history. Yes, I know we have some great action movies from all the decades, but the excess and hilarity of the muscle-bound action heroes from those two decades have defined the term “action movie” for generations to come. Back in 1987 Paul Verhoven (the same mind behind “Starship Troopers”) came out with a tongue in cheek social satire/action movie that blew audiences away. The name of the film was “Robocop”, and it became one of the most talked about action films of the 80s. It’s witty blend of social satire on the Reagan administration’s “war on drugs”, as well as the excesses that the generation was known was both biting and cruel, yet still poignant and thoughtful. The film was definitely a HARD R (and had an NC-17 extended cut which is on the Blu-ray) for the stylized hyper violence. A move that had some people questioning its legs, but Verhoven was very intent on using the hyper violence as part of his satire on the times. 3 Years later Frank Miller and Irvin Kershner (best known for “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”) are at the helm of the first sequel, and although it doesn’t quite live up to the brilliance that was “Robocop”, the movie stays within Verhoven’s vision for the universe. Blending together that same biting wit, hyper violence and continuing on the path of satirizing the war on drugs, “Robocop 2” is a worthy successor to the original.

Picking up not long after officer Alex Murphy of the Detroit Police Department (Peter Weller) had been turned into Robocop in the first film, “Robocop 2” dwells once more on a drug addicted city. This time a semi-religious style drug dealer has been dropping the cheapest and most addictive street drug onto the market yet, Nuke. Nuke is a seemingly endless drug, with whole population sections of the city taking it on a daily basis. The mayor of the city is trying his best to rid the city of the drug, but despite his and the DPD’s best efforts there seems to be no “cure”. The police officers of the city are on strike as OCP, the giant corporation who owns the police department, messes with their pensions, but only once cop refuses. Robocop is on the street, kicking butt and taking names. However, he seems to have met his match with Cain (Tom Noonan), the drug kingpin. No matter how many times he tries to find him, the unscrupulous drug lord manages to outwit him or get away. All the while, the ever greedy OCP corporation is on their way to replacing Robocop with a more “malleable” prototype. Unfortunately, their efforts are in vain as Robocop’s unique blend of man and machine seems to be unrepeatable.

However, all good things must come to an end, and this is for just about all parties. After FINALLY capturing Cain and his thugs, Robocop seems to be able to get back to normal life. That is until OCP’s manipulative head of research reprograms the cop to be more “socially acceptable” in an effort to undermine him while she comes up with the perfect Robocop 2. You know, basically be completely nuts and stick Cain’s mind inside of a Robotic body so that she can control him with the same drugs he created. A plant that will blow up in her face as all the OCP plans seem to do.

It's interesting to note that this takes place in a futuristic Detroit. A city that was already starting to collapse after being one of the biggest and richest cities in the nation for decades. Back then it had been losing population and wealth since the late 60s, but now it’s even MORE ironic as Detroit pretty much IS what “Robocop 2” portrays. A rundown hovel with a few rich people hanging around, and the rest addicted to drugs or living in abject poverty ala slums of Chicago. One of the biggest criticisms of the movie was about unfettered capitalism, which is portrayed through OCP owning everything we commonly consider “public” services. The police, the city itself, everything is sacrificed to the almighty dollar thanks to greedy executives who don’t care about whom they step on in order to make their wealth (once again, irony considering the discussions of today).

The underlying criticism about the war on drugs is amplified with use of a young child named Rico in the film. A kid who is actually just as murderous and violent as Cain. Something which brings home the horror of what drugs and drug dealers have spewed forth onto this nation. The same kind of horror that was felt when Vietnam combatants were fighting against child soldiers, or when Afghani boys were running bombs up to U.S. troops. It’s the sort of sickening realization that nothing is sacred in something this vile. On the flip side of the spoon the hyper violence is used to paint a broad brush over the overabundance of police force used in the war on drugs. It’s not as witty or fine-tuned as “Robocop”, but still has enough pointedness to rise above simple action movie.


Rated R by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
“Robocop 2” is given a brand new 2K scan from the interpository, making for quite a substantial upgrade over MGM’s older release. All three of the original “Robocop” films have looked a bit lackluster in their original releases, but MGM rectified that situation with their re-release of the film just before the new and updated “reboot” came out a few years back. The results were spectacular, leaving those of us who owned the 2 sequels wishing that those 2 would get a remastering. Well, that time is upon us and Scream Factory (a subset of Shout Factory) has done an excellent job with this one. Colors are well saturated, and the teal color palette looks amazing in motion. Some of the animatronics looks a bit funky with modern sensibilities, but they hold up really well in comparison to many other films of the era. Blacks are solid, with only a little crush going on, and a healthy layer of grain covers the entire image without being obtrusive. Fine detail is excellent, with the viewer able to discern minute facial stubble and even a few inconsistencies with the blending of Peter Weller’s face to a prop.

Audio :4stars:
Usually Scream Factory releases share identical 5.1 mixes with their MGM counterparts, and that is MOSTLY true here. The track is pretty much identical, except that it appears to have been recorded a few DB’s lower than the MGM disc. Otherwise, the two are indistinguishable. The audio mix is more than satisfactory for an early 90s action film, giving us the classic “Robocop” score mingled with plenty of over the top explosions and futuristic gun blasts. LFE pops and bangs away with glee, interjecting itself into the mix quite frequently. Surrounds use the score effectively, as well as the tinks and plinks of massive caliber bullets ricocheting off of metal and stone walls. Vocals are crisp and clean, and I couldn’t detect any abnormalities or distortions in either the 2.0 or the 5.1 mix that Scream has provided for us (naturally the 5.1 mix is more pleasing unless you’re stuck with TV speakers or a 2.0/2.1 setup at home).

Extras :4.5stars:

• NEW 2K scan of the interpositive
• NEW Audio Commentary with author/CG supervisor Paul M. Sammon
• NEW Audio Commentary with the makers of "RoboDoc:
• NEW Corporate Wars: The Making of ROBOCOP 2
• NEW Machine Parts: The FX of ROBOCOP 2
• NEW Robo-Fabricator
• NEW Adapting Frank Miller's ROBOCOP 2
• NEW OCP Declassified
• Theatrical Trailer
• Teaser Trailers
• TV Spots
• Deleted Scenes Still Gallery
• Still Galleries (behind-the-scenes photos, stills, posters and lobby cards)

Overall: :4stars:

“Robocop” is almost an iconic phrase on people’s lips when they remember the 80s and 90s. The sequels didn’t fare AS well, but “Robocop 2” is widely considered to be the closest to Paul Verhoven’s wryly satirical action flick. Weller literally owns of the role of the seemingly emotionless reboot with elements of humanity bleeding through, and the over the top cheese and violence makes for a ridiculously fun ride. Some of the satirical moments are not as poignant without Verhoven’s oversight, but it has just enough of a grasp of the social and political elements that made the first an instant classic to be well worth your time. Not to mention the fact that Scream Factory has done an excellent job with giving the film a new facelift on the video front and an amazing array of special features combined with a first-class packaging job to make this one of their better collector’s editions. Highly recommended.

Additional Information:

Starring: Peter Weller, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan, Nancy Allen
Directed by: Irvin Kershner
Written by: Frank Miller, Wallon Green
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 21st, 2017

Buy RoboCop 2 Collector's Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

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