ROBOCOP 2 opens to a near-future, drug-infested world of violence, killings, looting, and muggings, where the criminal element runs amok in Old Detroit. The police are on strike, the city is in default, and a deadly new designer drug named Nuke is raking in phenomenal profits.
Into this nightmarish milieu comes RoboCop, a slain patrolman who’s been resurrected by Omni Consumer Products as a steel-sheathed, crime-fighting cyborg, that is, a machine that utilizes some living tissue. RoboCop still retains touches of compassion and fleeting memories of a murdered cop named Murphy, which stand in ironic contrast to the inhuman tendencies of the corporate empire which created him.
RoboCop goes searching for Cain, a mystic, malevolent drug dealer who has been flooding the city with Nuke. In an ambush at the drug lord’s lair, RoboCop is captured, dismantled and dumped on police grounds as the sum of his parts.
It’s just the opportunity for which Dr. Juliette Faxx, the sinister head of OCP’s Attitude Adjustment Team, has been waiting. Wanting to create a less “sensitive” model unable to do its own thinking, she updates Robo’s directives with hundreds of conflicting commands, which turns him into a pacified, doting do-gooder. However, the human element in RoboCop resists the mind-control “rehabilitation”, so he burns out the bad programming, thereby asserting his humanity and his ability to judge and act out of moral choice.
Joined by a handful of dedicated policemen, RoboCop goes after Cain. The psychopathic drug lord is apprehended. Dr. Faxx, however, in an absolutely sickening, stomach-turning sequence, graphically extracts Cain’s brain (discarding the face) and implants it in RoboCop 2, a new and improved model with monstrous strength and massive firepower, but without the human defects which she believes marred the original.
Programmed to eradicate the drug plague, the behemoth of a robot is turned over to OCP’s greedy CEO, who is obsessed with owning the metropolis and ready to foreclose on the city in a hostile takeover. Still craving and addicted to the Nuke drug, Cain goes on a rampage. To the rescue comes RoboCop. They smash through walls, grapple atop skyscrapers and rip apart buildings, before Robo tears out Cain’s brain, squashing it on the street.
“Is he man or a machine?” According to RoboCop star, Peter Weller, “That’s the dilemma, that’s the conflict.” Director Kershner adds that “The theme of Man versus machine is a time-honored myth, and although it’s unusual to find it in the same character, mind does win out over metal,” mainly because of Murphy’s fair sense of duty.
Kershner also intends to open a social, satiric vein by heralding responsible private enterprise as more capable of running a city than the elected government, a scenario that doesn’t exactly work out according to plan. There’s a further stab at medical euthanasia through the character of Dr. Faxx, who wants to raid death row inmates for cyborg “volunteers”. “They’re of no use to society, and they’ll welcome the power we offer,” she says.
However, all these concerns are completely lost in the utter repugnancy of the film. The hoods laugh as they kill, rape and devastate. Innocent bystanders, including women and children, are gunned down in violent massacres, close-ups of bullet-ridden corpses follow. An officer’s chest is split open with a knife. Most depraved of all is the graphic surgical removal of evildoer Cain’s brain.
In fact, so in love with spilling blood is producer Jon Davison that he “sent somebody down to the local 7-Eleven to get the biggest Ziploc bags they had, and then we filled them with ‘blood.'” In the corresponding footage submitted to the MPAA, a corpse received an additional 200 rounds. “I thought it was funny,” he says. “The censors didn’t think it was funny.”
Want more? How about Cain’s under-age underling, a 12-year-old hit man, spewing bullets and obscenities, both at about the same rate. Not to be outdone, Cain draws some blasphemous parallels between himself and Jesus.
Suicide is committed. Explosions fry people. What can you expect from the film makers when the “ahs” and “oohs” are strictly calibrated to the size of the bang, the height of the flame spout.
Yet, with all this gruesome action, many viewers found ROBOCOP 2 boring. As one child told his father (an acquaintance), who made the mistake of taking him to this demented movie, “This is not a good movie.”
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Blasphemy; profanities and obscenities (even from children); extreme graphic violence and cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder; and, revenge, suicide and blackmail