(out of 5)
Paul Verhoeven’s masterful science-fiction drama is given a sequel that, as continuations of magnificent action films go, ain’t half bad. The Detroit that Peter Weller‘s half-human, half-cyborg crimefighter was invented to clean up has gotten worse in the three years since the last film, with the police force on strike and the city taken over by massive looting and rampant murders. RoboCop is still on the job, but he can only do so much against the mounting mayhem that is not being helped by arguments at City Hall about how best to improve the cyborg program. At the heart of these issues is the sale and widespread use of a drug called Nuke (delivered in the most wonderfully late-eighties neon syringes) being controlled by a drug lord (Tom Noonan) who turns out to be a very dangerous nemesis for our hero. Meanwhile, flashbacks of a human life continue in his organic brain, prompting his wife to complain to the authorities of a robot cop spending too much time hanging outside of her house. This one doesn’t have the rebellious sheen that Verhoeven brings to science-fiction, the violence is plentiful but it always has one eye on its younger viewers, while the theme of the machine in search of a soul has only been extended without any enrichment. Director Irvin Kershner did a better job as a sequel director with The Empire Strikes Back, but considering this one’s lack of emotional innovation and a plot rife with uneven movement, it’s still quite entertaining and the colourful photography is a treat.
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Cinematography by Mark Irwin
Produced by Jon Davison
Music by Leonard Rosenman
Production Design by Peter Jamison
Costume Design by Rosanna Norton