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The RoboCop 2 Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Timeline Man, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Lots actually. Off the top of my head, every Universal monster movie especially the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Hammer films. 2001. Godzilla. The Marx Brothers.
     
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  2. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Didn't meant to derail this with side topics so back to R2. What I enjoy about the film:

    - The gunmetal blue suit. Weller liked it too since it was more comfortable. He hated the original suit and I doubt they could have coaxed him back into the original design.
    - The music. Leonard Rosenman kept Pouleduris's clanking percussion but made the score his own, complete with his trademark punchy brass section. The end credits anthem is wonderful. If you like the original score fine, but in R3 they play it every goddamn time he's onscreen.
    - The broad assortment of villains. Just about everyone in this movie is corrupt and reprehensible, outside of Lewis, right down to the little league team. Tom Noonan in particular is a standout as the Manson-like hippie burnout. Again, there was so much material cut that a lot of his motivation got tossed out the door. In the original version, he is obsessed with RoboCop's immortality -- making him Faxx's perfect candidate. None of that is kept in the final cut, indeed, his feelings seem quite the opposite.
    - Opening scene is a great re-introduction of the character. Before it starts plunging into the morass of subplots, that first 5-10 minutes perfectly captured the tone of the original.
    - The Bottin effects. While the half-RoboCop is clearly an animatronic dummy, it's creepy as ****.
     
  3. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    IIRC the "smashing the tombstone" scene was scripted or conceived but not filmed for R2. A different, more low-key grave scene was filmed. All of the completed deleted scenes from R2 have now leaked, including the (in)famous "RoboCop spies on a random sexy lady cop in the shower" scene. The lady cop is sometimes (mistakenly) understood to be Murphy's wife since the clips are in such poor quality and the scene would have taken place right after the "I am a machine" interview scene.

    As you can probably tell, I'm a huge RoboCop fan (I even defend the 1994 TV series and 2014 remake) and I consider Prime Directives an unwatchable disaster.
     
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  4. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    I can't defend the series at all. Aside from the fact that Eden is a better RoboCop than either Paige or Burke, show's storylines are straight out of kidsville along with the general tone.

    A workprint for R2 was around a lonnnnng time before the Shout Factory release (I had a copy on VHS back in the early aughts). Even that is incomplete; it was probably the editor's second go at it since not all the FX were added in and a temp track still existed.

    A handful of other scenes are known about but not there. The scene with the criminals visiting OCP's showroom was indeed filmed and that's where Cain's motivations and obsessions would've been laid bare.
     
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  5. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Another interesting tidbit.

    From the first film we know RoboCop is powered by DOS. His boot sequence loads command.com, in the original film.

    RoboCop 2 runs what looks to be a heavily modified version of MacOS 6.

    Apple = evil?
     
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  6. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Well, just anecdotally, many young people I talk to don't know much about anything that came before them, musically, culturally, or otherwise lol. Can't believe I just typed that sentence. As always though, there are exceptions and I have recently met a few. Robocop also wasn't something that was kept alive as a franchise like Star Wars.

    I think the poor box office on the remake has more to do with it being toothless, bloodless, safe studio "reboot" crap. Not trying to be overly contrary, just my opinions. It was going to be hard recapturing the lightning in a bottle of the original either way.
     
  7. Linton S. Dawson

    Linton S. Dawson Lovely sort of deviant

    Location:
    Borealis
    [​IMG]

    The child-me was convinced that it was the real Arnie.
     
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  8. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Well yeah, none of that helped either. I can't really put the remake into words. It was just a bizarre movie. Like something from the mind of a sedated, schizophrenic computer nerd.

    When it got to the point where RoboCop confronts the soy-version of Clarence Boddicker, that was the point where I wanted to walk out.

    "Aim for his head, 50 cal and above, only!"
    </no one aims for his head>
    </no one uses 50 caliber rounds on him>
    </Soy-Boddicker dies in 20 secs, as if he's another extra... which he pretty much was to begin with>
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  9. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    I disagree that "RoboCop" needed decades to build... anything.

    It was a hit in 1987. It got good reviews. Heck, it even got a Criterion laserdisc release in the 90s!

    I think it got "real warmth" right off the bat. It wasn't a movie that needed years and years to find its way...


    Funny you mention "Predator", since that's another 1987 movie with a 1990 sequel that didn't do particularly well.

    The original "Predator" and "RoboCop" movies made fairly similar $$$ in the US - "Predator" took in $59m vs. $53m, but that's close enough.

    "R2" definitely did better than "P2", as it made $45m US vs. $30m US.

    As a film, I actually prefer "P2" to the original, but I think the absence of Schwarzenegger crushed its box office hopes.

    Both definitely failed to become hits and live up to expectations...

    EVERYONE who saw a trailer for the movie and heard that title went "seriously???" :laugh:

    I'm not even "arguing" anything here other than the fact the movie wasn't a hit - I've completely avoided my opinion of the film, as that'd devolve into threadcrapping, or "flaming", as the OP prefers.

    But it's revisionist history to claim "R2" was some big hit when it was nothing of the sort! :shrug:[/quote][/QUOTE]
     
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  10. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
  11. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Location:
    Clarksburg WV

    Yes. I think that’s the part that ruined it for many people. But I didn’t like it for a different reason.

    I recently watched both RoboCop and 2 on my premium channels. I always liked the original. It’s a very nice story about a corrupt system and how it benefits the criminal element until an unlikely hero comes on the scene. This hero is a good cop. But, this story is a little different in that the hero is a byproduct of greed. It had some decent acting, cool action sequences, and a nice underlying message. Having the police department owned by a corporation, the TV adds and the callousness of the TV announcers were all really nice touches.

    RobiCop 2 was OK. The scenes where the updated Robocops kept killing themselves were cool. The police strike was a good back story, while the evil greedy corporation was again put forward. Really, both flicks did a good job in providing a dismal view of the future some of which is still relevant today.

    2 was moving along pretty well until they got the kid too involved. I didn’t like his intense inclusion. I surely know children his projected age are capable of extreme violence. But, I wasn’t sold on him being a crime head. That was a hard sell.

    Now, to me, the point the writer is as attempting to make was obvious, unfortunately as in many such stories, often the writer hits you over the head with his message. I think it would have been better to have included that boy’s violent tendency in a more subtle manner. I felt the writer(s) were trying to give him too many adult characteristics, some the actor could not properly display.

    Of course RoboCop 2 seems like the entire film was quickly thrown together. Perhaps to capitalize on the originals popularity. It’s ok, but I believe it could have been much better.

    But that’s just me. I don’t remember 3. But I do remember the remake a few years ago. It was OK, but didn’t have the edge of the original.
     
  12. NaturalD

    NaturalD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass., USA
    For what it's worth, I'm born in 1965, and for people old enough, RoboCop and Starship Troopers were always smart satire. I think RoboCop got it's "quality" rep fairly quickly, but plenty of people knew how good Starship Troopers was in 1997.
     
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  13. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    True story: when I was an undergraduate (around 2004) I took a sociology class and in the textbook for the course was an article about Starship Troopers. It was all about how the film had been attacked by critics as promoting fascism, despite Verhoeven trying his best to explain the satirical intentions that were FLAMINGLY OBVIOUS in the movie. What struck me as strange about the article was that the author ultimately seemed to find that the critics' complaints had some validity. It was as if the satirical intentions of the movie, and specifically its skewering of American imperialism and insane worship of guns and violence, were lost on him, and he was a sophisticated viewer writing some years after the film had come and gone.

    It took a few more years before what the movie had to say would be more properly understood. The second Iraq war, and then the oafish authoritarianism of the last couple of years finally exposed what Verhoeven and Neumeier knew all along.
     
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  14. NaturalD

    NaturalD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass., USA
    I believe that. But I saw it in a theater Thanksgiving week 1997 and it’s been a favorite ever since. I remember telling people about this movie that was basically the most brilliant anti-war film I’d ever seen. I’m pretty sure Rotten Tomatoes can point to a lot of contemporary positive reviews too. Even before I saw it, I knew I wasn’t going to see an action blockbuster (because I wouldn’t have done that).
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  15. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    I actually love Predator 2. It deepened the mythology of the original and of the creature, great effects and it's chock full of action, gore and nudity. They don't much make 'em like that anymore. I agree that not having Arnold was probably fatal to it, but Danny Glover is awesome in it. Also a good continuation of the story.

    Exactly. In fact, I remember reading an Entertainment Weekly review of it when it came out, and what Verhoeven was doing in Starship Troopers was not lost on the reviewer whatsoever.
     
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  16. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    I passed on ROBOCOP 2 at the time but made it a point to see PREDATOR 2 on opening night. I thought it was a blast and as good as the original. On the other hand, my father threw up his hands in disgust about 20 minutes in.
     
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  17. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    P2 had a bit of the vibe of nihilism and hopelessness that the original Robocop had, I thought.

    I didn’t see it until I was 10 or so and it came out to rent on video, but I remember we copied the rental tape as we had two VCR’s, and I must have watched that copy a dozen times.
     
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  18. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Unlike the original "RoboCop" - which I loved from first viewing in 1987 - the original "Predator" always disappointed me. It felt like it should've been much better than it was, as I thought the movie was just too meat-headed to be all that good.

    So for me, "P2" had room for improvement. I think the movie starts slowly but it eventually gets into a groove and its second half works really well.

    Glover was definitely an unconventional choice for the lead!
     
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  19. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    I love PREDATOR. Yes, it's a meathead movie, but it has a nice slow burn similar to SOUTHERN COMFORT (a film directed by producer Walter Hill no less). If you walked into it having little to no idea about the plot, the first 30 min leads you to believe it's just another Arnold shoot em up. Then, bam! Infrared vision and the movie takes a hard right into a blend of THE LOST PATROL and ALIEN. It's a perfect sci-fi action film from top to bottom. Which is nothing short of dumb luck, since the most important element (the alien FX) were a total disaster until more creative heads prevailed halfway through filming.

    PREDATOR 2 started with a considerable handicap because Arnold refused to return at all. Glover is a good actor but he's not physically intimidating. The only reason he beat the alien was that it was young and reckless. He plays the role like Murtaugh -- to the point where you wait for him to mutter "I'm too old for this ****" as he shimmies along a ledge to escape the Predator. The movie makes up for the cast shortcomings with even better FX and a lot of expansion on the alien culture. It's not quite as good as the original, but very underrated, great fun and damn better than it had any right to be.

    It's a little sad that other films in the series couldn't successfully build further on one of the more creative alien ideas from the last 30 years. It's not like there wasn't a ton of non-canonical stories (some better than others) that could've been tapped.
     
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  20. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    That would have been meaningful to put in the movie, because it shows that RoboCop's "reminiscences of humanity" are deeper than what we think. Too bad.
     
  21. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    Hob was not alone. Plus, he had some contacts, and his "reign" lasted... only few days? I don't think that what we see on-screen is "far-fetched" at all.

    By the way, no revisionism. ROBOCOP 2 grossed at least 60 (or more) million dollars worldwide. 45 million dollars only in the States. World is far bigger than the States LOL.
    Ancillary revenues: VHS sales, TV airings rights, DVD sales and blu-ray sales, did the rest.
    It is regarded as a HIT all over the planet. Not a smash hit like the original movie, yes, a financial disappointment for ORION, yes, but a HIT nonetheless.

    REPEATEDLY claiming that it was a flop is 100% a delusion and borderline obsession.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  22. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    The problem is that it was very expensive compared to the first one. The original approved budget was $25 million (the original cost about $14 million after overruns), and as with the first one, it went well over budget. To my knowledge a final negative cost has never been disclosed, but some sources say it was as much as $35 or $40 million before prints and advertising. This is the reason why it was considered a disappointment financially at the time, because at the time studios only received about 50% of ticket sales in the form of revenue and even less from international showings.

    It just barely scraped into the top 25 for the year, well behind such now-forgotten movies as Bird on a Wire, Problem Child, and Three Men and a Little Lady, and even behind TWO different Steven Segal movies. It grossed less than half as much as Dick Tracy, which was itself considered a substantial financial disappointment at the time. For a major studio action movie, the $45 million that Robo 2 earned was nothing to crow about, even though -- as you say -- it was not a flop.

    And, as you note, the TV and video sales of Robo 2 were very robust and probably made it quite profitable in the end. RoboCop was always primarily a video phenomenon, like many R-rated '80s/'90s action movies.

    The box office performance of RoboCop 2 could probably be considered roughly comparable to that of films like Terminator: Genisys or Blade Runner 2049 in recent times, which were neither hits nor "flops" once global revenues were taken into account. It was definitely nowhere near as successful as (for example) Total Recall or Basic Instinct, the two films Verhoeven chose to do instead of Robo 2. It cost less than either, but earned much less (smaller earnings relative to budget).

    Its failure to perform to expectations is the reason why Irvin Kershner never made another film.

    The idea is there in the deleted scene, but I fully understand why Kershner volunteered to drop it. Even in context the scene of RoboCop spying on the naked chick is still a bit embarrassing, partly because Weller plays the body language completely straight.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
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  23. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    There seems to be this weird Predator vs. RoboCop vs. Die Hard thing for people of my generation. It's like you can only really care about one, but the one you care about, you are obsessed with. I know I pick RoboCop, but I'm partial to Predator as well (although I find Predator 2 hard to watch).
     
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  24. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    The thing that makes Robo 2 feel a little bit flat to me compared to the first one is that the story is rather episodic. It feels like five or six episodes of a well-made RoboCop TV series. They are all good episodes, but it doesn't hold together. There are so many unresolved threads and disconnected scenes. The contrast with the first one, where practically every second of footage serves the story and connects with the rest, is notable.

    Still, it's undeniably well-made at the level of craft and it's at least the third best RoboCop movie, which is nothing to sneeze at. Unless you count Upgrade as a RoboCop movie -- that movie is awesome.
     
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  25. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    Prints and advertising are usually "covered" by promotional sponsors as well as collateral foreign agencies co-producing the distribution worldwide.
    The final budget was 25-30 million dollars, and the movie made twice that gross. It's a rule, if a movie grosses twice its budget, then it's regarded as a "hit".
    RoboCop 2's ancillary revenues were also great.

    SURPRISINGLY ENOUGH, I just discovered that RoboCop 3 was profitable, because it grossed about 47 million dollars worldwide, and it's budget was far less than RoboCop 2's (22 million dollars). R3 also had some ancillary revenues.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021

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