Movie Sequels: Part 2 – Lessons from Robocop

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by Matthew J.R. Kohler

Robocop 2 might be one of the biggest attempts by a sequel to outdo its predecessor (besides Batman Returns).  Robocop, directed by Paul Verhooven, goes through the death and redemption of Alex Murphy in a 97 minute film explaining how corrupt corporations are, how messed up Detroit is, and it shows Murphy realizing that he is a human, even with his machine body parts.  The sequel, once again retread many of these elements, such as the final line in both movies states that Robocop is a human.

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-“Murphy”                                    –“Patient Lewis, we’re only human”

Why did Robocop 2 have to have the same problem again? (Shocker, it happens in the freaking third movie too.)  Although Robocop 2 was just the same movie over again but bigger, it did have some important moments that make sense for a sequel.  In the first film, we continually hear about how the police force going on strike, Delta City is going up in six months, and there is a complete takeover of Detroit.  In Robocop 2, not only has the police force gone on strike, but Detroit is in chaos.  I think OCP created the new crime lord, Cain.

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Before continuing, Clarence Boddicker is by far a better villain than Cain.  After Clarence is killed by Robocop, and the police are gone, OCP decides to give the police force a bigger enemy for the city of Detroit.  Before Cain, there was no face to evil because Clarence was only known in underground Detroit.  He didn’t go out and make stupid speeches like, “Hey, I’m Clarence if you want piece, I’ll shove a foot up your ass!”  Cain not only became the face of evil, but he created a new product known as Nuke, a drug that is more addicting than cocaine, heroin, meth, and crack combined.  The idea is interesting, but completely falls flat.  Unlike Clarence, Cain never feels threatening because he has to have an entire army to take down Robocop.  Clarence had FIVE people with him the whole time, and had little help until the end.  Cain not only had all of OCP trying to get rid of Robocop, but he also had most of the police officers under his belt. The one time Robocop does assault his base, Cain is destroyed.  For being the spawn child of OCP he did not impress.

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Clarence played a much bigger role in the story than Cain did.  He killed Murphy, Bob Morton, ruined Dick Jones, never missed a Tiger’s game, and almost killed both Robocop and Lewis.  What the hell did Cain do, even as Robocop 2?  He shot a couple of unknown people and did nothing to Robocop.  Hell, Lewis almost killed the dang thing, but she couldn’t even touch Clarence.  People may say, “But there are two Robocops in the sequel!”  Maybe someone should of told Frank Miller but just because there is more, it doesn’t mean that it is great. This is definitely remains true with this sequel.

Many other sequels have tried to go darker than the original, and Robocop 2 did just that.  Not only do you see the slums of Detroit more, but you see a lot of people doing drugs, kids robbing stores and cursing at cops, and kids doing drugs.  Did I also say kids shooting other cops?  Robocop 2 went over everyone’s head.  While Robocop was a dark grounded movie, and a story about how corporations are, it also didn’t crush any hope of humanity.  For instance, the people behind OCP were not the worst people on Earth, and audiences knew who the good guys and bad guys are.  Robocop 2 kicked it up to an eleven!  They made cops evil, OCP didn’t care about anyone, the mayor was evil, kids are terrible.  The next best person outside of Robocop and Lewis was the 12 year old gangster, who realizes his wrong doings at the end.

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 -“It was bigger than you.  Movies that try to be bigger, they suck don’t they.”

            If Robocop 2 was ever going to be remembered (or good), then it would of have to delve into the characters, and not just do the same dang thing over again with bigger action.  You don’t want the audience thinking throughout the entire film, “Man, the first one was good.”

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