Blu-ray Reviews: Robocop 2 & 3 (Collector’s Edition)

When Robocop arrived in the summer of 1987, the movie became a summer hit and a pop culture sensation. The film could have easily been a Six Million Dollar meets Police Academy with the concept of turning a cop into a crime fighting robot. Director Paul Verhoeven company created the most exciting ethics film ever produced. The overriding them is private companies taking control of public services in Detroit remains a real topic after 30 years. The core of the film is about how do we deal with crime in an urban warzone. Officer Alex J. Murphy (Buckaroo Banzai‘s Peter Weller) is a cop who works for Omni Consumer Products (OCP) that’s taken over the Detroit Police force. He gets destroyed in a gun fight with the notorious Clarence Boddicker (Red on That ’70s Show‘s Kurtwood Smith). Instead of being laid to rest, OCP uses Murphy’s remaining parts and organs to power Robocop, their dream law enforcement agent. But is it right to force humans to become cyborgs to profit private corporations? The film was a hit which meant that it ripe for a sequel or two. Scream Factory is releasing Robocop 2: Special Edition and Robocop 3: Special Edition to give a deeper sense of what went into these two films that also explored what could happen when public sector gives itself over to privatizing.

Robocop 2 continues the adventures and ethics of Office Murphy’s transformation into Robocop. He still has brief memories of his life before he was converted into a mechanical man. This leads to him driving past his old house to get a peak at his semi-widow. The guys at OCP aren’t happy with this man inside the machine. They want a pure justice greasing the gears of a Robocop. Trouble is the latest versions of Robocop have been disasters since the cop brains aren’t really wanting to become part of the circuitry. OCP’s Dr. Juliette Faxx (Winter Kills‘ Belinda Bauer) wants to change up the routine and get someone besides a cop inside the next cyborg. Robocop tracks down and severely injures Cain (Manhunter‘s Tom Noonan), a major drug dealer. Faxx uses Cain as her next donor. Can anyone stop the new edition of Robocop with a sociopath at the controls? There’s also a subplot about how OCP wants to take over Detroit, bulldoze it over to create the rebranded Delta City. They private company is owed a massive payment that the city can’t handle. Everything is just going to hell in Detroit again.

The key creative elements of the original movie didn’t return for the sequel. New director Irvin Kershner was best known for Empire Strikes Back. The key creative hire was Frank Miller to write the story and co-write the script. Miller was red hot after creating the ground breaking Dark Knight series that transformed Batman. He brings part of these elements and attitudes to Robocop’s Detroit. Weller returns along with Karen Allen as his partner. Allen doesn’t get used that much in the film. Noonan is wicked as the drug kingpin controlling the underbelly of the city. While the sequel wasn’t as big of a hit as the original, it was huge enough (along with VHS tapes) to green light another to form the sacred trilogy.

Robocop 3 has OCP being victimized by so many bad deals that the corporation gets bought up by the Japanese conglomerate Kanemitsu Corporation run by Kanemitsu (Mako). The new owners want to go through with the dream of Delta City and begins just tearing apart the foreclosed neighborhoods. But a few of the locals won’t just pack bags and move including C. C. H. Pounder (Avatar) and Stephen Root (Office Space). The resistance breaks into the police department to arm up. But Kanemitsu has a new weapon to use in the evacuation. Rip Torn unleashes Otomo ninja androids on them. Robocop (Gossip Girl‘s Robert John Burke) and Nancy Allen find themselves falling in with the resistance which proves to be a fatal decision. The fighting heightens between Robocop and Otomo. This basically becomes the Battle for Detroit.

Frank Miller returned to concoct the story behind the third installment, but director Fred Dekker rewrote the script. Dekker was best known for making Monster Squad. The film doesn’t quite have the same level of ethical questioning found in the first installment and goes straight for the action. There is still questions of private companies taking over a public city. Are the rich only permitted living the good life in a privatized world? What good is a huge corporation if in the end it can just be taken over by another heartless corporation? Peter Weller skipped this installment because he was off making The Naked Lunch in Canada with David Cronenberg. But he wouldn’t have added too much to the film since its not about Robocop’s inner humanity this time around.

Both films are sold separately, but ought to be watched back to back since the neighborhood clearance element carries over between the films. The bonus features really flesh out how the films came about and varied from the original production.

The videos is 1.85:1 anamorphic on both films. The transfers bring out the metallic wonder of Robocop. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 on both films. The noises of destruction wrap around the surround sound speakers. The original 2.0 mix is also included. Both films are subtitled.

Audio Commentaries includ one with Author/CG Supervisor Paul M. Sammon. He describes various behind the scenes weirdness in making the sequel under a tight timeline. There’s also a commentary with the three guys that made RoboDoc: The Creation Of RoboCop Documentary – Gary Smart, Chris Griffiths And Eastwood Allen. The English trio are completely devoted to the series and have learned all that can about the flick.

Corporate Wars: The Making Of ROBOCOP 2 (32:05) includes new And vintage interviews With director Irvin Kershner, Producer Jon Davidson, Cast Members Tom Noonan, Nancy Allen, Galyn Görg, Executive Producer Patrick Crowley. This covers the effect of the original film and how Orion needed to crank out a sequel as they were in major money problems.

Machine Parts: The FX Of ROBOCOP 2 (31:36) brings together Phil Tippett, Peter Kuran, Craig Hayes, Jim Aupperle, Kirk Thatcher, Paul Gentry, Don Waller, Justin Kohn, Randal Dutra And Kevin Kutchaver on what it took to bring the police robots to life on the screen.

Robo-Fabricator (8:47) is an interview With RoboCop Armor Fabricator James Belohovek. Blew off a chance to make the original Robocop while working on Aliens. But he got a chance to make Robocop 2. His main job was to make the suit easier for Weller to get in and out of the suit. He breaks down his alterations on the suit.

Adapting Frank Miller’s ROBOCOP 2 (5:55) has Steven Grant discuss adapting Frank Miller’s original script to the comic book form.

OCP Declassified (45:50) is a collection of vintage interviews With director Irvin Kershner, actors Peter Weller, Dan O’Herlihy and includes the filming of deleted scenes.

Theatrical Trailer (1:56) brings back the cyborg lawman and the dangerous Robocop 2.

Teaser Trailers (1:56) includes a warning to not smoke in the theater.

TV Spots (1:04) promises the summer film with Robo-Action, Robo-Heat and Robo-Power. There’s even a Peter Weller plug for the Boys and Girls Club.

Deleted Scenes Still Gallery (2:34) has just photos and descriptions of scenes tossed out.

Still Galleries features Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills, Posters And Lobby Cards. You can see a trenchcoated Frank Miller hanging with Robocop.

Scream Factory presents Robocop 2: Collector’s Edition. Directed by: Andrew Cymek. Screenplay by: Andrew Cymek. Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen and Tom Noonan. Running Time: 117 minutes. Rated: R. Released: March 21, 2017.

Audio Commentary With Director Fred Dekker has him breakdown his career and how he ended up creatively in charge of the film. A second audio commentary brings back the makers Of RoboDoc: The Creation Of RoboCop” documentary. They know so much about the film.

Delta City Shuffle: The Making Of ROBOCOP 3 (38:27) meets up with director Fred Dekker, actors Nancy Allen, Bruce Locke, producer Patrick Crowley, cinematographer Gary Kibbe And Production Designer Hilda Stark. Fred was offered to rewrite Miller’s script and direct it. Orion wanted him to make it more kid friendly at PG-13. He had to cut back on the violence, eliminate all drug references and include a kid character. They filmed in Atlanta to save on the budget instead of Texas like the first two. None of the films were made in Detroit.

Robo-Vision: The FX Of ROBOCOP 3 (12:03) features Peter Kuran, Phil Tippett, Craig Hayes, Kevin Kutchaver And Paul Gentry. They didn’t do too much original designs in this movie. They did make a jet pack.

The Corporate Ladder (10:48) interviews actor Felton Perry. He made his character a kiss ass in both films. He mimics the boss in the second film.

Training Otomo (8:37) breaks down the martial arts training given to Bruce Locke by Martial Arts Trainer Bill Ryusaki. The duo give their backgrounds and how they came out with moves in a very short time.

War Machine (9:17) is a second visit with RoboCop gun gabricator James Belohovek. He didn’t have to work on the suit this time. He had to create the gun arm on RoboCop.

Theatrical Trailer (2:02) shows off the gun arm made by Belohovek.

Still Gallery (7:07) includes so much promotional material and behind the scenes shots.

Scream Factory presents Robocop 3: Collector’s Edition. Directed by: Fred Dekker. Screenplay by: Frank Miller and Fred Dekker. Starring: Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen, Rip Torn, John Castle, Jill Hennessy, C. C. H. Pounder & Mako. Running Time: 105 minutes. Rated: PG-13. Released: March 21, 2017.

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