We Want Action: Robocop 2 (1980)

Watching Robocop 2, probably for the first time unedited and in full (I think I’ve seen it on TV, but didn’t remember many of the beats) was a ton of fun. They really don’t make movies like this anymore that mix action, satire and even slapstick together with a product that still stands up in the grand tradition of action flicks from the 80s and very early 90s.

The sequel picks up some time after the first flick leaves off, but Detroit’s in even worse shape. We’re treated to various commercials showing just how bad society is in general which are both funny and a little scary when you think of how reality TV obsessed we’ve gotten as a country. The evil megacorporation OCP continues attempts at recreating the Robocop formula (there’s a pretty great montage of the attempts) but with less human interaction. See, the big thing going on in Robo’s life is that he considers himself and Alex Murphy (the cop he was before getting killed and turned into a walking tank) one in the same and OCP doesn’t like that much. They want subservient killing machines who will only answer to them. There’s also a drug kingpin/cult leader running around spreading drugs and getting a robo body of his own later in the film. Oh, and, at one point, Robocop gets banged up pretty bad, OCP comes in to fix him and turns him into a totally PC pussy.

I guess you’ve got to be in the right mood to watch and enjoy this flick (a good or drunk one, basically). If you’re looking for a serious action movie that really takes into account the loss of human life therein or examines the motives of criminals in a realistic light, this ain’t for you. A little kid not only smokes, swears, runs drugs and shoots guns but also almost murdered a policewoman (which doesn’t say much about her skill levels as a cop if you ask me). This movie is funny and ridiculous and when I was done watching it, I wanted to watch the next one, though I haven’t heard great things.

I’m not a huge fan of the Robocop franchise, not because I don’t like it (clearly I do), but because I just haven’t seen the movies enough. I’ve probably seen the first one three times (once when I was around 16, then at a Manly Movie Night two or three years back and then once again more recently, I think). I definitely think it belongs in the pantheon of action movies from that time period and I really like that they went from the ultra dark tone of the first one and had a little fun with the sequel, though I can see why purists would think it’s a little too much. To them I say, relax, have a couple beers, get a pizza, call your friends over, watch it again and stop being so serious all the time. Have fun with it.

Quick Movie Review: Out Of Sight (1998)

I had seen Out Of Sight once in high school. We were all hanging out at my friend Charlie’s house and goofing off, so no one was really paying attention. I do remember the part where the big guy trips while walking of the stairs and shoots himself through the head. I laughed pretty hard and got a few funny looks, but what are you gonna do? I also remember making jokes about the soundtrack. It sounded like there was a 70s porno soundtrack band following the main characters just off screen. If I remember correctly, those jokes killed. Watching this movie again after about 10 years (sheesh) and having read a good number of Elmore Leonard books, I really enjoyed it. One thing I’ve noticed about the last two movies I’ve seen based on his movies (this one and Jackie Brown) is that they’re very long, maybe a little meandering and very interesting. I actually got really bored with Jackie Brown and turned it off, but Out Of Sight really nailed Leonard’s tone in my opinion. Plus, it stars George Clooney who’s one of my favorite actors and reminded me that Jennifer Lopez was actually a pretty good actor once upon a time. I guess I should mention the plot. Clooney breaks out of jail, kidnaps and falls for J Lo, lets her go and then goes to rob a house in Detroit. The idea is that the forced intimacy of being locked in a trunk together is what sped up their attraction to each other and lead them both to making questionable decisions when it comes to their professions (she’s a law enforcement agent of some sort and he’s a thief) which also lead to some pretty steamy scenes, though no nudity on either account. You also get the added bonus of performances by Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Ving Rhames, Albert Brooks and Michael Keaton who plays the same character as he does in Jackie Brown. I can see how some folks would think it’s slow (it IS 123 minutes long), but if you’ve got the attention span for a slow burn this Steven Soderbergh-directed flick might be right up your alley.