Film: RoboCop 2

A sequel to RoboCop, released in 1990.

The plot involves the spread of a new drug called Nuke, considered the most addictive narcotic in history, as the police department is on strike. RoboCop struggles to stem the flow by going after Cain (Tom Noonan), a drug kingpin with a messiah complex.

Meanwhile, OCP has failed to replicate their success creating the first RoboCop. After several failed attempts, an unscrupulous executive in OCP hypothesizes that the mind of a criminal with a strong desire for power and immortality could survive the procedure. When RoboCop finally takes Cain down, OCP immediately sticks Cain's brain in "RoboCop 2" and counts on his addiction to Nuke as a Restraining Bolt (you get no points for guessing how long he stays loyal). Now RoboCop must face his Evil Counterpart — who is far more heavily armed than himself.

This film has examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Hob.
  • Amoral Attorney
  • And Show It to You: RoboCop does this to Cain. Instead of the heart, Robo uses the brain. Presumably, we're talking wi-fi here.
  • Antagonist Title: Technically given that the antagonist has the same name as the film.
  • Author Tract: The Drugs Are Bad plot wasn't original to Frank Miller, but the Political Correctness Gone Mad subplot definitely was, in line with his well-publicized socially-reactionary views. Originally, it would've been even worse, with Dr. Faxx being named Dr. Love, an evil pop psychologist, and behind everything bad that happens, complete with being the personality inside Robocop 2. As anyone who's read The Dark Knight Returns will tell you, Frank doesn't have a very high opinion of that particular type of celebrity.
  • BFG: Cobra Assault Cannon from the original film returns to be used by RoboCop against Cain.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: RoboCop politely knocks on the (armoured) drug kitchen door. When the guard comes to check the viewport, Robo's fist comes through to wallop him in the solar plexus.
  • Best Served Cold: At the end of the movie, seeing the smug OCP executives drive off, Lewis comments that they're going to get away scott free after all the death and destruction they've caused. RoboCop however is not perturbed.
    RoboCop: Patience, Lewis. We're only human.
  • Big Bad: Cain.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: After being reprogrammed by Faxx, one of RoboCop's new directives is to "avoid Orion meetings."
  • Bloodier and Gorier: And given the first movie, that's a real achievement!
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Robocop stops some kids from playing with an open fire hydrant. He attempts to dispatch some old adages of homespun wisdom, but botches several of the sayings. It's worth noting that he's been reprogrammed with so many conflicting directives that he can barely think straight.
  • Body Horror:
  • Bomb Whistle: Accompanies RoboCain and RoboCop when they fall from the OCP building.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Bizarrely averted in one scene, considering the film plays it terribly straight otherwise. When Hob first tries to use his fold-out machine gun on Lewis, she knocks him back and he squeezes the trigger. In less than two seconds, empty clip. Doubly bizarre because Hob manages at least ten seconds of sustained automatic fire with the same gun during the raid later.
  • Brain in a Jar: Cain, at least temporarily, while they're preparing his robot body. He still has his Eyes attached to his brain, allowing him to see his own face that's been cut off of his body, with the surgeon casually holding it like a coffee cup.
  • California Doubling: The first film had Dallas for Detroit. RoboCop 2 has Houston for Detroit.
  • Call Back: The gang taking RoboCop apart is reminiscent of Murphy's death in the original film.
  • Chemical Messiah: Mostly edited out of the final cut, but the villain Cain was a cult leader who thought the drug he used and was distributing, "Nuke", was the key to higher consciousness.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: RoboCop, after he's saddled with a couple hundred politically-correct directives.
  • Condemned Contestant: Cain's brain is put in RoboCop 2 against his will after he is taken in by RoboCop.
  • Continuity Nod: RoboCop brings one of the Cobra Rifles that Clarence Boddicker's gang used in the finale of the last movie to his confrontation with RoboCain, though it does not cause much damage.
  • Continuity Snarl: Reed's first name. After Faxx's tampered with his programming, Murphy addresses Reed as "Warren". However, in the first movie, when Bob Morton asks who Reed is, Johnson tells him he's "Sgt. John Reed".
  • Creator Cameo: The film writer Frank Miller plays one of Cain's chemists, named...Frank. Who is blown up.
  • Cutting the Knot: RoboCop is given a slew of new directives essentially intended to render him completely useless. When he overhears that a power surge could get rid of them, he walks over to an electrical box and zaps himself, wiping out all his directives.
  • David Versus Goliath: RoboCop vs RoboCain.
  • Determinator: After numerous disastrous attempts at attempting to build a second law enforcement cyborg, Dr. Faxx speculates that the reason why Alex Murphy has survived as RoboCop for so long without issues is that his profile — devout Irish Catholic and an intense devotion to duty — and personality keeps him from eating a bullet.
  • Dirty Cop: Officer Duffy is used by Cain as an inside source so that Cain and his gang can get inside information on police raids against their hideouts and prepare. After RoboCop beats Cain's location out of Duffy, Cain has Duffy killed by vivisection.
  • Disastrous Demonstration:
    • The two RoboCop 2 prototypes don't exactly pan out in the testing phase. One shoots several people then blows its own brains out. The second, which they wisely did not provide with a loaded weapon, immediately tore its helmet off, revealing a screaming skull before dropping dead.
    • RoboCain goes berserk at a press event after the Old Man unwisely waves a canister of Cain's favorite drug around in front of it. You'd think Faxx would have briefed him on that.
  • Double Meaning Title: The title is your standard Numbered Sequel fare and an Antagonist Title for Cain's eventual cyborg body.
  • Dramatic Unmask:
    • The second attempted RoboCop 2 prototype removes his face-plate and helmet... and reveals to be nothing more than a bloody, screaming skull attached to lots of wires, which immediately collapses to the ground.
    • RoboCain's screen-for-a-face also pulls this on his former girlfriend Angie before breaking her neck.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • One of OCP's commercials has a man lamenting his choice of a cheaper but inferior phone service, which cost his company a lucrative business deal. He then shoots himself in the head. Buy OCP, folks!
    • Both RoboCop 2 prototypes kill themselves when faced with their new cybernetic existence.
  • Enfant Terrible:
    • Hob, the youngest member of Cain's cult, makes them look innocent in comparison. He's not above killing cops, even trying to garrote Lewis while RoboCop is beating up Officer Duffy, and uses his age to avoid getting gunned down by RoboCop. Later in the film, he almost manages to buy Detroit by making a deal with the mayor. Then RoboCain shows up and massacres the meeting...
    • There's also a junior baseball team that is robbing an electronics store. Lewis is momentarily nonplussed when she realizes the criminals are a bunch of twelve year olds
  • Epic Fail: The attempted RoboCop 2 prototypes were driven to self-destruction. The first one pulls his gun and shoots two of the guys overseeing the test (Dr. Schenk is shot in the arm and is wearing a sling when the tape plays, wincing uncomfortably at that scene), before turning the gun on himself. The second prototype pulls off his faceplate and helmet, revealing a screaming skull that promptly topples over with a loud crash. It's likely that one would have tried to shoot someone, too, but the scientists were actually smart enough not give the second prototype live ammunition.
  • The Evil Genius: Hob seems to be one of the more intelligent members of Cain's gang.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The dirty doctor who vivisects Officer Duffy to death for squealing is wise enough to suggest to Cain that the very young Hob should leave the room because it would be too intense for him. Angie and Hob are also horrified when he starts cutting; Cain had told Angie the whole thing was a stunt to scare Duffy and the doctor wasn't going to actually hurt him. Hob tries to look away silently, only for Cain to force him to watch.
  • Executive Meddling: There's some in-universe meddling with Murphy's brain. OCP saddles him with many dozens of politically correct software directives. These directives may work fine for creating corporate executives or cubicle mice, but for "rules of engagement for the one-cyborg high threat response unit in the most corrupt and brutal city in Michigan", they were maddening. The politically correct directives were a Take That against Moral Guardians.
  • Eye Scream: Two prostitutes beat and rob a guy who just had robbed an old lady, and he gets a heel in his eye. There is also one guard during the raid on Cain's hideout that gets a Moe Greene Special courtesy of RoboCop.
  • Face Palm: The Old Man's response to the failed RoboCop prototypes.
  • Failure Montage: The result of OCP's first attempt to make a new RoboCop.
  • False Reassurance: Cain assures Angie and Hob that he's only going to scare Officer Duffy with torture. When the Torture Technician starts vivisecting poor Duffy with scalpels, he replies to their shock that Duffy is scared. You can see that Angie and Hob are both very sickened.
  • Fanservice Extra: Used deliberately in a cut sequence, to show how Robo has come to terms with the fact that his is just a machine. While walking through the OCP police station, Robo comes across the co-ed locker room, where an unnamed female officer is showering naked. Robo stops and stares for a few moments, then continues on his way.
  • Fantastic Drug: Nuke, which users have cult-like devotion to it.
  • Flatline: Done when Dr. Faxx shuts off Cain's life support system so his brain can be harvested.
  • Flaw Exploitation:
    • Hob uses Angie's addiction to Nuke to keep her in line after Cain's absence.
    • Dr. Faxx uses Cain's addiction to Nuke to control him once he's revived... but Cain soon realizes that he can just overpower anyone in his way. RoboCop better utilizes Cain's addictions in the final battle — despite having superior firepower and a nearly indestructible cyborg body, RoboCain's withdrawal-addled mind allows RoboCop to fight on nearly even terms through better strategy.
  • Freudian Threat: Of sorts, and a particularly nasty one. Near the beginning of the movie the OCP exec bullies Murphy into renouncing his attempt to reconnect with his family by pointing out that he no longer has a penis, and would be unable to satisfy his wife.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • During the first RoboCop 2 demonstration, when it shoots one of the scientists, Johnson sinks to the floor and crawls away.
    • The contortionist violinist that plays for the telethon accidentally breaks his violin when he tries to stand up. He can be seen walking off in the background, staring at the pieces.
  • Gatling Good: RoboCain's main weapon is a pair of these, which are very destructive against whoever is present.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The initial RoboCop 2 prototypes went horribly wrong as they couldn't handle their existence as cyborgs, and were Driven to Suicide. Turning Cain into RoboCop 2 goes horribly right instead.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Several times in the movie, we simply got strong hints as to how awful the violence being done was, such as a doctor showing us Cain's agonized face after the skull holding it was sliced away. Used to great effect when RoboCop is dismantled to pieces by Cain's crew - we don't see what it looks like until they're done, but we see the process involves jackhammers, sledgehammers, and their own casual view of the process all from RoboCop's perspective. It is a dark inversion of his "rebirth" in the first movie, and references the visuals of that scene.
  • Grave Robbing: Before he meets Cain for the first time, RoboCop runs into the stolen corpse of Elvis Presley.
  • Groin Attack: Two prostitutes attack a man on the streets, and one of them kicks him in the nuts while he is on the ground.
  • Heart Drive: Cain's brain after he is turned into RoboCop 2.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: When RoboCop gets knocked off Cain's armored car, three motorcylists are coming up on him as he's lying prone. Two of them ride over him. The third slows down and goes around, and that guy gets knocked off and has his cycle taken so Robo can pursue Cain. It's worth noting that the first two were lighter sport bike models while the third was a heavier cruiser. Robo might have rightly assumed the third was the only one capable of bearing his weight.
  • Heroic BSOD: When Robo encounters the kid villain Hob, he has a full BSOD with flashbacks to his son.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dr. Faxx used a deadly criminal as a test subject for RoboCain (he ended up acting like the criminal he used to be); then she tried to keep him in check with Nuke (may have worked if he was fully human and his body, not just his mind, actually craved it); then tried to use feminine wiles to avoid responsibility (she was the most likely OCP scapegoat anyway, as she authorized the use of Cain's brain).
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Faxx is a villainous example.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: After Hob has been fatally shot by the Cain cyborg, he tells RoboCop that he's cold.
  • Improbable Age: Hob is the only child member of Cain's gang, but has much control of it as he does. This might be because he's one of the few people in the gang that isn't using Nuke.
  • Inappropriate Hunger: The doctor that removes Cain's brain remarks that he's hungry immediately afterward.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted with Hob, the youngest member of Cain's cult, who gets gunned down behind a truck door while trying to hide from RoboCain.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Almost all kids shown on screen are little monsters who enjoy violence and law-breaking. Yet RoboCop's conscience won't allow him to target a child. Hob, in particular, is an outright villain and a pretty evil one at that.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The Surgeon General's death in the beginning of the movie: gunned down in the middle of a speech about the spread of Nuke, ironically by a militant Nuke addict working for Cain.
  • Leave No Witnesses: As OCP are trying to bankrupt the city, they discover that the Mayor is going to cut a deal with a drug lord to get the necessary funding. They send RoboCop 2 to kill the Mayor, specifically stating that there must be no witnesses. Ironically the Mayor is the only one to escape the subsequent massacre, but can't afford to admit what he was up to anyway.
  • Moe Greene Special: The first person shot by RoboCop when the cops raid Cain's lab is a sniper who gets a round to his right eye.
  • Motorcycle Jousting: RoboCop has a joust with Cain: RoboCop on a motorcycle, Cain in an armored car. Robo leaps from his ride right as Cain hits him, tackling Cain through the windshield.
  • Name of Cain: Cain, the villain in the second film, is a drug lord, torturer and murderer.
  • Neck Lift: When Cain (in his RoboCop 2 body) meets Angie in the warehouse, he grabs her head and performs a Neck Snap, then lifts her off the ground and holds her in the air while snapping her neck a few more times for good measure.
  • Never My Fault: At the end of the film, after RoboCop's intended successor has killed and injured people, Johnson from OCP suggests blaming Dr. Faxx. It's a twisted example in that it actually was her fault, but OCP brought her in and her superiors turned a blind eye to what she was doing while her subordinates were too afraid to challenge her. In fact, Johnson is the only one who really isn't at fault, having opposed Faxx at every turn. It was more the CEO of OCP, known only as the Old Man, who needed the blame to be shifted, and then for legal reasons.
  • Not Himself: When Robo starts showing off his new Politically Correct programming:
    Lewis: Hit the gas, Murphy
    Robo: The posted limit is 35. We should set an example, Anne. Your hair looks lovely that way
    Lewis: (frowns) It's OCP, they did something to you
    Robo: I'm fine. Isn't the moon wonderful tonight?
    Lewis: It's still daytime.
    Robo: It's the thought that counts.
    Lewis: (rolls her eyes) Oh, Jesus, we're heading back to the station, that's all there is to it.
  • Oh Crap!:
  • Only Sane Man: OCP Executive Don Johnson. He's the only one who realizes that loading RoboCop down with a senselessly complex command program will cripple him and he's one of two men involved in the RoboCop 2 project who does see the problem with giving the sort of sociopaths who end up on Death Row an indestructible robot body.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Dr. Faxx. Belinda Bauer manages to sound broadly American only a handful of times. The rest she swings between vaguely English, Irish, even German and French on a few occasions. What nationality is the actress? Australian.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: How Lewis and RoboCop's primary technician promptly realize something is very wrong after RoboCop is rebuilt; RoboCop says he's "touched", remarks on it being "a beautiful day" and he calls the captain by his first name; all things Murphy would never do.
  • Out of the Inferno: RoboCop stepping out from his destroyed car in the opening.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: RoboCop is revamped to be a more politically-correct role model by having over two hundred directives installed in his brain to teach "pro-social" messages (as defined by a committee). It drives him effectively insane and unable to do any real policework. At least the trope is used subtly...
    • The multitudinous additional directives they added include, noticeable by freeze-framing them:
      • DIRECTIVE 233: Restrain hostile feelings.
      • DIRECTIVE 234: Promote positive attitude.
      • DIRECTIVE 235: Suppress aggressiveness.
      • DIRECTIVE 236: Promote pro-social values.
      • DIRECTIVE 238: Avoid destructive behavior.
      • DIRECTIVE 239: Be accessible.
      • DIRECTIVE 240: Participate in group activities.
      • DIRECTIVE 241: Avoid interpersonal conflicts.
      • DIRECTIVE 242: Avoid premature value judgments.
      • DIRECTIVE 243: Pool opinions before expressing yourself.
      • DIRECTIVE 244: Discourage feelings of negativity and hostility.
      • DIRECTIVE 245: If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't talk.
      • DIRECTIVE 246: Don't rush traffic lights.
      • DIRECTIVE 247: Don't run through puddles and splash pedestrians or other cars.
      • DIRECTIVE 248: Don't say that you are always prompt when you are not.
      • DIRECTIVE 249: Don't be oversensitive to the hostility and negativity of others.
      • DIRECTIVE 250: Don't walk across a ballroom floor swinging your arms.
      • DIRECTIVE 254: Encourage awareness.
      • DIRECTIVE 256: Discourage harsh language.
      • DIRECTIVE 258: Commend sincere efforts.
      • DIRECTIVE 261: Talk things out.
      • DIRECTIVE 262: Avoid Orion meetings.
      • DIRECTIVE 266: Smile.
      • DIRECTIVE 267: Keep an open mind.
      • DIRECTIVE 268: Encourage participation.
      • DIRECTIVE 273: Avoid stereotyping.
      • DIRECTIVE 278: Seek non-violent solutions.
  • Pre-Asskicking One Liner: "Cain, let's step outside!"
  • Product Placement: The arcade is filled with nothing but Data East cabinets. The company had already made a RoboCop arcade game and were already working on a RoboCop 2 game at the time.
  • Produce Pelting: Arcade customers pelt RoboCop with popcorn and boo him when he wonders aloud "Isn't this a schoolnight?"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Used when RoboCop is questioning Duffy.
    Where — is — Cain?
  • Putting on the Reich: The OCP banners are red with a white circle, black company logo inside it. The company's private army wear totalitarian longcoats and caps.
  • Reading Your Rights: RoboCop reads the Miranda warning to a dead body, and is astonished when Lewis points it out. He was reading him his last rights.
  • Reality Ensues: RoboCop does a flying tackle into Cain during their Motorcycle Jousting, causing the armored car to flip on its side. Next we see of him, Cain is so badly injured that they assume he'll die on the table. It's rather unlikely it was the flip that did all that damage.
  • Restraining Bolt: Cain's addiction to Nuke.
  • Robo Cam: Mecha-Cain appears to run on an early version of MacOS, complete with skull logo in the upper left.
  • Save the Day, Turn Away: The movie begins with OCP's legal team forcing RoboCop to turn away from Murphy's wife and kid. RoboCop doesn't want to give up on trying to connect with them, but his family are freaked out by his visits to their home - and are threatening to sue OCP - so RoboCop lies to his wife and convinces them that he isn't really her husband reborn as a warrior of living steel, but a robot built in honor of Murphy's memory.
  • The Scapegoat: After the battle royale at the end of the movie, the Old Man is well-aware that OCP is going to be on the hook for all the carnage. To save the company, Johnson suggests scapegoating Faxx and making it appear they had been kept completely out of the loop on the project. When you consider that Faxx was responsible for choosing Cain's brain, and had been the one to insist on picking criminal brains to use in general, and that nobody in OCP agreed to it until she seduced the Old Man to give her the go-ahead, it actually doesn't seem like scapegoating at all.
  • Scaramanga Special: Hob's lunchbox submachine gun. It's real.
  • Scope Snipe: RoboCop gives a sniper a Moe Greene Special through his scope.
  • Selective Slaughter: RoboCop is prohibited from shooting children. Hob takes advantage of this restriction to shoot him.
  • Sequel Escalation: After a street gang and ED-209, RoboCop now must take on a cultish drug gang and later their leader in a cyborg body that is a cross between ED-209 and RoboCop himself.
  • Sequel Reset: Despite the first film's ending, RoboCop talks like a robot and is still conflicted about his status as a being.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: During a raid on a drug lab, a criminal takes a baby hostage. RoboCop uses a ricochet shot off a metal door to shoot the hostage taker in the head.
  • Shoulder Cannon: Part of RoboCain's arsenal is a shoulder-mounted assault cannon and at least one wrist-mounted Gatling gun.
  • Shout-Out: Cain is overseeing the development of new versions of Nuke, one of which is named Blue Velvet, likely after the song. But just maybe because the chemist working on it is named Frank.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Johnson goes to complain to the Old Man about Faxx selecting criminals for the RoboCop program, only to see Faxx walk into the Old Man's room in a revealing outfit.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Little Hob is mortally wounded by Cain's attack. RoboCop finds him and says he's going to call for medical help, but:
    Hob: Don't leave me.
    RoboCop: I won't leave you. [takes Hob's hand]
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: In the first movie, the Old Man, the CEO of Omni Consumer Products, is merely the head of an amoral company who really doesn't do anything outright villainous. Indeed, he's something of a genuine idealist, as he chides Dick Jones for his callous disregard for the office worker ED-209 killed and his motivation for erecting "Delta City" genuinely seems to be out of a desire to give people jobs and security in the Crapsack World around them. Now, he's a flat-out Corrupt Corporate Executive, playing every trope in that particular book, who is somehow stupid enough to not figure out that there's no way putting a psychopath's brain in a super-cyborg body is going to end well.
  • Super Window Jump: RoboCop plays chicken with Cain by putting his hijacked motorcycle against his van, and uses the ensuing crash to jump through its windshield.
  • Tank Goodness: Lewis rams RoboCain with an APC during the climax.
  • Telethon: Mayor Marvin Kuzack organizes a telethon to raise money to save Detroit from bankruptcy. However, we can see that he still has a long ways to go.
  • That Man Is Dead: In a more complex way, RoboCop tells Murphy's wife that Murphy is dead and they gave RoboCop Murphy's face as a way of honoring the fallen officer. Sadly, we know he's still in there somewhere because he lies to his wife in order to let her go. He may not be dead, but he is no longer her husband.
    Ellen Murphy: [sees RoboCop without his helmet] Alex, is it really you?
    RoboCop: [gets up and walks to her, mesh metal fence separating them]
    Ellen Murphy: [crying] Don't you remember me? Whatever they've done to you... whatever has happened, we can work it out... start again...
    RoboCop: [leans forward] Touch me.
    Ellen Murphy: [she touches his lip, downhearted] It's cold.
    RoboCop: They made this to honor him.
    Ellen Murphy: [crying] No...
    RoboCop: Your husband is dead. I don't know you.
  • Theme Music Abandonment: Basil Poledouris' theme is absent from this film.
  • Title Drop: One of the rare cases this trope has been done by a sequel with a number in the title.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Faxx, a psychologist, comes up with the idea of taking death row inmates and giving them a cyborg body, outright saying that criminals would make good candidates because the power and immortality would appeal to them and thusly they wouldn't go crazy like the cops who had been prior test models. At least Dr. Schenk called her out on that one, and Johnson is quick to shoot her down when she approaches him about it. Alas she managed to convince the Old Man to go along with her idea.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: There some on the streets of Detroit as RoboCop approaches Cain's first drug factory.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Old Man. He was one of the few in OCP who was sane and pragmatic in the original. He wanted results, but had reservations and didn't want to use poorly tested and dangerous equipment. Here he's almost as bad as Dick Johnson. Only Faxx is worse than him.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Hob, the villain's main henchman, who is a boy of about 12 and very competent in criminal business.
  • TV Head Robot: RoboCain.
  • Villain Ball: Cain and his crew overpower RoboCop, dismember him, but then, instead of finishing him off and throwing him into an incinerator, dump the parts at the police station to rub it in the police's face, that they've beat the best of them. Apparently it didn't occur to them that RoboCop could be rebuilt, or they felt over-confident.
    • Also, they could have figured the damage had already "killed" him. It's noted when the cops have RoboCop on his life-support systems that it's very lucky his organic components are still alive, and that he could die any time now if they don't get him into the resuscitative machinery at OCP.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: RoboCop vs. RoboCain.