Dungeon Classics #25: RoboCop 2

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

RoboCop 2 (1990, USA)

Director: Irvin Kershner
Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan
Running Time: 117 mins.

Irvin Kershner is a director who is good in dark sequels that feature tormented cyborgs, he proved with The Empire Strikes Back (1980). RoboCop 2 doesn’t quite approach that extremely high level, but it also didn’t deserve the harsh criticism it received. Peter Weller is excellent once again as the human-machine cop who’s dealing with remnants of his former life. The events take place shortly after the first film and crime in Detroit has gotten even worse. RoboCop has to single handedly end a drug epidemic as the cops go on strike for being squeezed out by evil corporation OCP. The script of this movie was written by Frank Miller (Sin City), so that adds to the darkness. It is too sadistic at times, but seeing RoboCop in action with his tough-as-nails human partner Lewis (Nancy Allen) is as thrilling as it was three years earlier. And although the special effects are pretty outdated (check out the Apple-interface on cyborg Caine!) the movie, with all its apocalyptic Detroit factory settings, still looks good.

Dungeon Classics #24: RoboCop

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

RoboCop (1987, USA)

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox
Running Time: 102 mins.

Paul Verhoeven’s hyper violent RoboCop is a near perfect classic. In the crime ridden futuristic Detroit, police officer Alex Murphy is brutally executed by a gang of maniacal criminals (a tough scene to watch still). He is then resurrected by the corporation that owns the police (OCP) and turned into the cyborg law enforcer RoboCop. At first, he functions mostly as a hyper effective machine, but then his memory starts coming back to him with a venguence and he goes after the criminals that murdered him as well as the corrupt boss of OCP that is in league with them. Besides pure entertainment and lots of humor, Verhoeven’s Hollywood debut offers a dark, cynical view on the future and smart social commentary on consumerism (‘how about the 6000 SUX!!’), capitalism and the human as flesh machine. Ultimately, the movie is about identity as RoboCop remembers he is not just a product but “Murphy”.

Dungeon Classics #23: Payback

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Payback (1999, USA)

Director: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello
Running Time: 100 mins.

In this highly entertaining remake of John Boorman’s Point Blank, Mel Gibson’s Porter (Lee Marvin’s Walker in Point Blank) takes on a powerful crime syndicate to get back the 70.000 dollars one of its members (Gregg Henry) stole from him. The cast of this little film is delicious, especially Gibson as the smart and ferocious robber (“what’s his first name?’ I don’t know, I’ve only ever known him as Porter”). Payback is like an ultra violent comic book noir movie with a wisecracking criminal in the lead who tears up the whole city for a lousy 70.000 bucks. It is the principle I guess. Why is Payback a Dungeon Classic? Because it is one of these special kinds of movies in which literally nothing sucks. Everything is kind of great about it, and that is why it deserves this special status. Get ready to root for the bad guy, is the tagline. And that is exactly right: you will be with Porter all the way. In Australia, where Mel Gibson was raised, they had to change the tagline by the way: to root is ‘to fuck’ in Ozzy slang.

Dungeon Classics #22: The Last Boy Scout

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

The Last Boy Scout (1991, USA)

Director: Tony Scott
Cast: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field, Noble Willingham
Running Time: 105 mins.

The Last Boy Scout, which was written by Shane Black who also wrote Lethal Weapon, is an action packed buddy flick. A drunken and cynical L.A. snoop Joe Hallenbeck (Willis) teams up with the charming Jimmy Dix (Wayans), an ex pro football player, to investigate the murder of Dix’ girlfriend (played by Hale Berry). They stumble upon a major conspiracy by a bunch of mean gangsters who are corrupting sports betting in football. It’s a testosterone-fueled spectacle for men who were at the top of their game at that time (Willis, Scott, Black and producer Joel Silver). Apparently they hated working together and also changed the script, which according to Black was much better first (read it here). It still has the trademark coarse dialogue, humor and violence though. Willis and Wayans have a great chemistry (although they hated the collaboration they have said) and the movie has some awesome supporting parts; especially Joe’s foul mouthed daughter Darian Hallenbeck (Danielle Harris) is very memorable. The best reason to watch this is Willis’ delivery of terrific lines such as; ‘so you tripped, slipped on the floor and accidently stuck your dick in my wife?’ There is just no denying it; the guy has considerable talent as a leading man action star. And this is the perfect showcase for this talent. They don’t make ‘m like this anymore.