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 And although the special effects are pretty outdated (check out the Apple-interface on cyborg Caine!)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.

The Emperor was a Chimp

As every Star Wars fan knows, creator George Lucas, has made quite a lot of changes to his beloved film series (“if it aint broke, Lucas can still fix it”). Some of these are absolutely hated like Hayden Christensen appearing at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’ or that god awful musical number also in Jedi, but a few changes were deemed justified by the fans.

Check out this list: 10 Star Wars Changes That Were Completely Justified

One of the altered scenes has helped to restore continuity to the original trilogy. I am speaking about the scene in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in which Darth Vader talks to a hologram of the Emperor. This is the first time the Emperor appears in the series, but in the original version, the character was not played by Ian McDiarmid who does portray him in ‘Return of the Jedi’ and the prequel trilogy.

The original version of the scene had the emperor played by a hooded old woman with superimposed chimpanzee eyes. That’s right, he was played by a chimp basically. Check out the original scene:

For the 2004 DVD release, the scene with Darth Vader and the emperor was altered with Ian McDiarmid now playing the emperor, as he does in the rest of the series. I kind of liked the voice done by Clive Revill in the original, but his looks were a little odd to say the least. Good to have the amazing McDiarmid in this scene; definitely a justified change.

There is also some new dialogue in the updated scene:

Darth Vader: What is thy bidding my master?
Emperor: There is a great disturbance in the force.
Darth Vader: I have felt it.
Emperor: We have a new enemy. The young rebel who destroyed the death star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
Darth Vader: How is that possible?
Emperor: Search your feelings Lord Vader, you will know it to be true. He could destroy us.
Darth Vader: He’s just a boy. Obi-wan can no longer help him.
Emperor: The force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.
Darth Vader: If he could be turned he would become a powerful ally.
Emperor: Yes. Yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?
Darth Vader: He will join us or die, my master.

Without ruining the surprise that Vader is Luke’s father, they still mention the relationship between Anakin and Luke. It would be strange if they didn’t.

In short, nice job mr. Lucas. A compliment is in order for this one.