RoboCop Prime Directives: Meltdown
RoboCop Prime Directives: Meltdown 2001
It’s been a while since I watched the first episode of this four part miniseries that originally aired in Canada as the library only carried the first volume. But I’ve currently got a 1 month trial of Amazon Prime and all four episodes are on there so I thought it would be the perfect time to finish this series up. I didn’t remember a whole lot about the first episode but I remembered that I didn’t care for it enough to re-watch it so I just jumped right into this second episode. While the main storyline is nothing to write home about despite being much more violent than the earlier RoboCop sequels, the satirical news and commercial breaks mixed in really caught me in just the right way and made this a much more enjoyable movie because of them.
Aside from the news segments and the advertisements for TV movie of the week style trailers for movies about the actual events that are currently happening, there are plenty of other fun segments to give a comic relief break from the ultra serious plot of the film. Some of the best ones include an investigative journalism for a sleazy Giraldo Rivera style show on a channel called X-ploitationNet. It has a reporter sneaking into RoboCop’s maintenance lounge filled with Pop-Up Video style pop ups. They include a list of sleazy movies like “Naked for Scale III: Bikini Vengeance” and they tally up RoboCop’s property damage adjusted for inflation and also his kill count adjusted for inflation. There’s also a great commercial for a teddy bear with a television screen on its face called Otomo which actually connects to the main plot as there’s a young girl who happens to be carrying one of these bears. These segments really carried some of the best satire in the movie and helped break up the dull moments of the main plotline.
One of the most difficult things to get past which was also a problem with the first episode and will likely be a problem with the next two is that the actor playing RoboCop himself is so dull and lifeless. Page Fletcher really brings nothing to the role and isn’t given much to do except get electrocuted by a group of robokillers. Of course, later on one of the robokillers ends up being the mother of a random homeless girl that RoboCop finds in a back alley black market. They have stealth technology and other improvements like this odd cape that makes her run much faster. The worst moment involving this was near the end when she takes her daughter out of the firefight, grabs the cape and suddenly the effects turn into Benny Hill where they start running at double speed. Throughout the movie, RoboCop also isn’t much of a threat, he generally just takes beating after beating and barely manages to survive it. At one point there’s even a car chase between RoboCop and RoboCop 2.0 where they’re both in standard issue police cars. It’s just such an odd choice to have two cyborgs in a relatively mundane car chase.
The plot in general revolves around this RoboCop 2.0 even though they never actually call him that or anything else really. He’s Murphy’s old partner who died in the first episode brought back in an upgraded RoboCop suit that looks nearly the same only darker. But they also add the extra wrinkle that the new RoboCop goes on a killing spree and looks enough like the original that it turns the public against the OG. There are some interesting moments like there’s a confrontation between a group of police officers and RoboCop where he hints that he’s not the guy they’re looking for and attacking him would be a mistake. One of the officers refuses to shoot, but then the rest do. But that moment is very quickly squashed by having the new RoboCop show up in a very anticlimactic reveal that it actually wasn’t the original doing any of the bad stuff. There’s another great/bad moment where RoboCop has to look for an escape because the new guy has two RoboCop guns and he only has the one so he’s obviously outgunned. He looks for an escape and jumps out the window, but the stunt guy flails his arms wildly which makes the escape look very awkward and ungraceful.
The storyline with John Cable becoming this second RoboCop and having a very similar character arc as RoboCop in the first movie, except for the fact that Cable was initially openly working for the villains. Murphy’s RoboCop was able to get through the Cable’s human side so by the end of the movie he is able to overcome his programming and the two walk side by side into the next episode. Meanwhile, Murphy’s son is on the inside working with the OCP corp and is one of the more interesting parts of the movie. But once again there’s the disappointing reveal that most of the audience had figured out long before when Murphy’s son discovers the RoboCop file and finally realizes that RoboCop is actually his father. To be continued… Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.