Robocop: Meltdown (sometimes referred to as Robocop 2: Meltdown
for some reason, not be confused with the 1990 big screen
Robocop 2 sequel) is a direct
sequel to the Robocop: Dark Justice DVD.
synopsis according to the official publicity material: "Robocop
Alex J. Murphy has turned Robokiller! The corporate giant Omni Consumer
Products has declared Robocop a vigilante and designed the ultimate weapon
to destroy him. With his systems rapidly falling Robo flees to the ruins
of Old Detroit with OCP's Cyborg Extermination Unit close in his tail."
Even though having a full-length 94 minutes running time, Meltdown
shouldn’t be watched in isolation: you need to have seen Dark Justice
first. In fact, it is the second chunk out of a six-hour mini-series
produced by a Canadian outfit in 2000 titled Prime Directives. (It
shouldn’t be confused with the bad, juvenile TV series that ran for two
ignores the events of Robocop 2 and 3 and
instead plays off ten years after the events of the first
Robocop. Make no mistake, while it is darker
and grittier than the pathetic Robocop 3
and the TV series, some
fans of the original with too high expectations will be disappointed by
Prime Directives is hobnailed by its low low budget. With some more
money for better special effects and sets, it could have been quite good.
Having said that, why did I bother with Part II then?
Because, well, it is difficult to dislike the show’s attitude. It tries
hard to recapture the feeling of the original, and some excellent moments
And damn it! I wanted to know what happens next!
recap: in the previous instalment (Dark Justice, which had an
unexpected ending), Robocop has become a pawn in a struggle for the
control of the huge OCP corporation. His son (a board member) is involved
and so was a super-powered villain named Bone Machine.
Bone Machine character
was craptacularly bad and simply ruined the scenes he was in (and almost
the movie with it). However, with him out of the way, things look better
for Meltdown. Some plot strands are further developed and some
unexpected events occur. What else
can I say without giving too much away?
The same complaints apply: more money, please! What could have been an
epic battle between super-powered opponents could have resulted in mass
destruction, like in Superman II, is simply
underwhelming here. Some of the technology employed looks simply cheap.
And so forth.
However, some of the sharp satiric barbs found in the original film makes
its way here in very funny “television excerpts” (like in
Starship Troopers, which was incidentally
also directed by Robocop 1 director Paul Verhoeven).
The ending is rather abrupt and we are informed that “Robocop will return
in Resurrection.” Will I want to check that out? Oh sure, I really want to
know what happens next . . .
DISC: Like Dark Justice there isn’t much in the line of extras
- except for scene access and a menu, there isn’t any! Meltdown is
presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio, which gives it more of
a cinematic feel than usual TV. No complaints regarding sound and image,
which are clear and bright.
WORTH IT? Still a pity that the whole six-hour Prime Directives
mini-series isn’t issued in its entirety as a set, especially for us
impatient types who wants to see what happens next.
RECOMMENDATION: I actually enjoyed Meltdown better than the
first DVD, especially
the very funny TV bits.
Rent Robocop: Meltdown if you’ve seen and liked the first
instalment. To see what happens next.
NOTE: Robocop: Meltdown
is followed by two more movies, namely Robocop: Resurrection and
Robocop: Crash & Burn. All these DVDs have been available in Europe
since early 2002 on Region 2 discs.
This review refers to the Region 1
(United States and Canada) version, which is released on 8 July 2003. One
can only assume that the other two movies will in time be released in
Region 1 format.