4k Movie, Streaming, Blu-Ray Disc, and Home Theater Product Reviews & News | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $32.99 Last Price: $39.98 Buy now! 3rd Party 32.8 In Stock
Release Date: June 18th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1990

RoboCop 2 - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Collector's Edition

Overview -

4K UHD Review by M. Enois Duarte
In RoboCop 2, Irvin Kershner is once again given the keys to drive someone else's project into franchise territory, and as he did with George Lucas's space opera, he repeats what worked well in the original but also deviates into areas that really didn't need exploring. Returning to the crime-infested streets of a bankrupt Detroit, the 4K Ultra HD edition comes equipped with a marvelous Dolby Vision HDR presentation, three highly enjoyable lossless tracks but the same excellent set of bonus features. Overall, the UHD package is Highly Recommended
 

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Two-Disc UHD Collector's Edition Combo Pack, UHD-100 Triple-Layer Disc, BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc, Region Free (UHD only)
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
117
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Special Features:
Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Still Galleries, Trailers, Blu-ray Copy
Release Date:
June 18th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Ten years after taking over the reins from George Lucas to direct The Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner is once again given the keys to drive someone else's project into franchise territory in RoboCop 2. And seeing as how these are not the only two times Kershner has done this, I think the filmmaker deserves the posthumous-honorary title of "The Prince of the Sequels." As he did in Lucas's space opera, the director demonstrates he knows what worked well in the original and essentially repeats it. 

He never strays far from the intentions of his predecessor, but he expands on it with a few creative touches of his own to create a larger world surrounding the main character. This dystopic view of a bankrupt Detroit not only remains inundated with advertisements and TV media as the only source of information, but the content has become more disturbing. Theft deterrent systems have evolved into electric chairs, Earth's climate crisis has forced citizens to apply green goo to protect from the sun's rays, and newscasters talk apathetically about global disasters.

While the city is on the brink of being bought by the OCP corporation, the same company that played an unwitting villain due to shady dealings with criminals, RoboCop (Peter Weller) finds himself alone fighting lawbreakers and ruthless killers. The now privately owned police department is on strike, so it's up to our mechanical hero to clean the streets of thieving streetwalkers and a gang stealing all the inventory from a gun shop, including a rocket launcher. The real maniac plaguing the streets though is a new synthetic drug called "Nuke," which is controlled by local terrorist Cain (Tom Noonan). 

Much of this remains true to the spirit of Paul Verhoeven's original sci-fi classic, as Cain's efforts to rule the city runs counter to OCP's vision for an autonomous, utopic corporate city-state. RoboCop is caught in the middle of this, of protecting the city for the sake of justice and because it's the right thing to do versus following programmed directives and being a conglomerate's product lackey. At the same time, he's also confronted with poverty-ridden, apathetic citizens who've lost faith in the system and interestingly normalized his existence.

However, unlike what he did for Empire, which many argue is superior to the original if not equally as good, Kershner also deviates into areas that really didn't need exploring or brought up but never resolved. Arguably, the worst offense committed by the filmmakers is reintroducing — or rather, forcefully refreshing our memories — Murphy's former life as husband and father. In full stalker mode, RoboCop creepily drives through the neighborhood where his son and ex-wife now reside, leading to a confrontation and threats of legal action that ultimately lead nowhere other than being a cheap attempt at triggering sympathies.

Later, we're introduced to one of Cain's most callous killers, the preadolescent Hob (Gabriel Damon). And for my money — except, I wouldn't pay even a dollar on this wager — this is the most criminal aspect of a script written by Walon Green and Frank Miller (yes, that Frank Miller) mainly because it's a stupidly shoddy attempt at revealing our hero's humanity. Funnier still, his seizing control of a gang with diverse members shows white privilege will remain an issue in the near future. HAHA! It's funny because it's more than likely accurate.

Miraculously, RoboCop 2 remains as silly and entertaining as ever, in spite of the production's many, many drawbacks, which has more to do with one's tolerance for bad movies than anything else. OCP's newest character, the crooked psychologist Faxx (Belinda Bauer), makes possible for a new robot cop in Cain, which leads to an unintentionally hilarious action-packed finale that looks like a Ray Harryhausen nightmare. Meanwhile, the only other female character — Nancy Allen reprising her role as the loyal buddy cop, Anne Lewis — is relegated to useless sidekick and eventually babysitter when RoboCop is turned into a Robo-dud and publicity mouthpiece. In fact, that entire sequence is a ploy for cheap comedy that'll leave viewers shaking their heads in embarrassment for the filmmakers.

The whole production is a strange beast in itself, one obviously aiming for the same level of intelligence and insight as its predecessor, but completely oblivious of how Verhoeven accomplished it. And yet, its lack of subtlety and complexity is what makes the sequel entertaining. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Courtesy of Shout! Factory, Irvin Kershner's RoboCop 2 arrives on 4K Ultra HD as a "Collector's Edition." The Region Free, UHD100 disc is housed inside the usual black, eco-elite case with a cardboard slipcover and an accompanying Region A locked, BD50 copy on the opposing panel. At startup, the disc goes straight to an animated menu with full-motion clips and options along the bottom while music plays in the background.

Video Review

Ranking:

Our robotic hero returns to the crime-infested streets of a bankrupt Detroit equipped with marvelous and often phenomenal HEVC H.265 encode that was reportedly struck from a fresh remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives. Much of the native 4K transfer arrives with razor-sharp details of the city streets and buildings, exposing the small architectural features of each, while the graffiti and lettering of advertisements are always legible. The uniquely ornate design of RoboCop's armored suit is very well-defined and striking, revealing the tiny wires and minor imperfections of its construction. A few negligible blurry instances related to the photographic style and VFX sequences persist as the only issues keeping the overall quality from a higher score but are also easily forgivable. 

The Dolby Vision HDR presentation also comes with incredibly rich, stygian blacks throughout and outstanding shadow details maintain excellent visibility in the darkest portions, such as the aforementioned armored suit. A spot-on contrast balance displays immaculately clean and vivid whites while specular highlights supply a radiant sparkle and crisp, tight glow along various metallic surfaces, giving RoboCop a more dazzling, shimmering gloss. The overall color palette is much improved, showering the action in vibrant, richly-saturated primaries, particularly reds and blues, and secondary hues are subtly more varied and dynamic, such as the purplish sheen along the edged of the metallic blue suit and the intensely fiery oranges of explosions. Skin tones also appear more natural and accurate with a lifelike, peachy-red complexion in the entire cast. 

Awash in a thin layer of natural grain, the 1.85:1 image is simply stunning and film-like with a beautiful cinematic appeal that fans will love. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 94/100 or 4.5/5)

Audio Review

Ranking:

The cyborg cop faces the audio criminals with the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 configuration as the previous Blu-ray, but he is now joined by a new DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track provided by MGM and a 2.0 uncompressed PCM alternative ported over the LaserDisc. All three make for great listening options although the new MGM track is arguably the better and preferred version of the stereo choices, sounding fuller and warmer overall with impressive definition and a distinct mid-range that extends in the upper frequencies cleanly and without any notable issues. In fact, the soundstage feels wide as a variety of background activity moves smoothly between the fronts and across the off-screen space, and the musical score displays a great deal of warmth and fidelity. 

In the end, I surprisingly found myself enjoying and ultimately preferring the 5.1 lossless mix. Small bits of commotion convincingly layer the soundstage for an engaging and broad imaging, exhibiting an impressive, detailed mid-range that maintains excellent clarity during the loudest action sequences. Other ambient effects also fluidly and effortlessly pan into the surrounds to generate a satisfying and immersive soundfield, and a healthy, strong low-end provides appreciable weight and presence to the visuals. All the while, vocals are precise and intelligible from start to finish. 

With three lossless audio options being excellent choices in their own right, the action sequel charges home theaters with highly-enjoyable and surprisingly impressive soundtracks. (Audio Rating: 88/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

The same excellent set of bonus features from the previous Shout! Factory release are ported over for this UHD edition, but only the audio commentaries are on the 4K disc while the rest are housed in the accompanying Blu-ray disc. 

  • Audio Commentaries with the first featuring author and CG supervisor Paul M. Sammon while the second is with the filmmakers of the documentary Robodoc: The Creation of RoboCop
  • OCP Declassified (HD, 46 min)
  • Corporate Wars (HD, 32 min)
  • Machine Parts (HD, 32 min)
  • Robo-Fabricator (HD, 9 min)
  • Adapting Frank Miller's RoboCop 2 (HD, 6 min)
  • Still Gallery (HD)
  • Trailers (HD)

Irvin Kershner is once again given the keys to drive someone else's project into franchise territory in RoboCop 2, and as he did with George Lucas's space opera, he essentially repeats what worked well in the original. However, unlike what he did for Empire, he also deviates into areas that really didn't need exploring or brings up certain aspects but never resolves them. The 4K Ultra HD returns to the crime-infested streets of a bankrupt Detroit equipped with a marvelous Dolby Vision HDR presentation that easily blows away the previous Blu-ray and three satisfying, highly enjoyable lossless audio options. With the same excellent set of informative bonus features, the overall UHD package is a Highly Recommended addition to the cult 4K library. 

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review