Robocop - Prime Directives - Meltdown (2001) Review
(More customer reviews)In contrast to many other reviewers, I happen to think R2 has an astonishingly inventive script brimming with daring, dark satire. The satire is so dark however, that it challenges a viewer not to be merely "entertained", but enter into a dialogue with the film. I contend that R2 is in the tradition of such apocpalyptic satirical art as CLOCKWORK ORANGE and NAKED LUNCH which serve to warn humankind just where in hell its crazed heart may lead.
Unlike most mainstream Hollywood films, R2 is deeply critical of humanity and its resulting civilization -- starting with the harsh market-driven economy of winners and losers (it is no coincidence that both the drug trade and OCP bow to the same economic models). By depicting a world of such dire human/social affliction coupled with all the high-tech tools required to increase its profit (and anguish), R2 challenges the viewer to separate from this "humanity". Like the best satire, R2 exists to crack our rose-colored glasses, bloody our noses, and tell us what's wrong, so there is precious little "good" to root for in either old or new Detroit. What's at stake in R2 is simply keeping the flood of evil from drowning everything all at once.
The film's sharp satirical touches include: expanding the Reagan-era "privatizing" mania to that of OCP "owning" Detroit as a merciless send-up of free market philosophy; the 12-year old drug kingpin just a few tweaks from today's gun-toting teenaged gangbangers as a potent symbol for a suicidal civilization's nihilistic future; the telethon to "save" Detroit as a chilling parody of the fiscal/civil tensions between Democracy and Capitalism (in which, tellingly, the 12-year old drug dealer purchases Detroit's "freedom"); the designer drug, Nuke, as the corrupted escape-valve for society's traumatized, post-Ritalin citizens (and just wait until human genome research trickles down to the greed of the street); the domestication of Robocop into a platitude-whining ninny as a ridicule of pie-in-the-sky suburban values failing in a battlezone of urban realities (which the suburbanites' defection from the inner-city helped to create); and the Robocop 2 cyborg who sports a criminal mind determined as the best fit for our high-tech future. These and other barbs all serve to criticize society's faith that higher and higher technology will save us from human folly instead of high-tech being correctly seen as just the latest edition of that same human folly.
Yes, the script may superficially suffer from its demanding ambitions with perhaps one-too-many a sub-plot (screenwriter Frank Miller's graphic novel background pushes the envelope here), but R2's postcards-from-hell humor and prescient social criticism are the diamonds wrought from such risk. R2 is a wake-up call for a society increasingly divorced from nature: he who lives like a machine will die like a machine.
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ROBOCOP 2:MELTDOWN - DVD Movie