Robocop: Prime Directives (Part II: Meltdown)

Stars: Geraint Wyn Davies, Maurice Dean Wint, Page Fletcher
Julian Grant
Julian Grant
Widescreen (Enhanced for 16x9)
Special Features:
Interactive Menus, Scene Selections
English (Dolby Digital Surround)
Sides: 1
Running Time: 94 minutes
Rated: R



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.

Plot 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 seasons though.)

Prime Directives 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.

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 shine through.

And damn it! I wanted to know what happens next!

To 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.

The 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 . . .

THE 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.



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