Frank Miller’s nasty wit occasionally offsets typical sequel redundancy in Robocop 2, a needless follow-up that rehashes the satiric and character-based concerns of its superior predecessor. Directed by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), the film revolves around the efforts of Robocop (Peter Weller) to squash the spread of new designer drug Nuke, which is heralded by its messiah-creator Caine (a grand Tom Noonan) as the gateway to a euphoric new future. Jokey TV commercials and news broadcasts, as well as plentiful shootouts and a new mecha-nemesis for Robocop, help pad out the subsequent saga, though none of it boasts the nasty humor or inventiveness of Paul Verhoeven’s original. Rather, a sense of straining to maintain the outrageousness of that boundary-pushing hit can be felt throughout, as in close-ups of gruesome brain surgery and the inclusion of a foul-mouthed, gun-toting adolescent drug runner (Gabriel Damon). As one ho-hum action set piece after another fails to deliver the goods, flimsy concessions are made to Robocop’s continuing struggle to rectify his new metallic self with his human soul. That thematic issue is briefly raised before being swept aside by a tide of mind-numbing nonsense, highlighted by the decision of OCP’s evil head honcho (Dan O’Herlihy) to let a sexy psychoanalyst (Belinda Bauer) use psychotic criminals – like Cain! – as test subjects for the new Robocop 2 project. Throughout, Kershner and Miller lack anything fundamentally novel to say about their sci-fi conceit, merely repeating Verhoeven’s cartoonish critique of fascistic corporate, governmental and consumer behavior to diminishing returns.