“Dark Justice” ended by hinting that Cable may be resurrected as the next RoboCop. This comes to past in “Meltdown.” After a trio of superhuman thieves break into OCP, Cable's wicked ex-wife wants to get rid of Robo. So she builds her recently deceased husband into a lookalike cyborg and has him attack OCP's CEO. The original RoboCop is declared a public menace. He is now pursued by RoboCable and a team of soldiers trained to take down cyborgs. While on the run, RoboCop ends up in the slums of Old Detroit, befriending one of the thieves that got him into this mess in the first place.
I suspect the main attraction “Meltdown” offers undiscriminating fans is the promise of two RoboCops fighting each other. RoboCable looks just like Murphy's RoboCop, except with a darker, shinier armor and two guns. The Robo-on-Robo action, it may not surprise you to hear, is fairly unimpressive. The first big confrontation between the two involves Murphy standing still while Cable pelts him with machine gun fire. (Bizarrely, groups of innocent bystanders who were not there the moment before are endangered by this.) This results into a painfully slow foot chase. The car chase that follows is slightly more entertaining, even if it liberally indulges in car chase cliches. The second fight is more successful, as the two cyborgs toss each other through walls.
Despite its obvious flaws, I do like “Meltdown” slightly better than “Dark Justice.” The second episode is a little more faithful to the original film's tone. There's more blood. There's even some nudity, thanks to two random strippers. The second episode leans on the satirical commercials more. The opening news broadcast paints RoboCop as a hero. After OCP turns on him, the same programs talks about what a menace he is. They even sell a compilation movie of RoboCop's most violent moments! There's some other amusing stuff. A tabloid investigator sneaks into the police station, snooping around the lab RoboCop sleeps in. Amusingly, every time the reporter says something, a corresponding infographic appears at the bottom of the screen. In the back half, there's a commercial for a kids cartoon where a psychotic RoboCop fights “homeless ninjas” and a Furby-style toy that, the small print reveals, may cause seizures. It's not as smart as Ed Neumeier's writing but at least the mini-series is trying to keep up. (Amusingly, the commercials make references to antiqued technology like VHS and pagers. Canada really is another country, isn't it?)
a quote from Erich Fromm flashes on screen before the credits roll. The problem is, the quote is misattributed to Henry David Thoreau! I'm pretty sure Thoreau never wrote about robots. “Prime Directives” improves slightly in its second part but it's not enough to turn my overall opinion on this show around. “Prime Directives” is still a very cheaply made attempt to cash in on the “RoboCop” brand name. Here's hoping it gets better in the second half. [5/10]