Monday, February 10, 2014

Robocop 2 The Novel Review

Going back a few months worth of entries you'll find a bit about my finds from the local libraries book sale. In truth it was probably the greatest haul I've ever had from the years I've been attending. Such a great haul in fact that I'm still working on reading through some of my prizes such as the abysmal piece of literature I'm about to cover.
Thanks to the awful looking remake looming in front of us, I've had an urge to revisit some classic Robocop cheese which made for the perfect excuse to read through the novelization of Robocop 2 by Ed Naha. If the authors name sounds familiar to you it's most likely because he was the screenwriter for Honey I Shrunk the Kids, its' lousy sequel, and a few other odd flicks. Dare I say the man should have stuck to screenplays. Admittedly his grammar is sound and incredibly easy to read but the man is an absolute cheese dick. Take for instance the part where he describes the title character as “a shining sinewy warrior of the new age.” I can't say whether Ed actually watched the movies he was adapting or was working solely off of the screenplay but Robocop is the polar opposite of sinewy. He's practically a filing cabinet with a gun. And how great would it be to see that cabinet take down some hood only to then spout off “file him under C.....for creep.” Follow that up with a song from the who and you've got a hit series.
I've you've never had the displeasure of watching Robocop 2 here's the gist. There's a new superdrug on the street called nuke, Robocop is out to stop it, and........that's about it. Ok there are some additional complications from sub-plots involving the Detroit police being on strike and OCP being up to there no-good ways (which results in an evil drug addict robot for our hero to fight” and there' an occasional attempt at covering the emotional fallout of being half-robot but that's really just window dressing as the whole endeavor is struggling to get past two hundred pages. None of this is Mr. Naha's fault of course as he's simply working off of the scraps left to him by Walon Green and Frank Miller (shudder). There is one area where he could have made an attempt tofix something that was lacking in the script and that is in the absolute loss of proper satire. The first flick remains a classic thanks to both the obscene levels of gore and the surprisingly smart social commentary. The second flick pretended to aim for such wit but usually just put in filth for the sake of filth. This book is no different, which is illustrated best by a sequence of one crime leading to another, which includes this bit about ten year old hookers.
So the verbage is far too over the top and flowery. The story and setting are puerile early 90's comic shit. However; there's one element the author could use to make this turd float. Books always have the perk of being able to glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of the characters, offering insights that the movie could never dream of. How does he integrate this extra layer of detail into the proceedings? I give you the bottom of page 227.
Wont somebody please think of the Children!? Oh god what crap. Given the ability to actually delve into the mind of Alex Murphy, the best the author can give us is that he's a tough Irish cop (cause we've never heard that shit before), and that he really cares about kids. Like cares way too much about kids.
Oh but I've gone all this way and forgotten to mention the TV bits. The movies had a tradition of ludicrous commercials and news programs scattered throughout the story. The book isn't much different except that instead of simply cutting away to this stuff the writer makes sure that one of the characters is watching the broadcast. The first chapter of the book is Robocop fucking watching TV! No Joke! I bring these sections up not only because of the absolute silliness of spending chapters describing commercials but one particular bit that made me double take.
Yeah. He went there. Now I don't tend to shy away from racy language in any of my writing but when detailing a suntan ad you might want to avoid using some old timey racial slurs. As a cracker, I can't say as I'm offended so much as amazed that the writer thought this was the best wording to use for that scene and that the editors and publishers didn't block it.

Now don't start thinking that I regret reading this book, cause it made for a refreshing experience thanks to it being easier to read than most goosebumps titles. Of course when that's the best thing you can say about a book, you should probably toss it aside and read Welcome to Dead House yet again. Actually that's a pretty good book. Go read that.

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