Blu-ray Review: SHORT CIRCUIT 2

John Gholson

by: John Gholson
April 21st, 2011

I’m not exactly sure who these SHORT CIRCUIT completists are, that they need both SHORT CIRCUIT films in high-definition Blu-ray, but here’s the sequel, fresh from the '80s, with plenty of robot hijinks and casual racism. Yes, Johnny 5 is alive. Now, run.

Because, if you happen to look back at the '80s, specifically kids’ movies from the '80s, with rose-colored Ray-Bans of nostalgia, SHORT CIRCUIT 2 is like a cold Diet Slice to the face. It’s an ugly family comedy black hole of suck, in which one poorly-done John Wayne impersonation can create a vacuum of unfunniness so strong it sucks away the careers of stars Fisher Stevens and Cynthia Gibb. This is the type of bad '80s movie in which the jazzy saxophone soundtrack is a character unto itself - one you want to see dead long before the 110-minute (!) movie is over.

To recap, Johnny 5 is alive and hooks up with toymaker/inventor/faux-Indian Ben Jharvi (Stevens) to create a line of tiny Johnny 5 toys (shades of the robot uprising, as seen in THE ANIMATRIX and TERMINATOR). Between gathering “input” from the mean streets of New York (read: Toronto) and helping (read: not helping) Jharvi woo his cutie-pie employer (Gibb), Johnny 5 is also talked into committing a jewel heist by seedy neighborhood thugs (Johnny 5 is easily talked into committing several crimes throughout the film, there’s also an extended scene in which he steals dozens of car stereos).

Whereas SHORT CIRCUIT was a cutesy fantasy rom-com about a wacky robot, SHORT CIRCUIT 2 keeps the wacky robot and ditches all of the charm of the original. First of all, the film is excruciatingly long.  here’s just no good reason for this stupid story to take close to two hours to tell. Secondly, if the best comedy you can offer is a scene in which a room full of Johnny 5s do a synchronized homage to the California Raisins, your script might be written by the very robots appearing in your film. Seriously, if Ally Sheedy AND Steve Guttenberg won’t come back for your sequel, you’ve got problems.

Essentially SHORT CIRCUIT 2 is a Christ allegory with Johnny 5 as a higher being attempting to live life as a normal man, then beaten and bloodied by the very sinners he’s trying to help. Spoiler? He’s resurrected from death to serve judgment on mankind. Then, forgoing any Biblical connection, he’s spray-painted gold and given US citizenship. Hooray.

Image brings SHORT CIRCUIT 2 to Blu-ray in the way that it most deserves - with no special featurs and no amount of consumer hype (though the picture quality is perfectly acceptable for blu). It exists to fill the space between SHORT CIRCUIT and SHOWGIRLS on a shelf somewhere in a home with a bad collection of bad movies.

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