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SHORT CIRCUIT 2 (1988)

This is one of those tricky films to review. So you know I’m not completely bonkers, I do fully realize that SHORT CIRCUIT 2 is a fluff film and not even remotely high art, but being a complete robot geek and being taken by the charm of sentient robot “Johnny 5” it’s hard not to watch it without a big stupid grin on my face. 


Taking place sometime after the events of SHORT CIRCUIT, we’re reintroduced to Ben Jahrvi (Fisher Stevens), a supporting character in the original who has been elevated to the main protagonist. 


Now living in New York, he’s selling toy replicas of Johnny 5 to make money to live. When his creations catch the eye of Sandy (Cynthia Gibb), who works for a big toy manufacturer and is in need of the next best thing, she purchases a big order. 


Opportunist Fred (Michael McKean) worms his way into Ben’s deal. He owes money to a loan shark and this is a way to make a profit. Unfortunately they rent an abandoned warehouse for their factory that is also being used by some thieves tunneling a hole to a bank across the street to steal a shipment of diamonds. 


When they make trouble for Ben and Fred, Johnny 5 shows up to save the day. But the robot is naive in the ways of the big city and once he gets a taste of his surroundings, he craves more and more input. This leads him to being taken advantage of ultimately by the thieves who trick him into helping them. 


Geared towards kids (both my youngsters loved it), SHORT CIRCUIT 2 is perfect for them. It’s cartoonish and corny but at the same time it has a good message about “stranger danger,” stealing and friendship. 


It also deals with themes of prejudice, racism, which is heady stuff for a movie about a goofy robot that just wants to live like a person. 


What do want from me? 


I’m a sucker for these types of films. I did my best to ignore the incredulous look my wife gave me at the end of the movie as I sat there beaming with utter joy because Johnny 5 saved the day and was named the first robotic citizen of the United States…Oops, SPOILERS…

JULY 26, 2014