A recent conversation exposed the fact that my step-son had never seen Short Circuit. Well, we can't be having this and so seizing the opportunity we sat down and did a double feature movie night with pizza. I personally hadn't seen the original film in years and hadn't seen the sequel since the mid 90s. The first one was just as I remember it, albeit a little more hokey than my memory serves. I love most of Steve Guttenberg's 80s work and Short Circuit came at a time when he seemed to dominate Hollywood. Hi-tech robot type movies were also popular and Short Circuit attempted to replace the science fiction with a humanity as the Number-5 military issue robot programmed for violence is struck by lightening and comes to life with emotions and morality his occupation. It's not a great movie by any means but it represents a great era of filmmaking before CGI became prominent. The robot is a real effect and it's mechanics are created by hand. There's a definite charm to Short Circuit and John Badham's experienced hand at this genre lends more credibility to it's stupid story than most other directors would have done.
Of course with most successful Hollywood movies comes sequels. Rarely for creative reasons and almost exclusively for the sole purpose of capitalising on the original success. When Short Circuit 2 was released it was met with a generous reception. It was critically accepted and renowned film critic Roger Ebert even declared it to be better than the original. I loved Roger but this is something we disagree on. The movie SUCKS! Its terrible. Guttenberg and Alley Sheedy declined to return and so the annoying Indian side-kick guy from the first movie returns to carry the entire thing on his own... well he tries. He was irritating enough as a side character in the first movie but now he's almost unbearable. Number-5 (now Johnny-5) is sent to New York to help this guy mass produce a line of Number-5 toys. In doing so he gets caught up in a dumb diamond heist and ends up chasing criminals across the city. There is nothing here to engage the viewer. No emotional connection and no well-intended sentiments. Its just cheap gags and poorly conceived show-off FX. A 3rd movie was written... thank God it was never made!