Monday, August 2, 2010

Before Columbine, there was RoboCop 2.

In the summer of 1990 RoboCop 2, directed by late-career sequel specialist Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again), failed to improve upon either the box-office fortunes or critical success of its Paul Verhoeven-helmed predecessor.

But it still managed to be extremely violent.

One of its villains is a machine-gun-wielding, cop-strangling, curse-word-spewing preteen named Hob, who's pictured on this Topps trading card I found in a drawer at work a few years ago.

As you can see, the kid meets a bad end, but after a rash of school shootings in the mid- to late '90s—and especially after the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999—I can't imagine any summer action film, even if it's rated R and squarely in the realm of futuristic sci-fi, including a character like Hob. That's somewhat unfortunate from a creative standpoint, but as far as self-censoring goes (did Topps really need to put a dead kid on a piece of cardboard that's meant to sell bubble gum?), it's not a huge loss.

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