Short Circuit 2
By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fewer explosions and more charm than the first.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Robot and his inventor are innocents and have strong moral centers. They're taken advantage of and their special talents are used for criminal acts by more predatory characters, but heroes' goodness prevails. Fast-talking con artist learns important lessons. Some stereotyping of inner city teen hoodlums and East Indian with language problems.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon-like skirmishes between masked robbers and heroes, once with gun as threat; robbers smash up manufacturing facility; car vandalism; crooks fall through trap door; heroes kidnapped and held captive in meat locker, played for humor; robot beats baddies in one physical fight, but in another the robot is severely bashed, beaten, and bloody (battery acid) near "robot death."
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Occasional swearing: "bulls--t," "crap," "ass," "balls," "damn," "pissed off," "hell," "bastard."
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Products & Purchases
Radio Shack products are used as plot device. Minimal other visual product placement: Labat's beer, Slazenger, Coca Cola.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character is shown smoking and coughing in one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that positive messages are dramatized in this movie including the wonders of knowledge; the value of honesty, friendship, and loyalty; and concern for others. Most physical action is cartoon-like, causing no serious injury. There are hapless bad guys, pratfalls, trap doors, and parachutes. The exception is a serious, lengthy attack on Robot Johnny 5 near the conclusion. He is severely smashed, battered, and broken, in danger of total memory failure (i.e. death). Final suspense is centered on efforts to rebuild the robot, saving his "life."
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Where to Watch
Based on 7 parent reviews
Better than the first! Still some language, dancing girl, but great show overall.
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Beware the brutal beating scene!
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What's the Story?
This sequel to Short Circuit finds Ben Jahrvi (Fisher Stevens), one of the inventors of Robot Number 5 (now called Johnny 5), out of work and selling toy replicas of the robot on the streets of a big city. Johnny 5 is sent to help Ben and his fast-talking partner, Fred (Michael McKean), fill a huge order of the little robots. At the same time a band of thieves is trying to steal valuable jewels from a bank vault. Johnny, Ben, and Fred are in their way. The race is on as our heroes try to build the toys while the villains try to stop them and rob the bank. As the story unfolds, Johnny 5 has his first experience with city life and Ben falls in love.
Is It Any Good?
SHORT CIRCUIT 2 takes the most charming elements of the original movie and capitalizes upon them. Johnny 5 with his mimicry of all things hip, his thirst for knowledge, and his simple goodness, is the focus. The plot, while complex enough to hold the viewer's interest, takes a back seat to the characters, their feelings, their development, and the measure of their relationships with one another. Only the overzealous assault on Johnny 5 mars the otherwise good intentions.
The filmmakers have also toned down the first film's stereotypical East Indian character and his malapropisms. It's an inventive, funny movie with fine performances.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what it means to be an outsider in the world. How do people try to use the innocence and special talents of Johnny 5 and Ben for their own gain? Why does Fred change his attitude? What has he learned?
- In theaters: June 6, 1988
- On DVD or streaming: August 7, 2001
- Cast: Fisher Stevens, Michael McKean, Tim Blaney
- Director: Kenneth Johnson
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Robots
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: September 2, 2022
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