Short Circuit 2

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Short Circuit 2 Movie Poster Image
Fewer explosions and more charm than the first.
  • PG
  • 1988
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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."

Sexy Stuff

Occasional swearing: "bulls--t," "crap," "ass," "balls," "damn," "pissed off," "hell," "bastard."


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.

What 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."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBrett P. September 29, 2017

Common Decency says 8+?!! That's ridiculous.

I cannot believe anyone at CSM felt this movie was appropriate for 8-year-olds. If you don't mind your 8-year old frequently hearing language such as... Continue reading
Adult Written bythat girl over there September 17, 2013

Nudity in first 10 minutes

In the very beginning of the movie, there are two men seeing playing pool in what appears to be a bar. In the background, in the center of the screen, there is... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 3, 2014

short circuit2

I think this movie is really funny!

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?

Movie details

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