Short Circuit 2

  • Review Date: June 11, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Fewer explosions and more charm than the first.
  • Review Date: June 11, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 110 minutes





What parents need to know

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
Not applicable

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.

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."

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 6, 1988
DVD release date:August 7, 2001
Cast:Fisher Stevens, Michael McKean, Tim Blaney
Director:Kenneth Johnson
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Adventures, Robots
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Short Circuit 2 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent 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 a nude woman dancing. I stopped watching as soon as I saw this.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written byMovieFanUK July 30, 2012

Swearing issue

I worked at a cinema in the Eighties when this came out and this was the only film I knew where parents came out of the movie to complain about the certification and more specifically the profanities
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written bystringbean September 28, 2009
There is quite a bit of language in this movie for 8 year olds. There is also a scene in a bar where it shows a woman in the background in a g-string dancing and getting ready to remove her top.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism


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