Short Circuit 2 is an American 1988 comedy science fiction film, the sequel to 1986's film Short Circuit. It was directed by Kenneth Johnson, and starred Fisher Stevens as Ben Jahrvi,[1] Michael McKean as Fred Ritter, Cynthia Gibb as Sandy Banatoni, and Tim Blaney as the voice of Johnny 5 (the main character – a friendly, naive, self-awarerobot). Filming for this film took place in downtown Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Benjamin Jahrvi (Fisher Stevens) has moved to New York City where he is selling toy versions of Johnny 5 on the street. Struggling department store buyer Sandy Banatoni (Cynthia Gibb) sees the toys and orders 1,000 units. Ben is helped by con artist Fred Ritter (Michael McKean) with the project. Fred borrows money from a loan shark for equipment, hires temporary workers and rents a warehouse to build the toys.

Unfortunately, the warehouse is the base of operations for a couple of thieves hired by bank teller Oscar Baldwin (Jack Weston) to tunnel into the bank vault across the street. They plan to steal a set of jewels known as the Vanderveer Collection, worth $37,862,000. The thieves try to scare off Ben and Fred, trashing their equipment and chasing away their temps which makes it impossible to meet the deadline.

A large crate arrives from Ben's friends Stephanie and Newton, containing Johnny 5, sent to help Ben with his business. Johnny can build the toys rapidly, giving Ben time to study for his U.S. citizen's test. Considering Johnny's thirst for data, Fred is sworn not to reveal their location to Johnny, believing that the robot would go nuts if he knew he was living in a major metropolis, due all of the "input" that he would try to absorb. When Fred accidentally lets it slip to Johnny that he is in the city, the robot leaves the warehouse to explore the city, annoys everyone, and inadvertently makes friends with Oscar himself.

Fred, having learned that Johnny is worth $11,002,076.17, tries to sell the robot to a few businessmen. When Johnny learns that Fred plans to sell him, he escapes and wanders through the city. Johnny soon realizes just how lonely he is because of his inability to convince anyone that he is alive. Johnny is later found and retrieved by Ben from the police's stolen-goods warehouse after being put there for trashing a book store for input. The two have a heart-to-heart conversation, and Johnny encourages Ben to ask Sandy out on a proper date. After an awkward start, Ben and Sandy make a connection.

The thieves, pressed for time, lock Ben and Fred in the freezer of a Chinese restaurant, while Oscar persuades the overly trusting Johnny to help finish the tunnel leading to the bank. Johnny completes the tunnel, breaks into the safe, and unlocks the safe deposit box that holds the Vanderveer Collection. Johnny figures out Oscar's true intentions, but after being chased through the city, he manages to temporarily detain Oscar. Saunders and Jones circle around the cemetary after deciphering a Pig Latin message from Oscar and then manage to enact a sneak attack upon Johnny. Bringing the robot crashing to the ground, the thieves are able to badly damage Johnny, resulting in the robot losing his left arm and having his right camera eye smashed, as well as a large gash in his battery.

Although Johnny manages to get away, he is leaking battery fluid due to his injuries, as well as losing power, a condition that will kill him in two hours unless proper repairs can be made. Ben and Fred manage to escape from the freezer with Sandy's help, but when they return to the warehouse, Ben and Sandy are captured by the police mistaking them as being the ones responsible for the robbery. Fred escapes, though, and attempts to find Johnny. After a long search, Fred finds Johnny in an alleyway. Completely startled by just how badly damaged that Johnny is, Fred helps patch him up enough to reconnect his main battery, reattach his arm and reconnect his memory, just enough for Johnny to make the remaining repairs himself. It isn't until shortly after that Johnny learns that while he was savagely attacked by Oscar's men, Fred and Ben were simply locked up, thus angering and enraging the robot.

Despite his injuries, Johnny is determined to bring Oscar and his gang to justice. After a chase he corners them at a construction site near the Hudson River. Jones and Saunders are both captured, but Oscar himself flees by stealing a boat. Johnny uses a crane to capture Oscar from the moving boat, who is then arrested and the diamonds are returned. The effort drains Johnny's remaining power reserves and kills him, causing Ben to frantically use a defibrillator in an effort to save Johnny. Ben succeeds, and manages to keep the robot running long enough to make full repairs.

The final scenes show Johnny has become a celebrity, his face on the front pages of newspapers and magazines everywhere. As a result of this newfound fame, his look-alike toys have become a hot commodity, allowing Sandy, Ben, and Fred to go into business for themselves. The film concludes with Ben becoming a U.S. Citizen, which he shares with a newly-restored and gold-plated Johnny, officially recognized as a living, thinking citizen with all the associated rights and privileges. Asked how he felt about his new status, Johnny enthusiastically jumps into the air, shouting that he feels "alive!"


  • Tim Blaney as the voice of Johnny 5
  • Fisher Stevens as Ben Jahrvi
  • Michael McKean as Fred Ritter
  • Cynthia Gibb as Sandy Banatoni
  • Jack Weston as Oscar Baldwin
  • David Hemblen as Jones
  • Don Lake as Manic Mike
  • Ally Sheedy, who played main character Stephanie Speck in Short Circuit, lends her voice to one scene (Sheedy is uncredited).


Siskel & Ebert gave the film "two thumbs up" and called the film "even better than the original."[2] In a 1988 Los Angeles Times article, the review noted that "Wilson and Maddock have improved considerably here....Their construction is more deft, their dialogue is better, and they make Number Five come more alive..."[3] Rita Kempley of the Washington Post scored the film 6/10 saying, "...[Director Kenneth] Johnson pulls heartstrings with the best of them—or the worst, if you hate that sort of thing... if you're a kid, or an adult with an Erector Set, you might just enjoy this summer-weight caper."[2] It is rated 38% on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

Awards and nominations

  • Honored with the Winsor McCay Award [for career achievement]
Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome
Saturn Awards
Best Science Fiction Film Nominated
Best Special Effects Eric Allard, Jeff Jarvis Nominated

DVD release

Short Circuit 2 was re-released on DVD on April 24, 2007,[2] which included a "making-of featurette" on actor Fisher Stevens. In 2010, the film was released once again with alternative cover-art. A Blu-ray disc of the film was also released in April 2011, though no extras were included.

Hot Cars, Cold Facts

Hot Cars, Cold Facts, made in 1990, is a short educational film featuring the Johnny 5 character, voiced by Russell Turner. It also starred Gina Revarra as Lisa, John Hugh as Officer Dave and Donald Bishop as Howard. The film takes place after Short Circuit 2.


  1. page for Short Circuit 2. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.Reference to character's name.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Short Circuit 2 - DVD. Retrieved on 2010-02-06.
  3. Wilmington, Michael. "MOVIE REVIEW : Number Five Comes Alive in 'Circuit 2'", The Los Angeles Times, 1988-07-06. Retrieved on 2010-11-08. 
  4. Short Circuit 2 at Rotten Tomatoes

External links

Template:Short Circuit Template:Kenneth Johnson

[[Template:{{{name}}}|v]] - [{{fullurl:Template:{{{name}}}|action=edit}} e] - [[Template talk:{{{name}}}|d]] [[File:{{{image}}}|center|{{{imagesize}}}|]]