RoboCop (5/24/12)

RobocopMovie One Hundred Twenty Seven

When an Old Detroit police officer is brutally gunned down by a group of thugs, he is rebuilt as RoboCop.

Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) and his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) are on patrol chasing down a group of criminals led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith). The gang lays an excessive amount of ammunition into Murphy and he is pronounced dead at the hospital. Omni Consumer Products sees an opportunity to take what is left of Murphy and use him as their product in an effort to turn Old Detroit into their own Delta City after their first project, ED-209, goes haywire and kills a young executive during a board meeting. Murphy, now as Robocop, sets out to bring justice to the streets of Old Detroit when he runs into one of his murderers. As his memory returns, with the help of his old partner, RoboCop vows to exact his revenge against Boddicker and OCP for taking his former life.

In a film that could easily be just another revenge flick, RoboCop is special because of its sense of humor and satire that is interspersed with the violence. Director Paul Verhoeven’s touch is apparent and RoboCop shares many similarities with another sci-fi favorite of mine, Starship Troopers. While parts of RoboCop are laughable, most of those parts are meant to be. That shouldn’t discount some of the deeper meanings in the film.

Revenge movies don’t have to be mindless to be fun and RoboCop excels when it isn’t mindless. For examples of mindless sci-fi revenge stories, see the abhorrent sequels. Actually, don’t see them. They are terrible. If for some reason you haven’t seen RoboCop, perhaps you had written it off before giving it a chance, go into it with an open mind and RoboCop may surprise you.

I give it 4 ED-209s in the boardroom out of 5 (violence warning for the video).

There are several version of RoboCop out there, make sure you get the NC-17 cut, the differences are relatively minor but it’s the way it should be seen. Also, the current (as of this writing) Blu-Ray version is atrocious, you are better off with the DVD version. The best way to view RoboCop is to track down the out of print Criterion version of the DVD. The picture and sound are impeccable and the extras are worthwhile.


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24 responses to “RoboCop (5/24/12)

  1. I never looked at “Robocop” as a revenge flick, but I suppose that element is there. When I first heard the title, I assumed it was going to be yet another cheesy ’80s exploitation film with little redeeming value, but when I saw it, I was blown away. The wit and intelligence of the writing combined with Verhoven’s bravura direction (plus the quality of acting) made this an instant classic. Its violence was meaningful in a thematic way, not just as a way to entertain teenage boys. It was cartoonish for satirical reasons and had ideas to develop, unlike most films that exist just for the sake of popcorn entertainment. I dread the inevitable remake.

    • I fear the remake will either take itself far too seriously or go the full comic book route and be far too cartoonish. The original toes the line so perfectly it will be impossible to capture that again.

      • One of my main rules for remakes is whether or not an update will have something new to add to the story or be more relevant to the current audience. I can’t see where either applies, as Verhoven’s film can still be watched and enjoyed today with little loss due to age (except perhaps the go-motion effects of ED-209 and Nancy Allen’s ’80s hairdo). I can understand “Total Recall” being remade because it’s a different adaptation of a book, and possibly will hold closer to the source material than the original did. But “Robocop” was an original film (I know, the concept is hard to understand in today’s film climate) and remaking it is just a cash grab.

  2. This was my favorite film for years. It’s funny, but I talked my great aunt into taking me to see this in the theater. I was all of 12 years old and she was in her 60’s. She was freaking out. lol

    Then, when part 2 came out, I talked her into taking me to that. Old people are so gullible . . .

    • Haha that’s awesome.

      That was back in the good ol’ days when we played with toys from R-rated films too. I think all my favorites as a kid were films I had no right ever laying eyes on

  3. Nice review of an awesome movie.

    This is one I could watch on a loop.

    I am glad you mentioned the NC-17 version because that is the one to watch. Not so much for the violence, but because it isn’t tampered with. That version I think has the most impact.

      • Compared to some of today’s movies I totally agree. I wish the Friday the 13th ones would get the unrated treatment. Those really seem tame compared to what we see today.

  4. Absolute classic. I love this movie. I assume you heard about the remake? Gary Oldman and Sam Jackson are signed up now. Apparently Jackson is playing a media mogul, so Jose Padilha might be aiming the satire in a different direction to Verhoeven and Neumeier. I just really hope it’s not going to be shit.

  5. Robocop really is a fantastic movie – the absurd violence, satire, and modern-day Frankenstein motif are so well done. When Robocop identifies himself as “Murphy” at the end, I still get goosebumps!

  6. I re-watched this film recently and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! It is quite clever actually, I think I missed a lot of the commentary when I was younger. I did however always enjoy Peter Weller! 😉

  7. Pingback: May Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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