RoboCopPart man. Part machine. All cop.
The future of law enforcement is here, courtesy of a 1987 science fiction classic. Directed by Paul Verhoeven ("Starship Troopers"), "Robocop" takes place in a dystopian Detroit where violent crime is rampant and the city is in financial ruin.
The city contracts the mega corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) to fund and operate the city's police, in effect privatizing it. OCP Vice President Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) is not interested in rebuilding "Old Detroit" but rather replacing it with a modern utopia called "Delta City".
Before this monumental venture can break ground, OCP needs to clean up the city of its scum. With the police department overwhelmed and recent cop-killings making officers consider striking, the nefarious Dick Jones introduces ED-209, a law enforcement droid that can rid the city of its criminals. The thing is, ED-209 isn't exactly ready for the streets and after a malfunction at a demonstration - the project is put on hold.
Enter Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer), who bypasses Jones and proposes the RoboCop program to the head of OCP (Daniel O'Herlihy) who accepts. Detroit police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) has recently been assigned to the Metro West precinct, and on his first mission out with partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) is mortally wounded.
That's putting it lightly, thanks to the signature style of Verhoeven who shows Murphy violently blown to bits by a gang of notorious criminals led by Clarence J. Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith). Murphy is pronounced dead at the hospital, where his brain and face are built into a cybernetic suit, thus becoming RoboCop.
RoboCop halts crime throughout the city, using extreme methods bordering on police brutality; his programming even seems to disregard Miranda rights - he's the kind of guy that gets things done. His programming, however, begins to malfunction when haunting memories of his former life enter the system.
RoboCop finds out that Clarence Boddicker was responsible for what happened to him, and begins to hunt down his gang - meanwhile corrupt corporate dealings between Dick Jones and Boddicker lead RoboCop back to the source - OCP.
Verhoeven's "Robocop" is an entertaining, thought-provoking science fiction film filled with satirical social commentary and over-the-top violence. Peter Weller's performance as RoboCop is pitch perfect. He's a man stuck in the machine, a Frankenstein-like monster made by men.
"Robocop" is a masterful work that still holds up 20 years after its theatrical release, thanks in part to veteran effects master Rob Bottin and the stop-motion animation of Phil Tippett. It's
hard-hitting and intense as well as slick and supremely well cast and acted. The score by Basil
Poledouris is extremely memorable and really brings the film to life.
In the vein of films like James Cameron's "The Terminator," "Robocop" works on many levels as pure, action-packed entertainment, compelling science fiction and a deep societal commentary. This film is a memorable, must-watch experience that is sorely underrated and often overlooked for its contributions to film.