Part 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.

Reviewed by: adam
10 Comment(s)
Adam said...
Mmm. Where's the big discussion on this amazing movie? haha.
Shea said...
Yeah... I saw this one late in life and absolutely loved it. The acid bath gets me everytime. Completely didn't expect it. Love the stop motion ED 209. Instantly became one of my favorites.

As for the remake which i hear is not a remake but a continuation of the series... i was pretty much done with it until I hear Darren was going to be making it. He's oddly perfect for the job and I can't wait...
Adam said...
Yeah, I think a "remake" of this borders on blasphemy - it's only 20 years old after all, bu then again - we're already getting remakes of remakes so who knows what will happen.

This sequel of sorts is supposed to pick up in present day Los Angeles where they want to put the RoboCop program back into effect - which is weird because I can't imagine Robocop

a) NOT in the '80s
b) NOT in Detroit

Los Angeles has always been the dirty, crime-infested choice for films like this though - Escape from L.A., Predator 2 - even those horrific images of Judgment Day in T2... Unless they're putting Robocop in Los Angeles to eventually fight Terminators in a Robocop Vs. Terminator movie! WHAT THE TOOSK!?!

One of my all-time favorites - saw this as a kid, my mom let me watch it - tho she fast-forwarded through a lot of the violent parts. I thought of Robocop as a superhero, like Batman, and I was adamant on seeing him beat the bad guys... I had all the toys too, so awesome.

"Dead or alive creep, you're coming with me."
Paul said...
Yeah, I gotta say, for me this movie is good but hardly holds a place in my heart, and I definitely don't consider a remake "blasphemy". It was certainly a stepping stone in sci-fi filmmaking, incorporating special effects and technology in a futuristic setting, but hard for me to call it iconic.

I totally understand where you're coming from Adam, and clearly the violence in this movie is amazing (Honestly, ED-209 blowing away the guy in the office scarred me for life). Overall it has a similar feel to me as *gulp* Darkman, which I think is an underrated and dark hero story.

To me a remake would be amazing, esp with Aronovsky at the helm...I mean good lord this guy can weave a piece of artwork out of the most low-brow or shallow story. Shoot, if this guy wanted to remake Star Wars or even Batman, though considered "blasphemous", I'd want him to just to see what he could do.
Shea said...
did you just compare it to Darkman? haha...

fair enough.
Paul said...
Really had a similar feel. Broken hero, dark and violent world, etc. Don't dis Darkman!
Adam said...
Haha - for the life of me I could not enjoy Darkman. I kept looking at the clock wondering when it was going to end - Liam Neeson's great and all, but even though that movie was made 3 years after Robocop, it feels so old and thrown together.

Aronofsky is great - and I have no doubt in his ability to tell a story, but I wonder how well he can do action - as there will have to be quite a bit of that in Robocop. As visually mind-blowing as Fountain was (and with a really deep story) there were times when there wasn't a whole lot going on - but I'm sure whatever he does with Robocop will be visually stimulating and somber/serious as hell.

Someone needs to ask that dude "why so serious?"
Andy said...
I can only hope it is as good as Requiem. That reminds me - I need to go watch it again right now... Maid Marian awaits!
* (asterisk) said...
Superb movie. High 70s, maybe even 80 out of 100. Darkman is actually great, too, though a little flawed in places.
* (asterisk) said...
As for remake, reimagining, etc, count me out. Another turn of phrase might be "kickstarting the toy franchise". Smacks of commercialization, and I hope Aronofsky is savvy enough to turn it down. It's beneath him. Look what happened to Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi: they've become puppets instead of the auteurs they were or could have been.