* Prices may differ from that shown
"RoboCop" is a 1987 action film which was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who has also directed such films as "The Fourth Man" (1983), "Total Recall" (1990), and "Basic Instinct" (1992).
Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.
The film is 102 minutes in length and stars Peter Weller ("Naked Lunch", "Screamers", "Star Trek Into Darkness") as Officer Alex J. Murphy / RoboCop, Nancy Allen ("Carrie", "Blow Out", "Dressed to Kill") as Officer Anne Lewis, and Ronny Cox ("Deliverance", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Forces of Nature") as Dick Jones.
The plot for the film reads as follows: In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.
"RoboCop" was Paul Verhoeven's first taste of the big time, but he almost turned it down. The story goes that he read the script and threw it away. It was only when his wife intervened that he gave it a second look. "Sid & Nancy" director, Alex Cox, was also in the hunt to direct. The producers had originally wanted either Arnold Schwarzenegger or Rutger Hauer to play the lead role, but it was Paul Weller who won them over due to his frame being not as huge as the other two, thus being able to fit in the RoboCop suit a little easier.
The film has been remade - or rebooted as they like to call it these days - with Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman in the lead role, and a supporting cast of Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. Miguel Ferrer, who plays OCP executive Bob Morton, also has a role in the reboot, though a different one.
"RoboCop" raked in over $53m at the Box Office and had many spin-offs, including two sequels. Is it any good? Let's find out!
The film starts with the beginning of a newscast, and the presenters are talking about the day's events, such as a possibility of nuclear activity in South Africa, and the President of the United States on-board the Star Wars peace platform. They also show commercial breaks, but we get our first introduction to Omni Consumer Products (OCP) when the newscasters interview its Senior President, Dick Jones, about the company's role in making Detroit a safer city. We are also introduced to the main villain of the film, Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), who is killing cops in the city and is very much still at large.
The next scene deals with Murphy's transfer to Old Detroit, and his introduction to his new colleagues, where they find out Officer Frederickson has died in hospital, becoming Boddicker's latest victim. While it is unclear which year this film is set in, there is a lack of a man / woman boundary in the changing rooms, as both species walk around with next to nothing on as they are getting suited up for the day's work. I do find that a little strange because it is pretty clear that that sort of fraternising would not be acceptable in this day and age. We are also introduced to Officer Lewis, a no-nonsense female cop who will be the partner of Murphy.
A scene which always grabs me every time I watch it is the debut of ED-209, the robotic law enforcement machine, which Dick Jones debuts in a packed board room meeting. It is a little shaky on its feet and it is quite obvious that it was done without CGI, but it still looks like you would not want to mess with it. One of the unfortunate guys in the board room did just that as a simulated test, but something went wrong with the enforcement droid and the result was not pretty!
One thing we see as Officer Lewis is grabbing drinks from a street stand is Murphy twiddling his gun around like an old-fashioned gunslinger. He tells her his kid watches the TV show, "TJ Lazer", and he tries to act up to being the hero of the show. This trait is also shown later on in the film when RoboCop does the same thing and holsters his weapon, and it clues in Lewis that the RoboCop is, in fact, Murphy. I thought it was a good touch, especially when she catches up to RoboCop and says "Murphy, it's you." She had only been out on patrol with him one day, but you probably can't forget the gunslinging.
In one early scene, Murphy is hit by multiple gunshots as Boddicker and his crew hole up in a warehouse after an armed robbery. Murphy and Lewis find their getaway van and enter the building. Lewis is knocked out cold and just when he needs her the most, Murphy finds himself surrounded. It is Boddicker who delivers the last blow as he fires a 9mm into Murphy's head, which looks like he's killed him. He is rushed via helicopter to a hospital where Murphy sees his family life flash before him, and is pronounced dead shortly after. This is where OCP takes over and RoboCop is born, and we get to see little details here and there like the booting of his system and tracking ability.
One thing I must point out before continuing is that the score throughout the film is excellent. Basil Poledouris, who has also composed scores for "The Hunt for Red October", "Conan the Barbarian" and "Under Siege 2", led the Sinfonia of London in creating a masterpiece. If you like what Danny Elfman does with Tim Burton's movies, you will love what Poledouris does here. His score sets the tone wonderfully and successfully attempts to distance the seriousness from the fantasy of the film.
I did enjoy the transition in RoboCop when he became aware that he was Alex Murphy in a previous life. He was apparently dreaming about his death which sent the needles monitoring his progress off the charts. As soon as he relived that fateful moment, he knew his mission and left the building in pursuit of Boddicker and his gang, intent on picking them off, one by one. This scene gave RoboCop a purpose, and defined the character as more than a robot. It showed us that he had retained some of Murphy's life and, though everyone thought his programming had gone haywire, it had just gone on to a higher level.
I do love a good old-fashioned shootout, and the film has one of those as RoboCop nears a facility where Boddicker and company are located. He tells them "come quietly or there will be... trouble", before the hail of bullets begins. It is difficult not to say what happens in a shootout between the good guy and the bad guys, but you can probably guess the outcome and we'll leave it at that. Needless to say, though, that RoboCop's aim is quite deadly and precise. I also enjoyed the battle scene between RoboCop and ED-209, robot against robot, though it was a little too short, in my opinion. I think that a scene like this could have been extended because of its importance to the film.
The film ends with a predictable yet pleasing end, but it does pave the way for a sequel. It also brings closure to Alex Murphy's past and helps bring forth RoboCop for the future. The sequels were not as well-received as the original, but they still had that unique air of quality.
It's difficult to describe Officer Alex Murphy as we see very little of him, even though he is an integral part to the story. He is a family man who deeply loves his wife and son, which is made more obvious as the film progresses and RoboCop begins to realise who he is, or was. I thought Peter Weller played both characters well, but it is pretty obvious that his acting career did not exactly escalate with this film, though he did have a part in "Star Trek Into Darkness". It could be argued that his directorial career fares better, after sitting in the big chair on episodes of "Sons of Anarchy".
Officer Anne Lewis is a tough cop who, despite her youngish appearance, has obviously been in the job for some time. She is a battle-hardened police officer who gives as good as she takes, and the beauty about this film is that she obviously feels guilty for Murphy's death, but at the same time she tries to make the RoboCop come out of his shell and understand who he really is. If the writers wanted to put a love aspect on the film, it would be with these two characters where it could have been simple to do so but I think it would have spoiled it a little, and Murphy would be a completely different entity then. Instead of the loving family man, he would be the cheater who would rather abandon his wife and kid to be with a fellow officer. I must admit that I'd never really heard much about Nancy Allen before this film, and just like Peter Weller she never really hit the limelight after it, either.
It is quite clear from the off that Dick Jones and Bob Morton - two senior figures in OCP - do not get along, and their rivalry is apparent. Morton sees Jones as old and indecisive, but Jones is far stronger than he first thought. I suppose there is a sub-plot in a way, in which the two are duelling throughout the film, and whereas Jones is the likely candidate to take over the reins once the old man relinquishes them, Morton has the belief in himself in that he can do the job just as well, if not better.
I really enjoyed the film when it was first released and even 26 years later it still gave me much enjoyment in watching. It was a great idea back in 1987, and I always associated it with the likes of Schwarzenegger films, which were hugely popular. Films like "Predator" and "The Running Man" were big business, and "RoboCop" stood up to the test of the big action films of the year which also included the likes of "Lethal Weapon". It had some great robotic effects with ED-209 and while the 2014 reboot will obviously have better effects, I will not be watching it. Stick with the originals - you can't go wrong.
What the Critics Say
Empire: "It was this love of mayhem combined with a biting comic attack on neo-fascist corporatism - most notably seen in the TV ads for products like the apocalyptic board game Nuke 'Em - which helped raise Robocop above the common sci-fi herd."
The New York Times: "Paul Verhoeven, a Dutch director, doesn't let the furiously futuristic plot get in the way of the flaming explosions, shattering glass and hurtling bodies."
Chicago Reader: "There's a brooding, agonized quality to the violence that almost seems subversive, as if Verhoeven were both appalled and fascinated by his complicity in the toxic action rot."
Austin Chronicle: "Great effects and a nasty undercurrent drive this vehicle."
Washington Post: "Robocop is one weird and entertaining hybrid of camp and sci-fi shoot-'em-up."
My rating: 8/10
For those of you old enough to remember you will already know that Robocop was a landmark 1980s film. At school, the world was divided into two camps: those who had seen Robocop (despite the 18 Certificate) and those who hadn't. The danger with revisiting such things, of course, is that things you remember fondly from 1987 as a youth don't look quite so good when viewed with an adult's eyes 25 years on. Happily, for the most part, Robocop has stood the test of time.
In the near future, the police are run by corporations. In one American city, OCP run the police and are looking to make it more efficient. Their solution? Robocop: a cyborg policeman who never sleeps, hates crime and is virtually unstoppable. Unfortunately, there are those on the police force that don't want a robot cop, and others within OCP who want to use the Robocop programme to further their own interests.
What works surprisingly well in Robocop is the setting. It is clearly "the future" but a "near future" where things are just subtly different. There are no flying cars or incredible machines and everything is still pretty recognisably late 20th or early 21st century. However, it offers a potential (and all too plausible) vision of the future, where big corporations rule and corruption and violence are commonplace. The setting is hugely atmospheric and actually gives the film a convincing, gritty look. The near-future setting also means that the film has not aged as badly as some other sci-fi films.
Sadly, what has not stood the test of time quite so well are the special effects. Robocop himself is pretty much OK, mostly because he is a real person dressed up in robotic armour. Where it relies more heavily on effects, though, things start to fall apart with some dodgy green screen effects and stop motion animation. All the sequences featuring the fully robotic ED-209 look awful (Ray Harryhausen c. 1960), whilst a sequence towards the end where someone falls out of a window is laughably bad. Thankfully, since the rest of the film is pretty good you are prepared to overlook this.
Whilst the plot might not be particularly taxing or innovative it does play with some interesting ideas (the humanising effect of technology, concepts of revenge, perceptions of law and order) and provides a suitable framework against which to set the action. The film's real strength is that it combines emotional elements (Robocop recalling who he is/was) with enough action to keep your average young adult happy.
Key to that appeal is that Robocop is a pretty violent film. Although some segments might look rather tame to modern eyes, the shootouts are satisfyingly bloody. Violence in Robocop is nasty, painful and very, very red. This won't be to everyone's tastes, but if you are a fan of 80s excess, then Robocop is just what you need. For this reason, I suspect it's will maybe appeal more to blokes, although that's not to say women won't enjoy it.
The film actually operates on a couple of different levels. On the one hand it's a straightforward 80s action film - full of explosions, bloody shootouts, car crashes and so on. On the other hand, there are some nice satirical elements that have proved to be scarily accurate predictions of the future. In particular, the dumbed down TV news sequences (complete with carefully coiffed, patronising anchors ) are accurate reflections of the modern media, whilst the machinations of self-obsessed CEOs and uncaring corporations who will do anything in pursuit of profit ring even truer today.
The thing that surprised me most when I came to re-watch Robocop after a hiatus of over 20 years was how bad some of the acting was, ranging from wooden to incredibly cheesy. Peter Weller is fine as Murphy/Robocop and whilst he might not be the greatest actor in the world, his expressionless face and flat voice is perfect for the cyborg cop. Ronnie Cox is also impressive as OCP Executive, Dick Jones turning in an appropriately sleazy performance which just falls short of pantomime villain. Kurtwood Smith is chillingly cold as Clarence Boddicker, although the performances from his band of not-so-merry men are rather more stereotypical.
It's around the edges that things start to fall apart. Robert DoQui is rather cheesy; the sort of "tough police precinct captain" that the Simpson's would lampoon, whilst Nancy Allen is bland (and unconvincing) as Murphy's cop partner r Lewis. No-one is exactly bad, it's just that some of the performances are a little stilted and cheesy and don't match the tone of the rest of the film.
Despite some dodgy effects and mediocre acting, Robocop has stood the test of time pretty well and has a bit more substance to it than most 80s actioners. Unsurprisingly, given how fondly it is remembered, a Hollywood remake is in the works, which is A Bad Idea. Apart from improving the effects, it's hard to see what could be done to Robocop to enhance it through a remake. Instead of spending £10 on watching any future re-make at the cinema, just spend £3 to get hold of a DVD of this version. It's bound to be better.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Running time: approx. 102 minutes
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
Paul Verhoven's deliriously satirical and violent action movie "Robocop" was unfairly and thoughtlessly derided in some quarters as a "Terminator" rip off, although it has very little in common with Cameron's relentless sci-fi hit. Notionally fitting the Science Fiction genre, it resembles more closely an old western, where a stranger rides into a bad-ass town and clears things up...the hard way.
Detroit, sometime in the near future - the city is plagued by crime, and the beleagured police force are fighting a losing battle against the ruthless villains that control huge swathes of the city. We meet officer Murphy (Weller) on his first day in the precinct - he is partnered with a sassy, butt-kicking Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen), who is immediately drawn to the calm and slightly arrogant new boy.
Top on their agenda is notorious cop killer Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), a snide and vicious ganglord who is running riot in the city with his cackling band of hoodlums.
Meanwhile, over at the sinister multinational corporation OCP (Omni Consumer Products), they've just won a contract to run the police force. In order to do so, two rival executives are pitching high-firepower alternatives to fragile human law enforcers - Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) unveils his crude and fatally flawed ED209, a walking gunship with a ferocious growl, in a boardroom bloodbath that is one of the movie's standout scenes, both frightening and hilarious.
That murderous debacle opens the door for Robert Morton's (Miguel Ferrer's) brainchild, the "Robocop" programme, which is lower key than the military-style ED209, and will feature a law enforcer that is half human, half machine. All he needs is a volunteer...
Hot on the heels of Boddicker and his gang, Murphy and Lewis chase the crew to an abandoned factory, and unwisely decide to continue without back up. Our two heroes are separated, and Murphy is soon caught, tortured, and blown to bits. Morton now has his candidate.
Murphy is resurrected as a gleaming knight in shining armour, and it's not long before he's cleaning up the streets in old Detroit. However, the techies behind the project haven't done a thorough job on wiping Murphy's memory, and he's soon gone renegade, looking for clues to who he once was, and back on the trail of Boddicker, who happens to have a connection with vindictive exec Dick Jones...
"Robocop" is still extremely violent, and scenes such as Murphy's demise are still strong enough to hit hard even almost 25 years on. However, the violence is undercut by Verhoven's energetic direction, a sly and subversive sense of humour which pokes fun at 80's America, and tremendous performances from actors making the most out of what should only be 2-D roles.
Standout is Weller as Murphy/Robocop - he has only a few scenes with his full face showing, and only a couple as a living human being, but with his strange, ethereal features and calm delivery, his couple of scenes early on with Lewis establish their instant bond and get the viewer rooting for him from the start.
Once transformed into Robocop, his performance is threefold - some truly remarkable mimework as he creates Robo's way of moving, with determined striding arms and jerky head movements. Notice how his head turns first, then the body follows. Most people who try doing the robot - Peter Crouch notwithstanding - just look ridiculous, but Weller pulls it off brilliantly.
Then there is his monotone voice, which can be very funny - listen to his cadence when he advises "Come with me or there may be...trouble." - to sad and melancholic in later scenes with Lewis once he knows who he really was, and that he can never go back.
Thirdly, is how much of an emotional performance Weller manages to put in considering his face is covered from the nose down for the majority of the movie, conveying recognition, disbelief, confusion, anger, and sadness with just a few minor twitches of the lips. Weller gives the movie it's emotional punch that make it a more rewarding film than "Terminator" or most other genre pics of the era.
Nancy Allen makes the most of her brief scenes with Murphy; Kurtwood Smith makes a deliciously sleazy and snide villain; Ferrer and Cox enjoy themselves as the warring, greedy executives, greedily undermining each other for the big buck.
Verhoven enjoys himself thoroughly, handling the B-movie material wonderfully, investing it with some satirical bite - the TV Adverts are wonderful, particularly the "Nuke Em!" boardgame.
Some of the shoot 'em up sequences are a bit generic, as when Robocop storms a cocaine lab, but we are also treated to some wonderful moments, from Murphy's gut-wrenching last few seconds; a POV sequence intercut with flashbacks as Murphy lays dying on a operating room table; Robocop's visit to his old house, where he seems to walk through the flashbacks.
I'm sure everyone has their favourite "Robocop" moments and quotes, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend giving it another visit if you haven't seen it for a few years, because there's sure to be some little moment or detail you've forgotten.
(This review originally appeared on Ciao! under my alias, Midwinter.)
Remember the good old days? When action films were simple and fun. Despite it's campy concept, I still prefer this movie over the ones that are coming out now a days. I used to watch this, quiet a bit growing up. I thought Robocop was one of the coolest guys ever. And, you know what... I still do.
In the "future" - Detroit City is falling apart, and is reaching it's breaking point. The city is owned by the corporation, Omni Consumer Products (OCP). With crime, and financial problems escalating, OCP is preparing plans to demolish the city to make way for the new and improved "Delta City".
Police officer Alexander James Murphy (Peter Weller) has just been transferred to the worst part of the city. When he arrives at the station, he realises that cops are dying, here and there, and the talk of a cop strike is in the works. He is partnered up with another female office named Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). On his first day, they go after a gang and follow them into an abandon warehouse.
When Murphy, gets cornered by the gang - lead by Clarence (Kurtwood Smith). He is massacred into "Swiss cheese". Getting slaughtered without remorse, from gunfire, while the criminals howler and enjoy the amusement. Since, he is considered deceased. The Police department decide he's an ideal candidate for the "Robocop" program. He Becomes OCP property, and has a memory bank installed, to obey certain prime directives and duties. As time goes by, Robocop remembers his past. And, discovers who he was before the accident, and is on an objective of his own: to get payback on the ones who did this to him.
Everyone got the roles right. They just got it! Both in the material and the delivery .They knew to play it honestly, but not too seriously. The two performances that stand out is, of course, Peter Weller as Robocop. There were times, I believed, he was a robot. It was reported that the suit he wore, reached up to temperatures of above 100°F, and he lost 3 pounds a day. There's a level of dedication that you've got to respect. And, his efforts show in the final product.
I like the fact, that they tried to give this some humanity. The conflict of him remembering who he was, and having to let go of the past. The tragedy of that, makes me sympathetic towards the lead character (Robocop/Murphy). But, it balances greatly, with Robocop's monotone dialogue of comedy relief. And, his violent ways of solving a situation.
Also, Kurtwood Smith as Clarence. He's a bastard of a villain, you just LOVE. The prick, who enjoys having a good time, with a sick sense of humour, and his "I-don't-give-a-s***" attitude is so infectious. There are many times, he will say something, and those lines will crack me up. And, everyone else did there part, to keep this entertaining. From Clarence's gang, to the associates at OCP. Heck, I even enjoyed the pissed off police sergeant.
It was a while since I watched this, growing up. The way the material was handled, I appreciate it more today than I did when I was younger. This could have fell flat on it's ass as one of those, ridiculous films that only a minority knew about. But it's better than that.
What surprised me, was the level of violence. It still holds up and shows it's still a heavyweight, compared to the new pieces of crap that continues to come out. You don't really need a lot of CGI special effects to have a great time. As long as a lot of s*** blows up, and there's bullet fire raining in all directions.
Who doesn't love that theme song. I swear, it never gets old. Everytime I hear it, I feel invincible. I heard that the composer wanted to create a fusion of classical orchestrated sounds, with modern synthesised instruments to represent the human, and the machine sides. What a song, it's like a missing masterpiece that was released centuries later. The score, throughout is just top notch.
This felt like "graphic novel" type material. With themes of the media, corruption, violence, and redemption. I love the satirical news reports and commercials, as little treats within the film. The nostalgic fact, only adds to the effect. It's a nice touch to this fictional world of a violent "not too distant future - of yesterday".
I showed this to a few friends who had never seen it before, and I could tell that they enjoyed it because they didn't have a negative thing to say about it. And usually they think these "older" films aren't interesting.
I have another friend, who isn't a huge moviegoer, but he still has a Robocop action figure, and is probably a bigger fan than I am. With memorable catch phrases, a magnetic character, the image of his visor, armour, and his walking strides. For me, he will forever be an icon, in the history of cinema. ROBOCOP.
For me, Robocop is a film that makes an interesting social statement that is all to often ruined by the often excessive and pointless violence. There is a time and a place for violence, but this at times is very exploitative and the idea of Robocop can become lost. That said, this is still one of the best sci-fi's of recent times, and boasts some decent action throughout.
In a very grim future with a huge amount of crime, the police are no longer state controlled. Instead, the government leases the contract for policing to private companies. In Detroit, the private company that runs the police is huge Defence company Omni Consumer Products. The company has just designed a new robot that will help with policing, and its designer is Dick Jones (Ronny Cox). However, the machine malfunctions and kills an office worker, ruining his chances of having his design made.
Instead, another aspiring junior director called Bob comes forward with his own design for a cyborg police officer. The plan is given the green light, much to the anger of Dick Jones.
At the same time, veteran police officer Alexander Murphy is transferred to one of the worst police precincts. He is given a new partner, called Anne (Nancy Allen), and they are immediately put out on patrol. However, as they chase a crime boss called Clarence into an industrial area, they become trapped. Anne is knocked out, but Murphy is violently shot to death.
Murphy's body is then used by Bob in his prototype cyborg called RoboCop, and soon he is moving around the city again sorting out criminals and crime in a no nonsense manner.
However, soon Murphy starts to remember things from his past life and goes after Clarence. And at the same time, Dick Jones becomes more and more angered that Bob's plan is working, and starts to make his own plan. This naturally leads to a violent but fun climax that will thrill you.
The problem with this film is that though there is a good message about the idea of privatization and lack of control, it's always ruined by director Paul Verhoeven's use of violence. We all enjoy watching cops kill criminals, and if you watch this film you'll be aware that it's violent. But Paul Verhoeven always comes across as a bit of an insecure director. Whenever the film has a moment that he struggles with, such as an emotional moment, he breaks out the guns and uses a load of violence to take your mind away from the other faults. (He actually had the same problem in Total Recall).
That said, the film always moves at a fast pace, and even though the violence is often meaningless, the action is relentless and you're always rooting for RoboCop as he meets the numerous criminals around the city.
Paul Weller does a pretty decent job as RoboCop. He's not the strongest character actor, but in many ways that works in this because he's more believable as a cyborg than any character actor would be. He worked hard in this role, and the suit he had to wear often cooked him at 40 degrees Celsius because they filmed in summer.
Nancy Allen is also on form in this as Murphy's parter who then helps RoboCop move forward.
But as he usually does in films, it's Ronny Cox as villain Dick Jones who really steals this film with his outstanding performance. He really steals his scenes in this, and you'll find yourself just desperate for RoboCop to kill him.
Overall, it's a very good sci-fi film that requires little attention to be able to watch it. But it's message it always ruined by Paul Verhoeven's insecure style of directing. But is you're a fan of criminals being killed, plenty of action and plenty if pointless violence, you'll enjoy this.
In a crime ridden Detroit, mechanics company Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is looking to introduce the latest enforcement, the huge ED-209 droid (much like Star Wars' AT-ATs) to curb the problems, created by VP Dick Jones (Ronny Cox). However, when a test goes wrong and one of the board dies, it gives underling Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) a chance to introduce his RoboCop programme, designed to put a humnoid cyborg onto the streets to uphold the law. Now all he needs is a subject......
Meanwhile, freshly transferred cop James Murphy (Peter Weller - I keep wanting to say Paul!!) teams up with hardnosed female cop Anne Lewis (Nancy Murphy) to patrol the streets. When he is brutally and violently shot and left for dead, Morton's team use him as the test case for the programme, and introduce him to the streets as the first completely robotic RoboCop. But is there still a bit of Murphy left somewhere in there?
Paul Verhoeven's brutal film is a classic. It hasn't aged very well, and some of the special effects and surroundings are very dated, but there is no mistaking the clever transfer of a great idea onto the screen. Weller is sufficiently robotic as RoboCop, and the short time he is on screen as Murphy, he manages to exude just enough humanity and charisma to remind you of the difference between the human and the cyborg, albeit essentially the same person.
Nancy Allen is convincing as Lewis, the ever endearing sidekick who has just lost two partners in quick succession and is determined that RoboCop still has a bit of Murphy in him and that the brain can still remember things. Indeed, the majority of the film is a tale of revenge, and as the RoboCop does start to remember the gang of crooks who killed him and Lewis' previous partner, he starts going after them one by one.
However, it's not just a regular and generic revenge tale, nor does it have the fluidity of Arnie's Commando where he goes after the gang who have his daughter. RoboCop is a no nonsense violent film, which could be visually disturbing in terms of its graphic bloodiness. With hands being shot off, arms, head shots, and blood spurting from various wounds, it's very visually graphic and could put a lot of people off. They do go over the top with some of the scenes, and it verges on being a bit of a joke, but then I think Verhoeven does like to exploit the extremes of the American people, such as the obsession with violence and the overacting from the leader of the gang of crooks, Kurtwood Smith's Clarence Boddicker.
The gang themselves are also a mix of ethnics, which seems to have been a deliberate ploy from Verhoeven. There's a Hispanic, an Asian, a black man among others. This is another statement from Verhoeven, and almost seems to suggest a segregation of crime among the American back streets, which is where Murphy has to go to hunt them down. There are also religious themes dotted around, and Verhoeven has stated that he wanted to have a relevance to Jesus, with Murphy's death and then subsequent resurrection as RoboCop, with a scene later in the film seeing him walking 'on' water (more like through it ankle deep).
All of these elements, though, are easily passed by if you're just looking for an enjoyable action film. Yes, it's bloody and violent, but it's a great film to watch. The plot isn't too complicated, and even the political side of things - brought in by the struggle for power within the OCP as Dick Jones tries to worm his way back up the ladder - provides more of an interesting angle to it than anything disatracting. It has feel good moments mixed in with the violence and shock it can evoke, and despite the fact that it doesn't date well, this is perhaps the magic that still makes it a classic 80s film. Recommended.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Detroit is a bad place to live, there is so much unemployment and the city is being run by a master gang who are killing all of the cops. Help s at hand when the OCP (Omni Consumer Products) tells of a new super city it is going to build and how it will be policed by robots, ED Units, well that is until one of them malfunctions and kills an innocent man in the process of it being displayed.
Over in the police department a new cop, Alex Murphy has been transferred in and he is not happy with the way things are run, he gets partnered with Anne Lewis and the pair are soon called to a robbery which the gang who are running the city have done. Lewis gets injured and soon she is witnessing the shooting and brutal killing of Murphy by the notorious gang leader.
Murphy is rushed to hospital but is pronounced dead to all police officers and family member but unbeknown to them he is being treated and turned into a cyborg police officer. Robocop as Murphy is now know is the product of Bob Murphy who proudly shows his creation off and soon Robocop is cleaning up the streets. It does not take long though for Robocop to start to get memories of his previous life and soon he can remember what happened to him and who shot him so takes it upon himself to go after the gang.
Will Robocop be able to bring down the gang and clean up the streets of Detroit and can he get it known that he is actually Murphy and not a complete cyborg?
To be quite honest I only watched this film to keep the peace as hubby really wanted to see it but for me it did not seem very appealing. I have to say I was actually surprised by the film in the way it did have a good storyline and some of the acting was very good. I found the storyline to be much better than I though it was going to be as Robocop was actually created from a human man who was able to finally remember things so he did seem genuinely human instead of being a flat un-dimensional character and for me I liked how this was put into the storyline. I did at times find it was quite predictable but it was overall quite a good film.
The role of Murphy / Robocop was played by Peter Weller and for me he did a super job. I loved how h was a normal cop with a nice family and a decent background and found himself being thrown into the deep end when he arrived in Detroit. I think the addition of the some background knowledge and information about him made it easier to get to know how he worked and what he felt and I was instantly able to warm to him. I think he did an excellent job when he was suited up as Robocop and the way he portrayed played the cyborg was brilliant, he moved in a good way and the robotic touches he gave to these movement were excellent. He worked well in both characters with his partner Anne Lewis and I liked how their relationship developed through the film as they were not worked together for the middle section of the film but when they teamed back up it was very good.
There were a lot of other supporting actors in the film and they all gave good performances, some of the stand out ones came from Ronny Cox who played the role of Dick Jones, Robert DoQui who played Sgt. Reed and Muigel Ferrer who played Bob Mortin, their roles were very mixed and diverse and this made for much better viewing.
The film did seem very dated at times and this was very apparent when we saw the initial robot police officer as it looked so stupid and the effects which were used on it were shocking. I think the effects did improve during the film and the ones used on Robocop were very good and all looked very realistic. I think the clothes and props which the character used also made the film look and feel old. It was made back in 1987 so this can be forgiven but I have to say I do not think it would stand up against the modern cop and robot films. The music was good throughout the film but none of the tracks really stood out for me and I cannot remember a single one of them now.
As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to speak of. The running time of the film is 102 minutes and I did find this was quite long enough. The certificate is an 18 and I would say this was quite high and perhaps I would mark it down to a 15. There are some very violent scenes of people being killed, shot and beaten but I don't think it deserves the 18 rate. This film can be bought on DVD for just a few pounds on Amazon.
I will recommend this film as hubby really did enjoy it and he can watch it time and time again but for me it was quite dated and old and some of the effects were very bad. I will say that it did have some great acting and the storyline was different and good which made the film in my eyes pretty decent. I would advise renting or waiting until you can catch this on the TV instead of buying it though.
Paul Verhoven's 1987 sci-fi action film shares certain things with his later work Starship Troopers in its satirical attack on the gung-ho, gun-loving nature of mainstream American culture, whilst also taking pot-shots at the stranglehold of influence held by the mainstream media and large corporations along the way. Aside from these themes however it essentially remains a futuristic update of the classic westerns in which a hard-nosed sheriff is sent in to clean up a violent town with a zero-tolerance approach and plenty of gratuitous violence.
The film opens with Detroit police officer Murphy (Peter Weller) hot on the tail of a bunch of a gang of crooks led by the single-minded and ruthless Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) but when he tracks the gang down in a warehouse and backup fails to arrive he is mercilessly tortured, having his hand blown off with a shotgun in one particularly brutal scene before being shot in the head at point blank range. Miraculously he survives however, and ends up becoming the new pet project for OCP, a hugely powerful corporation operating in the sector of security amongst others. OCP turn murphy into a cyborg known as Robocop, who is programmed to uphold the law, and the new supercop is let loose on the violent and anarchic streets of New Detroit.
Unfortunately OCP has other priorities too, looking to bring down New Detroit in order to pave the way for the new utopia of Delta City, and are also in the process of whelling out a new model, the wholly cybernetic ED209, a giant bipedal robot armed with two huge dual machineguns.
Robocop finds himself to be an outlaw, and finds himself being tracked down by Boedecker at the behest of his boss Dick Jones, (Ronny Cox) the OCP President and all-round bad guy.
Robocop evidences Verhoven's familiar trait of hiding intelligent social commentary behind dumb and gratuitous, explosion-filled action scenes, comic-book like plots and characters and a reliance on good old fashioned ultra-violence, and the film remains an absolute joy to watch, with a healthy lineup of well-played villains and a tragic anti-hero at its core. There lots of memorable and immensely cool scenes throughout; such as the one in which an ED209 robot malfunctions and blows a OCP employee to pieces in the middle of the board room; and the scene in which a bad guy drives his truck headfirst into a vat of toxic waste and turns into a grotesque mutant before getting splattered all over the front of an accomplice's car (there's much fun to be had watching the film in slow-motion as his head bounces across the car's windshield and roof), and the special effects are excellent throughout. These include myriad huge explosions, over-the-top gunfights and some archaic but enjoyable stop-frame animation effects invoving ED209. An iconic and immensely entertaining film, Robocop is an 80s action classic.
On the face of it, the premise of this film is incredibly simple: Average Joe goodguy cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is mercilessly and brutally shot to death by a gang of crooks, and is resurrected as Robocop, "The Future of Law Enforcement", and sets out to apprehend the bad guys. But there's so much more to it than that.
The film is essentially a commentary on American society in the 80's, set in near-future Detroit. The cleverness manifests itself in its gratuitous violence, not only in Murphy's brutal assassination, but also the ingenious, over-elaborate death scene of a pre-ER Paul McCrane late on in the movie. Cleverness because of the level on tongue-in-cheek on show. The genuine highlights though are the newsreporter segments, which are just movie comedy gold. Wonderfully satirical.
Ronnie Cox deserves a mention as one of the most wickedly corrupt and evil characters ever to grace the screen. Cox is on fine form here and is endlessly watchable.
So, what of the effects? Beyond the satire, that's what this movie is all about, right? Well, there is an abundance of stop-motion and miniature work here, to bring the cult villain (or hero!) of the movie, ED209, to life. ED209 has one of the standout scenes of the entire movie. And the best dialogue; "You have 10 seconds to comply..." That scene alone is one of the funniest, sickest and most intense and frightening scenes in any movie anywhere. I can't watch it now, several years after first seeing the movie, without my pulse rate increasing to dangerous levels, and breaking out into a cold sweat.
Ignore the naysayers who claim this movie is just gratuitous violence, for gratuious violence's sake. It's far more gratuitously violent than that! And besides, it's one hell of a brilliantly funny, slapstick and tongue-in-cheek movie. See it if you haven't, it's very worth it. If you've seen it, see it again!
Although not quite living up to the dizzying heights of the likes of Terminator 2, Robocop is nevertheless one of the more intelligent action films ever made, using its action packed narrative and gratuitous violence to mediate the film's highly satirical bent on a number of subjects. It's no surprise, considering this is from Paul Verhoeven, who brought us Arnie classics such as Total Recall.
The film opens with police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) being savagely murdered by a gang led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), and his body is then transferred to the OCP, where he is transformed into a human-cyborg hybrid that's extremely adept at combat, with a hardened metal shell, a complex targetting system. What the OCP didn't quite bank on was the human element being resurrected along with his body, and so the film also touches on themes that are recurrent throughout sci-fi, such as what it is to be human and whether machines can become sentient.
This is an unmistakably smart film - it offers a scathing mockery of the media, with the famous "I'd buy that for a dollar!" scene noting how television, a tool that can surely be harnessed for good, is so often just a vapid tool used to be an "opiate for the masses". It also touches on some more subtle issues such as how neighbours can be gentrified.
This is a scintilating action film that never steers too far from its pulpy origins - it features ED 209, a killer robot whose creators have lost control of it. Of course, it has a spectacular showdown with Robocop, and considering the film's age, the visual effects (stop motion) are impressive. The film also features some zany grotesqueries, such as a man mutated by toxic waste, who meets an even more grisly end than that!
Ferociously violent yet darkly comic, Robocop is a robust superhero picture that benefits from outstanding visual effects (which still hold up today), solid performances, and a wealth of social satire.
There's good films and then there's good films that defined a genre. Along with The Terminator, Robocop is considered to be one of the most definitive movies of Cyberpunk, a subgenre of Science Fiction; an exploration of man with machine. Paul Verhoeven's film is brutally violent, funny, and thought provocative. A classic.
It's a scary thought living in the future. "Old Detroit", as it's called, is all about Capitalism and the media, with little regard for the people's lives. The Police Department has become privatized due to financial ruin, and crime on the streets is getting out of control. Enter "Robocop" (Paul Weller) a cyborg police officer built from the remains of slain cop Alex Murphy, by Capitalist big-shot Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer).
Though, what the authorities didn't count on was Robocop regaining memories from his previous life. Going beyond the confines of his programming, he begins hunting down the gang of drug dealers responsible for his brutal execution, as well as bringing justice to the greedy company bosses that created him.
And that is indeed one of the main points of the film: the proclaimed "Robocop" appears more humane than a majority of the big company bosses do; forcing us, the audience, to examine the values within our own lives. Peter Weller does a great job at convincing us that he's half-human, half-cyborg. He appears almost chivalrous in his liberal stance on humanistic values and the economy, and the audience grow to love him.
Primarily through its satirical news reports and commercials, the film becomes a social commentary on the media, and general capitalist, ideals. Although these appear quite humorous, they have a serious intent in outlining the cheap sales pitches of the greedy corporate officials attempting to increase profit margins. One of the running phrases is "I'll buy that for a dollar!" denoting that the people will buy any old rubbish.
Then there is, of course, the violence. Robocop was remarkably bloody for its time, which prompted the MPAA to give it a X-rating. Scenes were deliberately over-the-top in their attempt at making the audience flinch (a style Verhoeven would continue to use in 1990's Total Recall). Particularly, Murphy's execution scene, where we get to see his hand blown to pieces by a shotgun blast, has been fully restored for the Special Edition DVD. This scene isn't just effective in its violent appeal to bloody thirsty freaks, such as myself, but to allow the general audience to feel some compassion for the main character, as well as presenting a very dark concept of the near future.
Indeed, Robocop's concept of the "soon-to-be" is so plausible that the film could be considered more fact than fiction. Paul Verhoeven's style in Robocop offers a unique blend of comedy, though still maintains a respectable level of intelligence, as it builds the film around mangled Capitalist theories.
Having witness the fully-restored version and the inferior sequels that followed, it's difficult to imagine how Robocop could've been any better than it was. That's a compliment to how good it [still] is.
Well you should know what this is about, a classic film of the 80's, good cop pounds the streets in crime ridden Detroit before being gunned down by ruthless criminal gang, good cop is rebuilt by ambitious technology company as a robocop programmed to clean up the streets of criminal scum, robocop eventually develops a few of his old feelings and seeks revenge against his killer, he also realises the technology company isn't just working for good and has to fight them to save his city.
This film is far deeper than my synopsis and entirely under-rated, its being remade by the wonderful Darren Aronofsky and I can't wait to see what he does with the film and its themes.
Peter Weller ... Officer Alex J. Murphy / RoboCop
Nancy Allen ... Officer Anne Lewis
Dan O'Herlihy ... The Old Man (as Daniel O'Herlihy)
Ronny Cox ... Dick Jones
Kurtwood Smith ... Clarence Boddicker
Miguel Ferrer ... Bob Morton
Robert DoQui ... Sergeant Warren Reed
Ray Wise ... Leon Nash
Felton Perry ... Johnson
Paul McCrane ... Emil Antonowsky
Jesse D. Goins ... Joe Cox (as Jesse Goins)
Del Zamora ... Kaplan
Calvin Jung ... Steve Minh
Rick Lieberman ... Walker
Lee de Broux ... Sal (as Lee DeBroux)
This is a classic 80's film, showing Detroit as nightmare city with crime out of control, directed by Paul Verhoeven, this film manages to work as a dystopian view of the future and an action movie, the sequels aren't a patch on this, Weller is excellent as Alex Murphy and then as the Robocop, a machine fighting to combine order and human emotions. Nancy Allen is good too as his human sidekick struggling to understand him and rein him in, while eventually realising his dilemma and backing him up accordingly. it is a very intricate performance and an under-rated one, the film is an interesting and fun film, but if you look deeper beyond the superficial it has a real substance to it, visually its gorgeous and the script and narrative back it up.
This is a sci fi film that spawned many copies, but none were as good as this.
In the film we follow police officer Murphy on his first day in Detroit, a city which is tearing itself apart with crime. His first call is the pursuit of a gang of bank robbers. After chasing them and confronting them, Murphy is shot and killed (in a long and bloody death scene, being shot by countless bullets). After dying, OCP (the company who have essentially privatised the police force) take his body and use it as a basis to create a cyborg police office, codename Robocop. However, things begin to change when Robocop starts remembering Murphy's life.......
This is a great sci fi film, it has some brilliant casting, all the actors really play up to their parts in the film. As the film progresses you really emphasise with Murphy as he tries to work out who and what he is. The special effects look dated by todays standards, with the larger robot, ED-209, being animated through stop-go animation, but it still stands up and looks pretty good. The acting is also good, you really feel for Robocop/Murphy and feel a real sense of justice as he dispatches the various bad guys. All the characters are stereotypical, but the film does things with its' tongue firmly in cheek.
"The best science-fiction film since Metropolis" according to Ken Russell and the suprise sleeper hit of 1987, Robocop is a razor sharp futuristic action film with much food for thought directed by Paul Verhoeven, a then little known Dutch director who proved to be an inspired choice. Murphy (Paul Weller) is a policeman in a nightmarish vision of a near future city of Detroit. Detroit is now the crime capital of the United States and its downtown area has become such a lawless wasteland that it is about to demolished to make way for 'Delta City', a huge urban redevelopment programme. Delta City is to be built by Omniconsumer Products, a sinister corporate powerhouse that is so corrupt it secretly employs criminals for its own ends. Omniconsumer also owns SecurityConcepts which just happens to control the police. With a remit to develop 'enforcement droids', it's in Omniconsumer Products interests to maintain a certain level of violent crime. When Murphy is fatally shot on duty he is rushed back to a secret laboratory and transformed into Robocop - a part human, part cyborg super policeman - and sent back onto the streets to fight crime...
Perhaps the main strength of Robocop, in addition to be being a fast-paced and exceptionally well made piece of escapism, is that it's a very smart film, injecting a big dose of cynical and witty satire into the basic set-up and fleshing out this premise. It makes good use of future news footage to give us a picture of what the world is like now. South Africa has a nuclear bomb, families play an electronic board game called 'Nuke-em' ("Get them before they get you!") and in Acapulco gun toting rebels use the international airport as a base. These nightmarish images are presented in the style of someone doing a piece of entertainment guff on GMTV or something. It's a chilling vision of a society where serious news is glossed over, dumbed down and presented in breezy capsule form. With attention spans dropping year by year and television companies today who think their viewers are so stupid they have to remind them what's on next 27 times during the course of a programme via intrusive graphics - it's scary sometimes to imagine what television really will be like in ten or twenty years from now. The world created for Robocop is brilliantly done. It's a society that has lost the plot and turned to s**t.
It's fun to look at the influences in the film. From the cyberpunk world of Bladerunner in the film to Robocop's Dirty Harry style justice to Marvel Comics Iron Man who must have partly influenced the look of the main character. As villains run riot blowing up shops you are reminded a little of the world Christopher Nolan created in The Dark Knight and wonder if Robocop was a film that stayed with him and resurfaced in his thoughts. It's also huge fun of course when Robocop goes into action for the first time agaisnt unsuspecting violent criminals who finally get a taste of their own medicine. When he advises children to stay out of trouble in that robotic voice it's immediately iconic, funny and a little bit scary. There are some fantastic action set-pieces and shoot-outs in the film directed with flair and often enhanced by clever visual touches, like Robocop's point of view scanning computer as he takes out criminals without killing them.
Robocop, for all its action and (often) extreme violence, is also suprisingly poignant in places. Weller does a good job in making the pre Robocop Murphy a likeable character that you remember through the film and his struggle to come to terms with the remnants of his shattered humanity as Robocop is quite touching sometimes. He sees his family in flashbacks and finds himself drawn to his old home where everyone of course has left, Murphy gone for them forever. "I can feel them (his family), but I can't remember them." says Robocop.
Robocop's relationship with Lewis (Nancy Allen) is also nicely done with believable affection on the part of Lewis for her former partner, now reborn as a cyborg.
The special-effects, design and look of the film is all incredibly well done. Rob Bottin does a great job with the look of Robocop himself and there are many inventive touches that have since been 'borrowed' many times, Robocop's birth, seen from his point of view, being one such sequence. ED 209, a robotic crime fighting machine on spindly legs is wonderfully brought to life by stop motion. The sequence where ED 209 is first demonstrated in a corporate office ("You are in direct violation of Penal Code 1.13, Section 9.") is both funny and chilling. The world the film creates is also a memorable one with the inner city a crime ridden, deprived warzone surrounded by the sleek edifices of the corporate yuppies who run everything.
A lot of the themes of Robocop - corporate greed and lack of responsibilty, the madness of private companies running absolutely everything - are still very relevant today.
Another major strength of the film is the cast. Weller and Nancy Allen are very good and have a good chemistry as both Murphy/Lewis and Robocop/Lewis. Ronny Cox is suitably slick and nasty as the excellent corporate executive villain Dick Jones. Kurtwood Smith's Clarence Boddicker is one of the best screen baddies ever and makes a great foil for Robocop. He is incredibly nasty but also very clever and joins Hans Gruber in the pantheon of great modern screen villains. I love the look on his face when he has his first encounter with Robocop and realises he is dealing with a completely new type of policeman. Smith is given some great scenes in the film and he's also funny with lines like : "I got the muscle to shove enough of this factory so far up your stupid ass that you'll s**t snow for a year."
Miguel Ferrer more than makes the most of his bit as the ambitious creator of Robocop, Bob Norton and Dan O'Herlihy is as dependable as ever as 'The Old Man', the big boss that everyone is plotting to topple. Ferrer's bathroom scene with Cox where they clash over the possibilty of Robocop scuppering Jones' ED 209 deals is a classic. "I had a guarantee military sale with ED 209. Renovation program. Spare parts for 25 years. Who cares if it worked or not?" says Jones. Notice how Cox pauses and then grabs Ferrer's hair before his final warning.
Other memorable characters include Robert DoQui's old fashioned Sergeant Reed and former ER star Paul McCrane as Emil Antonowsky, a member of Boddicker's gang. McCrane has possibly the most infamous scene in Robocop.
Quibbles? Well, Robocop is perhaps a bit too violent overall. I find it incredible that the film actually had to be cut to avoid a certificate X when originally released! For some reason a lot of big films in the eighties - Predator, Die Hard - were very violent and Robocop is no exception, topping all of them.
Overall, Robocop is a thoughtful and incredibly inventive 'blockbuster' and crowd pleaser with some great performances and a clever script. It's well worth watching if you've never seen it.
DIRECTIVE 1: sevre the public trust. DIRECTIVE 2: protect the innocent. DIRECTIVE 3: uphold the law. DIRECTIVE 4: (classified).
what a classic film, when this came out the hype surrounding it went around my school like wild fire. It has some brilliant quotes in it ''can you fly bobby'', ''please put down your weapon, you have 20 seconds to comply'' and ''i'd buy that for a doller''. This has everything you need from a film, action, humour and it's super violent with a bit of a moral issue of 'is it right to turn a dead cop into a robot!?! Seriously who would'nt like a vengence story of a robot cop with issues! for it's time it still looks ok, and the graphics were good. As i said it is pretty violent and i think thats what made it such a hit as it has a real gritty vibe to it and a lot of blood n gore.
Classic 80s film.
When it arrived on the big screen in 1987, Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop was like a high-voltage jolt of electricity, blending satire, thrills, and abundant violence with such energized gusto that audiences couldn't help feeling stunned and amazed. The movie was a huge hit, and has since earned enduring cult status as one of the seminal science fiction films of the 1980s. Followed by two sequels, a TV series, and countless novels and comic books, this original RoboCop is still the best by far, largely due to the audacity and unbridled bloodlust of director Verhoeven. However, the reasons many enjoyed the film are also the reasons some will surely wish to avoid it. Critic Pauline Kael called the movie a dubious example of "gallows pulp," and there's no denying that its view of mankind is bleak, depraved, and graphically violent. In the Detroit of the near future, a policeman (Peter Weller) is brutally gunned down by drug-dealing thugs and left for dead, but he survives (half of him, at least) and is integrated with state-of-the-art technology to become a half-robotic cop of the future, designed to revolutionize law enforcement. As RoboCop holds tight to his last remaining shred of humanity, he relentlessly pursues the criminals who "killed" him. All the while, Verhoeven (from a script by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner) injects this high-intensity tale with wickedly pointed humour and satire aimed at the men and media who cover a city out of control. --Jeff Shannon, amazon.com