RoboCop (1987) Poster


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Underrated, Misunderstood, Ingenious
Break14 June 2003
It's a shame that this movie is usually snubbed by shoving it into the "action" category. Sure, there are lot of legendary action sequences to be found, but RoboCop is a LOT more than that.

Next time when you watch it, try to shift your focus from the cyborgs, explosions and gore towards the writing. From the main theme of criticizing the modern money driven society (a topic still relevant today, and will most likely be so in the future as well) all the way to the smallest bits of dialogue, the writing is nothing short of outstanding. RoboCop is simply the most intelligent "action" film to come out of Hollywood, ever. Unfortunately, the cleverness is hidden "between the lines" of comic book action. No wonder so many people fail to see this film for what it really is.

Amazing cinematography, solid performances (especially from Kurtwood Smith and Miguel Ferrer), memorable musical score.. The list is endless. Granted, the stop motion effects of ED-209 look quite old today, but you have to remember we're talking about a movie made in 1987. RoboCop has its faults, like the rather embarrassing toxic waste scene, but they are easily forgiven compared to all the good things.

You must be thinking "What is this guy on? It's just a dumb little action flick about a cyborg!" .. Relax, take a deep breath and watch it again. I like obscure art films as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to dismiss such greatness just because it comes wrapped in cartoon violence. I'm not saying RoboCop is art, the best movie ever made or the most important film of the year/decade/millennium. But it definitely deserves to be regarded higher.

My only question is: How could Verhoeven succeed so well with this movie, and fail miserably in ALL other Hollywood titles he has worked on?
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The mix of science-fiction, action and social satire is just brilliant!
Boba_Fett11381 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The success of this movie can be credited to one man; Paul Verhoeven. His special touch of violence, gore and social satire make the movie more than just your average B-movie, with a lame title and simple story and characters. Yes, without Verhoeven this movie seriously would had been nothing more like another B-movie on par with science-fiction/action movies like "Timecop" and Albert Pyun movies.

The main story of "RoboCop" itself is simply and not that complex, however Verhoeven manages to put many different layers for the story as well as the characters in the movie. The social satire in the movie works out brilliantly and is what makes the movie perhaps more entertaining than thrilling or tense. Especially those typical Verhoeven news sketches are brilliant! But also those who will not be able to understand or fully appreciate the social satire elements in the movie, will have plenty to enjoy while watching this. The action itself is top-class and the characters are fun as well as cool. RoboCop himself looks awesome, both in his movements and the way his costume looks. Oh and of course I may not forget his awesome gun!

The movie is not only filled with some typical Verhoeven social satire elements but also with some trademark Verhoeven gore and violence. The way Murphy gets killed is very graphic and disturbing. But as always in most Verhoeven movies is the case, the violence is so over-the-top that it's not really shocking to look at but almost more comical like because it's just so over-the-top. Especially what happens to Emil at the end, the gore is way over-the-top there and I absolutely love it!

In a movie like this the characters are also always important. Especially the villains and yes, "RoboCop" has some highly entertaining and good villains. The group of Clarence, Leon, Joe and Steve are a bunch of entertaining, charismatic stereotypical villains. But also the more educated villains like Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) and Bob Morton (a very young Miguel Ferrer) who also isn't a very nice person. But also the mechanical villain ED-209 is extremely cool and dangerous looking. The stop-motion effects for him are of course heavily outdated this days but it takes away nothing of his threatening appearance. All of the character are entertaining and well developed. Characters also worth mentioning are The Old Man (Dan O'Herlihy) who plays the president of OCP and you can tell by his face gestures that he's not very pleased with the direction Dick Jones is heading towards with the company and Johnson who is always smiling. And of course let's not forget Bixby "I'd buy that for a dollar!" Snyder, he's a real classic! They should given that guy a real show on TV.

Also the musical score by Basil Poledouris is what helps to make this movie a very memorable one. Poledouris delivers one of his best works. When will he finally get some more attention from the big awards? He has made some great stuff but he rarely has won anything of importance with it. A bit of a disgrace for such a wonderful composer.

All in all this is a brilliantly entertaining science-fiction/action movie that simply is perfect in every way, mainly thanks to Verhoeven his input.

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Classic science fiction film full of excess, humour and satire
bob the moo4 February 2002
In a futurist Detroit, crime is high and the police are run by a massive private company, keener to reduce running costs than reduce crime. When their new police robot ED209 develops a glitch, they turn to a prototype that blends human tissue with high-tech circuitry. Meanwhile Police officer Murphy and his partner Lewis are out gunned by criminals leaving Murphy mortally wounded. OCP take Murphy's body and use it to make Robocop. However Robocop is so successful that he is targeted by criminal Boddicker. Boddicker turns to his shadowy partners in crime, while Robocop struggles to deal with human memories and a programming system that seems designed to control him and keep him in the dark.

Verhoeven's first US film was to set the mould for how the rest of his career would pan out - extreme violence and very little idea of restraint. However this is one of his best films and has much in common with one of his other best (Starship Troopers) - ultra-violence, funny black humour, great action and tonnes of satirical digs at modern life. Here the plot revolves around the creation of Robocop and his fight against crime that goes right to the top. This is complimented by the sub-plot of him trying to rediscover his human side. This is full of great action scenes and eccentric villains.

The black comedy is funny, although sometimes you feel bad laughing at so much violence, but the sideswipes are the best. Verhoeven takes digs at TV with his advert filled news broadcasts, at privatisation by showing the crumbling police stations and the huge corporate towers and at heroism by showing Robocop creating just as much mayhem and destruction as the criminals he pursues. His strength however is the action scenes and the sense of tension he creates - I'll don't think anyone can forget the sheer terror of ED209's `glitch'.

Weller is good - cast because of his strong jaw and ability to project emotion through a suit of armour - and he does manage to bring out the human side. Allen is good but a but dry. The real support comes from the eccentric, and well known villains and corporate bosses. Ronny Cox, Smith, Ray Wise, Perry, O'Herlihy and Miguel Ferrer are all great in various capacities. Criminal or greedy corporate leader - it's hard to tell which is which at times.

A classic bit of sci-fi. Verhoeven has sadly not had a moment as fine as this since and has recently had problems being excessive in Hollywood - the land of excess! This is a landmark film that may not be to everyone's taste.
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A brilliant mix of science fiction, action and satire that has yet to be topped.
Infofreak27 March 2003
Paul Verhoeven's career in recent years has been wildly uneven, but back in the 1980s he rocked! His movies 'Spetters', 'The Fourth Man' and 'Flesh & Blood' are all brilliant and worth tracking down. His next movie, his first Hollywood one, could have been a complete disaster. Verhoeven initially passed on it without reading the script and wasn't experienced in working with special effects or a fan of science fiction. Thankfully his wife insisted he make the picture and the end result was a triumph. Apparently this was a very tough shoot for all concerned but the bottom line is what is on screen, and it really works. Few movies if any have managed to juggle SF, action and grim satire in such an entertaining and original fashion. Verhoeven was blessed with an excellent script, a well chosen bunch of actors, and a great behind the scenes team, and added to his own vision 'RoboCop' turned out to be one of the best movies of the 1980s, whatever the genre. Peter Weller ('Buckaroo Banzai') pulls off a difficult job - making the audience care about a guy in a monster suit. Probably the best performance of its kind since Boris Karloff in James Whale's 'Frankenstein' back in the 1930s. Nancy Allen ('Dressed To Kill'), Kurtwood Smith ('12.01 PM'), Ronny Cox ('Deliverance'), Miguel Ferrer ('Twin Peaks'), and the rest of the supporting cast are all first rate, and everything about this movie is perfect. Verhoeven stumbled with his next movie 'Total Recall', and apart from 'Starship Troopers' has pretty much failed to fulfill his potential, but 'RoboCop' remains a classic SF/action movie and a fantastic way to end a great decade of work.
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Sci-fi/action with messages.
The_Dinosaur23 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was a film that I enjoyed watching when I was a kid and it was my favorite film. Now, years later I just watched it and I was hesitant because I thought it would be cheesy, but it was amazing. It is ultra violent even by today's standards. It is a great mix of action and sci-fi and it has a message. You would not have to look hard into this film to see some deeper meaning in it, though it appears to just be a action film it is also a testament to human life. One of the most prominent messages in this film is that you can put a human in a robotic shell but he is still a human. It also has messages about corporations running our lives. There is a scene where the main character has been killed and the company that owns the police is about to turn him into Robocop and someone says is this OK and the corporate rep says "we own him, we can do whatever we like with him." It is a classic film and one that has to be watched by everybody. It disappoints me that in every top 100 movies list or somethings like that you will never see this film, I think it is a classic and is one of the most underrated films of all time.
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Great science fiction from Verhoeven
shortround83913 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Robocop" was what gave the world the robotic police officer that would rival the Terminator as the greatest cyborg film character of all time. Although, I'm not gonna take a side in that debate, but I am gonna give Robocop the recognition it deserves. He was something that was totally new at the time (1987), and since then the movie got 2 (crappy) sequels, a comic book and a mini-series.

Robocop is set in the future and portrays a very dark version of Detroit, and its crime level has gone up considerably. In it, a cop named Alex Murphy gets literally blown away by a gang of nasty criminals on his first day on the job. But later a company (OCP) uses his remains to build a mechanical cop in order to cut down on the crime in order to build "Delta City" to replace the corrupted dystopia that was once Detroit. Later on, Robocop makes a name for himself around the city, but unexpectedly he starts remembering what he was before his death, and through this we start to learn more about Murphy since we didn't zilch about him before he died. And this is how he starts to regain his lost humanity. And the first rule about making a movie with a robot for a character is that you MUST make it human in some way, that's the reason why Robocop worked so well and why "Terminator 2" worked so well. Towards the ending, after he takes off his helmet for the final battle, reveals his face. And a little later, after the Old Man asks him for his name, he replies "Murphy", this is one of the most heart-touching moments in science fiction which generally don't have moments like those. The symbolism in here is perfect.

Another thing that really got me were the bad guys. And the best of the gang is without a doubt, Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker. Honestly, I have never seen a guy who looks like a 50 year old pencil pusher to be so threatening. He delivers his lines with such ferocity and perfection that he becomes perhaps one of the greatest villains in the history of cinema. And his classic lines, "Can you fly, Bobby?" and "B*****s, leave!" will never be forgotten. Also, his crew is worth noting, Emil will be known for the gas station scene (probably the best part of the movie), Joe will be remembered for his laugh and his "Does it hurt? Does it hurt?" line. And Leon will be recognized for his hilarious expression he makes when the disfigured Emil confronts him and when Robocop pulls his hair in the dance club. And lastly Clarence will be known for pretty much everything he does and says in here. And all these guys are MEAN, plain and simple. They basically kill and hurt others for their own amusement and express no pity or remorse at all. These guys are as real as movie villains could possibly get.

The action is excellent, the gas station scene was bad@$$, the drug factory shootout was fantastic and the ending when Robocop takes out all the bad guys in the same place where they killed him at the steel mill is unforgettable, thanks to the Cobra Assault Cannons (forgot what they're called), but it's one of the sweetest weapons ever made up in a film.

The one liners couldn't have been better. "Dead or alive, you're coming with me" is a quote that should've been on the Top 100, but for some reason, it's not. "Your move, creep" is another worth mentioning. And the before mentioned stuff that the bad guys say are pretty cool to say in real life situations as well.

Robocop is a classic in the golden age of science fiction when we didn't have too many of that over-the-top, unoriginal crap that we're getting now. I'm gonna cherish this movie forever, and I hope you will too.
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Brutal but satisfying
moonspinner552 August 2002
Detroit is under siege by a corrupt CEO in the police department...also by rapists, robbers, and the group of thugs who murdered Officer Murphy. Murphy (flawlessly played by Peter Weller) was a family man with a big heart whose body is eventually 'saved' by tech-geniuses, transforming him into a robot-cop (with a big heart, natch). The violence in the film is incredibly brutal in the manner of "Death Wish", yet it can almost be overlooked--even deemed necessary--in the context of the plot. Weller exudes sensitivity (not easy to do under that coat of armor), and he's matched very well by Ronny Cox (delightfully sinister and sniveling) and spunky Nancy Allen (in her best performance). A bleak vision of the future, though one which offers hope underneath its chestplate of destruction. Followed by "RoboCop 2" in 1990, "RoboCop 3" in 1993, and a television series in 1994. ***1/2 from ****
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Impressive Action Film That Is Not For the Squeamish
tfrizzell26 October 2000
"RoboCop" is a surprisingly impressive action film about a young cop (Peter Weller) who is killed by a gang of cruel criminals and is brought back to life with both human and robotic characteristics. Now he is cleaning up the city of Detroit and going after those who brutally murdered him when he was 100% human. This film is ultra-violent in every sense of the word. Anyone under the age of 17 should be strongly cautioned before seeing this film. However, the violence makes the film realistic and more exciting. Paul Verhoeven does some of his best work as a director. The screenplay is very smart for an action film and all the actors give bravura performances. Peter Weller will always be remembered as the original "RoboCop". Ronny Cox, Nancy Allen, Miguel Ferrer, and an incredibly evil Kurtwood Smith all do the best work of their careers. An impressive film from the action genre. 4 stars out of 5.
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One of the best films of the genre!!!
Ilker Yucel8 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw "Robocop" on Showtime back in 1989, I was about 8 years old. It was definitely the most violent, and one of the most sophisticated films I'd ever seen (at that time...being 8, my dad had issues with showing me "Blade Runner" though he seriously wanted me to since it was first released). Everything about the film grabbed me on some level. A lot of people seem to really like this film, though I've heard a share of people and critics say that it's a second-rate film due to the extensive violence and sappy dialogue, calling it cartoon-ish. Well, I have to say that the cartoon-ish quality to the film is part of its allure. It's not only a humorous device for the sake of entertainment, but its significance to the story is great. This is a dystopian future where big companies control almost every part of our existence, from the government to the police to our domestic lives. It's almost Orwell-ian (anybody notice how the OCP building is the tallest in the city?). It's a future where criminals run rampant in every form, from street thugs to business execs. Seriously, the head villain is a greedy business suit who uses a street gang to create trouble so he can provide a solution in the form of a droid with enough firepower to put up a fight with a tank...only to have that blow up in his face and mutilate a fellow exec at its unveiling. Bill Gates never had a bad day like this. Or how about when the gang blows Murphy into a million pieces with enough shotgun ammo to make even the NRA cringe, totally destroying any remnants of his right arm. It's cartoon-ish because it's a comentary on the direction the world could conceivably take, while at the same time being a source of entertainment. Whether the entertainment value was intended for people who love to see guns blazing or for people who like to see horrifying sights (Murphy's execution, for as long as it was and as bloody as it was, HAD to demand a lot of sympathy from people...if it didn't, there's something wrong with you, and let's not forget when Robocop was getting shot up by the swat team). This film has everything going for it. A plot that exists on more levels than its B-movie surface. It's a social commentary, a satire, an action film, a sci-fi film, and at times even a comedy (when Robocop dragged the guy away by his hair, I laughed like mad). The acting is great, the effects are great (not perfect, but that adds to the visual appeal because it's as gritty as the story), the music is great (kudos to Basil Poledouris on an amazing score), and overall...this film is one of the greatest films of its genre. I wouldn't call it "THE" greatest, but it's very high up there. I still have yet to see the uncut Director's version, but knowing Paul Verhoeven's work as I do, I know it must be far more brutal than the domestic version (hard to grasp with how far this film goes, evidently went further, showing just how cartoon-ish things can get I suppose). I give it a definite 10/10!!!
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