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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?
Robocop is an unbelieveable experience. I haven't watched the film since 1988 and the other day I recieved it on DVD. So I eagerly popped it in the player and BOOM!!! The only way I can describe Robocop is ultraviolence. The film is so over the top and out of control. The film speaks of a future where big companies will run the governmental defense. Those times are upon us more and more everyday. Paul Verhoeven has made one of the most important science fiction films ever made and it's a brillant piece of cinema.
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
*** This review may contain 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, but...it evidently went further, showing just how cartoon-ish things can get I suppose). I give it a definite 10/10!!!
"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.
The thing people are starting to realize about Paul Verhoeven is that
most of his films are ultimately high concept satires. Both "Showgirls"
and "Starship Troopers" have been recently undergoing reevaluation and
getting the critical praise that was completely absent when originally
released. "Robocop" was Verhoeven's first American success, and while
it was never damned in the way his later projects were, many viewers
are just starting to pick up on the abundance of satire the material
contains, even past the television parodies. The main jab is that
Robocop is ostensibly the hero, but his tactics against criminals are
often more brutal than the initial crimes themselves.
Fortunately, audiences don't need to pay attention to the subtext to enjoy the film. In addition to being an extremely low key comedy, the film also works as an action picture. The action sequences are very well handled by Verhoeven, full of excitement and violence. Its easy to see why this was a huge box office hit when originally released. The pace never once slows down.
Another memorable aspect of the picture, even more so than Robocop possibly, are the colorful villains. Ronny Cox is an underrated actor and excels here as the big business villain. Even more astonishing is Kurtwood Smith, an actor best known to my generation for playing Red on "That 70s Show", as one of the most hiss-worthy and flat-out sadistic bad guys ever in a film. The rest of the cast is good, but its the villains that steal the show. Overall, "Robocop" remains incredibly enjoyable to watch over twenty years later. (8/10)
Robocop, born of technology is a cyborg, half man/half machine. The
future of Law enforcement is here, and he's kicking ass.
Alex Murphy was the unfortunate candidate chosen to be robocop after he was brutally massacred by a gang of scumbag criminals. And the robocop program was brought in, after the E.D. 209 (An all robot killing machine) proto-type failed so disastrously.
Alex Murphy, now Robocop is effectively dead, but he still has a memory, and sets out on a quest to avenge his own Death, by finding the scumbags responsible.
With some quite horrific violence (E.D. 209 and Murphy scenes mainly) and some brilliant action, Robocop is character that you will warm to, as he fights crime on a personal level.
Solid entertainment 8/10
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.
I've got the music for this movie humming in my head as I type the review.
Maybe it's the effect of the movie, or the computer-game based on the
I'm not quite sure. Either way it's put me in a more agreeable mood
In the future-world of `Robocop', crime is running wild. The OCP, the police of Detroit, try desperately to fight against it but it's a losing battle. When Officer Murphy is brutally gunned down by a bunch of thugs they see an opportunity to test a new technology. Infusing the body with cyber-technology they create the ultimate crime-fighting machine - the synthetic Robocop. Robocop is out to fight crime. but finds that the fight may take him places he never thought of, including inside his past that he thought erased.
Acting? It's actually above average for a sci-fi flick. Peter Weller is mostly stoic and chisel-jawed here, as he should be seeing as how he's a robot. However the emotion underneath is shown in the glimpse of the eyes, the almost too-determined posture. It's subtle but it works. Those playing the villains have the real fun. They seem to have delight in playing utter pieces of scum, camping it up in a delightfully menacing fashion that's a joy to see.
Speaking of camp. this movie has a great comic-book feel to it. Paul Verhoeven, and the script, have their tongue lodged firmly in their cheek as they make this movie into a satire about the way our vales are changing. The over-the-top violence of the future is reflected in a blackly humorous style by contrasting it against fake-news and ad-snippets. The sheer amount of bullets flying is too much to take in and so you are reduced to incredulity and smiles rather than horror. This is intentional, a saturation of the sensibilities. Without it the movie could feel very bleak. With it there's the feeling of adventure, and an ironic acknowledgement of our own blood-lust in movies. The tone melds with the viewer very well and makes the movie appear more intelligent than it actually probably is, which is something to be said in the IQ of 0 sci-fi culture we're often in.
There's enough action throughout this movie that you're never left bored. The villains have about as much dimension as a dot, but Robocop himself has enough character to have merited the concept of a franchise (even if the follow-ups failed to live up the series' potential). It's a very entertaining piece which is told in a manner that's quite amusing. Worthy of a watch, just don't accept to be blown away. 7/10.
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