In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.
I once did an evening film course called Talking Pictures which would involve watching a film then having a two hour group discussion on the film . I saw the filmography before the class started and the vast majority would be art house foreign cinema . The one exception was ROBOCOP and I knew instantly this was the one that was going to split the group right down the middle in to love it or hate it with no in between . True to form this how things worked out . Most the class despised it wondering why the class had to watch such a cartoonish commercial film . I however did state I loved it and considered it to be the third best SF movie of the 1980s behind THE TERMINATOR and ALIENS
What makes ROBOCOP such a cerebral enjoyable film is the uncommon mix of social satire and no holds barred Verhoeven excess . While " greed is good " to a certain extent the idea of corporate capitalism is something to be rejected . A small self elected clique ruling over the Universe in order to maximise profits is a bad mix of capitalism meets self serving communism . Not so much a mixed economic system but more a combination of greedy speculators from one system being merged with the unthinking party loyalty of the other system . It's greed for money plus greed for power which is a marriage made in hell and being dead isn't enough to make you escape the clutches of OCP and the film revolves around the human element of Murphy remembering who he once was and it's this that is at the core of the movie
Of course Verhoeven isn't a director who does sentimental mawkish stuff and I doubt if the audience was wanting to see a Walt Disney film . What they were wanting to see was bad things happen to very bad people and you can't help cheering as criminals get killed , maimed , mutilated and in one case melted . It's a violent film but one that is so cartoonish that the violence is not to be taken seriously , a fact reflected in the loud slightly unrealistic acting style . This attitude wasn't enough to stop its British network premiere on ITV becoming farcical with a TV version being broadcast with notorious lines like " you gonna be a bad mother crusher " along with key scenes like the ones with mister melty conspicuous by their absence
There is of course a new version of ROBOCOP hitting the cinema this week but is a film I have no interest in watching judging by the clips I've seen of it . It's strange to think that another Verhoeven classic TOTAL RECALL was also recently remade . As it stands the original ROBOCOP remains one of the greatest genre films from the 1980s containing wit , satire and enjoyably mean carnage
- Theo Robertson
- Feb 8, 2014