Those of you who have been following my blog for a while now, know that I am a massive 80’s fan. And if you are a new reader, welcome, and I guess you now know this too. One of the things I really enjoyed in the 80’s were the enormous amount of iconic science fiction movies that were made. It gave us so many great characters, like for instance The Terminator and Predator , that one would almost forget that we are talking about movies that were made more than 30 years ago. But even so, all of these have withstood the test of time very well, and are still highly enjoyable to watch. Another character that stems from that great era is a cop. And we are not talking about an ordinary cop, we are talking about Robocop, the future of law enforcement.
Robocop takes place in the near future in the city of Detroit. It is not the Detroid we know today, but a cesspool of a city, ruled by criminals and where cops are pretty much outnumbered. To get a grip on the criminal elements, the mayor of the city has turned to the powerful mega company Omni Consumer Products, or OCP for short. The vice-president of the company, a man named Dick Jones, has just presented his new tool against crime, a robotic droid called ED-209. Unfortunately the first test of this thing is unsuccessful to put it mildly. Meanwhile a new cop has just arrived at Detroid police headquarters, a man named Alex Murphy. After being introduced to his new partner, the feisty Ann Lewis, the two of them hit the streets. Hot on the trail of a group of criminals led by the ruthless Boddicker, they get caught in an ambush, where Murphy is killed. Not long after this horrible event, OCP introduces their new weapon against crime: Robocop. Soon crime in the city takes a hit, as Robocop begins his mission of justice. But Ann sees an uncanny resemblance to her old partner Murphy in the cyborg. And as succesful as Robocop seems to be, there are some things that even he can’t fight…..
Robocop is another one of those classic movie characters that I was talking about earlier. Portrayed by actor Peter Weller, he has brought this character to life in a very impressive way. The Robocop suit he wore, was very uncomfortable, and to top things off, the only thing you could see of his face was his mouth. Despite that fact, he still manages to give away a stunning performance, and brings a humanity to his role that most actors can only dream off. The other actor worthy of note is Kurtwood Smith, who most people might know from That 70’s show. Here he plays the role of the evil Clarence Boddicker, a man that you will really grow to hate during this film. And that is all because of the great acting of Smith, as he truly excells in portraying this hated character. Ronny Cox in the role of Dick Jones, and Nancy Allen as Ann Lewis provide great supporting characters. All in all the acting on display only adds to the enjoyment of this movie.
Now I am not going to lie to you here, Robocop is a brutal movie. There is some very graphic violence in this film, a trademark in most of director Paul Verhoeven’s movies. It does work in this film however, even though some people might really frown upon it. The story of the film is full of criticism upon the corporate America of the 80’s. One of the ways this is done is through the showing of a couple of hilarious commercials throughout the movie, and a few television newscasts. So besides this working as a great science fiction action movie, it is also a well thought out story, full of small jabs at the American way of life of the 80’s. The special effects for the movie were state of the art at the time, but do look a bit dated now, especially the stop motion scenes involving the ED-209 droid. But this really is a minor issue, as the movie is still well worth the watch.
Robocop went on to become part of movie history. It spawned two sequels, an animated and live action tv series, and a remake of the original film. Now the remake was not received very well at the time, but I certainly did not think it was a bad film. I might do a review for that one in the near future. The 1987 version however, is still the best one, and a movie that I highly recommend. Besides great performances, it has a meaningful storyline, and some great action sequences. If you are easily offended by gore and ultraviolence though, I think it is best to avoid seeing this movie. Otherwise there might be trouble, to quote a Robocop phrase.
I give Robocop a 9 out of 10 score.