RoboCop (1987)

Are you a fan of HBO’s Westworld or a Nolanite? (fan name for both Christopher & Jonathan Nolan) Allow me to introduce you newcomers about a slain police officer, who is miraculously resurrected as an unstoppable cybernetic one-man army known as “RoboCop.” It is directed by Paul Verhoeven. (Total Recall, Starship Troopers, Basic Instinct)

RoboCop was released in 1987. (same year Predator came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers. Plus, it made enough money at the box office. The film went on to spawn a franchise consisting of two lackluster sequels, comic books, video games, an animated children’s show, (I swear I’m not making it up) and an underwhelming remake in 2014 with Joel Kinnaman taking over Peter Weller’s iconic role. The original RoboCop is part of The Criterion Collection as Spine Number 23. Sadly, copies are out of print.

Fun Fact: RoboCop is one of Zack Snyder’s favorite movies and inspired him to become a film director.

Rumors speculate that the original RoboCop is getting a true follow up. Upon learning about the rumor, I thought about introducing you fellow movie goers on what’s good or bad about this gem from the 80s. As a Nolanite myself, I think Evan Rachel Wood’s character, Dolores Abernathy, (from Westworld) is possibly based on RoboCop.

The following review doesn’t contain any potential SPOILERS. You are allowed to read this article if you’ve never ever ever got a chance to see it.

Positive & Negative Qualities

Positive: Peter Weller did a spectacular job on his performance as the titular character. As a method actor, Peter stayed in character as both Alex Murphy & RoboCop, he preferred to be called either one. To this day, I’m mortified that he never earned an Oscar nomination.

Other Cast Members such as, Kurtwood Smith, (Red Forman from That 70’s Show) Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox & Daniel O’Heirlihy all did a great job on their respective performances.

Paul Verhoeven did a fantastic job coordinating the film.

Action Sequences are filled with unforgettable moments like RoboCop’s personal vendetta against the bad guys who mowed him down.

Practical Effects were used to create the RoboCop suit. Peter Weller wore the suit and Prosthetic Makeup was applied on Peter’s face to resemble an unmasked RoboCop.

Cinematography didn’t contain no Shaky Cam at all.

Even though this film is labeled as an action sci-fi crime thriller, it has elements of black comedy.

The film’s setting is a satirical depiction of The Reagan Era surrounding economics growth, technology, crime, massive companies advertising etc. Surprisingly, RoboCop still holds up in today’s society as both the movie and real life parallel between one another.

Producers of the film claimed RoboCop’s design is based on Judge Dredd.

Dialogue is very memorable, you can’t forget that guy on television who said the infamous line… “I’d buy that for a dollar!” You can’t forget RoboCop’s catchphrase, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!”

The First Act shows us Murphy’s origin story on how he transformed into RoboCop. If I were you, be prepared, because Alex’s death is very brutal. Here’s a tip, bring a barf bag if you can’t handle a bloodbath.

Prior to Murphy’s death, he has a habit of twirling his gun. I’m giving his trait Bonus Points as a subtle way of foreshadowing what’s left of his humanity connected to his past. An example of “show don’t tell.”

A minor character named Mr. Kinney, is gunned down by ED-209. I’m giving this movie Bonus Points for Encouraging Trey Parker & Matt Stone to come up with Kenny McCormick’s creative death scenes.

A David Vs. Goliath scenario is used between RoboCop’s battle against ED-209.

Despite his capabilities, Murphy has an internal flaw within his system. I won’t tell you what it is, you’re gonna have to see for yourself.

Besides his pistol, RoboCop has a blade inside the palm of his hand. Does this mean he’s the first character to acquire a hidden blade before Assassins Creed existed?

Without giving too much away, Character Development involving Alex, after being reborn as a cybernetic one-man army, he begins to show signs of developing an existential crisis based on his previous life. As the film progresses, his combat tactics become organically pragmatic, rather than automatic.

Primary Themes depicted in this movie are Capitalism, Consumerism, Resurrection, Corruption & Identity.

According to Paul Verhoeven, Murphy/RoboCop is based on Jesus. Both of them at first died painfully, until a miracle happens, they’ve earned a second chance to come back from the dead. Paul made sure not shove way too much religious symbolism in your face.

I’m giving this movie an Extra Point for the film inspiring cyborg protagonists, Dolores Abernathy (from HBO’s Westworld) & Motoko Kusanagi. (from Ghost in the Shell)

Negative: Special Effects like ED-209’s Stop Motion Animation, didn’t age pretty well. I’m giving this flaw a pass, because C.G.I. wasn’t around back then for a film that came out in 1987.

Product Placement featuring brands such as Jack Daniels, Coca-Cola, Tide, MasterCard & Visa. I’ll let this con slide, because I couldn’t spot no other brand to shove down my throat.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

The original RoboCop is by far the more superior film than the remake. Without RoboCop, Ghost in the Shell & HBO’s Westworld would’ve never existed. If you’ve never seen it, I strongly recommend this movie. If a possible sequel is gonna happen, Peter Weller definitely needs to come back one last time! Please Hollywood, make this happen! Scrap the remake and sequels from 1990-1993. Give the people a true sequel.

2 thoughts on “RoboCop (1987)

  1. Great to read! There’s something inherently heartbreaking about RoboCop, which is what helps it resonate above your average action thriller from this era. The satire is excellent too, creating an odd balance of tones that somehow works. Paul Verhoeven didn’t make many films, but they were usually memorable.


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