Monday, January 20, 2014

Movie Vault Review: RoboCop [1987]

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me!"


Background:
Year Of Release: 1987
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven
Written By: Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer, Kurtwood Smith, Robert DoQui
Duration: 102 minutes


In A Nutshell:
Set in the dystopian year of 2029, where Detroit, Michigan is being crippled by crime and a financial melt-down. To deal with this problem, the city police is put under the funding and control of mega-corporation, Omni Consumer Products (OCP). Its Senior President, Dick Jones (played by Ronny Cox) proposes the use of an enforcement droid, ED-209, to perform the duties of the police. That proposal is then rejected when a demonstration goes horribly wrong and an OCP board member is killed as a result. They then turn their plans to a human-cyborg project named "RoboCop" instead.

Officer Alex Murphy (played by Peter Weller) meanwhile is on duty with his partner Officer Anne Lewis (played by Nancy Allen). They go in pursuit of the city's top criminal, Clarence Boddicker (played by Kurtwood Smith) and his gang, but things don't end up well. In the aftermath, Murphy is brutally gunned-down by the criminals. He is pronounced dead and his remains are used by OCP to build "Robocop" instead.


The Verdict Is In:
There are some things that can just look timeless and fit into any era long pass its initial introduction. Among them are Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers, an iPod classic, a Lomo camera, Johnny Depp, and a Vespa Scooter. Another than can fit in seamlessly into today's world is the RoboCop costume design from 1987. Seriously, that suit still looks awesomely-cool even today (hey, wait.... the film is supposed to be set in 2029, so its still relevant for a few more years I guess ;P ). As for the film itself, it was such a huge success that it has spawned two sequels, an upcoming remake (to be released a mere few weeks from now), a television show, two animated TV series, a few video games, and a number of comic book adaptations. Safe to say its a cult favorite then.


As is the norm with most action movies from the 80s, a whole lot of suspending belief is required for today's audience. In fact, the scene where Alex Murphy is gunned down is so brutal, that its amazing there's anything left remaining of his body. The abuse he took was just a little short of a nuclear war! If you're able to get past that, then RoboCop [1987] can be quite an entertaining watch. Although quite violent, and at times rather over-the-top and cartoonish, the action sequences are pretty fun and even amusing. The story and plot is solid and director Paul Verhoeven manages to make each scene come to life with a lot of vividness. Also, to ease the tension, there's a lot of funny and bizarre clips of TV ads and news segments.


While recent remakes of cult classics from the era, like Fright Night [1985] (its newer version in 2011) and another Verhoeven film, Total Recall [1990] (its remake released in 2012) has been extremely disappointing, I'm still looking forward to the brand new RoboCop [2014] movie. At least its trailers make it look good. In the meantime, this original 1987 will remain one of the definitive sci-fi/action movies of its era! The bar is set up high!
Rating:
8 out of 10

14 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but this film was shot in Dallas if I remember correctly. I grew up just outside of downtown and as a kid imagine that this was the future. always kind of scared the s*** out of me.

    I was really looking forward to the remake... till I found out it was pg 13. that's a boo. big one

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    1. As a kid, RoboCop did scare me. Especially the scene where Murphy is gunned down. But now as an adult, yeah PG13 does kinda suck..... and this coming from a guy who isn't very fun of violent scenes like me!

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  2. Two seconds into the new RoboCop trailer. Oh, look, it's Sam Jackson. And he's talking. I'm sold.

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    1. haha... that does increase the coolness factor. But yeah, the trailer looks good. I've been deceived by trailers too many times.... yet I'm still hoping it'll be good!

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  3. Very cool review on one of my favorite films. That costume looks more bad ass then the remake. Im afraid this new version wont have any of the satirical remarks that the original had

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    1. Thanks Vern! That old costume is still cool even after 27 years later. The satirical remarks in the original were one of the highlights of the films. I still love that line: "I'd buy that for a dollar"

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  4. Good review Asrap. Though some of this movie is a bit dated in spots, it still kicks some fine ass, as well as it should being that it's all sorts of bloody, gory and fun. Shame that the remake doesn't look that good, but I'll guess we'll have to wait and check it out.

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    1. I actually like the trailer. But if recent remakes are any indication, I better not keep my expectations high.

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  5. Haven't seen this one in a long while but I figure lots of people are gonna dig it up because of the reboot. I always remember that guy from The 70s Show being such a brutal villain, ahah. The death scene is quite harrowing unlike the new one, from the trailer anyway.

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    1. haha... I actually didn't realize Kurtwood Smith was in The 70s Show even though I've watched it plenty of times! After you mentioned him, and I googled him, I was like... yeah it is him!

      That death scene did leave a lasting impression. The remake is PG13, so there's no way they'll do something similar.

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  6. aku pernah tgk robocop...tapi tak ingat yg ne..mmg kurang minat robocop ni..ahaha ..yg aku paling ingat pon dia ada satu villain ni budak kecik...adakah itu number 1? so confuse ..dan dulu aku selalu silap mamat belakon robocop ni ngan org lain...ah dem takleh ingat nama dia, ah damn..nak ingat movie dia belakon pon tuk search tak ingat..I'm loosing it..I'll get back to you on this..LOL

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    1. Aku pon dah lama x tgk.. nih baru revisit. Rasa mcm ingat ada villain bdk kecik tuh... x ingat dari muvi 2nd or 3rd or from the TV series. Dulu katun Robocop kat tv pon aku layan.

      Pelakon Robocop (Peter Weller) nih last seen dlm Star Trek... yg jd ayah Alice Eve and yg senyap2 buat spaceship gergasi tuh..

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  7. I just watched this myself the other night. I hadn't seen it since.. I don't know the 90s??? I even said that the costume for Robocop was amazing. They did a really good job on it. It does stand the test of time. I did think the end of the movie just kind of ends abruptly. Like no wrap up really. But I did enjoy it and think it's pretty decent.

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    1. I actually thought the same thing about the ending. I too haven't seen it in a while and somehow the ending made the film feel shorter than I remembered. But maybe that's because my memories included and can separate the sequels and TV show!

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