RoboCop (1987)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
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Overall Rating 78%
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Ranked #552
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Connections: RoboCop

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Peter Weller
Peter Weller
Nancy Allen
Nancy Allen
Dan O'Herlihy
Dan O'Herlihy
Ronny Cox
Ronny Cox
Kurtwood Smith
Kurtwood Smith
Review by Chad
Added: October 26, 2007
RoboCop is one of those very rare movies that appeals to just about every different demographic out there due to the perfect blend of storytelling, action, and great characters. Honestly, how many movies do you know of that have appealed to the general public so much that they received television series, cartoons, games, and toys? Alright, more than a few, but of those, how many have also appealed to the "serious" film collectors enough so that a Criterion Collection version would be released? Not a whole lot, and that goes a long way in showing how great RoboCop truly is.

We begin by taking a look at the state of affairs in Detroit sometime in the near future, and... well, it looks a lot like it does today. Crime is through the roof and the cops are forced to wear heavy body armor on a daily basis, and this segues into an introduction to Officer Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller), the new cop in this town who is determined to make a difference. He's partnered up with Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen), and together, the two are unstoppable; well, they are in their minds, but things start going downhill on their very first assignment. You see, they've been ordered to apprehend a group of criminals led by the notorious Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) who have stolen an armored car which is full of money, and this chase leads them to an abandoned factory where Murphy is killed in the line of duty. Talk about having a bad first day.

Just when it looks like we've watched the shortest and most anticlimactic film in the history of action heroes, we meet the boys running Omni Consumer Products. Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), one of the bigwigs over there, has plans to enhance law enforcement by producing a line of huge robotic monstrosities which are invulnerable to pain, have no need for such trivial things as sleep or food, and oh yeah - they kick a whole lot of criminal ass. The problem is that they're unreliable (as evidenced in a botched demonstration), so the company goes with their backup plan: a line of robotic officers who look almost human, with the obvious exception of their metallic exoskeletons. They decide to use Murphy's body as the basis for their first robot, and over the next couple of days, the city is cleaned up tremendously courtesy of this cyborg. However, when the memories of his previous life start to bubble up in his brain and when he discovers that his creators may not have had the best of intentions when putting him together, things take a turn towards the interesting.

RoboCop is one of those films that I had never gotten around to watching, as it really didn't seem like something I'd be interested in. Sure, I knew all about it and had heard the praise that it received, but as far as actually picking up my own copy and checking it out for myself? I just never got around to it, and boy, was that ever a mistake. RoboCop lives up to all of the praise and is one hell of a solid movie that is definitely worth a place in just about any DVD collection.

What makes the film work as well as it does is the simple fact that it can be viewed in a couple of distinct ways; if you simply want a great sci-fi action flick, this one fits the bill. It's chock full of great action sequences, despicable villains, and of course, an excellent hero who the audience can immediately get behind and root for. The special effects still hold up by today's standards, and everything is done with a touch of personality that sets it apart from the thousands of other films that have attempted to blend science fiction and action together.

One can also look a little deeper into the storyline and see that there's actually a message here, one that deals with corporate greed, the desensitization towards violence of the general public, and the "bigger is better" mentality of the eighties. These elements of the film are what really makes it as memorable as it is, but these messages are never rubbed in the viewer's face in order to drive the point home; they're there and they're easy to spot, but again, those of you wanting a simple action flick can easily overlook them and take what you want away from the film.

Of course, we couldn't have ourselves a great film without a lead character, and RoboCop provides us with that as well. No matter how you look at it, the filmmakers nailed this one; the character itself is excellently done, and at the same time, the actor playing this character does a damned fine job with it. Peter Weller is able to mix human emotion with the cold, soulless nature of a robot flawlessly, and once again, viewers can get behind this character regardless of what they're looking for in a film.

A true classic, and it's also a film that I regret putting off for so long. It has everything one could ask for from a film of this nature, and it lives up to every last bit of the hype that it's received over the years since its release. 10/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 10/26/2007, 05:05 PM
Good movie. I don't know about appealing to every demographic. I think it alienates itself from every demographic with the violence. I remember seeing this as a kid and thinking how violent it was, though I still loved it. In fact, I loved it as a kid, but only like it as an adult. It's well constructed and entertaining, but it's really got very little substance to it. It's a lot of visual goodness. Now -- as for the Criterion Collection business -- I could write an entire novella on the bizarre way in which films are chosen for Criterion Collections. It's basically the decision is one person. Anyhoo, I don't disagree with your review, I just think it is not quite a masterpiece, by any stretch. 8/10.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 10/26/2007, 06:30 PM
I'm sorry, but I love this movie over either "Terminator" films (notice I said either, 'cuz fuck 3). It has a wonderfuly constructed plot, amazing effects and one of the most bad-ass heroes ever to grace the screen. I can't think of any part of this films where I was bored.

Fun Fact: Just got the Criterion hella cheap. Poor bastard didn't know it was out of print. Score.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 10/26/2007, 06:37 PM
I will agree -- I did like this film better than both "Terminator" films. Peter Weller over Schwarzenegger any day of the week.
Shakes #4: Shakes - added 01/22/2009, 11:12 AM
Fucking excellent movie. "I'd buy THAT for a dollar!" ... priceless. 10/10
Shakes #5: Shakes - added 01/22/2009, 11:13 AM
Peter Weller>Arnie
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #6: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 01/30/2009, 01:59 AM
Classic. Robo is an OG.
Lucid Dreams #7: Lucid Dreams - added 02/25/2010, 12:55 PM
Indeed a classic film. I played the video game all the time. 10/10
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