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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 21: RoboCop


Sept 21: RoboCop

"In a dystopic & crime ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him."
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven, Rated: R, 102 minutes

I think it's fair to say that director Paul Verhoeven has carved a brutal little place into my heart. The man knows how to make a movie, be it a sci-fi action flick (Starship Troopers), a sex-filled melodrama (Showgirls), or a Arnold-led Mars manhunt (Total Recall). Of course, we wouldn't have any of those film without RoboCop, the breakout hit of 1987 for Verhoeven that proves the man has a way with not only special effects, but glorious, glorious amounts of gore. Verhoeven manages to turn an otherwise forgettable and campy idea into an instant 80s classic and delivers a movie that's worth every bit of your time as anything that comes out today. 

F**k and yes. 

RoboCop follows Alex Murphy (Peter Weller), a cop in a futuristic, crime-raped Detroit. His department continually gets bad news, with cops dying each day with no hope for containing the crime and serving justice. A company, called OCP (Omni Consumer Products), led by the greedy Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), takes over the police force in hopes of implementing a new breed of street security and turning Detroit into a utopia of freedom and peace. OCP introduces the idea of an automated police force, run by robots and machines to get the dirty work done. After Murphy is left for dead by a group of criminals led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), OCP turns him into RoboCop, a cyborg cop with metal armor, targeting sights, and all kinds of gadgets. Imagine if you will, that Inspector Gadget was given a full body suit and a gun and you get RoboCop. As RoboCop proves to be a useful asset to the city, stopping robberies and rapes, he begins to discover the truth behind the entire project he's a part of as well as the identities of the men behind his attempted murder. 

"Can you fly, Bobby?"

As I mentioned, RoboCop is incredibly violent. Yes, it's very over-the-top and gratuitous, but it all works wonderfully. When the movie is set in a no-hope, crime-ridden city, you need the violence in order to show had bad it all really is (plus it's fun). Along with the bloody bits, RoboCop completely delivers in the special effects department. Utilizing my favorite thing in the world- practical effects- the film has an added level of camp AND realism. The effects for RoboCop himself are superb, and once the helmet is removed and we see Peter Weller as a half-man, half-cyborg creation, you keep looking around the edges for flaws in the makeup and SFX (note: you can't find any). RoboCop's story may not be the strongest thing in the world, as it really just turns into your ordinary revenge idea, but it's execution is so awesome you can't help but cheer along for the ultimate good guy and eagerly anticipate the brutal end of all his enemies. 

Toxic waste makes everything fun. 

I would highly recommend RoboCop in all of its glory. In all of the blood, the film clearly has a message at its core that highlights the violence in America and our desensitizing to it all. While the message isn't as profound or prophetic as some films can be, it's clearly hiding underneath the shiny, gory overcoat. All in all, the movie is too much fun to miss out on and with the remake approaching slowly, it's definitely worth re-visiting. 

The Good:
ultra-violence with a good deal of humor, all thrown into a really f**ked up world
The Bad:
a smart plot that's able to disguise the fact it's really not that deep
The Ugly:
the slightest worry that the remake will be nowhere near as violent or awesome as the original

Overall: 7.7/10


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At September 21, 2012 at 7:39 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

Robocop is one of the great films of the 1980s. I know that many have looked at it as a political film, and there are elements to it that are definitely reflective of the times. The reason that most people remember the movie however is the brutally violent action sequences and the ultimately hopeful story of a cop named Murphy. This movie was a success but I think the violence and the rating limited it's potential to be the blockbuster it should have been. I saw it in a sneak preview playing with "Adventures in Babysitting" of all things. The roar of the audience at the end of the movie was like a freight train zooming by right next to you. People cheered and screamed and applauded. Somewhere in my photo albums I have a picture of me standing next to ED 209 in the lobby of the theaters at Universal Studios the weeks after this opened when I went to see "Innerspace".
Robocop had terrific performances and memorable lines and a hero who wanted to do what was right regardless of whether he was man or machine. I cannot recommend this movie as highly as it deserves to be recommended. FANTASTIC Film making.

At September 21, 2012 at 8:01 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I think I just tapped into Richard's favorite movie... lol.

But all in all, I agree with you. The more Verhoeven I re-watch, the more I appreciate how good of a filmmaker he really is.

At September 21, 2012 at 9:26 PM , Blogger KimWilson said...

The premise for the film was interesting, but the film itself was not a fave of mine. Too much 80s.

At September 21, 2012 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Nick said...

The violence is what won me over.

At September 22, 2012 at 10:24 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

Just watched it again. "Dick, you're fired"

At September 22, 2012 at 10:25 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Bitches, Leave!


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