Robocop (1987)

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Robocop (1987)

Post  BoG on Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:45 pm


Robocop was director Paul Verhoeven's satiric contribution to the cyborg concept in sci-fi: in some indeterminate near future of Detroit, crime is worse than ever (a prevalent theme in eighties sci-fi, like Escape From New York).  The responsibility of law enforcement, including the actual police force, has been handed over to a corporation. After the test failure of a robotic enforcer, an ambitious young executive (Miguel Ferrer) develops the cyborg option - they just wait for the next cop casualty (played by Peter Weller) and transform him into the mostly-machine policeman, er, police-borg. The cyborg is a great success in the next few days but his memory, supposedly wiped clean, begins to resurface. This has its roots in Blade Runner and is a reversal of the premise in that one: writer Ed Neumeier got the idea from the earlier film in which a human cop was chasing after androids or robots; in this, Neumeier switched it to a robot or cyborg chasing after human criminals.
Verhoeven makes sure that we understand that much of this is not to be taken seriously. Besides the absurd commercials (which Verhoeven would return to in Starship Troopers), there's an early scene in which a young executive is accidentally and violently killed in a mishap, right there in the corporate offices. Afterwards, everyone behaves as if this is a weekly occurrence, just "life in the big city." The drawbacks of corporatism are sharply drawn, to dark comic effect - everyone has become very callous in this near-future, almost inhumanly so. It offers an ironic counterpoint to the surfacing humanity of the cyborg. Dan O'Herlihy plays the elder head of the corporation, while Ronny Cox (back soon in a similar role in Verhoeven's Total Recall) is the over-the-top devious President & no.2 of same. The darkness also extends to the brutal violence - some of this set new standards in cinematic violence, such as the gundown of Weller. The gang of crooks, led by the unusual bespectacled Kurtwood Smith, are extremely sadistic, but there's also something clownish about them.
Some of this betrays its low budget; you might notice a lackluster set design in some scenes during a 2nd viewing; but usually this moves along at such a rapid fire clip that you won't pay attention to such detail. There are also questionable plot turns - why would Weller and his partner (played by Nancy Allen) not wait for back-up when going to confront the much larger-numbered gang? Allen's character is actually responsible for what happens to Weller due to her ineptness, but there's no sense of guilt later - it's a truly callous world. Weller and Allen would return in the sequel a couple of years later, as would O'Herlihy. Verhoeven would not. BoG's Score: 8.5 out of 10. There was a short TV series in 1994 and a remake arrived in 2014.

Robo-Trivia: Robocop has three prime directives, which seem like a direct steal from Asimov's famous 3 Laws of Robotics -
>>>>>>>>> Robocop's are (1) Serve the public trust; (2) Protect the innocent; (3) Uphold the law
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Behind the Scenes of Robocop

Post  BoG on Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:54 pm



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