Anybody who says they don’t enjoy Robocop is a filthy liar. Take the joy that is a film from the ’80s, an incredible looking robotic hero, some seriously twisted villains, enough blood and toxic waste to almost make this a horror film, and you’ve got one of the most fantastic films out there.
For the three people out there who haven’t seen this one, the story follows recently transferred cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) as he joins the police force in the most crime filled neighbourhood of Detroit. The evil corporation OCP is attempting to build the latest in police and military robots. When there’s a terrible accident, a back up plan to build a cyborg police officer is instituted. All they need is a volunteer. When Murphy is brutally killed on the job, they turn his lifeless corpse into Robocop, an effective cyborg that may be setting his sights on corruption within OCP.
When trying to pick what the 1,000th review would be, I ran into quite a few problems. Most of my favourite films had already gotten reviewed, and I didn’t want to chance watching something new that may not be enjoyable. I finally realized that I had missed this incredible film. It’s almost impossible to explain the intense awesomeness that this film represents. It’s as if director Paul Verhoeven took everything good about action and horror films, and smashed it all together. It takes almost no time to get right into the action, not to mention some extreme bloodshed. Within the first 20 minutes of the film, a poor executive is shot numerous times by the malfunctioning ED-209 robot, and Murphy meets his end at the hands of Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his gang. The film is very well paced, rewarding fans with scene after scene of action.
Before my friends and I started watching every horror movie around, Robocop was one of the bloodiest films we had seen. Murphy’s death scene involves more gunfire and blood than quite a few horror flicks that I’ve watched, and that’s just the start. Viewers are also treated to a toxic waste nightmare towards the end of the film when one of the bad guys drives straight into a vat of the stuff. He comes out looking almost gooey enough to be in the film Street Trash. It’s an image that is hard to forget. Speaking of the bad guys, this film is full of them. From typical street thugs, to corporate villains, there’s always a bad guy to shoot at. Leading the charge is one of my favourite onscreen villains, Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker. He’s sick and twisted, with an evil sense of humour, and has a knack for killing.
The corporate bad guys are a little more subtle, but just as evil. Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) is the second in command at OCP, and the man responsible for the vicious ED-209. He’s more concerned with the bottom line, and is determined to get ED-209 into production for the military. His competition comes from Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer), the young executive that thinks Jones time is up. He’s the one who comes up with the Robocop program, making Dick Jones look like an idiot. When Jones has to deal with Morton, he calls in Clarence for help. There’s nothing like seeing the villains fight amongst themselves.
Our hero, Robocop, is a visually stunning mix of man and machine. Peter Weller does a fantastic job as the man in the suit, giving Robocop’s motions the right amount of jerkiness. His movements, his voice, and his delivery of so many great one liners is amazing. Robocop also looks insanely badass. The image of him in the theatrical poster is burned in my mind from when I was a kid. When he steps onscreen in the film, it still fills me with that same excitement that I had over 20 years ago. Although dated in certain aspects, Robocop seems timeless in his look. I can only hope they create something similar in the upcoming remake, because there is nothing wrong with the way he looks.
With so many memorable moments, bloody violence, vicious villains, crazy robots, and enough one liners to make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like an amateur, Robocop may be the greatest film from the ’80s. As kids, we would constantly throw out dialogue from the movie, and it seems that nothing has changed. I waited patiently for my kids to be home so we could watch, and although my daughter wasn’t interested, my son wound up being glued to the TV. Despite his initial response that he would watch it another time, after about 10 minutes, he was yelling about how awesome Robocop was. I imagine he’ll be bugging his sister from now on, telling her that “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!” It’s nice to know that Robocop can still have the same effect on kids, even after 25 years.
Under the marquee – Will