Robocop (1987) – Paul Verhoeven

Yet another film I grew up with has found its way onto the 101 Sci-Fi Movies list.

With it’s over the top violence and gore, Robocop is like a larger than life comic-book, that has done nothing but get better with age.

Verhoeven pushes Detroit police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) past the breaking point, as he is shot to death by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his thugs. But that’s just the beginning. A giant corporation Omni Consumer Products has competing plans between feuding executives to introduce a new police enforcement agent, there’s the monstrous ED-209 program and the Robocop program.

After a disastrous display involving Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) Enforcement Droid, Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) convinces the Old Man (Dan O’Herlihy) to give him the go ahead on his program, and the newly dying Murphy ends up in OCP’s greedy corporate hands.

muphyNext thing you know Robocop is on patrol, cleaning up the streets of Old Detroit as new signs proclaiming the building of Delta City portend that changes are coming.

Murphy in his new form begins to wrestle with his memories of his wife, child and even his own brutal murder, and working within the guidelines that he’s been programmed with, even a 4th, classified one, he goes to work bringing criminals to justice.

Working alongside him in both incarnations is Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) who kicks ass and chews bubble gum. I don’t think she’s given enough to do in the film, but she is nonetheless very awesome.

The film occasionally cuts to news programs, advertisements, and a recurring sitcom featuring the now classic line, ‘I’d buy that for a dollar.’

roboIt’s corporation and consumerism gone mad, it’s a fight to maintain individuality, let alone rights as OCP seems to be in the process of controlling everything.

The film is incredibly bloody and violent, and this was one of the first films I saw when I was younger that fully embraced it… One thug, Emil (Paul McCrane) gets doused in toxic waste and begins to decay, his face sliding downwards, his fingers lengthening, enough to be cooly freaky, before getting splattered across the front of a car, just WOW.

I also love how both heroes and villains recognize Murphy as Robocop through things he says and does, even as he’s struggling with his own identity and shattered memories.

This is one flick, that I love!

Basil Poledouris creates a wicked, pounding theme for Robocop which heralds the character almost wherever he goes. The music for the film is exemplary, and adds to the fun.

murphylewisThis one is pure Verhoeven filled with things we’ve come to expect from his films, violence, blood and sexuality (though not quite so much in this one), but there are lots of the other two. Murphy’s execution by Boddicker and his gang is still amazingly brutal and shocking.

Of course with that brutality so early in the film, you want Murphy to have his vengeance on his attackers, and their bosses, and he gets it, but does it by working inside the law, albeit a little more violently than needed.

Weller and Smith are in top form in this film, and seeing Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer and Ray Wise is always fun as well.

This is one awesome entry on the 101 Sci-Fi films list, and I love revisting it.

What did you think of it?


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