Review: RoboCop (Unrated, 1987)

robocopweller

When did Red ever get so violent? I guess Eric leaving home did affect him adversely after all!

Written By: Michael Miner & Edward Neumeier
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

As a young teen I was taken by the idea of RoboCop. When I saw the movie I was even, uh, more taken. It’s flat out, a cool idea and a cool story. I know many people who aren’t all that into science fiction, but I’m the opposite. It is because of movies like RoboCop that I have always loved science fiction. The places you can go are limitless, the ideas are fresh and fascinating. I grew up on science fiction and I fell in love with RoboCop on first viewing.

Holy shit, Leeza Gibbons! Does John Tesh know she left Entertainment Tonight and transported to the future?

All these years later how does RoboCop hold up as a film? Was my teenage mind taken on a flight of fancy or is RoboCop actually a good movie? There are some minor moments of cheese and some instances where the acting is, uh, less than stellar. But, for the most part RoboCop holds up extremely well. Just taken for its story alone it is still a well crafted science fiction tale. It works within the realm of the known future, not the distant future. It is very dystopian in its take on our future, but that is something the audience can relate to. It’s something I could relate to at least, and it’s even more apropos today based on the direction the world is heading in.

But, a good story isn’t all that RoboCop offers. Like any great science fiction yarn it is layered. RoboCop is a send up of violence, politics and capitalism. I was most impressed with Paul Verhoeven’s implementation of the idea of excess in the film. We are a culture of excess, it just so happens we don’t like to have our excesses pointed out to us. In RoboCop bigger equals better, whether it’s a car with terrible gas mileage or weaponry that goes beyond useful. Verhoeven also ties excess into our perception, the violence and blood letting is more excessive than need be, because we are an excessive people, even if we don’t want to accept it.

The film has a dirty look, it is very bleak in its outlook on humanity but also in its set design, costumes and cinematography. I love dystopian settings, and the setting of RoboCop really worked for me. On the subject of little touches done right in RoboCop, I was a fan of the point of view transition from Officer Weller to RoboCop. That section was handled perfectly to our reference point and to set up what was to come in the later acts. I was also an admirer of the various news and commercial interludes, they were a nice approach.

In a science fiction movie that focuses on creatures or otherworldly beings those beings better be worthy of your attention. RoboCop and ED-209 are both very cool in design and function. They tie into the excessive theme while also looking deadly and are a lot of fun to watch. The action scenes between the two of them were well handled, providing plenty of violence as well as a healthy dose of suspense in their initial encounter.

A lot of time has passed since I first saw RoboCop, but it still holds up as both a great science fiction tale and a great movie. Some of the story is obvious, especially what is going to happen to Murphy, but I don’t know if there is any real way around that. Minor flaws aside RoboCop is still a lot of fun to watch and its message is just as timely as when the film was first released. Hey, it’s Leeza Gibbons again, I feel like I’m back in 1989 all over again, take me away John Tesh!

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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2 responses to “Review: RoboCop (Unrated, 1987)

  1. Pingback: 80s US Bracket: RoboCop (Unrated, 1987) | Bill's Movie Emporium

  2. Pingback: This Week In Cinema: March 18-24, 2012 | Bill's Movie Emporium

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