80s US Bracket: RoboCop (Unrated, 1987)

I double dip for the first time with the second film in my first match-up in the third round of the 80s US Bracket!

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

Before trudging forward go and check out my original review for RoboCop, you just might like it!

I was happy to be assigned RoboCop for my latest match-up in the Filmspotting 80s US Bracket. A bracket film is always welcome, but being assigned RoboCop allows me to revisit a film I like a lot, while also testing my review muscles. I could go the lazy route and write up the same review I did last time, most of those points struck me just as much in the viewing as they did in my last viewing. I’m a guy who likes to think that he can look at any movie at any time from a fresh perspective, that means no laziness from me, but will that mean a quality review for everyone reading?

For starters, this time around I was bugged by a few aspects of RoboCop that didn’t faze me in the first review. I know the film is big, broad, and over the top, but this time out I noticed that I wanted more from the world around RoboCop. I wasn’t looking for an incredible level of depth where every character is well fleshed out, besides that’s not the movie Paul Verhoeven is trying to make. What I was looking for was a smidgen, a morsel, just a longer taste if you will of Old Detroit. We see a lot of it in montages, and that works to a point, but I was looking for more of the seediness of the city. I wanted to truly see how dark and depraved the home of my Detroit Red Wings had become, but the movie shied away from giving me much of Old Detroit and I’m not sure why.

The thematic depth of RoboCop stood out to me just as much this time as it did on all my previous viewings. The theme of excess was still prevalent, as was the theme of violence. As I was watching RoboCop for the umpteenth time I thought I might have trouble picking up on any new depth, thematic or otherwise, to mull over in my head. Imagine my surprise when a new interpretation popped into my head, the idea of American cultural decay. This ties directly into the theme of excess, but when I say American cultural decay I am specifically referring to the films thesis that what happens to Old Detroit could happen to America at any point because America is a land where such things happen. In the American drive to be the best excesses will be ignored, the decline of our culture will be ignored until the land of RoboCop is all that is left and the American public will be okay with that. The theme is so obvious that it’s been in RoboCop all the times I’ve watched it previously, but the film is so layered that I’m just now picking up on said theme.

On this viewing of RoboCop I found myself enjoying the acting a lot more than I have in the past. There’s a certain glee to be found in the way all involved go about handling the broad and over the top world they have been asked to inhabit. Peter Weller shrinks away, he allows the world to overtake him because he’s less human than everyone else and that reaction makes sense. Kurtwood Smith goes larger than life, in a world where everything and everyone has gone bad it makes perfect sense that the baddest of them all would be the loudest and craziest. Even Nancy Allen, I haven’t been a huge fan of her performance in the past, did some interesting things with the earthy nature of her character. The actors know the world they are in is larger than life, they have fun with this fact, and so did I.

RoboCop remains a science fiction favorite of mine, a film that has held up to repeated viewings. Paul Verhoeven does a splendid job of getting the best out of his actors and deftly handling the various themes of the film. RoboCop is a movie I would still gladly recommend to cinephile and casual movie lover alike. I had a great time going back to this world, exploring the themes and reveling in the over the top broadness of RoboCop.




3 responses to “80s US Bracket: RoboCop (Unrated, 1987)

  1. I don’t know if all that more of Old Detroit was required. I think the movie had to balance what is happening on the streets with what is happening in the large corporation that is attempting to use Old Detroit as a springboard for their plans. I think the movie balances those two mutually undesirable world well enough.

  2. I wanted a little more. I liked the corporate stuff, but I could have used some more ground level imagination.

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

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