We’re only around three to four weeks away before the 2014 reboot of Robocop is upon us. According to Wikipedia, it’s scheduled to be released on the 7th of February in the UK and the 12th of February in the United States. Me? I’m actually cautiously optimistic for the film. I’m a huge fan of Alex Murphy/Robocop, so I’ll be making sure I’ll be watching this movie the day it comes to the Philippines!
But since I’ll be eventually comparing the reboot to the original films, I’ve decided that, until it’s released, I will be reviewing the Robocop Trilogy for the next three weeks! Starting with the one that started it all, of course!
By the way, I’ll make this review (and all reviews of the other films) SPOILER FREE!
Robocop takes place decades in the future in Detroit. Overrun by crime, the city’s police force is bought by Omni Consumer Products (OCP), a mega-conglomerate set to demolish the old city to “resurrect” it as New Detroit. With the police threatening to strike because of cutbacks by their new bosses, OCP decided to create a new police unit. While they initially fail with their first try (ED-209), they do succeed when they put recently deceased cop Alex Murphy into a cybernetic shell. Renaming him Robocop, he becomes a one-man police force.
First, I need to talk about the acting, in which everyone does a superb job! Whether it be Peter Weller’s great job of playing Robocop, Kurtwood Smith’s demented and psychotic Clarence Boddicker, Nancy Allen’s Anne Lewis or even Dan O’Herlihy as “The Old Man,” everyone pulls their weight. The best thing is everyone is given their own time to shine in one way or another! Each of Clarence’s henchmen have more personality than the mobsters seen in The Dark Knight!
Another thing that makes Robocop a fantastic movie are the sound effects. The filmmakers made sure to put an incredible amount of detail in this aspect. I love it that you can hear Robocop stomping around whenever he walks. Or each time he moves his head, there’s this noticeable whirring buzz with each jerky movement. They even made a mindless robot like ED-209 sound like some weird alien creature when it screams!
The sets and costumes are also awesome! There’s a certain realism presented to the film with how dirty the streets are or how clean and expensive looking the OCP building interiors are. Robocop’s look is actually something fairly utilitarian and tank like (which is how he’s built). However, some of the visual effects look pretty dated. You can tell ED-209 is a puppet due to it’s choppy movement. There’s also a scene in the very end that looks… awkward. You’ll know it when you see it.
However, the best thing about Robocop is how they managed to include a lot of world building details without having to spell it out to you. The movie subtly tells you about the world its trying to present through news broadcasts and commercials sprinkled throughout the film. They’re never distracting and actually manage to convey how bad and cynical the world has become.
There are also some things that may not be functional from a storytelling standpoint but they still work since they make the world more “lived in.” As in these are characters that are just living their lives! I may never understand what’s so hilarious about “I’d buy that for a dollar!” But the people from Robocop’s world understand the joke!
When I watched this film way back in 1987, I was supposedly too young to watch this movie as this was Rated R because of all of the violence. But I hope the remake contains this level of wanton destruction because it looks great! There’s a lot of extremely over-the-top bloodshed and brutality depicted here (especially with what happens to Alex Murphy early on in the film) but just at the proper “cartoony” level and it’s never gratuitous.
Overall, Robocop is still a fantastic movie, even up to this day. While some of the visuals could have been done better, it’s still a smashing good action/sci-fi film. It’s something all geeks (and all movie lovers) should watch… right now if you have the chance!
What did you think of the original Robocop? Please leave your thoughts and comments below!