Tuesday, April 9, 2013

MR RoboCop 1

A new movie might be coming up, that's no reason to forget your classics.

Part man. Part machine. All cop.

Movie: RoboCop 
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Release date 1987
Genre Science-fiction action
Country USA

Good ol' RoboCop!

The movie that helped establish Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven.

It wasn't actually his debut film, he had a career for over a decade, making several pictures in the Netherlands. His actual first film for Hollywood was the 1985 adventure Flesh and Blood filmed in the Netherlands and Spain. That filmed was distributed through Orion Pictures, the same independent production company that produced James Cameron's Terminator.

Looking for the next big science-fiction sensation, it was writers Edward Neumeier (who would later write Starship Troopers and direct Starship Troopers 3) and Michael Miner that came up with the idea. Story goes they were inspired by Blade Runner while discussing Ridley Scott's classic.

"A cop hunting robots". Add in a dash from British comic book character Judge Dredd as well and you get yourself an idea how things took shape piece by piece.

Detroit, Michigan.

The near-future.

The city is ruined financially. Crime is running free in the streets.

Cops are dirty. Thugs run the neighborhoods. Nobody seems to stand up for people. And with corrupted mega-corporation running half the country.

The Omni Consumer Products corporation has projects to replace the Old Detroit with their utopic "Delta City". But they first need to clean up the streets for that. They try to launch their program by announcing the ED-209 robot to the world. But things don't go that well during the presenation...

Veteran police officer Alex J. Murphy is after some thugs one day, and gets executed point blank.

Exactly what the OCP needed. A human subject to run some tests.

Our cop is resurrected. Murphy is no more. He is reborn as the indestructible machine RoboCop, half machine, all cop. More than a mere mortal man.

RoboCop is here to serve and protect citizens.

The new Robo-Murphy starts to eliminate crime. When he notices it all serves the OCP's plans of city-wide reconstruction project. So he goes after the corrupted mega-corporation that created him...

Is Murphy still human? What does it mean to be a man?

As one of Paul Verhoeven's earliest productions, RoboCop plays with a lot of themes and subtexts that Verhoeven would continue to explore in a lot of his later films.

There's a lot of great ideas thrown in RoboCop. It's a movie with everything you'd ask for! Extreme violence, social satire, political jokes, scifi and big budget action like you don't see much these days - back before they started relying too much on CGi.

There's definitively some takes on capitalism as a whole, the corruption that comes with power and money, etc. Also a very interesting exploration of "resurrection". From Murphy's death in a Christ-like fashion.

(he gets beaten in a cross shape on the floor, they "nail" his hands to the ground and once he's put back on his feet he gets a final headhshot after his "crucification" with bullets... it's subtle and plays with the tropes right enough to make his return that much impressive, the savior of Detroit)

RoboCop is definitively a very violent film.

And the realistic brutal violence makes a fantastic counterpoint to this supposedly utopic future. They kept Detroit pretty simple looking which makes the brutality in the streets that more grittier.

Paul Verhoeven does like using ultra-violence to make his points. Limbs are blown up. There's an over saturation of the medias. It's a satire of the modern world.

The film features some great "funny" commercials, a pastiche of the MTV generation amped up for this futuristic tale.

And to save us all, the cyborg cop.

You'd think an actor hidden by lots of makeup and costume pieces wouldn't be able to "act" much, but Peter Weller does a great job at giving some depth to RoboCop.  Originally they were looking into bigger actors, even Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered at some point. And Nancy Allen, his human partner does great is just as memorable a character in the first film.

The effects in RoboCop 1 are still mostly practical, but they didn't age that much. Any shot of RoboCop still looks outstanding to this day. The most believable robot on screen ever filmed!

Suit was designed by Rob Bottin. He had previously worked on John Carpent's The Thing. He took most of his inspiration from Japanese tokusatsu series (Gavan mostly).

The Ed-209 fight is such a iconic classic movie scene. The stop motion work is a bit dated compared to later productions, but it is still very well done.

It's just a memorable film. Ugly thugs and trashy villains compared to the sleek and clean RoboCop. The absurdity of the ridiculously over the top violence really fits the message of the controlled society. The OCP owns everything and everyone, even the police!

The music was brilliantly scored by Basil Poledouris. It's a mix of synthesized and orchestral music, that reflects as well the themes from the movie.

Overall, a great classic!

Easily one of the bests from Paul Verhoeven. A must watch for any cinephile.

RoboCop was a great successful movie. It spawned an entire franchise that reached its peak in the early 1990s. There were various sequels, television series, animated series, video games, comics, etc. - you name it!

The death of Alex Murphy is extremely violent and gruesomely portrayed on screen. It's quite unlike any other death sceen you'll ever see.

A remake/reboot as been announced and has been going some very late reshoots actually. It might be a good film or even make a lot of money. We'll wait and see. I just doubt a modern take will ever keep the same impact of the original as well as the violent death scene. From the looks of the filmography of the new director José Padilha, I fear he's just going to strip Paul Verhoeven's of its entire subtext..

I give it:
3 / 3 UFOs!

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