Robocop is Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi action movie about a cop turned cyborg. While it may not exactly be regarded as a masterpiece, Robocop is a fantastic look at a future where financially successful mega corporations want to privatize the city of Detroit. To many people, it’s a satire, to some people, it’s ultra-violence. To me, it’s Peter Weller showing that he’s a fantastic “chin actor” in a heavy metal suit. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and was one of the first I can recall ever watching. Yes, I was three years old when I watched this overly-violent movie, and look how I turned out!

Sometime in old Detroit… 1987 I guess, I don’t know they don’t exactly say when this thing takes place, crime has risen out of control. Every day, more police officers are dying in the line of duty, and mega corporation Omni-Consumer Products, OCP, is taking all the blame since they now fund and run the Detroit Police Department. When officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is shot dead by notorious crime boss Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), he ends up becoming OCP’s latest experiment. A futuristic cyborg built to wipe out Detroit’s crime, known as Robocop. This doesn’t sit well with Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), as he feels Robocop is an insult to OCP, and it interferes with his own personal agenda. Throughout the story, Robocop is still recalling memories of when he was officer Alex Murphy, showing that despite being mostly machine, OCP failed to take away his humanity. It’s thanks to his former partner, Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) that he starts to recall these memories of his past.

One of the things that worked so well for Robocop is the fact that writer Ed Neumeier was able to make a believable character out of a cyborg. While OCP tries to claim that he’s still a machine, Lewis believes he’s still Alex Murphy underneath all that fancy chrome and metal alloys. It also helps that Nancy Allen and Peter Weller have perfect chemistry, and bring these two characters to life, making them very believable. Also, when Robocop meets Clarence for the first time and arrests him, we see how vengeful Murphy is. He’s arresting the guy that took everything away from him, and he almost kills him in the process until Clarence spills the beans he’s working with Dick Jones, and reminds Robo that he’s a cop. It’s almost scary, but it serves its purpose, especially at the end when they meet again. The Mediabreak segments are a bit silly, and I never really understood what the point was other than to satirize television news and commercials. They’re so funny that you forget about why they’re there, and just enjoy it. A nice break in the action.

Speaking of action, it should be worth noting how insanely violent this movie is. When I was about three years old, I watched this movie to death and never cared about how violent it was. When I watch it today, it amazes me that the theatrical cut got away with so much. If you are squeamish at the idea of violent dismemberment, insane shootouts, and a high body count, this is not your movie. Today, I usually watch the uncensored cut, which takes the violence up to eleven. One of my favorite scenes will always be the first time Clarence and Robo meet. Robocop is reading Clarence his miranda rights, and he keeps tossing him through the walls, and glass, while Clarence continually pleads for his life! Seriously, if that’s the future of Detroit’s law enforcement, I’d start turning myself in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that everything is good. The car chase between Murphy and Clarence at the beginning feels severely underwhelming, I didn’t feel like it was contributing anything, but was just building up to the line “can you fly Bobby?” In case you’re curious, Bobby can’t fly, so he gets left for dead. Murphy’s execution by Clarence and his gang will always send shivers down my spine, because it’s still one of the scariest scenes in movie history. Murphy gets his arm blown off, and Clarence’s boys just keep shooting him while he’s screaming for dear life, and they’re laughing as they shoot him up.

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s full of action, it has great characters, and the now cliche story of cyborg gaining a sense of humanity feels completely original in this movie. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, because there are a few points where it falls short, and the amount of violence tends to overshadow everything. It may be an older movie from 1986, but it has withstood the test of time. If you haven’t done yourself the favor of watching this movie, then go pick it up somewhere, sit down and enjoy.

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