Friday, July 06, 2007

I Heart Robocop

I do.

I saw Robocop for the first time during one of our annual family vacation trips to Upper Michigan. Mom was cool enough to take us to the theater (1 screen, of course) in Ispheming, Michigan. To this day I recall that one of the trailers they showed prior to the movie was for a re-release of Disney's "Snow White". And then they showed one of the most intensely violent movies I had seen in my young life.

The movie has aged a little oddly. Some of the fashions thought no further than 1988. A good chunk of the technology barely surpasses 1990. But the movie's wink-and-a-nod look at corporate control of public trusts and the interstitial TV bits feel a little bit on the nose... Especially the Yamaha artificial heart commercial which seemed absurd in 1987, but now...

I also dig the story about Murphy recovering himself despite what's been done to him by crooks, OCP R&D, and what befalls him when he tries to move beyond his programming.

Robocop shoots a ton of people in this movie

The action sequences were cool if not a bit pre-dated by Terminator's equally nuts robot stop-motion and crazy gunplay sequences. The villains were some seriously evil, evil dudes, played by guys who would go on to star as Eric's dad on "That 70's Show" and another guy who wound up as a doctor on ER for a while (Jamie informs me his character lost an arm to a helicopter. I'm not clear on the specifics.) Plus, a young Miguel Ferrer, one of my favorite guys in any TV show or movie.

Dead or alive, you're going with Robocop

Peter Weller rocks as Robocop/ Murphy, and manages to make the transition from man to machine and back again in a way a lesser actor might have stumbled. And, darn it, why doesn't Nancy (Officer Anne Lewis) Allen get more parts? The last time I saw her was in "Out of Sight", I think, playing a supporting part. (And speaking of Allen's... why don't we see more Karen Allen? I know she isn't in Robocop, but I like Karen Allen, too).

Plus, you know, ED-209. Oh yes, ED-209.

You have 20 seconds to agree that ED-209 is totally awesome

Like many Verhoeven movies, Robocop is exceedingly violent. Not Wild Bunch violent, but its got its moments. So if you've just seen the movie once, and all you remember is a lot of squibs bursting open... I suggest you check the movie out again and note that there's a very sci-fi but kind of sad story about a dead cop, corporate corruption and a world slowly going nuts beneath the heaped upon layers of smoke and bullets.

Verhoeven also directed Total Recall, another sci-fi action flick/ satire that ALSO becomes more enjoyable on multiple viewings (and, to a lesser extent, Starship Troopers. A movie which always makes me cackle.). Total Recall also throws in a heaping dose of Arnie, so it's just a big stew of the stuff I loved in the late 80's.

Anyhow, I salute you, Robocop! Your sequels and TV shows got steadily goofier, but the first movie is still a good movie to stumble upon on a Friday night.

I dunno. I just really like Robocop. I thought I'd share.

Still, it is no R.O.T.O.R.


Anonymous said...

You need to watch this.

Carla said...

Robocop will forever be seared onto my brain. Murhpy's death was so disturbing I can still see it. Along with the melting guy.

And the ER guy who always plays and asshole, not only did he loose and arm to a helicopter, a helicopter, later in the series, crushed him to pieces. What a way to go.

Will netfix and give David nightmares.

Carla said...

I should have said, "seared into my brain."

The League said...

Yeah. I recall doing a lot of squinting and closing of one or both eyes when I saw Robocop the first time.

If I remember correctly, they tried to bring the melting guy back in the Robocop TV series as a recurring villain. Which means getting cut in half by a car doesn't mean what it used to.

Michael Corley said...

To me, the "acid on the skin melty bad guy" stands out as the violent moment to remember.

This movie is a definer of its age. It is the quinisential action movie of its time.

The best quote, however, belongs to Robo III... "I thought your ninja was supposed to take care of Robocop!"

J.S. said...

Robocop is definitely a legit scifi classic. Also, didn't Frank Miller write Robo III?

Anonymous said...

The story was by a "Frank Miller". Could there be more than one?

The League said...

It is the same Frank Miller. Fresh off his comic writing successes of the mid-80's Hollywood snatched him up and immediately proved they had no idea what to do with him. He also wrote the original screenplay for Robocop II which Avatar turned into a comic a few years ago. The comic was actually pretty cool, and you could see elements in the movie greatly watered down. However, I wasn't a huge fan of Jose Ryp's interpretation of Officer Lewis.

lalaruff said...

I watched Robocop on Friday night as well. It was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Snorting coke of off a hooker was never so appealing.

I try to use the line, "Bitches, leave." as often as possible.

The League said...

Your poor Nana always cried so hard when that's how you'd wrap up Christmas.