Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board
Sign in to follow this  
RIPPA

[DVDVRMC] ROBOCOP (Verhoeven, 1987)

Recommended Posts

I didn't do a Countdown thread partly because this is the first movie and it is Fucking Robocop. How much prep time do you need for Robocop? Plus it was the holidays and I am lazy.

 

Here are your links in case you need them

 

IMDB

ROTTEN TOMATOES (88%)

WIKI

METACRITIC (67)

 

Anyway - I am kinda surprised that they never did some sort of Buddy Cop movie with Alex Murphy and Axel Foley. I figure if they had shown that on a loop in Detroit, the city would have never gone bankrupt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh in case you needed a reminder that they were giving away the entire plot of movies in trailers even back in the 80s

 

http://youtu.be/EOeDYneScZw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robocop has it all. 

 

Violence, humor, one of the best villains ever (Clarence mother fucking Boddicker was the template for most of the movie bad guys that followed him), and you will have to watch an early Living Dead movie with Romero directing to find a more scalding critique satirizing the zeitgest of the time it was made in.

 

This movie fucking rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The perfect action/satire blend. State of the art bang-bang. Bitches, leave. Tigers are playing, tonight. You never miss a game!

Thing I didn't notice until just a couple years ago: OCP sets Murphy too die. It's a single throw away line about transferring good candidates to the most dangerous precincts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sometimes snort wine from my finger tips in tribute to Clarence Boddicker. 

 

The scenes where Murphy is trying to remember always get to me. Especially the scene where he removes his helmet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the new one ignoring? I need to investigate a little more. The first trailer was shit and the second trailer was less shit... maybe almost kind of cool? But not really the Robocop I remember.

 

I first saw this movie when I was probably 8-years old and it scared the piss out of me. The death scene was frightening and is it weird that RoboCop had me shook as well? Like I should probably be on my best behavior from now on....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul Verhoeven is some kind of sci-fi action auteur. I can't think of anyone else who was so good at blending special effects into their films; sure, the stuff in ROBOCOP looks dated, like ED-209, but it looks way better than a lot of its contemporaries. And it blends into the live action really well.

 

When trailers for the new ROBOCOP hit, a few posters here were talking about how ROBOCOP was the perfect film, and they were fucking it up. And that seemed silly, really; ROBOCOP is fun, but it's fucking ROBOCOP. However, it held up better than I thought. The satire is pretty good, but lets not pretend that its NETWORK or anything. That said, it's definitely on a level with Romero, as JT said. As satire, it misses the mark when it connects Dick Jones with Clarence Boddicker; the biggest crooks do everything legally (or semi-legally). Obviously that connection is needed for the action, though.

 

When I was a kid, i was always bothered by the fact that ROBOCOP ate baby food. I mean, it's introduced as a slurry of protein, which the one guy says tastes like baby food, but then when Lewis brings Murphy some later it's in actual fucking baby food containers. Of course, I realized this time around that they never show him eating--that would be way too emasculating. You don't want your hero looking like a baby. Anyway, after ROBOCOP goes solo, and throws off his connection to the military-industrial complex, he tells Lewis he's "not hungry." So I guess he's exited his infancy and become an adult. (ED-209, on the other hand, is only ever a tool, and it gets turned into a baby, when it falls down the stairs and starts crying.)

 

The tone of the movie is pretty unique. STARSHIP TROOPERS is the only thing I can think of with a similar tone, but it's much more on the nose. For instance, virtually no in ROBOCOP just gets shot once. Maybe Lewis. I'd say, on average, most characters are shot 30-40 times. Murphy's shooting and ED-209's victim are the most preposterous. In a good way. And Murphy's cornball lines, which seem like a pastiche of film heroes, kind of jarringly contrasts with those scenes in which you're meant to sympathize with his condition.

 

Anyway, at the last conference I went to I met a guy who studies fiction and film centred in Detroit. He told me that there is a whole group of what he calls "Last Honest Man in Detroit" films. ROBOCOP being one of them. I asked him why he thought Detroit had become the dystopian city of choice in America--why it was so often and so regularly depicted as not only an industrial wasteland, but also a city of crime and corruption. His short answer was that it was that race played a big part, but I'd be interested in hearing what you guys think.

 

I'd probably still call TOTAL RECALL Verhoeven's sci-fi masterpiece, but I'm not sure if RC or ST comes next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the new one ignoring?

 

The new RoboCop movie seems devoid of the social satire that made the first movie great.   Even Demolition Man was smart enough to insert a few jabs at Brave New World.

 

It'd be nice if the new RoboCop movie poked fun at the foils of the current zeitgeist such as fanboyism, participation in social media supplanting actual physical interaction with other human beings, the strange Jekyll / Hyde  dichotomy where people seem to believe that being an asshole on the internet and being an asshole in real life are two diferent things, or something like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully spoofing that annoying "id buy that for a dollar" twitter account

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The new movie will be completely worthless if there is no One Dollar Guy twitter feed or an update of the SUX 6000 where it is either a hybrid or an electric car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robocop is a really bizarre cultural thing that ends up capturing and framing what it was meant to satirize. Despite the fact that it was clearly meant to poke fun and as social commentary, it was rather quickly adopted as part of the 80s cultural zeitgeist that it was spoofing. Kind of like the Ninja Turtles shortly after. 

 

On a more personal note, this was the first of three Verhoeven movies I saw too young and took at face value before rewatching them when I was older and realizing how hysterical they were. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robocop > Starship Troopers > Total Recall, but I really like all 3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know what I love? I love that the first time we see Miguel Ferrer's Bob Morton, he's pushing another actor off his fucking mark so he can get in the frame. And then that same actor gets shoved by another co-worker before getting blown to bits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I liked Starship Troopers as much but for some reason it doesn't pass the test of "if this is on at 2am I could pick it up at any moment and will end up finishing it before bed"

 

So I'm thinking now that Starship Troopers does not have the same replay value for me as RoboCop and Total Recall. I wish I could explain why that is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean, they are all three great.  But Total Recall is merely my least loved of them. 

 

What the hell has Verhoeven done since the 90's, anyway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Black Book., and it's pretty damn good. 

 

...

 

And apparently he's rumored to be directing Arnold in the next Conan movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen this since it came out on video, so I was glad this was the 1st pick. I had forgotten how gory parts of it were. Undoubtedly freaked out a lot of parents back in the day. I agree with Control about Dick Jones. He loses a lot of his menace when he turns out to be just another rich guy who hires someone else to do his dirty work and he is a little too easily outsmarted by our hero. I love Nancy Allen in everything up to this movie, but she isn't good  here. It doesn't help that when we meet Lewis, she is presented as a bad ass cop, and then she proceeds to be a complete fuck-up  who is constantly exposing herself to danger and seems about as coordinated as the Great Khali in a step class.

 

All that aside, this is a really good film. Weller is fantastic. You really feel for Robocop's dilemma. Clarence Boddicker and co. make great villains. I wouldn't rate this above Total Recall but this holds up really well and I will probably get around to the sequels, which I've never seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love how SMART this movie is.  I never realized that as a kid, I just thought it was a cool uber-gory action flick with robots.  (I was a huge fan of this series, had the novelizations and some comics and toys and everything.)  Although even at nine years old, I could already spot some of the social satire and understood what it meant.  Fuck a buncha Wall Street or American Psycho, THIS is truly the brutally merciless send-up that 1980s American commercialism and Reaganomics deserved.  Hell, in that aspect I'd say it's much better than anything Romero ever did; George's points about society were often rather vague and usually boiled down to "everyone will fucking kill you for money and stuff".  Robocop had an infinitely more complex message, and one which dug much deeper into the real root causes and motivations for this kind of behavior.  It even hit up "what does it mean to be human? Is THIS still human?!" harder and more sorrowfully than Dawn of the Dead did.  

 





What is the new one ignoring?

The new RoboCop movie seems devoid of the social satire that made the first movie great.   Even Demolition Man was smart enough to insert a few jabs at Brave New World.

 

It'd be nice if the new RoboCop movie poked fun at the foils of the current zeitgeist such as fanboyism, participation in social media supplanting actual physical interaction with other human beings, the strange Jekyll / Hyde  dichotomy where people seem to believe that being an asshole on the internet and being an asshole in real life are two diferent things, or something like that.

Why's everyone assuming the new movie WON'T do this?  Yeah, having him be transformed into the Cyberninja from Metal Gear is a bit disappointing; Robocop, like Swamp Thing and Michael Myers, is SUPPOSED to be slow.  (Which is another reason to hate part 3, where he's catching bullets and flying.)  And the PG-13 rating is unfortunate.  But why don't we wait and actually see the movie before judging it?  I don't remember the last time I saw so much internet "this is gonna suuuuuck!" whining as for the Robocop remake, and it's based almost entirely on rumors and speculations.  

 

Besides, lookit the cast: Sam Jackson, Michael Keaton, Michael K. Williams, Jackie Earle Hailey, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, and even the man Miguel Ferrer himself.  This cast in NO way says to me "this is a shitty fucking remake which isn't even trying".  It says they're actually putting some effort into this shit.  They've got that Brazilian director who made Bus 174, certainly no stranger to social commentary and urban dystopias and ultraviolence.  (Don't forget that this director was born and raised in Rio de Janero, which is one of the few cities on the planet that Detroit feels superior to.)  And the cinematographer was the camera operator on City of God, ditto for one of the editors, and the other editor helped cut X-Men and There Will Be Blood.  Hell, even the costume designer is the same one who did Big Trouble in Little China and every episode of Rome.  And the entire special effects crew are the same dudes who just finished making Pacific Rim.  That's a pretty impressive lineup, overall.  So, how'sabout we wait and see if the movie's any good or not after it's released?  

 



Paul Verhoeven is some kind of sci-fi action auteur. I can't think of anyone else who was so good at blending special effects into their films; sure, the stuff in ROBOCOP looks dated, like ED-209, but it looks way better than a lot of its contemporaries. And it blends into the live action really well.

Personally, I'd argue James Cameron did it better.  Maybe because he's so obsessed with constantly making next-generation effects; but whatever it is, it works.  That alien Queen looked REAL.  Ditto for Spielberg, even Robocop has nothing on the best Indiana Jones flicks.  (But not George Lucas, whose effects are always spectacular but often look decidedly fake.)  

 

 

(ED-209, on the other hand, is only ever a tool, and it gets turned into a baby, when it falls down the stairs and starts crying.)

Stellar observation, that's hilarious.  

 

 

As for the debate over Verhoeven's scifi movies, I'd say Robocop is easily the best, for one simple reason: you care about the protagonist the most in this one.  Alex Murphy is WAY more sympathetic than arrogant hotshot/terrible actor Johnny Rico or sadistic quipper/mediocre actor Douglas Quaid.  Also, Nancy Allen's Anne Murphy is the only female sidekick in his movies that actually feels like a real person, and not just The Love Interest like Denise Richards or Rachel Ticotin.  Hell, even the second-banana females are more interesting in those movies, Dina Meyer and Sharon Stone blow Richards and Ticotin right off the damn screen.  

 

Finally, it's got that sweet spot of being just complicated and ridiculous enough without going over the edge.  Starship Troopers sometimes marched right over that edge, and having a buncha anonymous identical bugs as the villains didn't help give it any more personality.  Total Recall was more concerned with world-building and mindfuckery and breaking ALL the glass to actually bother much with making you give a damn about believing these characters.  (And it doesn't help that Arnold is the kinda guy who will totally use random innocent bystanders as human shields and tell sociopathic one-liners about murdering people, which is funny but not remotely sympathetic.)  I care about Peter Weller's character and his family and his friends and his coworkers and his job and his hopes and his dreams.  I can't say the same about Arnold or definitely Casper Van Dien.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, how'sabout we wait and see if the movie's any good or not after it's released?

 

US studios threw tons of money behind John Woo and Takashi Shimizu and they were never able to translate the domestic success they had at home into success here in the US.  Padilah may end up in the same boat.

 

Padilah has put out great films in Brazil but has zero traction here in the states, so he is relatively unknown and untested.  I have a feeling that a huge budget will just overwhelm him like it did Woo and other foreign directors that have tried to make the grade in Hollywood.

 

I'd have let Jose work one something familiar (a version of Bus 147 set in Anytown USA) before dropping a $100 Million project in his lap that the studio expects to be great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my favorite movies from my teenage years.

 

Something I havn't seen others mention though -  The commentary and thought process behind the development and implementaion of Robocop vs ED 209. Robocop was a slowly developed product, that was built with a very specific plan/design in mind and he gets alot of testing before being put anywhere near a work site or presentaion room. ED on the other hand, is taken straight off the conveyor belt and pushed into a board room in order to get funding for this shiny new toy.

 

No field test.

 

No program checking.

 

This movie says to me that technology can be a fantastic tool for helping us, but to rely on machines to do a job 100% from start to finish takes away alot from people. It takes jobs, a sense of worth and satisfaction etc. It's kind of strange to look at the auto industry around the world now and compare it againt this sort of message - Everyone is in a race to the bottom when it comes to the 'human' part of manufacturing, yet companies will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on 'the next great tech advancemet' even if it means that good employees (like the poor guy who gets mowed down by ED) are lost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

US studios threw tons of money behind John Woo and Takashi Shimizu and they were never able to translate the domestic success they had at home into success here in the US.  Padilah may end up in the same boat.

Counterpoint: Paul Verhoeven.  An artsy foreign director who was able to translate his early thriller success just fine.  And Ronny Yu, and Wolfgang Petersen, and countless other examples.  I still haven't seen anything but circumstantial evidence for the Robocop remake's allegedly bad reputation.  Why not go in with an open mind?  This is a FRANCHISE, not a standalone movie.  Let's at least hear the argument before dismissing it.  

 

This butchering of the good name of Arnold is terrible.

Butchering?  I'm on record as being a total fanboy of Arnie, in Total Recall and many other things.  But let us not pretend that our favorites are ever perfect.  I could write for a long damn time about all the useless crap that Joss Whedon has produced over the years, despite still being dangerously in love with his best works.  

 

 

Something I havn't seen others mention though -  The commentary and thought process behind the development and implementaion of Robocop vs ED 209. Robocop was a slowly developed product, that was built with a very specific plan/design in mind and he gets alot of testing before being put anywhere near a work site or presentaion room. ED on the other hand, is taken straight off the conveyor belt and pushed into a board room in order to get funding for this shiny new toy.

 

No field test.

 

No program checking.

 

This movie says to me that technology can be a fantastic tool for helping us, but to rely on machines to do a job 100% from start to finish takes away alot from people. It takes jobs, a sense of worth and satisfaction etc. It's kind of strange to look at the auto industry around the world now and compare it againt this sort of message - Everyone is in a race to the bottom when it comes to the 'human' part of manufacturing, yet companies will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on 'the next great tech advancemet' even if it means that good employees (like the poor guy who gets mowed down by ED) are lost.

I always assumed that it had been tested and checked and whatever, and it still malfunctioned anyway.  That interpretation kinda duct-tapes this plot hole pretty good, I thought.  OCP is just filled with incompetent people and they built a shitty robot.  

 

I'm watching it again right now, picked up a special edition for cheap at the local used store.  I love how they tease us with the reveal of Robocop.  Using first-person footage there (in an ode to 1932's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, perhaps?) to hide Murphy's appearance both from himself and from the audience was a stroke of genius, especially how cheaply the whole thing could be filmed.  It made for a particularly great parody episode in Spaced, too.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Counterpoint: Paul Verhoeven. An artsy foreign director who was able to translate his early thriller success just fine. And Ronny Yu, and Wolfgang Petersen, and countless other examples. I still haven't seen anything but circumstantial evidence for the Robocop remake's allegedly bad reputation. Why not go in with an open mind? This is a FRANCHISE, not a standalone movie. Let's at least hear the argument before dismissing it.

 

I can see Verhoeven, but Ronny Yu?  His Hollywood catalogue consists of movies like Bride of Chucky and Formula 51.  Hardly expected to be blockbusters.

 

Wolfgang Petersen did fine with The Perfect Storm and maybe Air Force One, but he's also got more than a few bad eggs in his clutch. He followed up the epic Das Boot with the rather shitty Enemy Mine, but recovered well with In The Line of Fire.... then later on there was the Poseidon Adventure reboot.  Yow..

 

Padilah may have the will but can he manage the budget and deliver on a movie that the execs probably expect to make zillions on?  I hope to be plesantly surprised and I pray his grand entrance into Hollywood won't end up being a blanket party.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...