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[DVDVRMC] ROBOCOP (Verhoeven, 1987)

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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.

 

You know, it would be interesting to look at foreign directors' careers (and especially first films) in Hollywood. I wonder who has had the most successful first US film? Probably worth its own thread.

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Need to be someone whose first language is not english?

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Need to be someone whose first language is not english?

 

That would make the list a lot shorter, because there are a TON of Canadian, British, Irish, Aussie, and Kiwi filmmakers who have become INCREDIBLY successful in Hollywood.  Peter Jackson used to be "that guy who makes incredibly gross horror movies where you can barely understand what the actors are saying half the time" and now he's Mr. Hobbit.  

 

But fine, non-native-English speakers.  Firstly, my earlier mentions, which I still stand behind: Yu and Peterson.  Ronny Yu has admittedly had a couple of flops, but who hasn't?  (Let's just assume I re-apply that phrase to everyone we mention here.)  Yu did just fine with Freddy vs Jason, Jet Li's Fearless, and Bride of Chucky.  All decent movies that made decent money.  Wolfgang Petersen had The Neverending Story, In the Line of Fire, Outbreak, and The Perfect Storm; he's had four films break $100 million, shit-fire, how much more does he need to prove?  Who cares if he occasionally vomits out a mediocre thriller about oh-so-brave people trapped on a large vehicle?  He made Das Boot, goddammit, he can coast on his reputation in that area as far as I'm concerned.  

 

And if you want more examples, there's plenty more.  As previously mentioned, Verhoeven himself counts.  So does Roman Polanski, whom Hollywood loves SO much that they basically obstructed the entire American justice system in order to keep him cranking out masterpieces.  Chan Wook Park seems to be doing just fine after Stoker.  History provides lots of examples: Fritz Lang, Erich von Stroheim (well, when not getting sabotaged by Thalberg), Werner Herzog, Lars Von Trier, Michelangelo Antonioni, Francois Truffaut, Ang Lee, Wim Wenders, Wong Kar Wai, Guillermo del Toro, Windig Refn, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Amenabar; they all did great work in English-language films that people really liked.  

 

And while John Woo himself eventually self-destructed in a depressing series of late-career misfires, let's not act like he ALWAYS sucked in America.  Hard Target and Broken Arrow were both way better than they had any right to be, considering the questionable casting in both movies; really, Van Damme and Christian Slater are many things, but "sympathetic" isn't the first word that comes to mind.  The villains were more fun than the heroes.  But Woo kinda made it work anyway.  And then there was Face/Off, which I will defend to my grave as a beautiful kinetic operatic action masterpiece which firmly stands proud as one of the most startlingly creative and genuinely emotional action flicks of the late 90s.  At that time we were used to Arnie and Stallone cracking jokes and breaking necks, and suddenly outta nowhere we get this shockingly complex double-switch drama that gets downright existential in asking deep questions about the meaning of identity.  Plus AWESOME gunfights, the best Woo ever staged in America.  I can forgive him some well-meaning but botched bullshit like Paycheck and Windtalkers for having done all the good work he has.  (I can't forgive Mission Impossible 2, though.  FUCK that movie.)  

 

Yes, there are plenty of examples of incredibly talented foreigners who got to Hollywood and then choked.  Jean Pierre Jeunet, Hideo Nakata, George Sluizer, Ringo Lam.   It happens.  But it's not some kind of foretold inevitability that it happens EVERY time.  Once again, please remember: we have not seen the new Robocop remake yet.  I hate having to keep saying this, but don't score a movie until you see it!  We've got too many examples of lying trailers and inaccurate reputations to count, you guys should be more skeptical than that.  It might be Dawn of the Dead awesomeness that redefines the genre or Prom Night argument for the extinction of the human race, but WAIT AND SEE THE DAMN MOVIE FIRST.  

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I thought we were just discussing which foreign director made the best film in his US debut.

I looked up old school people like Curtiz and Wilder and Lang, and they did a bunch of studio system generic pictures any big pictures.

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I thought we were just discussing which foreign director made the best film in his US debut.

I looked up old school people like Curtiz and Wilder and Lang, and they did a bunch of studio system generic pictures any big pictures.

 

Sorry.... didn't mean to intimidate with the giant wall of text.  I went on one of my BUT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT wacky rants, didn't I?  

 

Yes, those gentlemen did sometimes stop trying to make masterpieces and were reduced to cogs in the machine.  Like I said, there's plenty of examples both ways.  

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There was an interview with Padilah yesterday on HBO's entertainment show.  His enthusiasm about this project is infectious and genuine and I find myself suddenly getting stoked for the reboot..

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Finally sitting down to this. Loved the opening newscast and advertisements. Whoever pointed out that everyone gets shot 100 times was spot on. Even the random bad guy who gets thrown out of the van gets shot in the knee three times.

I remembered the line, but forgot how hilariously pregnant the pause was for "mind if I zip this up?"

There's something amazing about Robocop driving around in the same shitty black matte Ford Taurus the beat cops use.

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There's something amazing about Robocop driving around in the same shitty black matte Ford Taurus the beat cops use.

 

I forgot all about that so when I saw it again I was rolling. Ronny Cox is hilarious in this and Miguel Ferrer is so sleazy.

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The commercial with the family playing the thermo-nuclear game is THE BEST.

It's tremendous how aware this movie is, of itself and its place in the world. And it doesn't ride it so hard so that it becomes complete parody or a diadactic diatribe on current affairs. It's subversive enough that you might miss it, like many did when they first watched it.

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The dialogue during the city councilman hostage scene is the best.

 

"Don't jerk me off!  When people jerk me off, I kill 'em!"

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There's something amazing about Robocop driving around in the same shitty black matte Ford Taurus the beat cops use.

 

I forgot all about that so when I saw it again I was rolling. 

 

 

I think I know why they did that: to subtly remind us that Murphy is still in there.  Remember when he insisted on driving earlier?  Robocop peels out of the garage exactly the same way Murphy did, recklessly banging his rear bumper in the exact same spot on the ramp.  

 

 

The dialogue during the city councilman hostage scene is the best.

 

"Don't jerk me off!  When people jerk me off, I kill 'em!"

 

I loved the fact that he didn't realize the police negotiator was jerking him off until the cop offers to install a Blaupunkt stereo in the councilman's imaginary SUX 6000.  

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You know, I can't be arsed to find it now, but there was a recent article on Verhoeven in which the author basically said that it's hard/frustrating to reconcile his satire with the fact that he obviously loves gratuitous sex and violence. It is a kind of bind--just try to enjoy the exploitative aspects of his film, and you run afoul of his satire, and vice-versa. 

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I just watched it again in full on satellite (needing a cheer-up) and the satire is so poignant it's ridiculous. With Boddicker always smoking and chewing gum and snorting coke, you are drawn into the storyline and might not notice these incredibly blatant references to US consumerism. The TV things are obvious but there is more subtlety that for some reason my ignorant ass never thought about.  Also, Weller and Allen have the best chemistry. From the moment she pop the gum obviously thinking "here's another swinging dick I have to deal with" to how it ends, it's awesome. It's so sad they didn't do a second Robocop with Verhoeven instead of what happened, though that still isn't too bad as a ridiculous sequel. 

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Oh man.  If we start talking about the sequels, that's guaranteed to get us to another page.  

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