RoboCop (1987) Review

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I would buy that for a dollar.

RoboCop (1987): 10 out of 10: RoboCop is the story of a corporation (OCP) creating a cyborg cop to reduce crime so they can rebuild Detroit. It is also a satirical look twenty minutes into the future that predicts our world with a scary accuracy of which few other movies have been capable.

The Good

The Good: Everything. The practical effects are on point. The movie is as quotable as a Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Kurtwood Smith is both one of the best villains of the eighties and one of the best-dressed villains of the eighties. The animated, heavily armed robot Ed 209 is a star in its own right and needs its own film. RoboCop makes sure it shows all the little things as much care as the big fireballs and story beats.

As an example of the care taken in filming RoboCop, there is a scene earlier on when a trauma team is taking care of the titular hero. The dialog and actors seem so realistic that it looks like something out of a documentary. It turns out director Verhoeven got an actual trauma team on the set and had them do their stuff with no script.

The film is also tightly scripted and filmed with nary a wasted scene. Humor is sprinkled throughout, keeping the tone light with all the ultra-violence.

The Bad

The Bad: Peter Weller is a tad stiff before he becomes RoboCop. The last bit (that Hans Gruber dive) is the rare special effect failure in a movie that is spot on with its practical effects.

In Conclusion

In conclusion: People who were not adults when this first came out may not understand how prescient this film was. Facial recognition technology, fighting in Acapulco, the bankruptcy of Detroit, the return of gas-guzzling cars, the government handing over responsibilities to large private corporations. These were all science fiction in 1987. That list above barely scratches the surface.

Paul Verhoeven mixes satire and action at a level few have matched since. He would return to this style of film with the equally (though not as gritty) in the brilliant Starship Troopers a few years later. RoboCop is that rare eighties film that seems to only get better with time.

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