Film: RoboCop (1987)
1. Serve the public trustRoboCop is a classic satirical science fiction/action movie from 1987 directed by Paul Verhoeven. It has since spawned a modest franchise of other RoboCop productions.The story takes place in Detroit in the near-future. Detroit is overrun by crime, primarily because of the work of unofficial crime boss Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith). To address this matter, Omni Consumer Products (OCP for short) has decided that they will tear down crime-plagued Old Detroit and rebuild it as their own "Delta City". Beforehand, they must eradicate crime in the city. To that end, executive Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) proposes a new conceptual cyborg to the CEO known as "the Old Man", which he calls RoboCop, which is constructed from a police officer's body and given superior firepower and combat abilities. This is at the cost of OCP President Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), who has proposed a military robot called "ED-209" for urban pacification, but which is prone to malfunction.Morton's RoboCop team gets their chance when police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) and his partner Anne Lewis chase Boddicker's gang to an abandoned steel mill. Boddicker and his men overwhelm Murphy, then take delight in unloading their shotguns into him. OCP takes his remains and effectively resurrects him as the Nigh Invulnerable cyborg police officer RoboCop. His mind is supposedly erased, but signs indicate that the wipe job wasn't perfect and he begins to remember bits and pieces of his past. When Murphy starts looking for revenge against the people who took his human life from him, he discovers that Jones is connected to Boddicker — and that Jones has meddled with Murphy's programming to ensure his own survival.The film was remade in 2014.
2. Protect the innocent
3. Uphold the law
2. Protect the innocent
3. Uphold the law
I'd Buy These Tropes for a Dollar!:
open/close all folders
- Abandoned Warehouse: The site of the first confrontation between Murphy and Boddicker's gang. Happens again in the last confrontation, though it also throws in abandoned factories to the mix.
- Action Girl: Lewis is a police officer and helps Robocop on two occasions.
- After-Action Healing Drama: Murphy in the ER after he's shot. It doesn't work.
- All Crimes Are Equal: ED-209 advances dangerously on RoboCop for being illegally parked on private property at the end of the film.
- All There in the Script: The script establishes that the film takes place in 2043, because in earlier versions, the news story that was shown following RoboCop's escape from the police and ED-209 had Casey Wong report to us that Sylvester Stallone has died at age 97 during a brain transplantnote before the Kill Sat story was put in instead.
- And I Must Scream: There are scenes where we see RoboCop's creation from his point of view. We see Bob Morton and Donald Johnson, the first complaining because the scientists have saved Murphy's left arm. After being asked if RoboCop understands what they're saying, he replies that it doesn't matter as they're going to wipe his memory anyway. This is followed by Morton asking Johnson if he thinks they'd remove the arm, to which Johnson replies that they should, given Murphy signed release waivers when he joined the force allowing OCP to do whatever they want to him when he dies. Ultimately, Morton orders them to remove the left arm and RoboCop is shut down for surgery.
- An Arm and a Leg: All over the place, especially Murphy's gruesome death.
- Annoying Laugh: Joe P. Cox
- Artificial Gravity: Played for Laughs. The President's first visit to the Star Wars Peace Platform (which is an orbital defense platform instead of the peaceful use of the ISS today) got off to a shaky start when power failed, causing a brief but harmless period of weightlessness for the visiting President and his staff.
- Artistic License – Gun Safety:
- Why the hell would they load up the ED-209 with live ammo for a demonstration in the executive board room? And give a loaded gun to Kinney to act out the demonstration? Kinney proceeds to recklessly point the weapon at Dick Jones, who should be far more outraged than he was. OCP's board of governors are stupid.
- During the Shooting Gallery scene that introduces Robocop's Improbable Aiming Skills with his Auto9, Lewis steps forward on the range. In any Real Life shooting range, this is a huge violation of gun safety and would get her kicked off the range and her gun taken away.
- Armor-Piercing Question: In the Miranda rights scene, RoboCop throws Boddicker through numerous plate-glass windows, intent on hurting him or killing him. Boddicker confesses Jones' involvement in the plot, but RoboCop keeps going. Boddicker finally gets Robo to stop by saying "You're a cop!", reminding Robo that his first duty is to the law. RoboCop stops his Roaring Rampage of Revenge and arrests Boddicker instead.
- Art Major Physics: In the scene where RoboCop stops his first robbery by bending the barrel of the hood's gun while the criminal is holding it, the goon would have to have been strong enough to bend it himself to keep the gun in his hands. In other words, RoboCop would still have disarmed the creep, just not as spectacularly.
- Ascended Fanboy: Subverted. Murphy himself isn't a fan of the Show Within a Show, TJ Laser, evidently about a futuristic gunslinger, but his son loves it, and Murphy "gets a kick out of" trying to live up to the standard. Needless to say, he ends up succeeding in a way he doesn't expect.
- Attempted Rape: One of the first crime victims rescued by Murphy after his transformation into RoboCop is a Damsel in Distress being threatened by two men. He disables the first with a Groin Attack by shooting him through the woman's dress.RoboCop: Your move, creep!
- Bad Boss: After a member of his gang named Bobby burns the money they were trying to steal, leaving it marked and useless, and Bobby is subsequently wounded in a gunfight, Clarence Boddicker has him thrown out the back of the truck at the pursuing cops.Clarence: Can you fly, Bobby?
- Barrier-Busting Blow: RoboCop punches through a wall to grab the disgruntled Ron Miller who is holding the mayor hostage.
- Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Bob Morton insults Dick Jones in the bathroom only to discover he's been listening in the cubicle all along.
- Better Than New: After Murphy is pronounced dead, OCP takes his remains and resurrects him using cybernetic/robotic technology into the Nigh Invulnerable RoboCop. He'll never be human again.
- BFG: Boddicker and crew eventually are supplied with the Cobra Assault Cannon. The props were built from Barrett Model 82 .50 caliber rifles, and they're quite explosive. They use the Cobra against RoboCop, and he takes one after they're defeated and uses it to blow up the ED-209 in front of OCP's headquarters.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Clarence Boddicker and Dick Jones are more of a partners-in-crime thing than anything else. Jones has to cajole Boddicker with the money he could make on Delta City in order to make him take a hit on Robocop.
- Big Entrance: The producers were concerned that a simple open entrance could make RoboCop look silly. Instead, Verhoeven had Robo's entrance teased out. RoboCop is delivered to the police station by a transport convoy. The support staff comes in first, and as the desk officer protests to Bob Morton, he is suddenly silenced by the sound of heavy mechanical footsteps of something non-human walking into the station, barely visible behind frosted glass. We follow this up with teasing looks of the thing that become more and more revealing until you are eagerly following the running cops through the halls trying to get a good look at this thing. At the end, you get to see RoboCop towering in his maintenance chair and looking completely kickass.
- Bigger Bad: The Old Man is the true head of OCP but he's not involved with Dick Jones' Evil Plan.
- Bigger Is Better: Advertised in the commercial for the 6000 SUX, a car which has reclining leather seats, goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage! Just don't be deterred by its 8.2 mpg rating.
- Black Comedy:
- Body Horror
- The first time RoboCop takes his helmet off, he says to Lewis, "You may not like what you are about to see." Murphy's face is the only visible organic part of him, and from the looks of his head, has been grafted onto a completely synthetic skull.
- Boddicker's getaway driver Emil crashes the panel truck into an industrial-strength tank of acidic toxic waste. Unfortunately for Emil, he survives. He's melting as the acid eats away at his skin. Then he stumbles in front of a car and get splattered.
- Murphy getting shredded apart with shotguns by Boddicker's gang, including losing his entire right arm, then Boddicker finishing him by using a pistol to blow his head off.
- The simple fact that Murphy, a nice guy with a wife and kid, woke up to discover that he was now mostly a machine who could only "feel" his past without actually remembering it is just all kinds of nasty.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends in the exact same boardroom, with an OCP executive being shot to pieces by a robot.
- Boom, Headshot: Murphy dies after Boddicker pulls a pistol and shoots him in the head (which, after getting his entire right arm shot off, and being hit in the torso numerous times with shotguns, is almost a Mercy Kill).
- Bond One-Liner: Boddicker chortles, "Give the man a hand!" after using his shotgun to shoot off Murphy's right hand.
- Bottomless Magazines: Nobody is seen reloading in this movie except Murphy who does once, right before the Final Battle.
- Bowdlerise: The TV edit used for a ABC Sunday Night Movie in the early 90s cut half the movie and overdubbed the rest: "Ladies, leave!" and "You finked on the wrong guy."
- The Mexican Spanish dub has a minor one: When in the news break talk about a war between Mexico and the U.S., the Mexican dub replaces the dialogue with about a war in the Middle East instead. (Oddly, the original dialogue was uncensored in the subbed version.) It's very obvious why they changed that line.
- Brick Joke:
Commercial Announcer: It's back! Big is back, because bigger is better! 6000 SUX, an American tradition. [Text appears across the bottom: "An American tradition, 8.2 mpg"]
- When RoboCop is first revealed to the rest of the police department, it's explained by the engineers that RoboCop eats a "rudimentary paste that sustains his organic systems". The OCP exec Donald Johnson tries some and immediately tells Morton it "tastes like baby food", and can't resist helping himself to some more. Later in the film, when RoboCop is hiding out at the steel mill waiting for Boddicker to show up, Lewis brings him his gun, a cordless drill, and several jars of baby food to eat.
- One that can only be found in the script: when Dick Jones's Engineered Public Confession is exposed by RoboCop at the end of the film, the script comments that "having your cover blown is almost the worst thing that can happen to a Corporate Animal." A few lines later, after Jones gets blasted out the window, the script quips that "this is probably the worst thing that can happen to a Corporate Animal."
- During the hostage situation scene at City Hall, councilman Ron Miller makes several demands. One of these is for a new car that "has reclining leather seats, goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage!" to which the negotiator offers the 6000 SUX (and even offers to throw in a Blaupunkt). Later in the film, we are shown a commercial for the 6000 SUX in which terrified civilians are chased through the streets by a very uncanny T-Rex:
- Bring Me My Brown Pants: After seeing that their insults were overheard by Jones in the bathroom, the sleazy corporate guy who was conversing with Bob Morton prematurely zips his pants up before he could finish urinating, resulting in a nasty wet spot on his pants.
- Broken Record:
- "Hahaha! I'd buy that for a dollar!!"
- "I know you. You're dead. We killed you. We killed you!" (RoboCop records and plays back) "You're dead. We killed you!"
- "Murphy, it's you... Murphy, it's you..."
- "I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake. Now it's time to erase that mistake. I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake. Now it's time to erase that mistake..."
- Broken Faceplate: RoboCop's visor gets smashed open by ED-209, allowing the audience to see the fear and surprise on his face during a close-up.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: In the scene where Kinney is getting shot repeatedly by ED-209, there is tons of blood but the bullets should have realistically passed through his body and shattered the window behind him.
- California Doubling: This movie had Dallas fill in for Detroit.
- Car Fu: Emil should have known not to play Car Fu around vats of industrial chemicals. After getting horribly disfigured by the stuff, he's finished off by getting run over himself and bursts into noxious slime.
- Chekhov's Gun
- During the ED-209's first presentation, an OCP executive is asked to brandish a loaded gun. In the final scene of the movie, Dick Jones grabs the same gun and uses it in an attempt to take the Old Man hostage.
- The unknown and classified 4th Directive, along with RoboCop's computer jack that takes on the form of a spike emerging from his fist which he uses to dispatch Boddicker.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The convenience store robber, upon RoboCop's entrance: "Fuck me! Fuck me! Fuck me!"
- Cop Killer: Clarence Boddicker, who among his criminal acts (which include robbery, drug dealing, and while never shown), having killed 32 police officers before killing Alex Murphy. However, his murder of Murphy comes back to bite him in the ass when Murphy is resurrected as the titular cyborg.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Everyone who works for Omni is greedy, apathetic, and/or evil.
- In the first film, Dick Jones hires gangsters to bump off rivals.
- In the second film, the Old Man plans to force Detriot to default on debts so he can foreclose on the entire city.
- Creator Cameo: Paul Verhoeven plays a dancer at a disco, and executive producer Jon Davison is the voice of ED-209.
- Credits Gag: The copyright notice in the end credit has "This motion picture is protected under the laws of the United States and other countries and its unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution by enforcement droids."
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Clarence Boddicker and his gang don't even try to make Officer Murphy's death swift and painless, at one point even shooting off his hand and joking about it.
- Emil later suffers a similar fate himself when he begins to melt and dissolve when he comes in contact with toxic waste. Clarence then makes him explode when he runs him over.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Murphy's death, even though he doesn't have his arms splayed, is more or less a re-enactment of the Crucifixion. The RoboCop = cyborg!Jesus metaphor is extended throughout the film (see: getting pierced by a spear, walking on water).
- Curb-Stomp Battle: RoboCop versus the ED-209 near the end of the film. Especially satisfying because their earlier fight wasn't concluded.
- Cyberpunk: One of the defining examples.
- Cyberpunk Is Techno: The soundtrack blends traditional orchestral music with electronic music and synthesizers. Word of God says this was meant to symbolize RoboCop's dual nature as both man and machine.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: The battle at the film's climax takes place outside (one of the few scenes that isn't set at night) where it's cloudy and grey, and there are puddles of water everywhere.
- David Vs Goliath: RoboCop vs. the hulking ED-209.
- Dead Man's Trigger Finger: During the drug lab shootout, one mook gets shot by Robocop and whirls around, still firing from his assault rifle, which spectacularly takes out his own boss.
- Deadpan Snarker: The hostage negotiator vs. Ron Miller in the city hall hostage situation:Lt Hedgecock: Okay Miller! Don't hurt the mayor! We'll give you what you want!Ron Miller: First, don't fuck with me. I'm a desperate man! And second, I want some fresh coffee. And third, I want a recount! And no matter how it turns out, I want my old job back!Lt. Hedgecock: Okay.Ron Miller: And I want a bigger office! And I want a new car! And I want the city to pay for it all!Lt Hedgecock: What kind of car, Miller?Ron Miller: Something with reclining leather seats, that goes really fast, and gets really shitty gas mileage! All right?Lt Hedgecock: How about the uh, 6000 SUX?Ron Miller: Yeah! Okay, sure! What about cruise control? Does it come with cruise control?Lt. Hedgecock: Hey, no problem, Miller. You let the Mayor go, we'll even throw in a Blaupunkt!
- Brick Joke when a commercial for the SUX is shown and we see it has an 8.2 mpg rating.
- Depraved Homosexual: This is one possible interpretation of Jones' video-taped comment to Morton "We could have been friends." There's also the creepily intimate way he smooths Bob's hair back in an earlier encounter.
- Destination Defenestration: Jones' death. After holding the president of OCP hostage, he's blown out the window by RoboCop and plummets to the ground. There's also the hostage-taker at City Hall earlier in the movie, though RoboCop just grabs him and punches him through a window.
- Destroy the Product Placement: The 6000 SUX, driven by Clarence Boddicker, is crashed prior to the last part of the final confrontation. It's a Brand X of the Taurus' competitor, the Pontiac 6000.
- Earlier Boddicker blows up another 6000 SUX demonstrating his new gun.
- Did You Actually Believe?: Dick Jones says this to RoboCop when he tries to arrest him in his office, and informs him about the hidden Directive 4 that prevents this very contingency from happening.
- Disastrous Demonstration: ED-209 malfunctions at an OCP board meeting and reduces a junior executive to Ludicrous Gibs.
- Disney Villain Death: Happens to Dick Jones after getting shot by RoboCop a few times and falling a couple hundred feet out of the building.
- Dramatic Unmask: RoboCop removing his helmet. "You may not like what you're going to see."
- Drugs Are Bad: The scene in the drug factory is almost painfully 80s, what with the close-up shots of RoboCop's metallic feet trampling on the vials of cocaine as he blows away bad guys.
- Engineered Public Confession: "I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake. Now it's time to erase that mistake." This ends up biting Dick Jones in the ass. What makes this particularly stupid on his part is that he knows damn well RoboCop is capable of recording everything he says (he even bitches out Boddicker for telling RoboCop about his involvement in the first place), but he didn't expect him to survive his ensuing fight with ED-209, the SWAT team and Boddicker's gang.
- Epic Fail: The ED-209 attempts to descend a set of stairs in the OCP building, despite the fact that its feet are too big to go down the steps.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Clarence Boddicker's gang is very ethnically diverse: white (Boddicker, Leon Nash), black (Joe Cox), Asian (Steve Minh), and Latin (Emil).
- Even Evil Has Standards: Remorseless he may be, but Boddicker enters Bob Morton's house while Morton is in the company of two hookers and orders them, "Bitches, leave!" so that he won't need to eliminate extra witnesses.
- Evil Gloating: Boddicker's gang loves this.
- Executive Meddling: In-universe, the Directive 4, which Dick Jones describes as his "own little contribution."
- Executive Suite Fight:
- After finding out his connection with Boddicker, RoboCop storms into OCP's headquarters in an attempt to arrest Jones, who sics ED-209 on him.
- At the end of the film he returns and blows up the ED-209 guarding the building, then walks into an OCP board meeting and shoots Jones when he tries to hold the Old Man hostage.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: After tracking down Boddicker, RoboCop gets his revenge by casually throwing him through several panes of glass.
- Fanservice Extra: Twice. Apparently cops in the future have co-ed locker rooms. Later on, when RoboCop goes into a club to collect Leon, a woman is seen dancing topless.
- Finger Twitching Revival: When RoboCop wakes up and leaves the police station.
- Fingore: Among the many mutilations inflicted on him before his death, Boddicker's crew starts out by blowing off Murphy's right hand with a shotgun.
- Flipping the Bird: Implied to a degree, RoboCop's six-inch data jack emerges from his fist and he brandishes it to a computer tech when he tries to stop Robo accessing files on his own death and Boddicker's gang.
- Flashback Nightmare: Robo has a dream while sleeping in his chair in which he relives his own execution.
- For the Evulz: While Boddicker and his gang are interested in turning a profit, but they also enjoy the more violent aspects of their job like going completely overkill just for a good laugh.
- Gangsta Style: Boddicker's getaway driver Emil holds up a gas station by holding a SMG this way.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: ED-209's first demonstration not only fails to register a "hostile" surrendering, it can't be stopped from firing unless it's plug is pulled. This is why the Old Man is so eager to hear about the Robocop program.
- Good Night, Sweet Prince: Joe Cox says this with a sarcastic tone as Boddicker and rest of his gang leave the steel mill after shooting Murphy up with their shotguns.
- Gorn: A notorious movie for it. ED-209's demonstration, Murphy's death and Emil's acid bath are the worst offenders.
- Groin Attack
- You're trying to take down a would-be rapist who's holding his victim hostage. He's using her as a human shield. You are RoboCop and so you have Improbable Aiming Skills. What do you do? Shoot between the hostage's legs and neuter the guy.
- A psychopath tries to kick RoboCop between the legs, with predictably self-defeating results.
- Guns Akimbo: Human Murphy tries to shoot up the Boddicker gang's panel truck this way, with his own pistol and Lewis's sidearm. He fails spectacularly by only managing to hit Bobby in the leg.
- Gun Twirling:
- Murphy's signature Character Tic, as he copies a move from his son's favorite TV show TJ Lazar. He explains to Lewis in the scene prior to the car chase that he does this because he knows he's his son's role model. (The gun safety issues of doing this are averted by the fact that Murphy only does that trick after unloading the weapon. When he's doing it with Lewis prior to chasing down Boddicker, he reloads his pistol afterwords.)
- After Murphy is killed and Bob Morton's team turns him into RoboCop, part of the process is that Murphy's memory is erased. However, it turns out the memory-wiping process is not perfect, as demonstrated when Morton shows off RoboCop's Improbable Aiming Skills at the firing range. After finishing his magazine, RoboCop twirls his Auto 9 on his right hand before putting it in his leg holster. Lewis sees this, immediately realizing that RoboCop is Murphy.
- Robo also does it at the end of the film before tucking his gun into his holster and confidently walking away, like a hero in an old Western movie.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Robo removes his helmet near the end of the film, apparently deciding he would rather show his real face to the world than wear it. (Besides, it was damaged.)
- High-Speed Missile Dodge: RoboCop dodges several of ED-209's rockets in their first encounter.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Dick Jones and his Directive 4. Since he is the "number 2 guy around here," he tries to take the one guy who could terminate him hostage. "Dick, you're fired!" takes on a whole new meaning.
- Hollywood Acid: The toxic waste Emil takes a bath in.
- Hollywood Silencer: When Boddicker shoots Morton, he fits a silencer first so his pistol is barely audible.
- Hookers and Blow: Plenty of both, particularly at Morton's house right before his death scene where he snorts the stuff off a hooker's breasts.
- Hospital Gurney Scene: Murphy being airlifted to the ER where a trauma team makes a last-ditch effort to save him.
- Hummer Dinger: The 6000 SUX has reclining leather seats, goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage(!), specifically, 8.2 MPG! It became even funnier once Hummer SUVs started hitting real life American streets.
- The Hyena: Joe Cox, with his Annoying Laugh.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Reed declares, after announcing Officer Frederickson's death, "I don't want to hear any more talk about strike. We are not plumbers. We are police officers! And police officers don't strike."
- I'm Melting: Emil, after the van he was driving crashed into a vat of toxic waste and very messily at that. His fingernails are separating from his fingers.
- Idiot Ball: We don't see the decision on screen, only its consequences, but whoever it was who decided to load a prototype law enforcement robot that the design team had to know was flaky and unreliable with live ammo for a demonstration in front of the OCP board of directors cannot be the brightest bulb on the company's Christmas tree.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In the climax of the film, none of the criminals can hit RoboCop with their BFGs, even when they cause massive explosions. Probably because they're trying to fire anti-tank rifles from the hip.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Justified in that Robo's are all software. The human Murphy empties four magazines at a speeding panel truck and only manages to hit with one round. When the software craps out after RoboCop's run-in with the classified Directive 4 and Dick Jones, he's right back to being unable to hit the broad side of a barn, and Lewis has to help him reprogram himself.
- Improvised Weapon: The data spike comes in handy later in the film.
- Infrared X-Ray Camera: Robo has an infrared scanner that allows him to sneak up on a perp from behind a wall.
- Instant Death Bullet: Typically about as thoroughly averted as humanly possible. Murphy gets shot dozens of times by Boddicker and at the end, he puts a couple dozen bullets in Dick Jones, but he is killed when he gets knocked back through a window and falls around 100 stories to his death. Even the mooks clutch at their wounds and pass out from shock before dying.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Attempted by Boddicker at the end of the final showdown. He tosses his gun aside and says he gives up... while his buddy is preparing to drop a load of scrap onto Murphy.
- Irony: Out of Boddicker and his crew, Joe Cox is the most visibly eager to tangle with Robocop, recklessly firing off several shots of the cannon he's been given and whooping with glee at the explosions it causes. He ends up being the first of Boddicker's henchmen to be killed by Robocop in their final confrontation.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Murphy is referred to by OCP as "it" after his transformation. Ironically, Clarence Boddicker does not do this.
- It's Personal: RoboCop's fight with Boddicker because he's avenging his own murder.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Officer Kaplan is seen a couple of times talking about striking, which makes him seem like a Rabble Rouser. But he's also one of the few officers to refuse to fire on Robocop in the parking garage, which suggests that he really just doesn't want cops being killed in the line of duty.
- Just a Machine: OCP refers to RoboCop as their product instead of a human being with his own identity.
- Just Following Orders: When one of the SWAT team sent to destroy RoboCop in the parking garage protests that they're shooting a fellow officer, the lieutenant simply answers "We have orders to destroy it!"
- Kent Brockman News:
- News anchors Jess Perkins and Casey Wong such as in the first segment, when they are talking about the police officer shot by Boddicker's gang.
- Gets taken Up to Eleven in some segments: In the police strike news report, the guy defending the strike is an obviously stoned derelict instead of a police union representative.
- Kill Sat: The SDI Defense Satellite mentioned in the news accidentally fires on Santa Barbara during start up tests and scorches 10,000 acres of wooded forest in an instant, killing 110 people, including two former presidents who had retired to that area.
- Laser-Guided Karma: A thug tries to rape a woman at knifepoint. Seconds later, RoboCop appears and shoots him ... in the balls.
- Ludd Was Right: Although one cop wonders if RoboCop was built to replace them, the trope is ultimately averted with the cops accepting him as an asset on their side, such as being a big tough trooper who can safely draw criminals' fire while his regular comrades can maneuver for position to do support flanking.
- Ludicrous Gibs: ED-209 vs Kinney in the Boardroom. Emil vs. Hollywood Acid. Murphy vs. giggling thugs with shotguns. Warning: the videos are graphic.
- Lull Destruction: According to Word of God the creative team wanted a full 10 seconds of silence and blank screen between the moment of Murphy's death and the first flash of static marking the start of his resurrection. The executive team had other ideas.
- Made of Plasticine: Emil splats reeeaaal good after taking a bath in a vat of toxic chemicals.
- Magical Defibrillator: Averted nicely. When Murphy's dying body goes into shock they zap him while his heart is still technically beating. Once he flatlines they decide to give him another shock anyway, but their tone of voice makes it clear they know it won't work.
- Memory-Wiping Crew: Murphy's memory is supposedly wiped when he's being turned into RoboCop, however it isn't perfect because he retains his Gun Twirling habit, and also begins to remember Clarence Boddicker's gang shooting him up with their shotguns.
- More Dakka: ED-209's cannons, RoboCop's machine pistol, and the hundreds of rounds the SWAT team fires at him, all with Bottomless Magazines, of course.
- Multiple Gunshot Death: This is how Murphy dies to the Boddicker gang: multiple concentrated shotgun fire with a Coup de Grâce by Boddicker for good measure.
- Earlier on, an executive is completely annihilated on this fashion via the three mounted high-caliber auto-cannons of the ED-209. Made even more gruesome on the extended cut, where the ED-209 keeps on going for about half a minute after he's down and tears a gigantic hole that exposes the ribs on his torso (among other miscellaneous Gorn).
- Mundane Made Awesome: The scene when RoboCop enters his squad car for the first time, shifts the gears into drive, and drives up the exit ramp from the motor pool and out onto the highway on his first patrol. Driving a police car is a lot more awesome when you're an invincible cyborg with an epic orchestral theme.
- Named After Somebody Famous: The scientific staff are all named after politicians, the cops are all named after serial killers.
- Neutron Bomb: The besieged city state of South Africa has acquired a French-made neutron bomb, and demonstrated its intent to use it as their last line of defense.
- Nuke 'em: Get them before they get you! Another quality home game from Butler Brothers!Daughter: You crossed my line of death!Mother: You haven't dismantled your MX stockpile.Son: Pakistan is threatening my border!Father: That's it, Buster! No more military aid! [presses Big Red Button causing simulated explosion]
- No OSHA Compliance:
- In general the many factories where fights occur are perilous places. In particular: the big tank of acid placed right alongside a narrow service road, no barriers, nothing.
- Exactly what moron thought it a smart idea for ED-209 be fully armed for a demo in a company board room?
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Nor was it the 15 bullets RoboCop put into Dick Jones before he was blown out of that window.
- Novelization: By Ed Naha.
- Offhand Backhand: When shooting up the drug lab, Robo aims and fires at a random mook without even looking directly at him.
- Oh Crap!
- Involving ED-209, which is a heavily armed Mini-Mecha. An OCP executive, Kinney, is asked to simulate a "typical arrest and disarming procedure" during a board meeting. Dick Jones gives Kinney a pistol and tells him to cock it and aim it at ED-209:ED-209: Please put down your weapon. You have twenty seconds to comply.
Dick Jones: I think you'd better do what he says, Mr. Kinney.
(Kinney drops the Desert Eagle on the floor. ED-209 steps towards him, growls and aims its machine guns at him)
ED-209: You now have fifteen seconds to comply. You are in direct violation of Penal Code 113, Section 9.
Technician: Pull the plug!
ED-209: You now have five seconds to comply.
[Everyone starts screaming and diving for cover]
Kinney: [trying to shield himself behind another board member] Help me!
ED-209: Four. Three. Two. One. I am now authorized to use physical force. [ED-209 fires at Kinney and sprays him up with bullets well past the point of death, until he is made more of lead than of flesh]
- Emil at the gas station. When RoboCop uses the "dead or alive" line, Emil is surprised to hear it and figures out who the new cop is.
- The final fight between Boddicker and RoboCop:Boddicker: "Okay, I give up."
(drops his gun)
RoboCop: (walks toward him with gun trained on him) "I'm not arresting you anymore."
- Dick Jones' face when he's fired. Then fired upon.
- Involving ED-209, which is a heavily armed Mini-Mecha. An OCP executive, Kinney, is asked to simulate a "typical arrest and disarming procedure" during a board meeting. Dick Jones gives Kinney a pistol and tells him to cock it and aim it at ED-209:
- Ominous Multiple Screens: In OCP's board room.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. In addition to Bob Morton, one of Boddicker's guys is named Bobby, and is tossed out onto Murphy's pursuing patrol car after Murphy shoots him in the leg.
- On Patrol Montage: Robo has a busy first night smashing crime all over Detroit.
- Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future: Everywhere, including the computers in the police station and in OCP's board room, and RoboCop's Heads-Up Display has a distinctly 80s cyberpunk look with the monochrome green text.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: At the end of the film's credit, you can see the following statement:This motion picture is protected under the laws of the United States and other countries and its unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution by enforcement droids.
- Out of the Inferno: RoboCop walking out of the exploding gas station.
- Outside Context Hero: After Murphy is rebuilt into a cyborg, he spends most of the film relentlessly haunting and taking down criminals in Old Detroit. Robo Cop is so beyond anything they have ever experience that they're completely helpless before him and he takes down the drug lords who murdered him without taking any damage. A newscaster in the movie compared it to a comic book hero coming to life. It takes the criminals gaining access to military weapons and help from the big number two at OCP just to slow Robo Cop down.
- Phony Newscast: The film has a series of newscasts where horrible events are described during the news in an upbeat fashion. For example, in the opening, Casey Wong describes Clarence Boddicker's recent ambush and murder of three police officers in this way, and cheers on the sole surviving officer of the attack, saying how he's rooting for the officer to live. Mood whiplash in the very next scene in the police locker room when Reed is seen taking said cop's name off his locker and putting his personal effects in an evidence tray.
- There are advertisements placed throughout that accompany these newscasts so that you get an idea of what the consumer culture is like in the time period of the movie.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: When he kills Bob Morton, Clarence pulls the pin on the grenade in this way.
- Police Brutality: Robo uses some heavy-handed tactics to fight crime, including throwing a terrorist out a window and castrating a rapist.
- Power at a Price: The premise of the movie: Murphy gains superhuman abilities and the chance to come Back from the Dead, but he also loses much of his individuality in the process and what makes him human to begin with.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
- "Your move, creep!" note
- "Come quietly, or there will be...trouble."
- "Dead or alive, you're coming with me!"
- "Looking for me?" (shoots one of Boddicker's henchmen)
- Psycho for Hire: Boddicker, is this for Dick Jones, as he so emphatically states when Robocop is beating him up.
- Punny Name: When both Bob and Clarence get frustrated with Jones, they really enunciate his first name.
- Putting on the Reich: Clarence Boddicker wears glasses resembling those worn by Heinrich Himmler — a deliberate move according to Word of God.
- OCP's corporate logo: White circle on a red background with a stylised O, C and P in black on the circle. It's very deliberately reminiscent of a Nazi swastika.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Clarence's henchmen are a rabble of ethnic sterotypes that function as lesser villains.
- R-Rated Opening: In the first twenty or so minutes of this film, we see a businessman get shredded by gunfire with blood spurting everywhere. Then we see the hero gets his hand blasted apart, shot repeated at point-blank range, an arm blown off, and shot in the head. Later still, there's hookers and blow and knee-capping.
- Railing Kill: Several when RoboCop shoots up Boddicker's drug lab.
- Reading Your Rights: RoboCop catches Boddicker, and reads him his rights while repeatedly tossing him through windows. In the commentary, the crew confess that they were terrified that real-world cops would react badly to that scene. They did a test screening...and it was a roaring success. Boddicker being an Asshole Victim probably helped.
- Reckless Gun Usage: All over the place. It's not surprising that the ED-209 malfunctioned and killed an unarmed civilian if it's built by a corporation that's stupid enough to a) do a demonstration with its cannons fully loaded and b) give a loaded handgun to a guy who doesn't know how to use it, who then throws it on the floor, whereupon it could have gone off and killed someone. Simply placing it down on the floor could have saved Kinney his life.
- Restraining Bolt: RoboCop's classified 4th directive prevents him from arresting senior [OCP] executives.
- Ridiculous Future Inflation: The Old Man mentions the interest payments alone on Delta City could cost them fifty million dollars. This is for six months.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: The public is lead to believe RoboCop is completely robotic, which is believable since only his mouth is visible. Robo himself tries to avert this later in the film by taking off his helmet and showing his true face to the world.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The main plot of the movie is Murphy avenging his own death but especially the shootout at the steel mill.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- Lewis holds up a twisted mirror to Murphy so he can see what he has become.
- The abandoned steel mill, symbolic of dying American industry, is where the resurrected RoboCop (a Messianic Archetype who will save Old Detroit from slipping into chaos) takes on the evil criminal Boddicker. Oh, and he walks across a body of water to get to him.
- Say My Name:
- Lewis does this after seeing Murphy gunned down.
- During the climactic shootout at the steel mill, Boddicker shoots Lewis in the legs and is about to finish her off when RoboCop appears behind him and shouts "CLARENCE!" while awesome music plays.
- After dispatching Boddicker, RoboCop shouts "Lewis!" when he sees her laying on the ground wounded.
- Scary Black Man: Joe Cox, one of Boddicker's men, fits this trope very well with the way he mocks Murphy as Murphy lies dying on the ground
- Shoot the Hostage Taker: RoboCop shoots between the hostage's legs to hit the hostage taker in the groin.
- Shown Their Work: The scene with paramedics trying to revive Murphy was filmed with real paramedics using their real jargon.
- The catchphrase "I'd buy that for a dollar!!" from the Show Within a Show It's Not My Problem is a homage to the idiot's TV-derived catchphrase from the dystopic SF novel The Marching Morons, updated for inflation. Originally: "I'd buy that for a quarter!"
- The star of the show, Bixby Snyder, is possibly a homage to Benny Hill or a parody. In a supposedly-filmed scene, there's one final newscast where the newsreaders announce that Snyder has been arrested for receiving sexual favours from underaged co-stars.
- Soft Glass: The movie has plenty of things being thrown through glass, including RoboCop himself. Reality Ensues when Boddicker gets his face cut up pretty badly from it. He has those scars for the rest of the film.
- Something Only They Would Say:
- Lewis realizes that RoboCop is Alex Murphy when she sees him performing the gun-spin move he learned from the T.J. Lazer television show, during the demonstration of RoboCop's sharpshooting abilities at the precinct's shooting range.
- Emil figures out that RoboCop is Murphy during the gas station scene, when RoboCop says "Dead or alive, you're coming with me!" the very same thing that Murphy said while training a pistol on Emil at the steel mill.
- Spiteful Spit: When RoboCop tells Clarence that he has the right to remain silent, he spits blood all over his visor. When he is brought to the station he takes another spit on Sgt. Reed's desk.
- Stealth Pun: The "SUX" in "6000 SUX" is always spelled out whenever spoken, but try saying it as a word. Rather fitting when you consider its "shitty gas mileage".
- Stunned Silence: During the gas station robbery scene when Emil recognizes him as Murphy. RoboCop is so shocked he just stands in place replaying his recording of it and doesn't even react to Emil shooting a submachine gun at him.
- Stylistic Suck: The Bixby Snyder show It's Not My Problem is so bad that when Emil and another guy sit down to watch a bit of it prior to Murphy showing up at the warehouse, they start laughing raucously even though no joke has been spoken.
- Take That: The SDI Defense Satellite misfired on Santa Barbara during routine startup tests, killing 113 people, including two former presidents who had retired to that area. One is understandable but two seems like carelessness. A day of mourning for a country.
- Theme Music Power-Up:
- When RoboCop shoots up the drug lab.
- Also during the shootout at the steel mill.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
- Kinney's death at the demonstration. Poor guy was more lead than flesh by the time they shut ED-209 down. In the director's cut, ED-209 continually blasts Kenney's lifeless corpse as it lies on the table.
- Murphy's death. First, Boddicker shoots his right hand off. Then Boddicker and his men take turns firing their shotguns, shooting off the rest of Murphy's right arm and blasting holes up and down Murphy's midsection. He's still alive at this point and really in pain. To finish it, Boddicker pulls a pistol and shoots him in the face, blowing off the top of Murphy's head.
- Jones's death. He was shot 18 times before getting blown through that window. Ronny Cox notes in a DVD extra interview that the extra-powerful squibs used in the production actually knocked him over and made him feel physically sick afterwards.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: The film ends with RoboCop telling "The Old Man" his name is Murphy.
- Trench Coat Warfare: The convenience store robber pulls an assault rifle out of his coat. When RoboCop shows up, he bends the barrel in half.
- War On Cops: Clarence Boddicker and his gang are noted by Casey Wong in the opening exposition newscast to have killed 31 police officers. The Detroit Police Department seriously must be running short of manpower if Boddicker is offing them like candy.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The ED-209, for all its terrifying firepower, can't handle going down stairs. Justified since if it was up against anyone or anyTHING other than RoboCop, it would have made short work of them long before it would be necessary for it to have to use stairs, nor was it designed for combat within an office building.
- We Will Use WikiWords In The Future: The title of the film and the name of the protagonist himself is styled RoboCop.
- Welcome to Hell: Murphy gets this as a welcome to the precinct.
- What You Are in the Dark: RoboCop beats up Boddicker almost to the point of death, but when Boddicker screams at him "You're a cop!", RoboCop realizes what he's doing and is able to restrain himself and arrest him instead.RoboCop: Yes. I am a cop. (Directive 3 blinks across his HUD)
- Where It All Began: The climactic showdown at the Abandoned Warehouse where Murphy was killed at the beginning of the movie.
- You Are Too Late: When Lewis arrives just after Murphy has been killed.
- You Can't Go Home Again: As RoboCop, Murphy visits his old home and discovers his family no longer lives there, and it's planned to be turned into a model housing development. He wanders around the house alone for a while as memories of his former life come back to him. Saddened and angered, he then puts his fist through a monitor showing an ad for his new model home.
- You Have Failed Me: "Can you fly, Bobby boy?" He then helps the thug by throwing him out of the van and into the path of the police cruiser.
- When it came out in 1987, the Ford Taurus wagons used as police cars looked very futuristic. Today, they look like the late 80s cars they are.
- "Mediabreak" is still shot and broadcast using analogue video technology.
- They're still using big-box CRT televisions in 2043. The set Murphy's son is watching "TJ Lazer" on looks old even by 1987 standards.
- Averted twice (in the same scene). First, the home video console in Bob Morton's house does look more futuristic - according to the production team this was a lucky accident as the owner of the house they were using had built the setup himself. Second, the script called for Boddicker to insert and play a video tape with Dick Jones's "farewell message" on it. A last minute change had them use a CD as a prop instead.
"Nice shooting, son. What's your name?"