DIRECTIVES: 1. Serve the public trust 2. Protect the innocent 3. Uphold the law 4. [CLASSIFIED]
RoboCop (1987) is a Sci Fi / Cyber Punk film set Twenty Minutes into the Future in the Crapsack World version of Detroit, where the police force has been privatized and handed over to Omni Consumer Products (OCP). Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is trailing a vicious criminal gang led by Clarence Boddicker when he is separated from his partner, Anne Lewis. Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his cronies overwhelm Murphy, then take delight in unloading theirshotgunsinto him.After Murphy is pronounced dead, OCP takes his remains and effectively resurrects him as the Nigh Invulnerable cyborg police officer RoboCop. His mind is supposedly wiped, but signs indicate that the wipe job wasn't perfect. When Murphy does start looking for revenge against his killers, he discovers that top OCP executive Dick Jones is connected to Boddicker — and that Jones has meddled with Murphy's programming to ensure his own survival.Directed by Paul Verhoeven, RoboCop is a gritty, ultra-violent, darkly humorous film which features a great deal of social commentary and political satire on such subjects as capitalism, privatization, the environment and public apathy. The film works as pure summer entertainment as well, with taut action sequences, impressive production design, and memorable characters. Its smash success spawned a series of sequels and spin-offs while providing a huge shot in the arm for the Super Hero film genre that the box-office failure of Superman IV almost sunk in the same year.The first sequel, RoboCop 2 (1990), was even more violent and edgier than the first, going so far as to include a child as one of the primary villains. The plot involves the spread of a new drug called NUKE, considered the most addictive narcotic in history, as the police department is on strike. RoboCop struggles to stem the flow by going after Cain, a drug kingpin with a messiah complex.Meanwhile, OCP has failed to replicate their success creating the first RoboCop. After several failed attempts, an unscrupulous executive in OCP hypothesizes that the mind of a criminal with a strong desire for power and immortality could survive the procedure. When RoboCop finally takes Cain down, OCP immediately sticks Cain's brain in "RoboCop 2" and counts on his addiction to NUKE as a Restraining Bolt. (You get no points on guessing how long he stays loyal.) Now RoboCop must face his Evil Counterpart — who is far more heavily armed than himself.Relying too heavily on raw violence and shock value while having less of the satirical humor that defined its predecessor, the sequel was not as popular as the original film. Frank Miller wrote the original screenplay; although the script was heavily altered to fit a movie format, his influence in the themes of the film can be identified, including scenes in which a focus group attempts to make RoboCop more family-friendly (rendering him unable to do his job). Miller later turned his original vision of the film into a comic book series (Frank Miller's RoboCop).RoboCop 3 substituted the adult violence for something more tame, since the film was rated PG-13. The third film has OCP working to finish what they've been trying to do in the first two movies — tear down Detroit, a city they deem as "beyond saving", and rebuild it as Delta City. As usual, it comes down to Murphy vs. OCP. RoboCop (now played by Robert John Burke) finds himself working to keep OCP from forcibly removing citizens to make way for "a better Detroit", and along the way, he gets a jetpack and fights robot ninjas. Too mild in the action and edging into kiddie-film territory, this film bombed both financially and critically.Despite the very adult material, the character of RoboCop has the general makings of a classic Superhero Origin story, and as such, the character has appeared in at least four different incarnations on TV. In all of them, to one degree or another, the ultraviolence and corporate/political satire is stripped away in favor of superheroics and corny humor:
Robocop: The Animated Series: Animated Adaptation, 1988. Like the above. Also introduced a toyetic group of sidekicks called the Ultra Police. At least some of the stories were good.
Robocop: The Series: Live action, 1994. Gave Robo a holographic woman partner, a kid sidekick, and a variety of gadgets. On the other hand, it was occasionally hysterical. "I can't believe it! He's a Milken Scholar!"
Robocop: Alpha Commando: Animated, 1998. Which was less than well received. Filled the world with smartass AIs.
Robocop Prime Directives: Live-Action, Miniseries, 2000. Focused more on the franchise's dark and satirical elements as opposed to the more family friendly 1994 series. Received an ambivalent response.
A Continuity Reboot is set for release in 2013, directed by JosÚ Padilha. The movie will star Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy with supporting roles played by Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, and Jackie Earle Haley. A mock website for the company, now called OmniCorp has been revealed.The title character's design was loosely based on the TokuMetal Heroes series, particularly Space Sheriff Gavan, which Paul Verhoven or somebody else involved in the production (accounts vary) apparently enjoyed watching on his hotel room TV set while visiting Japan. Funnily enough, the reference came full circle in 1989 when Toei released Kidou Keiji Jiban, also a cyborg police officer who operated under a set of directives.One more thing: there was also a series of videogames produced for home consoles and the arcade, mostly adhering to what is now referred to as the "run and gun" format. *
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: ED-209; not because they're evil, but because they're very, very dumb. Subverted with RoboCop himself; he doesn't rebel against OCP because he's a cyborg, but because he regains his human memories.
All Crimes Are Equal: ED-209 advanced dangerously on RoboCop for being illegally parked on private property at the end of the first film. (Not that it worked out that well for him on this occasion.)
And I Must Scream: One of the 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 saved Murphy's left arm and 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 he replies they can do whatever they want to him as he's legally dead. The scene finally ends with Morton ordering to remove the left arm and Murphy/Robo being shut down for surgery.
And Show It To You: RoboCop 2 — Robo does this to Cain. Instead of the heart, Robo uses the brain. Presumably, we're talking wi-fi here.
Antagonist Title: RoboCop 2 is technically one, as Cain is turned into a cyborg called RoboCop 2 by the OCP.
In the first movie the standard issue body armor of the police provides minimal protection and Alex was deliberately stripped of the armor before Boddicker's group slaughtered him. Robocop's titanium/kevlar armor is more than adequate for protection against small arms fire and explosions, but once the armor is dented by the ED-209 heavy weapons he is slightly more vulnerable when the police are turned on him.
In the second movie Robocop is fired at with varying degrees of man portable weaponry including a rocket launcher or two and he still keeps on going. However a .50 caliber M2 is enough to take his hand off and a jackhammer is sufficient to disassemble him (eventually).
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, Robo would still have disarmed the creep, just not as spectacularly.
All those assault cannons in the first movie's climax, and RoboCop doesn't take a single hit. In general, Robo takes a lot of hits to the chest and none to that few inches of face, though there's at least one scene where he shields his face with an arm.
One of the street punks in one of the movies lampshades this, shouting "Shoot him in the mouth!" It likely wouldn't matter... Murphy's face is just a layer of flesh stuck atop his new metal cranium, getting shot there would probably only hurt his marketability.
Averted throughout the movie by other enemies, though. The confrontation with ED-209 and the subsequent arrival of the SWAT teams and police see RoboCop barely survive after being targeted mercilessly with assault cannons, machine guns, shotguns and a couple of rockets.
Murphy himself displayed this when he attempted to fire Guns Akimbo during a car chase. At a distance of less than 20 feet, he barely managed to hit the van, never mind any of the passengers. Contrast to Robo's expert marksmanship.
Better Than New: After Murphy is pronounced dead, OCP takes his remains and resurrects him using cybernetic/robotic technology into the Nigh Invulnerable RoboCop, though 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 in the first movie, and he takes one after they're defeated and uses it to blow up the ED-209 in front of OCP's headquarters. .Robo uses one himself to in RoboCop 2. In the third movie, RoboCop got arm mounted weapon attachments which combined a machine gun, a flamethrower and a grenade launcher.
Big Bad: Clarence Boddicker and Dick Jones in RoboCop, Cain in RoboCop 2, McDagget in RoboCop 3.
Big Damn Heroes: The climax of RoboCop 3, when the citizens resistance is about to be overwhelmed against the mercenaries until RoboCop comes screaming out the sky with his jetpack on to provide air support.
Big Entrance: The producers were concerned that a simple open entrance could make the title character look silly. Instead, Verhoeven had Robo's entrance teased out with first with his support crew coming and as the Desk Sgt. protests, he is suddenly silenced by the sound of heavy mechanical footsteps of some figure entering the station, barely visible through frosted glass. That is followed by teasing looks 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.
Bobby wasn't necessarily killed. We see him get shot in the legs and thrown onto the windshield of a Ford Taurus, but people have survived worse injuries in Real Life.
The unlucky junior executive who gets killed during the demonstration of ED-209 is shot over and over with blood spraying everywhere until he's Deader Than Dead. One of the board members calls for a paramedic anyway.
Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Robo in the second film when he stops some kids from playing with an open fire hydrant. He attempts to dispatch some old adages of homespun wisdom, but botches several of the sayings. It's worth noting that he's been reprogrammed with so many conflicting directives that he can barely think straight.
A plot point in RoboCop 2 involves the failed attempts to build a New and Improved cyborg. The minds used would be so horrified by what they had become that they would commit suicide in hilarious ways.
The first time Robo takes his helmet off, he says to his partner: "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.
RoboCop ends up in a pile of pieces after his first, failed attempt to get Cain.
Boddicker's goon Emil drives through an industrial-strength tank of acidic toxic waste. Unfortunately for Emil, he survives long enough to get splattered.
Murphy getting shredded apart by shells and bullets in the first part of the first film.
Cain, reduced to a brain and two floating eyeballs, forced to silently watch as the doctors casually chat over his disembodied, empty head with its slack face contorted in a rictus of horror. If he wasn't already insane, that would have done it.
Boom, Headshot: Murphy dies after getting shot in the head (which, after getting several of his limbs blown off and shot multiple times, is almost a Mercy Kill).
Bowdlerized: 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.
Bottomless Magazines: Nobody in this movie ever seems to reload their guns, even RoboCop and his machine pistol.*
Murphy actually reloads the Auto-9 a grand total of one time in all three movies, in what is, hilariously, the scene in which he probably fires it the least.
Brain in a Jar: Cain, at least temporarily, while they're preparing his robot body. He, though, still has his Eyes attached to his brain. As a result, he sees his own face that's been cut off of his body, with the surgeon casually holding it like a coffee cup. All of these are just trope filled giving examples of Body Horror.
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.
Buddy Cop Show: Not a show, precisely, but the Murphy & Lewis dynamic held through all three movies. And unlike most Buddy Cop Show situations, they were good buddies from the start, rather than rubbing each other the wrong way.
McDaggett's death at the end of the third movie is actually quite similar to Bob Morton's in the first — they're both wounded in the legs, left desperately crawling towards an active explosive device and trying to disarm, and ultimately failing.
Lewis is introduced in 3 chewing gum and blowing bubbles, much like the original film.
Robo startles Lewis by popping out the dataspike on his hand, much like he did to another officer in the original.
The scene where Robo is rebuilt after being injured by a grenade is almost identical to his "birth" scene in the original, right down to the engineers in both films accidentally screwing up and then presenting him with a new part.
The scene where Robo interrogates McDaggett's lieutenant is identical to the Boddicker drug lab interrogation scene in the original, right down to the same camera angles.
Robo confronts a pair of Splatterpunks harassing a young girl via a shot where a large shadow is seen on a wall, much like his confrontation of the two thugs attempting to rape a woman in the original.
The gang taking Robocop apart in Robocop 2 is reminiscent to the death (via dismemberment) of Murphy in Robocop.
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.
In the second movie, when Lewis steals an armored car and rams Cain into a wall.
Character Tics: Murphy had several that carried over into his cyborg persona. For example, he learned how to spin his pistol to impersonate T.J. Lazer, the hero of his son's favourite show. Upon remembering his human life his deadpan sense of humor returns.
In the first movie. 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 4th Directive in the first movie, along with RoboCop's computer jack that takes on the form of a spike emerging from his fist which he uses to dispatch Boddicker.
The third film had RoboCop's jetpack, stolen by the resistance from a warehouse group simply because it looked expensive. Later explained exactly what it was by Dr. Lazarus. As well as the little kid with a portable hacking computer. Directive 4 rears its head again, too... until the rebels delete it.
In the second film, Murphy brings one of the Cobra Rifles used on him from the first to his confrontation with RoboCain, though it does not cause much damage.
Bixby Snyder (the "I'd Buy That for a Dollar!" guy) makes a cameo appearance.
Cecil (one of the police officers in Reed's precinct, who was freaked out by the dataspike in the data storage room) appears in the third film when Robo returns to the station to stop McDaggett's squad. In addition, one of the officers who attempted to stop Hedgecock from opening fire on Robo in the parking garage (in the original) returns in a scene where he threatens to walkout.
The Amazon conflict appears to have kept going since the first film to the third film, with Cain having been a soldier in that war before being court-martialed.
Cool Gun: RoboCop's heavily modified Beretta 93R, referred to as the "Auto-9".
Robo himself has a few OCP logos on him, along with an OCP-001 serial number. Plus, whenever he gets smashed up it's OCP's money that pays for the rebuild (or not).
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Practically every member of OCP, but notably Johnson (who appears in all three films). In the first film, he's an ambiguous (but generally moral) employee who advises Bob Morton and gives Murphy a "thumbs-up" sign at the end. In the second he's head of the Robocop project and still a generally decent guy, but is willing to throw the far more amoral Dr. Faxx under the bus and participate in forging evidence to do just that. By the third, he's transformed into an unlikable douchebag who threatens to cut Sergeant Reed's pension if he doesn't comply with OCP's order to gentrify the Cadillac Heights district. He also survives the film and doesn't lose his job (unlike the CEO, who's fired at the end).
Johnson: Of course, there won't be any trouble from the dead ones. The Old Man: They'll have relatives. They always do.
Possibly subverted in the third movie. It's implied that Kanemitsu is being lied to about what's really going on in Detroit by both the remnants of OCP and The head of Rehabs. He bows his head to RoboCop at the end of the film.
Detroit. Full of crime and Corrupt Corporate Executives. It got worse when the cops went on strike in the first film, and by the time of the third film it's even worse, with people in danger of having wrecking balls tear through their house while they're still living there.
And it's not just limited to Detroit, either. In the first film, an orbiting defense satellite misfires and causes thousands of acres of forest to burn in California, killing several when it also sweeps through some homes, as well as two former US Presidents. In the second film, ED-209s are deployed in five major cities despite its continuing malfunctions; and a nuclear power plant in the Amazon goes critical, irradiating the entire rainforest.
Also from the second film, it seems that skin cancer due the lack of ozone layer is a pretty common problem. The chemicals you can buy to protect you from that, are also highly carcinogenic!
It's also perfectly legal to purchase a device that vengefully kills anyone trying to break into your car.
Creator Cameo: Paul Verhoeven plays a dancer at a disco, and executive producer Jon Davison is the voice of ED-209.
Chemical Messiah: Mostly edited out of the final cut, but the villain Cain was a cult leader who thought the drug he used and was distributing, "Nuke", was the key to higher consciousness.
Crucified Hero Shot: Murphy's death. 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 first film. Especially satisfying because their earlier fight wasn't concluded.
Cutting the Knot: In the second film, Robo is given a slew of new directives essentially intended to render him completely useless. When he overhears that a power surge could get rid of them, he walks over to an electrical box and zaps himself, wiping out all his directives.
Miller: "How 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."
There's also RoboCop to some extent, notably when he is usually damaged in someway or has done some damage.
Defictionalization: There is a real life company called Omni Consumer Products. They specialize in... making Defictionalized products. In an nicely full circle manner, the company's owner gave 25,000 dollars to a project seeking to build a statue of RoboCop in Detroit.
Destination Defenestration: Jones' death. After holding the president of OCP hostage, he's blown out the window by RoboCop and plummets to the ground.
Determinator: After numerous Epic Fails at attempting to build a second law enforcement cyborg, Faxx speculates that it was Murphy's intense devotion to duty that's keeping him from eating a bullet.
Robo removing his helmet in the first movie. "You may not like what you're going to see."
In the second movie, a prototype of RoboCop 2 removes his face-plate and helmet... and reveals to be nothing more than a bloody, screaming skull, which then collapses.
RoboCain's screen-for-a-face also pulls this on his former girlfriend.
Dystopia: Detroit's crumbling hellscapes and glittering skyscrapers represented everything that was wrong with America in The Eighties.
Easter Egg: At the end of the first 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.
Enfant Terrible: While there are plenty of cruel kids in RoboCop 2, Hob, the youngest member of Cain's cult, makes them look innocent in comparison. He's not above killing cops and uses his age to avoid getting gunned down by RoboCop. Later in the film, he almost manages to buy Detroit by making a deal with the mayor. Then RoboCain shows up...
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.
However, the whole Jones/Boddicker/Morton subplot serves a storytelling purpose, specifically the Grey and Gray Morality question of responsibility for Murphy's death, in a very neat way. Boddicker carries the ultimate blame as the man who did the deed, Dick Jones as Boddicker's paymaster is the Big Bad behind the crimewave Murphy was responding to at the beginning of the story - but it is heavily implied if not outright stated - that Bob Morton himself carries a significant share of the responsibility by placing Murphy in the firing line in the first place (having identified him as a possible candidate for the RoboCop program and transferring him to the most dangerous precinct in the city). By having Jones order Boddicker to kill Morton, the writers essentially ensure that everyone directly responsible for Murphy's death is dead themselves by the end of the movie, without having to answer the morality question outright.
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.
Directive 4 in RoboCop 1, which Dick Jones describes as his "own little contribution."
RoboCop 2 has some in-world meddling with Murphy's brain. OCP in the second movie saddles him with many dozens of politically correct software directives. These directives may work fine for creating corporate executives or cubicle mice, but for "rules of engagement for the one-cyborg high threat response unit in the most corrupt and brutal city we know", they were maddening. The politically correct directives in RoboCop 2 were a Take That against Moral Guardians.
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.
Also, 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.
Face Palm: The Old Man's response to the failed RoboCop prototypes in the 2nd movie.
Fanservice Extra: Twice in the first movie. 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.
Used deliberately in a cut sequence from the second film, to show how Robo has come to terms with the fact that his is just a machine. While walking through the OCP police station, Robo comes across the co-ed locker room, where an unnamed female officer is showering naked. Robo stops and stares for a few moments, then continues on his way.
Fantastic Drug: NUKE in the second movie. Although in this case, the viewer is supposed to treat the made-up NUKE as being every bit as egregious as real-life heroin or PCP.
Fatal Family Photo: Played with in first film, as a Murphy family photo is shown long after Murphy had become RoboCop. In RoboCop 3, Murphy asks if Anne has a family, with her reminding him she has a brother that never calls her. She tragically dies a couple of scenes later.
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.
Firing One Handed: All over the place, although it's justified for RoboCop since he's much stronger than a normal human and has an auto-targeting system.
Flaw Exploitation: Hob uses Angie's addiction to Nuke to keep her in line after Cain's absence. Dr. Faxx uses Cain's addiction to Nuke to control him once he's revived...but not for long.
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.
Gangsta Style: One of Boddicker's mooks holds up a gas station by holding a SMG this way.
Gory Discretion Shot: More often than not the violence was shown, but several times in the second movie, we simply got strong hints as to how awful the violence being done was, such as a doctor showing us Cain's agonized face after the skull holding it was sliced away. Used to great effect when Murphy is stripped down by Cain and his goons; we don't see what it looks like until they're done, but we see the process involving jackhammers, sledgehammers, and their own casual view of the process all from Murphy's perspective. It is a dark inversion of his "rebirth" in the first movie, and references the visuals of that scene.
Guns Akimbo: Subverted, as human Murphy tries to shoot up the Boddicker gang's panel truck this way and fails spectacularly.
Gun Twirling: Murphy is seen practicing spinning his service pistol a few times, a move he learned to impress his son (who saw it on a TV show). As RoboCop, it becomes his signature.
Points for safety. You can see that Murphy had removed the magazine (and presumably any chambered round) before trying to practice his twirling.
The Gunslinger: Subverted in that the human Murphy was a notably crappy shot in the first movie. About the only remotely gunslinger-like move he could pull off was the trigger-guard gun spin, and that only because he forced himself to learn it to impress his son. Robo's Improbable Aiming Skills are strictly programming (well, all except the spin).
Hand Cannon: Robo, natch, as well as many of the bad guys. Murphy's gun is a Beretta 93R fully automatic pistol, modified to look even bigger and spit foot-long flames with every three-round burst. The real Beretta 93R cannot fire in full-automatic; only single and three-round burst.
Heroic BSOD: In the second movie, when Robo encounters the kid villain, he has a full BSOD with flashbacks to his son.
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.
Dr. Faxx used a deadly criminal as a test subject for RoboCain (he ended up acting like the criminal he used to be); then she tried to keep him in check with Nuke (may have worked if he was fully human and his body, not just his mind, actually craved it); then tried to use feminine wiles to avoid responsibility (she was the most likely OCP scapegoat anyway, as she authorized the use of Cain's brain).
Honor Before Reason: Oddly enough, Otomo the android seems to adhere to this. He could have killed Robocop effortlessly several times, but the first time waits until Robo turns to face him, and the second time waits until he's on his feet again.
That kind of makes sense in context, though — as a rule, street hoods haven't generally practiced a lot with heavy anti-materiel rifles, and thus won't be sterling marksmen with them.
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 Robo's run-in with Directive 4, he's right back to being unable to hit the broad side of a barn, and Lewis has to help him reprogram himself.
Murphy was firing with two small calibre handguns at an armored car that held half a dozen criminals with much bigger weapons while being in a police car that had to keep constantly moving to dodge their fire. It's amazing he managed to hit one of them at all.
Infant Immortality: Averted with Hob, the youngest member of Cain's cult, who gets gunned down behind a truck door while trying to hide from RoboCain.
Infernal Retaliation: Two Splatterpunks freak out in 3 when they set RoboCop on fire and he just keeps coming after them.
Inferred Holocaust: At the end of the third film, a thermo-failsafe explosive is set off, which destroys the OCP building in an explosion that also consumes much of the downtown Detroit area. None of the characters remark on this (as it's the end of the film), and the viewer is supposed to be happy that Robo and his friends stopped the corporation from bulldozing Old Detroit, while ignoring that dozens (if not hundreds) of people were just murdered in a massive explosion that took out the biggest and tallest building in the city.
Possibly mitigated by the earlier parts of the movie. The scenes of walking through the OCP building show it as half-deserted from layoffs, departures, and suicides. It's implied by the end that the building may have cleared out completely, and if the neighborhood was one that was also going to be rehabbed, it may have been emptied as well.
Instant Death Bullet: Typically about as thoroughly averted as humanly possible. Murphy gets shot dozens of times by Boddicker in the first film. At the end, he puts a couple dozen bullets in Dick Jones, but Jones is killed when he gets knocked back through a window and falls around 100 stories to his death.
Irony: Robocop, a classic rumination on Capitalism Is Evil, has its titular character featured in a Korean advert for a chicken-frying machine. Also, the general idea behind Robocop and the sheer amount of merchandise behind the character, to the point it becomes bizarre, as mentioned in the Misaimed Fandom section.
Kent Brockman News: The news anchors in the first film. Especially in the first segment, when talking about the police officer shot by Boddicker's gang.
Kids Are Cruel: In the second movie, almost all kids shown on screen are little monsters who enjoy violence and law-breaking. Yet it's implied that Robo's programming won't allow him to target a child.
It may very well be Murphy's conscience, not the programing (at least before he's filled with stupid directives).
Lock and Load Montage: Murphy does this a few times, including before the climactic fight with Boddicker's gang.
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 flank them.
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.
Meaningful Name: Otomo means "attendant" or "companion". This makes sense, since one of the reasons Japan wants to develop robots is to care for their growing population of elderly. On the other hand, it could also be a Stealth Pun, "Otomo-tan"... automaton.
More Dakka: The ED-209 series in general. Autocannon and anti-tank rockets on a police robot: seemingly excessive, until we get to know this future Detroit. note The ED-209 was going to be marketed to the millitary after the police trial. In RoboCop 2, Robo's Auto-9 relative to the standard-issue DPD service pistols.
Motorcycle Jousting: Alex Murphy has a joust with Cain in RoboCop 2: Murphy on a motorcycle, Cain in an armored car.
Mundane Made Awesome: The scene when RoboCop enters his squad car for the first time, shifts gears and drives up the ramp out into the city on his first patrol. Driving a car is a lot more awesome when you're an invincible cyborg with an epic orchestral theme.
Name of Cain: Cain, the villain in the second film, is a drug lord, torturer and murderer.
Nerd Glasses: Many of OCP's staff, as well as the gas station attendant RoboCop saves from a criminal.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: RoboCop is always on the receiving end of these, putting him out of commission for awhile in every movie.
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.
Also, why would ED-209 be fully armed for a demo in a company board room?
Not Himself: In the second movie, when Robo starts showing off his new Politically Correct programming:
Lewis: "Hit the gas, Murphy." Robo: "The posted limit is 35. We should set an example, Anne. Your hair looks lovely that way." Lewis:(frowns) "It's OCP, they did something to you." Robo: "I'm fine. Isn't the moon wonderful tonight?" Lewis: "It's still daytime." Robo: "It's the thought that counts." Lewis:(rolls her eyes) "Oh, Jesus, we're heading back to the station, that's all there is to it."
Involving ED-209, which is a heavily armed Mini Mecha. An OCP executive, Kenny, is asked to simulate a "typical arrest and disarming procedure" during a board meeting.
ED-209: "Put down your weapon. You have twenty seconds to comply." Dick Jones: "I think you'd better do what he says, Mr. Kenny." (Kenny drops the Desert Eagle.)" ED-209: "You now have fifteen seconds to comply." (Kenny, understandably, freaks out.)
Emil at the gas station. When Robocop uses the "dead or alive" speech, Emil is surprised to hear that from a cop again and figures out who the new cop is.
One-Man Army: Being impervious to small arms fire and wielding some incredible firepower of his own, Robocop can just walk into a drug den and gun everyone down without breaking stride.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Daniel O'Herlihy's character in the first two movies is only known as "the Old Man". Likewise, Rip Torn's character in the third movie is only referred to as "the CEO". This also extended to the various TV series—David Gardner's character in The Series and Tedde Moore's character in Prime Directives are, respectively, referred to only as "The OCP Chairman" and "The Old Woman".
Only Sane Man: OCP Executive Johnson in the second movie. He's the only one who realizes that loading Robocop down with a senselessly complex command program will cripple him and he's one of two men who does see the problem with giving a mass-murdering drug lord an indestructible robot body.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Dr. Faxx. She manages to sound broadly American only a handful of times. The rest she swings between vaguely English, Irish, even German and French on a few occasions. What nationality is the actress? Australian.
Orphaned Punchline: "I'd buy that for a dollar!" We only hear it in isolation, but the characters are familiar with the show: to them it's hilarious.
However Robert John Burke is taller than Peter Weller. The reason nobody noticed was because the RoboCop suit worn in RoboCop 3 was originally built for RoboCop 2. He complained that wearing it was painful after a short time.
Out-of-Character Alert: How Lewis and Robocop's primary technician promptly realize something is very wrong after Robocop is rebuilt in the second film; Robocop says he's "touched", remarks on it being "a beautiful day" and he calls the captain by his first name; all things Murphy would never do.
Phony Newscast: The film has a series of newscasts where horrible events are described during the news in an upbeat fashion. For example, when a police officer is brutally gunned down, the reporter cheers on the cop, saying how he's rooting for the officer to live.
Pin-Pulling Teeth: Clarence starts a futuristic timer grenade like this, while playing Dick's recorded message to Bob.
Playing Against Type: Prior to playing Dick Jones, Ronny Cox played nice guys. However, Dick Jones also set up a new type for him, as proven by Senator Robert Kinsey and Vilos Cohaagen. Kurtwood Smith was also known for slightly more refined and elegant characters (while still bad guys) and not the unsophisticated thug Boddicker was.
Political Correctness Gone Mad: The multitudinous additional directives they added to RoboCop in the second movie.* DIRECTIVE 233: Restrain hostile feelings. - DIRECTIVE 234: Promote positive attitude. - DIRECTIVE 235: Suppress aggressiveness. - DIRECTIVE 236: Promote pro-social values. - DIRECTIVE 238: Avoid destructive behavior. - DIRECTIVE 239: Be accessible. - DIRECTIVE 240: Participate in group activities. - DIRECTIVE 241: Avoid interpersonal conflicts. - DIRECTIVE 242: Avoid premature value judgments. - DIRECTIVE 243: Pool opinions before expressing yourself. - DIRECTIVE 244: Discourage feelings of negativity and hostility. - DIRECTIVE 245: If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't talk. - DIRECTIVE 246: Don't rush traffic lights. - DIRECTIVE 247: Don't run through puddles and splash pedestrians or other cars. - DIRECTIVE 248: Don't say that you are always prompt when you are not. - DIRECTIVE 249: Don't be oversensitive to the hostility and negativity of others. - DIRECTIVE 250: Don't walk across a ballroom floor swinging your arms. - DIRECTIVE 254: Encourage awareness. - DIRECTIVE 256: Discourage harsh language. - DIRECTIVE 258: Commend sincere efforts. - DIRECTIVE 261: Talk things out. - DIRECTIVE 262: Avoid Orion meetings. - DIRECTIVE 266: Smile. - DIRECTIVE 267: Keep an open mind. - DIRECTIVE 268: Encourage participation. - DIRECTIVE 273: Avoid stereotyping. - DIRECTIVE 278: Seek non-violent solutions.
Putting on the Reich: The OCP banners are red with a white circle, black company logo inside it. Clarence Boddicker wears glasses resembling those worn by Heinrich Himmler — a deliberate move according to Word of God. The company's private army wear totalitarian longcoats and caps.
The whole thing is taken further with the Rehab troops in the third film.
Railing Kill: Several when RoboCop shoots up Boddicker's drug lab.
First film. 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.
In the second film, RoboCop reads the Miranda warning to a dead body, and is astonished when Lewis points it out. He was reading him his last rights.
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.
Robo Cam: Numerous scenes are shown from RoboCop's POV, complete with scanlines, subtle pixelation, HUD messages and when Robo is hurt, interference. The HUD is justified, since RoboCop is technically still human and would need some information displayed to help him make decisions. Mecha-Cain appears to run on an early version of MacOS, complete with skull logo in the upper left.
The Scapegoat: After the battle royale at the end of the second movie, the Old Man is well-aware that OCP is going to be on the hook for all the carnage. To save the company, Johnson suggests scapegoating Faxx and making it appear they had been kept completely out of the loop on the project.
Shooting Superman: RoboCop gets this a lot. The bad guys eventually wise up in the first film and take him on with anti-tank rifles, but that doesn't stop every other dumb crook in the franchise from unloading their tiny pistols at him.
Shout Out: The Show Within a ShowI'd Buy That for a Dollar 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.
In 2, Caine is overseeing the development of new versions of nuke, one of which is named Blue Velvet, likely after the song. But just maybe because the chemist working on it is named Frank.
Many setting details are correct despite the films being shot elsewhere. The first was filmed in Dallas, the second was filmed in Houston, and the third was filmed in Atlanta.
The DPD precinct system — it is organised by geography not the usual precinct numbers.
The local hospitals. There really is a Henry Ford Hospital that's a Level 1 trauma center.
The neighborhoods: "Cadillac Heights" from the third movie is apparently somewhere in the old Black Bottom, across Woodward from the university district and just south of Hamtramck.
The trauma team that works on Murphy as he dies is a real trauma team, and their dialog was mostly ad-libbed. In the commentary, the writers say they wished they could have come up with a line like "Let's shock a flat line and quit."
Soft Glass: The first movie has plenty of things being thrown through glass, including Robo himself.
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 a demonstration at the precinct's shooting range.
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 at him.
Superhero: RoboCop is a superhero in all but name. He can get up moments after a fifteen-storey fall when his organics should be shmooshed.
Superhero Origin: Alex Murphey was a dedicated police officer until he was gunned down by Clarence Boddicker's gang. Declared legally dead he was placed into the Robocop program to become the superhero he is today.
The series has a cartoon character named Commander Cash and in one episode someone dressed as him is instigating children to commit crimes. It turns out to be the creator of Commander Cash, Tex Jones, who was a researcher with OCP working on subliminal messaging. After another researcher working on brainwashing tried to kill him, Tex recuperated, trained, and became Commander Cash so he could lead Robocop to the culprit.
Super Cop: Chances are, if you mention the phrase to anyone, and they know of RoboCop, he's the first thing that they'll think of.
In fact, RoboCop is called exactly that in the first film, when he first shows off his computer-enhanced aiming skills at the firing range.
Super Prototype: As a cyborg police officer, Murphy is the first attempt and the only success. This is because Murphy has just the right mindset to accept his condition.
Take That: The SDI Defense Satellite misfiring in the first movie. The incident killed two former presidents. One is understandable but two seems like carelessness. At the time the movie was filmed, there were two former american presidents living in California where the fictional laser struck. Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
That Man Is Dead: In a more complex way, RoboCop tells Murphy's wife that Murphy is dead and they gave RoboCop Murphy's face as a way of honoring the fallen officer. Sadly, we know he's still in there somewhere because he lies to his wife to order to let her go. He may not be dead, but he is no longer her husband.
Ellen Murphy: [sees Robocop without his helmet] Alex, is it really you?
RoboCop: [gets up and walks to her, mesh metal fence separating them]
Ellen Murphy: [crying] Don't you remember me? Whatever they've done to you... whatever has happened, we can work it out... start again...
Tin Man: In the second movie, there's a scene where Robo has to convince Mrs. Murphy that he is just a machine, and has none of her husband's memories. However, saying this to her is too much for him: he can't even make eye contact upon telling her, "I don't know you".
Too Dumb to Live: Faxx with idea of taking death row inmates and giving them a cyborg body. At least the chief cyborg engineer called her out on that one. Alas she managed to convince the Old Man to allow her access to Cain.
Increasing privatization in "hospitals, prisons, space exploration".
Tech Marches On: Played straight and averted. The DPD Records Department apparently still stores everything on reel-to-reel tape, and the one human-usable computer not sitting in a rack features a painfully slow and kludgy GUI. Over at OCP, we have the giant wall o' monitors in the board room, all of which are CRTs; the media center sports a VHS player. On the other hand, as shown by the playing of Dick's final taunts to Rob as he died, CDs (or similarly designed DVDs) do seem to have become the norm of visual media.
Upgrade Vs Prototype Fight: Robocop 2. The OCP corporation decides to replace Robocop with Robocop 2, another robot with a human brain controlling it. At the climax of the movie, Robocop battles Robocop 2 to the death.
Used Future: Future!Detroit is (even more) crime-ridden, dirty, polluted and desolate.
Villain Respect: At the end of the third movie, when the Japanese executive meets Robocop in person, he bows in traditional Japanese style as a mark of acknowledgement of Robo's ability to defeat the Japanese android he'd fought earlier.
What's the mystery? There's a whole scene dedicated to RoboCop looking them up on a computer with his knuckle-spike interface. They're both killed in a riot at the Rehab 'housing' complex where the buses took them.
What You Are in the Dark: Murphy beats up Boddicker almost to the point of death, but when Boddicker thinks he's going to kill him, he remembers his directives and arrests him instead.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: OCP regards RoboCop as a piece of equipment that they own. Typical is Holzgang's utter disregard for RoboCop's agony after he's been torn apart by Cain's gang. "Nah, it's just the back-up generator making him twitch."
Weaksauce Weakness: ED-209's is stairs, with far too broad legs to manage the narrow and steep steps. The design of the ED-209 was a lot of show and little fine tuning for both versatility and AI programming.
Dick Jones: I had a guaranteed military sale with ED-209. Renovation program. Spare parts for 25 years. Who cares if it worked or not?
Alternate Continuity: The series splits into two (or three, depending on your view) continuities after the second film. The 1994 series and Prime Directives both ignore the events of the third film in favor of keeping OCP and the threat of bulldozing Old Detroit, although it's still unclear if the two series are meant to be tied into the same continuity (considering that one was a syndicated children's show and the other a violent homage to the original).
Board to Death: Damian Lowe in Prime Directives spearheads the project for developing a fully-functional A.I., called SAINT. After sending a team after RoboCop after the Old Woman had forbidden it, Damian gets fired and uses SAINT to kill the Old Woman and the Board.
California Doubling: Similar to its predecessors, the 1994 TV series (and Prime Directives) use Canadian locations as a stand-in for Detroit.
Clear My Name: One epsiode of The Series and most of Prime Driectives find Robo having to do this.
Consummate Liar: The mayor turns out to be so experienced in politics that anything he says, no matter how blatantly true or false it is, cannot be confirmed to be true or false under lie detector analysis. Even claiming to be Abraham Lincoln registers as having a 50% chance of being true, when he's subjected to a lie detector functionally identical to RoboCop's.
In the '94 series episode "Robo Vs. Commander Cash", Robo has trouble arresting Rex Jones (an OCP researcher who's disguised as the titular cartoon character) because he claims that Robo "doesn't fight other superheroes" due to "cartoon law". Due to his overriding directives, Robo identifies Jones' statements as factual (and he turns out to be right).
Continuity Nod: In the first movie, RoboCop ends up bodily throwing people out of his way when trying to access the department archive computers for information. In the show, whenever he turns up in that part of the station, everyone hurriedly gets out of his way.
Crapsack World: What Detroit has turned into in the Prime Directives series. Robo is practically out of date, crime and poverty is worse than ever, anarchists are storming the OCP building and everyone is a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
Earn Your Happy Ending: The end of the Prime Directives series. Detroit is now stuck in the dark age, and several people have died to stop the corrupted S.A.I.N.T. computer program from activating and destroying the city (including Robo's former partner), but everyone's favorite cyborg policeman does get to make up for lost time with his son and continue in his role as a protector, free of his overriding directives.
Everything's Funkier with Disco: In one episode of the '94 series, Diana is corrupted by a virus that causes her to transform herself and her workstation into a full Disco club.
Exact Words: In one episode, an escaping villain has his car computer guide him out of the city, avoiding all traffic jams and tollbooths. Diana has the computer guide him to a police roadblock.
Diana: "This service has been brought to you by... RoboCop! Sucker!"
Getting Crap Past the Radar: At least with RoboCop: Alpha Commando. It had a few Body Horror moments, such as the scene in "Doppleganger" where the clones melt. Also, in "H-2-Uh-Oh", two of the characters had a literal moment of scenery nudity (namely because of a chemical that turned them into living puddles, and obviously their clothes can't be worn by living puddles). And this was all in what was supposed to be a kids program!
Hologram/Virtual Ghost: OCP secretary Diana, whose memory was uploaded to the OCP supercomputer after her death in the pilot episode.
The '94 series does this as well: aside from extra ammunition (as referred to in the episode "Provision 22"), Robo carries several types of both non-lethal and lethal ordinance (mines, airbags), coolant and other devices/gadgets that would be used in any given episode, all stored in his left leg.
I Have Your Wife: A villain kidnaps Robo's wife from his old life. The item he is to steal is a ray gun that causes heart attacks, called the Heartbreaker. Initially, his built-in Restraining Bolt stops him, using Obstructive Code of Conduct three, "uphold the law". As soon as Robo pictures his wife in danger, directive two — "protect the innocent" — overrides this.
Law Enforcement, Inc.: Inverted; in the 1994 series, Robo often works against his employers to protect average citizens (including his wife and son).
Lighter and Softer: Following up on RoboCop 3, the '94 series was dulled down to appear to family audiences (and, indeed, it was shown in syndication in Canada on weekends at pre-watershed timeslots). RoboCop didn't kill (he used gadgets to incapacitate them), the humor was dulled down and the plots became cartoonish.
Living Lie Detector: Robo gains the ability to discern whether a person is lying or not through their vocal inflections. Unfortunately it is not infallable — see Consummate Liar.
Magic Countdown: The Sci Fi Channel once ran a marathon of the series with a humorous voiceover. One episode had a bomb set for five minutes. The running commentary points out that it takes 7:04 for the bomb to eventually be shut off.
Mind-Control Device: One episode of the live-action series has a formula that renders people vulnerable to mind control if the formula is mixed with a simple calcium base (i.e. milk). It's added to a breakfast cereal.
Non-Lethal Warfare: The TV series took advantage of the publicity given to NLW at the time to avoid having Robocop kill anyone. Robocop is instead armed with an array of Non-Lethal Weapons which he uses to capture the badguys.
No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted, when Robo is on the run after being accused of murder, since the bullet in question could only have come from his one-of-a-kind gun, coded to his grip, and the targeting system used to aim the shot would be the one from his helmet. Later when Robo is critically damaged, and the kid sidekick shows him his prototype circuit board, letting him use it to make repairs. Then the scientist who designs the board realizes the prototypes of Murphy's gun and helmet are out there...
The original animated series had an unexpected nod to Murphy's death, with a flashback to the very end of the scene, Boddicker's "Fun's over" and the final shot to Murphy's head, rendered in animation.
They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Inverted in Alpha Commando - Diana almost always calls Robocop "Murphy", and only once refers to him as "Robocop."
Time Bomb: An episode of RoboCop: The Series involved Robo having to dispose a nuclear bomb in the OCP building. To defuse it, he had to align two triangle-shaped switches into an hourglass. This is accomplished with (you guessed it) one second to spare.
What Happened to the Mouse?: None of the characters from the films (besides Murphy/Robo himself) make the jump to the live-action shows, and their absence is never commented upon.
X Meets Y: RoboCop: Alpha Commando is RoboCop meets Inspector Gadget in both premise (RoboCop going around the world, fighting an international criminal organization) and literally (Robo having a lot more gadgets built into him than normal, including some nonsensical ones for a cyborg designed to enforce the law to have).
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Inverted. When RoboCop is critically damaged in the pilot episode of the '94 series, OCP refuses to pay his massive repair bill — until his partner mentions that he has evidence against Cray Mallardo (who the CEO has serious issues with) in his memory banks. Upon realizing that RoboCop is still useful, the CEO authorizes RoboCop's repairs.