YMMV / RoboCop (1987)

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Even though he was amoral and something of a Jerk Ass, many viewers nevertheless felt sorry for Morton during his death scene, especially seeing as how he comes off more as simply unethical in his ambitions than outright evil like Dick Jones.
  • Chaotic Evil: Clarence Boddicker has committed every crime in the book, does not work well with his Lawful Evil superior Dick Jones of the OCP, and has fun with violence, making him textbook Chaotic Evil.
  • Complete Monster: The Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • Clarence Boddicker leads a sadistic gang of criminals. He taunts Alex Murphy, the future RoboCop , with his shotgun before shooting him in the hand with it, before he and his men continuously shoot Murphy in his vest non-fatally until they're all out of ammo, then Clarence himself shoots him in the head. He then takes immense pleasure later on in breaking into Bob Morton's home, shooting him in the legs and leaving a live grenade to kill him. He also plays a taunting message from his employer Dick Jones and doesn't even entertain Morton's pleas for his life as well as offers for paying him more. He sells Jones out to RoboCop to save his own skin when he's being tortured and later shoots Ann Lewis and nearly kills her. Clarence pretends to surrender so his man Nash can drop a large amount of debris on RoboCop , impales RoboCop with a pipe and then tries to finish him off slowly. He shows that in addition to being paid for his crimes, he takes psychotic pride in them with every step.
    • Dick Jones is not only a Corrupt Corporate Executive for OCP, but is also Clarence Boddicker's boss. Jones is fully aware of how awful Clarence is and uses his thirst for violence to his own advantage and prosperity. Jones doesn't care when his ED-209 malfunctions and blows holes in an innocent executive, believing it was a necessary loss to test his subject out. Jones orders Clarence to kill plenty of good-working and innocent cops so that he can make money with their deaths and get more support for ED-209 so that his project will be the one that profits. When Bob Morton gets the upper hand with his RoboCop project, he has him killed, leaving a message to taunt him and taking pride in his victory. When RoboCop later confronts and tries to arrest him, it's revealed that he's had Directive Four installed in RoboCop to have him shut down if he goes against an OCP member as an insurance policy to himself. He orders ED-209 to go after RoboCop to destroy what he believes is Morton's "mistake" and has him framed as a dangerous enemy when he survives. He has Clarence and his men, whom RoboCop had all arrested, released just for the purpose of killing him and then later takes the Old Man hostage and threatens his life to try to get away when he's exposed.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The scene near the beginning with the demonstration of the ED-209 in the Director's Cut. In the theatrical version, it merely just shoots the executive for a second or two to kill him in a perfunctory manner. In the uncut version, it unloads hundreds of bullets into him with gallons of High-Pressure Blood spraying everywhere as the engineers try to disable the robot. This goes on for about 15 seconds, long after any human being could survive with ED-209 just chewing up the corpse. To top it off, some random guy says "Should we call a medic?" after ED's done turning the guy into paste. The original intent of the film was to make it so outrageously violent you couldn't take it seriously. The studio cut forced out much of the violence so that some scenes ended up a bit more depressing than others.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: It's at least partly in effect, since the ultraviolence is often depicted in an over-the-top and somewhat campy manner (as mentioned above, the famous ED-209 scene often mentioned was deliberately intended to be so ludicrously violent that the audience would end up laughing at how over-the-top it was) and when RoboCop starts taking down the borderline-Complete Monsters he's facing throughout the movie with similar gratuitous violence it's hard not to find it triumphant on some level.
  • Dueling Movies: Not so much at the time, but in retrospect with The Running Man. Both movies:
    • Were released in 1987, take place twenty minutes in the future, and are set in a dystopic society where an elite few live in luxury while the masses live around them in squalor. Possibly intentional but both could be seen as satire of Reagan's America.
    • Despite their future setting the hairstyles, fashions, music, and other things are so 80's it's painful.
    • Are ultraviolent movies with an undertone that violence as a form of entertainment is bad.
    • Feature two villains who (at the time) were playing against type. Richard Dawson and Jim Brown in Running Man and Ronny Cox and Kurtwood Smith in Robocop.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: ED-209. So much so that he became a franchise staple rather than just a minor character; ED-209 is the one of the only characters besides RoboCop himself that appears in nearly every work of RoboCop fiction.note 
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: A good man is wrongfully tortured to death in a cruciform position, complete with vicious trauma to his hands, but comes back from the dead and brings justice to the world. Also, at one point, he walks across water so shallow he seems to be walking on top of it. Verhoeven even confirmed it, going on to mention that the graphic violence was part of the satire. RoboCop is, after all, an American Jesus.
  • Evil Is Cool: As nasty a piece of work as he is, Clarence Boddicker displays plenty of Villainous Virtues, doesn't back down from much, and despite being a normal, squishy human, is vicious and resourceful enough to still pose a credible threat to a Nigh Invulnerable hero like Robocop.
  • Foe Yay: It's noted on the commentary track that the scene between Bob Morton and Dick Jones is loaded with homoerotic subtext.
  • Genre Turning Point: Just a few months after Superman IV: The Quest for Peace became an embarrassing flop that threatened to make Super Hero films feel like a nothing genre, this hit film with its thrilling action, cutting satire and moving human drama gave the genre newfound dramatic credibility.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: RoboCop was described by Stephen Colbert in 2013 as turning out to be more optimistic than the real Detroit, which at that point had become the largest city in America to file for bankruptcy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "I'd buy that for a dollar!" Notably later used in the game Smash TV.
    • "I know you. You're dead. We killed you. We killed you!"
    • "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."
    • "Please put down your weapon. You have 20 seconds to comply."
    • "Bitches, leave."
    • "Your move, creep!"
    • "I like it!"
    • A less-used quote is "Come quietly or there will be....trouble."
  • Misaimed Fandom: A sizable portion of the film's fans love the film for its gratuitous ultraviolence. Said film is brutal satire attacking (particularly American) media for glorifying and commercialising violence while real people living in real cities are struggling with real violence, and implies that the only people who can stomach such violence are insane and sadistic criminals, and those so scarred by violence that they've lost their humanity.
    • Verhoeven would run into this again with his similarly misguided attempts at making people horrified about war with his Starship Troopers movie, apparently having not learned the lesson that 1) summer action blockbusters are really not the place to try and put across "deep" sociological commentary, because people will just take it as a summer action blockbuster, and 2) the vast majority of people understand that what they're seeing is fiction and thus don't react to it as if it were real violence or something that were actually happen, especially when it's made so ridiculously over-the-top as Verhoeven seems to love to do.
    • As noted in Ensemble Darkhorse, the fandom as a whole loves ED-209, and it's become one of the iconic Mini-Mecha designs. This is despite the fact that pretty much every scene involving ED-209, from its gory introduction to its falling down the stairs to its obvious weak point, is meant to convey the fact that ED-209 is an overpriced piece of junk.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The laughs of Clarence's absolutely sadistic and evil gang members are...much more annoying than sinister.
  • Older Than They Think: The line "I'd buy that for a dollar!" is derived from a sarcastic put-down from 1951 short story The Marching Morons: "Would you buy it for a quarter?".
  • Signature Scene: The title character shooting a rapist in the junk.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • In the first film some shots of RoboCop's handheld locating device show painfully clearly how the prop just has a painted-on small map with an embedded red LED. The scenes where it's actually put to use shows a close-up with proper animations.
    • When RoboCop throws Dick Jones out of the building at the end of the movie, his arms morph to about twice his height and he looks horribly deformed as he falls.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Many argue that Robocop was a film adaptation of Judge Dredd. Many of the themes are quite similar, particularly the use of Black Comedy. In fact, the reason a Dredd film wasn't made during The '80s was because Robocop came out before it could happen.
  • Squick
    • Boddicker's henchman Emil gets dunked in toxic waste, causing him to melt. Then he gets hit by a car, and explodes into Ludicrous Gibs. His head slides gracefully along the top of the car, and a substance like dirty water emerges from his exploded body to coat the windshield.
    • Murphy's death it made even squicker than it already is by the fact that the gang members taunt him viciously as they're turning him into hamburger. "Give the man a hand!" "Does it hurt? Does it hurt?" Also, at one point you see his entire right arm get blown off.
    • Watching the trauma team at Henry Ford try to resuscitate the poor guy is every bit as painful. It's one of the more realistic trauma code scenes committed to Hollywood film. The trauma team was played by real paramedics. Yes, they cast the experts.
    • The scene as planned by Paul Verhoeven was even gorier than in the director's cut. In particular, it was going to show the back of Murphy's skull blown apart by Boddicker's coup de grâce (that would foreshadow the back of his skull being replaced with metal in the scene where he takes his helmet off).
  • Strawman Hasa Point: A standard of Verhoeven pictures. OCP is depicted as callous and opportunistic for wanting to take over Old Detroit and rebuild it as Delta City... and yet we're shown a Detroit on the verge of chaos even before Clarence's men start being more openly provided weapons and funding by Dick Jones, leaving one to wonder if maybe it wouldn't be better off bulldozed and rebuilt. OCP is also shown as heartless and ruthless for taking over the police department... and yet little blame is put on the cops for going on strike and allowing the city to fall into literal lawlessness. And of course, OCP's projects are shown as evil and money-grubbing... and yet they give us Robocop, our hero, who we'll be cheering for during the next three movies as he stops rapists and terrorists.
  • Uncanny Valley: Dick Jones falling out of the OCP building: His arms have morphed twice the size and are almost as long as his body and his face is horribly deformed. To say, this effect hasn't aged too well, is a Understatement.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Bob Morton is a Jerkass Corrupt Corporate Executive who helped reassign cops to risky areas and was partly responsible for placing Murhpy and Lewis in harm's way. After his promotion, he is shown snorting cocaine and playing with escort women. The filmmakers fully expected audiences to cheer when he got killed by Boddicker. Instead, to their surprise as disclosed in the audio commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD, they found that the audience actually felt sorry for him, if only because he was killed in a fairly grotesque manner. Plus, he's a relatively but significantly better person than Dick Jones and Clarence Boddicker. Also and more importantly, he's the one who rescues Alex from near death and turns him into RoboCop!
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Not too many visual effects are used in this film beyond squibs and animatronics/prosthetics, but the stop motion used on ED-209 is very well done, and an entire million dollars, a thirteenth of the budget, was sunk into getting the suit just right.
  • What an Idiot:
    • What was Dick Jones thinking when he decided to demonstrate a combat robot (ED-209) in a public office while it was loaded with live ammunition?
    • And in the end, once Murphy reveals Jones' corruption, he immediately pulls out a pistol and holds it to his boss' head. Directive Four explicitly prevents him from harming OCP executives, and it doesn't occur to him that he could get fired for holding his boss hostage, which makes the Old Man telling him he's fired all the more sweeter.
    • Boddicker sees no problem with RoboCop knowing about his alliance with Jones, feeling the confession can't be proven since they were alone at the time and he was being beaten. Jones doesn't quite see it that way: "He's a cyborg, you idiot! He recorded every word you said, his memories are admissible as evidence!" Which becomes ironic when Jones proclaims he had to kill Bob Morton for making a mistake and now he's going to erase that mistake, even when he knows Robo is capable of recording him. note  In fairness to Jones, however, he expected that to be the last he'd see of RoboCop before ED-209 did away with him.

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