Reviews: Robo Cop 1987

I would buy that for a dollar.

Robocop: Robocop is the story of a Corporation (OCP) creating a cyborg cop to reduce crime so they can rebuild Detroit. It is also a satirical look twenty minutes into the future that predicts our world with a scary accuracy that few movies have ever come close to.

The Good: Everything. The practical effects are spot on. The movie is a quotable as a Monty Python piece. Kurtwood Smith is one of the best villains of the eighties. Ed 209 needs his own movie. All the little things are done right.

To illustrate there is a scene earlier on when a trauma team is taking care of the titular hero. The dialog and actors seem so realistic that it seems like something out of a documentary. Turns out director Verhoeven simply got an actual trauma team on the set and had them do their stuff with no script.

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

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

Conclusion: People who were not adults when this first came out may have no idea how prescient this film really was. Facial recognition technology, fighting in Acapulco, the bankruptcy of Detroit, the return of gas-guzzling cars, Fox News, the government handing over responsibilities to large private corporations. These were all science fiction in 1987. That list above barely scratches the surface.

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