Monday, October 15, 2007


The last time I did a toy run with Franzem, I came across the 20th Anniversary edition DVD of Robocop. Whenever a toy run goes long enough, I will buy anything remotely interesting. So I got the dvd and watched it that night.


I was in high school when this was released and pretty mad I couldn't get in to see it. It was everything a fifteen year old could want: explosions, blood and robots. But it was rated 'R' and and a heavy 'R' at that. It's so amazingly violent it got no rating at first. That cut is included on the dvd.

It's a better movie now than when it was released in 1987. I hadn't realized that the whole movie is a satire of corporate America. On my first viewing, the 6000 SUX and "I'll buy that for a dollar!" seemed to stick out of the film like sore thumbs. Now I realize they're the point of the movie. Corporate america owns EVERYTHING in this movie and is as out of touch with humanity as possible. Characters like Ronny Cox and Miguel Ferrer aren't eeeevil, they're just 80's businessmen, doing whatever it takes to please their superiors. The fact that they can chop up a police officer for their experiments underlines the tone.

As overwhelmingly violent as this movie is, the humor is sly, deceptive and takes more than a single viewing to comprehend. I liked it so much I rented the sequels.

Robocop 2

Frank Miller wrote the sequel and it's terrible. Now, Miller is not the benchmark of consistency but The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, Daredevil and 300 are all fanatstic pieces of work. But there's also The Dark Knight Strikes Again. And this.

In this movie, Robocop is out to stop a new drug (oh yeah, we're in the late 80's) which apparantly is controlled by one snotty 12 year old kid. We also have a bunch of subplots that go nowhere, like Robocop reprogrammed to be 'nice'. The jokes all fall flat in this one because, let's face it, Frank Miller isn't funny. He's cool and violent and dark, but why does he think he's funny as well? And nothing looks like it's in the future. Compared to the ED 209, which is supposed to be outdated, the Robocop Mark 2 looks like crap. When a sequel with more money can't at least look cooler and sound louder than the original, you're in trouble.

Robocop 3

This one is staggeringly bad. My jaw was literally hanging open in the first ten minutes. Peter Weller didn't return (hell, Leeza Gibbons didn't return) but it's got Stephen Root, CCH Pounder, Bradley Whitford, Jill Hennessy, Rip Torn, Jeff Garlin and a half dozen other character actors who left this off their resumes. It's got the budget of an episode of T.J. Hooker and yet director Fred Dekker does nothing with it. The story is a complete mess, with Robocop helping a neighborhood from being evicted and fighting a ninja. And there's a cute kid in it. Oh, and a jetpack. It's the kind of movie where characters say "what are you doing?" and stand perfectly still until they do it. Frank Miller write this one too.

There's a tv series but even I'm not that big a masochist.

UPDATE: I forgot I signed up for a program and promised today's post would be about the environment. Damn. Oh, well. Robocop is very bad for the environment. He blows things up. He runs on fossil fuels and baby food. He doesn't recycle. And he works in Detroit. I mean, come on!


Mike Drucker said...

Fast fact about our generational gap: I first heard the phrase "I'll buy that for a dollar" in the classic game Smash TV which completely ripped off RoboCop and The Running Man.

Jon Clarke said...

Fast fact about our generation gap:
I've never heard of Smash TV.

Mike Drucker said...

Fast fact about our generation gap:

You'll never know what real love is.

dave said...

Robocop is still a great film and I know because I also purchased it viewed it. Jon's review is right on.

Robocop 2 was bad, but Frank Millers writing was fucked with, so he may not be totally responsible for that catastrophe. Either way, now that Sin City and 300 are smash hits - He's riiich biaatch! (Honk! Honk!)

RG Daniels said...

RobomothafuckinCop y'all!!!!!!!

I heard this is gonna be the next smash musical on B'way featuring songs from Kraftwerk.


Jon Clarke said...

Yeah Dave but he wrote 3 too.

dave said...

Riiich biaatch! (Honk! Honk!)

Mark said...

Great post, man. Get me back on da circuit! You promised!

Anonymous said...

Frank Miller had very little control over the project of the Robocop films... if you wish to enjoy his true intension of the franchise, you aught to read his comic book series... because as far as Hollywood is concerned, the creator has very little control after the directors, producers, and writers have their perversion of the original plot...