The Big Picture: Why Robocop Still Rules

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Why Robocop Still Rules

MovieBob lays down the law on why the original Robocop is still a fantastic film.

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You know, I've seen bits and pieces of Robocop over my life (the part where the guy gets turned into a mutant and then roadkill sticks in my mind the most), but I've never watched it from beginning to end before.

I think I need to fix that.

Well gaming has done some good homages to Robocop with Blood Dragon, Deus Ex, and even Metal Gear Rising REVENGEANCE! :D

Seen the new one and it's...okay, yeah I thought it was okay not good or bad just okay.

Still better than Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Elysium and A Good Day to Die Hard (god that was awful) though.

Robocop, the source of some of the best one liners in movie history.

I still remember having "Can you fly bobby?" tied to a hot key for deathmatches in Doom for everytime I got someone with a rocket. Ah memories.

I saw the new one last weekend, thought it was pretty good and had some relevance to today's world, e.g. drone references. Haven't seen the original but I see it's on Netflix so I'll probably change that fairly soon.

The Robocop remake is the only remake I utterly refuse to watch. I can live with remaking pretty much anything, but not Robocop. Even if it turns out to be much better than expected, I'll just rewatch the original one more time instead.

Wait, Bob made a list of Sci-Fi movies that people seem to think are good but for one reason or another actually aren't, and he didn't include 2001? I shocked.

When Dick Jones falls, look how long his arms are. A bit creepy and Slender-esque.

This film is absolutely classic.

Robocop is a dam fine film, easily one of my favorites. Including the reasons Bob has mentioned the thing that struck me was the layers. In order to really enjoy the film, you need to look beyond the title. Yes it is about a robot cop yet I always saw it as a story about identity, while also being a satire of corporate culture.

For example one great thing Bob does not mention here are the various fake adverts littered throughout, such as the also funny yet creepily chirpy "NUK'EM! GET THEM BEFORE THEY GET YOU!" on top of the happy go lucky news reports about atrocities.

Plus while Bob is right that the bad guys are still technically there, the audience still has the satisfaction of Murphy regaining some of his humanity by the end. Seriously, a great film all around...

...HOWEVER, the elephant in the room: Children of Men is not pretentious. Also watch that if you get the chance.

As a side note the character Dick Jones essentially also appears again in the original Total Recall. Good actor, really.

Lets all celebrate with this Amazing Robocop Rap

Children of Men... Pretentious..? But that must mean... Oh no. Oh, dear Christ... Angels and ministers of Grace, no...

I'm... Pretentious... No... No!

"...And while Mr. Heim was experiencing his world collapse around him, the silent walls of N:o 20 merely shrugged, whispering 'Big fat surprise there, you dramaprince' to his fevered, beating eardrums."

It really was a terribly violent film, though. But what I love about it is that it wasn't the only gimmick, the lone reason it had to exist. It busied itself with being a good movie, too. Being as clever as it could be with what it wanted to, and could, be.

This time around, I don't agree with Bob.

OCP did come off as cartoonishly evil to me. I never believed watching those boardroom scenes that this is what the upper echelons of big business, even 80's big business, is actually like. Now, that would have been okay, if the movie wasn't pushing the 'cautionary tale' button so hard, because in order for that to work, you've got to make me believe that some broadly accepted progression of logic could potentially take us from our present to that vision of the future.

As well as this, OCP are cartoonishly incompetent as well as evil, which also gets in the way of my capacity to believe that a bunch of people this dumb could effectively seize ultimate control of the United States and it's culture. The aforementioned stairs incident with ED-209 stuck out for me, as well as the scene where they test ED-209 using live ammunition in a confined space with the entire OCP board present. I'm sorry Robocop, but do you really just expect me to swallow that shit?! Private contractors being incompetent isn't unbelievable in itself, but there's a limit. It didn't help that there were precisely 4 people in the movie who exhibited anything above a 2-dimensional personality either.

I'm not saying that Robocop is terrible. I'd rate it as a pretty decent 80's action movie even besides some laughably dated special effects, but I don't think it's half as 'smart' as Bob describes. It's trying to be smart, which I suppose in the context of 80's action movies is still a step in the right direction, but looking back at it today it's message comes off as a shallow, half-formed thought to me. Not to say that the remake will be any better (it could certainly still turn out a lot worse), but I think at least, unlike some other remakes, it has a lot of potential to improve on the original, especially with the idea of machines making us more detached from our own conflicts being very relevant at this moment in time.

Can't wait to see Bob tear Ro-BRO-cop a new one in Friday's review.

That one human hand, all black Mass Effect armor, it's going to be delicious.

I'm really surprised Bob didn't mention, or wasn't aware of, the intentional "Robocop was a Jesus Christ metaphore." (google that exact phrase if you want to know more)

I remember seeing this movie in the theater and thinking "nah, it can't be" when he was walking on water in the abandoned factory. I was pleasantly surprised when I got the Criterion LD's, and it was laid out in the directors commentary tracks.

Also a friend of a friend used to claim that there was a even more secret directive, Directive 5: Break Glass.

That said, I loved the original, and I'm guardedly optimistic for the remake.

wildstars:
I'm really surprised Bob didn't mention, or wasn't aware of, the intentional "Robocop was a Jesus Christ metaphore." (google that exact phrase if you want to know more)

Beat me to it.

All this talk of how the bad guys already won, and how smart the movie was, and I keep thinking to myself

"So how does the Jesus thing play into this? Because Robocop is about Jesus..."

Zontar:
Wait, Bob made a list of Sci-Fi movies that people seem to think are good but for one reason or another actually aren't, and he didn't include 2001? I shocked.

I can't quite follow this, but here's what Bob has actually said about 2001:

Stanley Kubrick's momentous collaboration for sci-fi luminary Arthur C. Clarke is still quite possibly the single most important science fiction film ever made - a one-of-a-kind fusion of hard sci-fi space exploration and surreal musings on the nature of existence. A mysterious mission surrounding the discovery of a possibly alien monolith on the moon eventually strands two astronauts at the mercy of their homicidally malfunctioning ship's computer, HAL 9000. And then ... well, you sort of have to see it.

Source: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/moviebob/7944-The-Movie-Nerd-Bible-Part-I.3#uvdwxjIv1PdubFoU.99

So, the reason 2001 wasn't mentioned is because it is not only one of the best Sci-fi movies of all time, it is simply one of the best films of all time.

Hope I didn't somehow misunderstand what you were saying ...

And like so many great 80's movies the theme song is fucking amazing.

Ditto. Love Robocop. Still have the VHS lying around somewhere. I didn't mind 2 so much, though it doesn't hold a candle to Robocop.
Robocop 3 on the other hand... I never even watched that. Even though it probably is as bad as it's made out to be, I really want to watch it.

I should probably watch Robocop again. I saw it on TV years ago and thought nothing of it. If Bob finds all this stuff in it, why not watch it again?

I've mentioned it before in the "gaming twists" threads that occasionally pop up, but the whole thing about Robocop having effectively already lost the greater battle despite his badassery instantly brought to mind the Batman Arkham games - the hidden plotline you reveal from the first two games basically states that Batman, for all the good he does, has actually failed spectacularly in preventing major tragedies from playing out and that he isn't invincible after all.

I wonder though if this kind of theme that our modern, cynical style of storytelling is part of the "grim n' gritty" aesthetic we're going to start pushing away from in favor of returning to hopeful and lighthearted stories. More importantly, if we end up doing that, is it a good thing?

I wouldn't say the movie is about the bad guys already being victorious, it's about a world where everyone is corrupt or corruptable. And the only person who's noble and just is so only because he's programed to be.

This is the whole joke behind the prime directives; Serve the Public Trust. Protect the Innocent. Uphold the Law. Something every police officer should naturally be doing.

This was the first of Paul Verhoeven's trilogy of violent sci-fi satires, and what a way to begin. As a child, I remember hearing all my classmates talk about watching that film (despite it, in the UK being rated an '18') and all the best bits from it. Murphy getting shot up at the beginning always sticks out in my mind. The thing was, straight away, he had created such a perfect franchise. Ghostbusters might have been the better film, but Robocop always had the more potential. Yet how they squandered it.
As Bob said, what made Robocop so good was it's depth. Try and expand it without retaining the snarky, cutting edge of the original, and you are left with nothing but a bland, generic action film. Examining corporate misgovernment through a narrative is no easy task. Thus, for any film or TV series to get it right, it deserves all the plaudits it receives. A strong second film could have been possible, but Verhoeven's heart was elsewhere. He was planning something completely new, something that would eventually emerge as 'Total Recall'.

JoJo:
I saw the new one last weekend, thought it was pretty good and had some relevance to today's world, e.g. drone references. Haven't seen the original but I see it's on Netflix so I'll probably change that fairly soon.

I'm looking forward to the reboot as it looks like it isn't just a shot for shot remake, but is trying to be about something.

Great Critique by Bob.

I would write, also see Robocop 2 and 3 just as sort of time capsule films. The Japanaphobea in the form of samuri is cool, if dated and the movie itself really stupid.

Robocop 2 actually does have some smarts, but is episodic and ugly. I was so looking forward to it as Frank Miller wrote it. But it is so ugly I wanted to walk out. But the puns about "Robocop 2" are terrific as is the final boss fight. Good nostalgia trip, just don't take a date to see them for $50.

Clovus:

Zontar:
Wait, Bob made a list of Sci-Fi movies that people seem to think are good but for one reason or another actually aren't, and he didn't include 2001? I shocked.

I can't quite follow this, but here's what Bob has actually said about 2001:

Stanley Kubrick's momentous collaboration for sci-fi luminary Arthur C. Clarke is still quite possibly the single most important science fiction film ever made - a one-of-a-kind fusion of hard sci-fi space exploration and surreal musings on the nature of existence. A mysterious mission surrounding the discovery of a possibly alien monolith on the moon eventually strands two astronauts at the mercy of their homicidally malfunctioning ship's computer, HAL 9000. And then ... well, you sort of have to see it.

Source: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/moviebob/7944-The-Movie-Nerd-Bible-Part-I.3#uvdwxjIv1PdubFoU.99

So, the reason 2001 wasn't mentioned is because it is not only one of the best Sci-fi movies of all time, it is simply one of the best films of all time.

Hope I didn't somehow misunderstand what you were saying ...

Oh great, even Bob has fallen for it. After how many years I've seen people say nothing but good things about that movie despite the lack of any substance, I'm thoroughly convinced that the only reason people have anything positive to say at all about it is because it just happened to be made by the greatest director of all time based on a book from the greatest science fiction writer of all time.

Yes the cinematography is good, yes the special effects are good, yes the music was good, but no, it wasn't a good movie. Hell, if it wasn't for the fact that there's a much more existent screenplay, I'd almost call 2001 the Avatar of its time, but at least that had a story behind the effects, even if a bland one. 2001? Only 1 act had a story, and it's the only part people even talk about when the movie is brought up.

2010 was a much better movie then 2001, yet because it actually decided to be a movie about something most fans either don't know it exists or chose not to.

Now I've probably pissed most movie snobs here, but I just had to say it. It's a bad movie, and being made by the best movie makers doesn't change that.

wildstars:
I'm really surprised Bob didn't mention, or wasn't aware of, the intentional "Robocop was a Jesus Christ metaphore."

I've read that too, but to me RC is clearly a neo-western, a lone, gun-twirling lawman taking down the local gang.

Bob, at 5:50 did you notice you say 'Murphy' at the exact moment Murphy says "Murphy"?

[devotes a whole episode to discussing favorite movie's intelligence, uses it as platform to show buckets of gore]

lol

Casual Shinji:
I wouldn't say the movie is about the bad guys already being victorious, it's about a world where everyone is corrupt or corruptable. And the only person who's noble and just is so only because he's programed to be.

Absolutely, though those themes are malleable and can be made interchangeable. I was going to comment that my favorite scene is when all of the police are shooting at Robocop and he only barely escapes with his life. He crawls away all "not this shit again" - as it mirrors the earlier scene where Murphy is murdered, essentially communicating that there is no difference between the cops and the crooks.

This was pretty cool. I am old enough to have seen RoboCop in the theater (Dad took me) and it was a hell of a film, even then. MovieBob's examination of the movie is pretty good (although I would have liked to have seen more examples of the smart decisions they made-contrast with some other film, for example).

That said, if there were more of these kinds of videos from time to time, I'd be up for them.

I absolutely love the original Robocop. The second one did have a little depth with the corporate and government politically correct reprogramming of him causing him to be unable to properly enforce the law and use lethal force if necessary and it was a little darker with kid drug dealers and a practical cult led by a junkie drug dealer. Otherwise, it's just a popcorn with a giant evil Robocop kept in line by his drug addiction as the big guy the true Robocop has to fight in the end. The third film I've just read about and think should be sealed in a tomb from what I heard.

Now I can only wait for Movie Bob to tell us about a dumbed down remake of a truly deep 80's action to reaffirm my reasoning for never going to the movies anymore. Here's to it having a trailer for a Running Man remake with Mark Wahlberg except it's set in a post-apocalyptic future instead of a dystopian future, and it's not prisoners but just random people being stalked. And it will take itself too seriously with modern political commentary not too subtly inserted in.

I hate robocop, it's a crap movie in my opinion. Sorry guys but I just never saw the appeal of it. It just seems like a crappy 80s movie.

Zontar:
Oh great, even Bob has fallen for it. After how many years I've seen people say nothing but good things about that movie despite the lack of any substance, I'm thoroughly convinced that the only reason people have anything positive to say at all about it is because it just happened to be made by the greatest director of all time based on a book from the greatest science fiction writer of all time.

Maybe those people just actually like the movie?

I'd say more people are prone to call it bad or overrated because Kubrick made it, rather then say they love it because Kubrick made it. If there's one movie that always makes the list of every 'Most Overrated Movie' thread, it's 2001.

Clovus:

Zontar:
*snip*

I can't quite follow this, but here's what Bob has actually said about 2001:

[quote]

*snip*

So, the reason 2001 wasn't mentioned is because it is not only one of the best Sci-fi movies of all time, it is simply one of the best films of all time.

Hope I didn't somehow misunderstand what you were saying ...

Beat me to it. I know that 2001 is a great movie - nevertheless, I can totally see why some folks might be massively disappointed by it.

Loved this episode, but for me it was preaching to the choir. I took a film module at uni and got to study Robocop, along with Dawn of the Dead, Ginger Snaps, and The Fly among others. Humanities students, seriously, check out the film modules that are available to you :D

I love the original but I'll be honest I thought the new one was pretty good, it's nothing spectacular the original is still the superior film but considering how bad it could have been (I'm looking at you total recall) it was pretty decent.

MonkeyPunch:
Ditto. Love Robocop. Still have the VHS lying around somewhere. I didn't mind 2 so much, though it doesn't hold a candle to Robocop.
Robocop 3 on the other hand... I never even watched that. Even though it probably is as bad as it's made out to be, I really want to watch it.

Robocop 3 is pretty damn terrible, however there is one scene that had me laughing my ass off at its sheer absurdity. Robocop pursues one of the baddies by commandeering a car from a pimp. After having a door fall off for no reason, said pimpmobile ends up copping four (or was it five?) direct hits from a grenade launcher, and it's still driving (at this stage, it's literally just a chassis, wheels and engine). There used to be a clip of it on youtube, but I can't find it anymore.

MonkeyPunch:
Ditto. Love Robocop. Still have the VHS lying around somewhere. I didn't mind 2 so much, though it doesn't hold a candle to Robocop.
Robocop 3 on the other hand... I never even watched that. Even though it probably is as bad as it's made out to be, I really want to watch it.

If you watch robocop 2 as just a action film with no depth you can find it enjoyable, but like you say compared to robocop 1 it is nothing.

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