A remarkable piece of cinematic action and visceral adventure, Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is the ultimate comic book movie that wasn’t based on a comic book. It’s a superhero movie like Superman or Batman, but way darker and much funnier with its satirical take on society and human behavior, but what makes it so good is that it’s got style and muscle in equal measure.
Plot: In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.
Review: The world in Robocop sort of resembles ours: Corporations rule the globe, crime is rampant and on the verge of being unchecked, and policemen and women are in short supply because they’re being hunted on the streets. A plan forms: A think tank comes up with an idea that might work on two fronts – create a virtually indestructible cyborg soldier from the body of a policeman and let it carry out the duties of 20 cops at once, and in turn the corporation that built it can take all the credit and stocks will rise. The plan needs just one thing – a donor. When Officer Murphy (Peter Weller) on his first day at the Detroit PD is viciously and brutally murdered, he’s the perfect candidate for the experiment. Before his heart stops beating, his body is melded with a machine, and his mind is wiped of any memories, and soon he’s completely transformed into Robocop, a one-track minded officer of the law without the hang ups of poor judgment, bad timing, or human error. He’s so efficient that when he hits the streets crime drops almost overnight. But there’s a problem, and it’s a big one: The mind of Murphy comes aware and he begins to remember who killed him, and when he discovers that his murderers work for the corporation that built him, Robocop goes to war!
A remarkable piece of cinematic action and visceral adventure, Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is the ultimate comic book movie that wasn’t based on a comic book. It’s a superhero movie like Superman or Batman, but way darker and much funnier with its satirical take on society and human behavior, but what makes it so good is that it’s got style and muscle in equal measure. Basil Poledouris composed a fantastic and iconic score for the film, and Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner’s script is hip and tight, and the movie plays like a futuristic western with attitude. Sequels, cartoons, toys, comics, videogames, and a remake followed, but nothing comes close to the one that started it all.
Arrow Video has just released a massive two-disc set of Robocop in a limited edition package that feels like a brick. It comes encased in a hard case shell packed with bonus material, two different versions of the movie (in a 4K transfer), plus an 80-page booklet, a double sided poster, and enough special features and supplements to keep you busy for days, depending how much time you’re willing to invest on diving into everything Arrow has prepared for you. There have been multiple home video editions of this film over the years, and my favorite has been the Criterion Collection DVD released in the late 1990’s, but this one beats them all.