RoboCop: The Future of Law Enforcement
Arne Schmidt, Jon Davison (executive) for Orion
directed by Paul Verhoeven
starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Robert DoQui, Ray Wise, Felton Perry, Paul McCrane, Jesse D. Goins, Del Zamora, Calvin Jung, Rick Lieberman, Lee de Broux, Mark Carlton, Edward Edwards, Michael Gregory, Freddie Hice, Neil Summers, Gene Wolande, Gregory Poudevigne, Charles Carroll, Kevin Page, Yolonda Williams, Tyrees Allen, John S. Davies, Laird Stuart, Stephen Berrier, Sage Parker, Karen Radcliffe, Darryl Cox, Jerry Haynes, William Shockley, Donna Keegan, Mike Moroff, Marjorie Rynearson, Jo Livingston, Joan Pirkle, Diane Robin, Adrianne Sachs, Maarten Goslins, Angie Bolling, Jason Levine, S.D. Nemeth, Bill Farmer, Michael Hunter, Spencer Prokop, Debra Zach, L.J. King, David Packer, Leeza Gibbons, Mario Machado, Jon Davison (voice), Debra Lamb (scene deleted)
written by Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner, music by Basil Poledouris, RoboCop design and creation by Rob Bottin
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Young police officer Murphy (Peter Weller) has just been reassigned to
the toughest district of crime-ridden Detroit and partnered with Lewis
(Nancy Allen) when the two get the chance to arrest Clarence (Kurtwood
Smith) and his gang, the most notorious syndicate of the city - and
totally outgunned, the two blow it, and while Murphy is shot to pieces and
then killed, Lewis has to helplessly watch the whole ordeal.
the meantime, OCP, an arms manufacturer in favour with the gouvernment,
tries to introduce the ED-209 police robot to the public, but when an
initial presentation backfires, Morton (Miguel Ferrer), a young OCP
upshot, sees his opportunity to promote his RoboCop program, a program
that mends cop and machine, and all it needs is a dead officer to provide
the brains to the creature, a dead officer like Murphy.
reanimated inside an armoured suit, and while he's deeply traumatized, all
that is overruled by his strict crimefrighting programming, and initially
he's a total success, and his brutality, and the fact that he's only
fighting street level crime instead of going to the roots is outmatched by
his sheer efficiency, at least in the public eye. But then he starts
having nightmares about his death, and when he first meets Lewis, he
starts to remember - and starts to go after Clarence and his gang.
the meantime, Jones (Ronny Cox), creator of the ED-209 and Morton's chief
rival at OCP, has Morton killed ... by none other than Clarence himself,
and together with Clarence he plans to create a crime empire that will
make them both rich. So when Murphy the RoboCop arrests Clarence, Jones
has him out in a jiffy, and even arms him in his fight against RoboCop,
while deeming himself on the safe side as a RoboCop cannot harm a OCP
officer. But when Clarence is released and RoboCop is under attack from
both Clarence's men and the OCP itself, he becomes more and more
determined to right a few wrongs on the executive level - even if that
means taking on the city on his own ...
Despite being clearly a
product of the 1980s in almost every aspect, both visually and
narratively, RoboCop stands the test of time much better than most
movies of its ilk, mainly for two reasons that couldn't be more diverse:
On one hand, on a purely technical level, Paul Vorhoeven is an extremely
skilled director, and the whole film couldn't look more slick and
exciting, even from today's point of view. Plus, the movie doesn't look
away when it comes to the more gruesome stuff, either, making its violence
palpable without propagating it. On the other hand, especially for a
sci-fi action flick, RoboCop is deliciously subversive, and without
taking away from the excitement it can also be seen as social commentary,
even satire, and the whole movie's permeated by dark humour that adds an
extra layer to the on-screen proceedings only rarely found in genre
In all, essential 1980s cinema that just refuses to grow old.
a sidenote, later horror fan fave (and a favourite of this site) had a
scene in this movie as a topless pizza baker in one of the "I'd buy
that for a Dollar"-commercials that was regrettably cut from the
final version of the film. You can see her scene (and other deleted
scenes) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-X13jOVdWI