robocop_xlgthe year: 1987
the directing: Paul Verhoeven
the writing: Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner
the acting: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Kurtwood Smith

1980’s, what a fast time for film. Many of the best cult classics still alive and well saw their creation in that decade. I see now why RoboCop would be at the top of the list. Honestly there is a tad bit of shame nestled tight as can be inside my body, it has taken twenty-one years to finally sit down and enjoy the viewing process of the half man, half machine fight crime. I have excluded myself from fantastic entertainment up until this point, but man am I now thoroughly entertained.

Everything about this film screams 80’s. The costumes, dialogue, music, hero, villains, visual effects, and all around cheesiness (in the best way possible). It would have been absolutely mind blowing to sit in on the meeting when this idea was courageously pitched. Kind of gives me hope for my career. Kind of.

Paul Verhoeven’s futuristic tale shows the unfortunate transformation of Officer Alex Murphy into, well I’m sure you already know… hopefully. It’s the title role in case you didn’t. RoboCop, he turns into RoboCop. Alex Murphy turns into RoboCop. Spoiler alert. Though Murphy seems like a cool dude and a solid partner to count on in the line of duty, my preference will always lie with his robotic version.

RoboCop‘s ridiculousness sets a tone unlike any of modern times and I like it. First of all, the visual violence took me by complete surprise. People don’t get shot once in this film, they get lit the fuck up. Apparently it takes a burst or two directly to a man’s chest before he goes down. It makes for a better spectacle that way.

Deaths vary throughout all the action. Shootouts are most common, although when RoboCop’s in the mix there isn’t much missing. A hand gets blown off, people get blown up, or shot out windows, and one guy even drives into a huge tank of toxic waste turning him into the love child of the Elephant Man and Gollum, which only lasts a minute or two for he is immediately obliterated by a speeding car.

All actors did their part considering, again, it was the 80’s. Peter Weller went above and beyond really honing in on the actualities of a cyborg cop. Nancy Allen definitely brought her portion of cheese beautifully with her lines and reactions. For pretty much everyone else, “three dimensional” has no right making an appearance. There is one performance that stood out though, one to outshine the rest so to speak.

I know Kurtwood Smith from That 70’s Show, I’d say most people do. I love the show, seen every episode, and I love Red. Which means by association I love Kurtwood Smith. Simple math. That is why it made me so happy not only seeing Smith in a much earlier role, but master his performance. Frankly, Smith’s villainous portrayal cemented my enrollment into this franchise’s cult following.

Slight hesitation does cloud that last statement a bit. In order to truly feel like I’m in the club RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3 must be watched. The journey sounds fun, even if Weller didn’t come back for 3. Probably a wise career choice on his part. Still, it doesn’t matter who you ask, Peter Weller will always be RoboCop.

 

robocop_xlg-poster-250x350what’s next: RoboCop
the release: 2/12/14

the directing: José Padilha
the writing: Joshua Zetumer
the acting: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley

Is this going to suck? That’s the question on most people’s mind, and probably will continue to be as they walk into the theater. Know this, it won’t be the same. It can’t be. Christopher Nolan changed the game, everyone wants darker and grittier now.

What RoboCop was would crash and burn in today’s market. Look at R.I.P.D. or The Lone Ranger. Obviously these films are not exact matches, but their “cheesy” factors hit close to the mark. RoboCop won’t be RoboCop, but the franchise still has a chance to succeed. The technology and visual effects of today will force RoboCop into something to be taken seriously. All that’s left is hoping for a good script and the actors to do some acting. Who knows, this just may turn out to be one of the better surprises of 2014.

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