Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) Review

I've done way too many trilogies recently. It's not my fault, it's Hollywood's! They pump out sequels like they have no other business. Well, anyway, the most recent in my line of trilogies is Robocop. Really, I've only seen this film recently and I guess you're wondering (if I even have any I? Leave a comment once in a while!) if it was worth finally watching this film. Well, let's find out.

In a crime-ridden Detriot (so a normal Destroit), Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is the new cop in town (well, city but who cares?). His first investigation pits him against Clarence Boddicker(Kurtwood Smith) and his gang. Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) split off in Boddicker's base and Murphy comes face to face with him he has Murphy killed (rather horribly). Menawhile, an organisation called OCP is trying to find a way for robots to take over the police department. When a test for ED-209 goes horribly (and I mean horribly) wrong, 'The Old Man' (Dan O'Herlihy) who runs OCP has Bob Mortom (Miguel Ferrer) design the robot cop instead of Dick Jones' (Ronny Cox) ED-209. Murphy is reborn as 'Robocop' but first wants revenge on Boddicker and whoever is paying him.

I was actually pleasently suprised with this film. I have known of Robocop for years (I even had an action figure of him when I was young) yet I had no idea that it was rated 18 (again, because I had an action figure). It deserves the rating though since this is a very bloody and violent film. Murphy's death was just the beginning of the violent scenes (there is one especially horrible one involving toxic waste) but, you know what, it works. It's weird seeing an icon that kids can buy toys of actually originating from an 18 film. Weird. It works with the style of film though and has some solid action. Speaking of action, the ED-209's movement is entirely stop-frame animation and, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of stop-frame animation in any movie. It's amazing!

Robocop is a surprisingly engaging chracter. I thought he'd just be some badass Judge Dredd-esque character and, while he is exactly that, he has more development outside of just being badass. He's actually funny at times. He's a great protagonist (because 'hero' isn't the word I would use) and Peter Weller does a great job in the performance. Anne Lewis is an alright partner. She acts more like a plot device than anything else. If I had to pick a scene stealer though, it would be Boddicker. He is a great villain (which is something that msot films need: an engaging villain). He enjoys what he does, doesn't mind tossing men out of his own truck and doesn't seem to care when some of his henchmen are killed. He and Robocop are both funny characters and work well against each other.

Robocop was a nice surprise. While some people may see it as dated (that's debatable), it's still a fun watch for those who don't mind bloody, violent films. It's on a similar level as Licence To Kill (well, a little bit higher considering that was a 15) so if you liked that, you'll like this. The stop frame animation is still incredible today, the characters are great and well written (most of them, anyway) and is surpsingly funny. Well worth a watch if you like films like Licence To Kill.

A nice surprise. Great action, amazing stop-frame animation, good characters and a fun romp.

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