In a dystopic, gang-ridden Detroit in near-collapse. In an effort to stamp out crime, the forces in power reconstruct the body of a policeman, killed on duty, within a steel shell and call it RoboCop. Plagued by memories of his death, he hunts down the supervillian responsible for it.
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If audiences were expecting a grim, foreboding future, they instead a found an entirely different film; a darkly comic media satire brutally transforming itself over 108 minutes into a gory showdown. The film compresses and pressurises soon after the credits and by the first time you see Bixby Snyder’s (S.D. Nemeth) nigh-totemic “I’d buy that for a dollar!” catchphrase in paranoiac close-up, the self-aware tone is set
A popcorn riot that remains distressingly topical thirty years after the fact, RoboCopis a testament to the powerful synergy of the director’s considerable talents with Hollywood’s inherent tastelessness. I’d buy that for a dollar!
The future for Verhoeven is already at hand, the deranged instant when Hollywood’s testosterone fixation morphs macho flesh into a literal armor. The motorcycles in Spetters laid the groundwork, Tsukamoto in the Tetsuo series runs the splatter-poetry to its logical conclusion.
Contrary to J-L Nancy's reflection in "L'Intrus" on the intrusion on thought of a body foreign to thought, RoboCop spotlights the intrusion on body of thoughts foreign to body. And parallels between Nancy's and Verhoeven's restitutiones ad integrum run free: crossing personal and technological contingencies which in the graftee operate the metaphysical adventure of post-death experience, the vacillating, montage "I",
Not long enough to be dramatically layered, and takes 30 minutes for exposition (yet rare exposition that’s utterly compelling) before its title-character is introduced, then longer for the revenge thread to shape. Yet, while this pulpy-cyberpunk film is pure fun trash, today’s Marvel flicks can learn from its cynical, self-deprecating humor and creatively zany action that doesn’t succumb to unknowing hokeyness.
Now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, ROBOCOP would seem all the more prescient in terms of its positing of a world reigned over by an increasingly militarized and privatized military-industrial security complex. Verhoeven enjoys taking the piss out of the people who are basically paying to get what they want. This is high-minded mockery, obviously for the most part over the heads of its targets. Still: funny.
Stridently confident visual storytelling, unencumbered by unnecessary narrative bridges just a gutsily simple satire on American gung-ho ballsiness. It's this quality that lifts it above the contemporary 'SchwarzenStone' runarounds of the day, and like the proverbial bull it runs amok amongst it's media and corporatist soft targets like a splendidly unsubtle take on Frankenstein's Monster.
Robocop is in my DNA, viewed too often, too young. Masochist relationship with aestheticised violence, genre that functions in and above its form. The Cyborg Manifesto. Does the experiment fail because we can't separate man from machine or because we try? Schlockier than remembered, but nothing purifying in its violence, no redemption in renouncing flesh.
This is a classic of science fiction cinema. Paul Verhoeven brings us a delightful display of shameless, gore, sex, and violence in this futuristic gem that did not need a remake because the sequels sucked too. Nothing can top the original, sometimes you can't catch lightning in a bottle more than once.
re-rating. I'm not following Verhoeven's hype, but the opportunity to review or see his work in a movie theater has allowed me to update my relation with his films, including this initial experience in the North American industry. Inserted in one of the most creatives artistic movements of the 80's, the bionic body, a film that reinvents a political action cinema, turning it into an ironic cinema of in(ter)vention.
Forget all the disposables examples of the genre that fill today's theatres and watch Robocop, THE GREATEST SUPERHERO FILM EVER MADE and the only one that has an origin story that doesn't drag on for ever. While the action is fun, it's really all the comedic elements that shine through especially when their combined with the violence. Great villains, relatable hero and the iconic ED-209 make this Verhoeven's best.