Jesus this movie is violent. How did it ever get released? Verhoeven begins assault on American audiences. What did we ever do to the Dutch?
There’s a myth that movies can be “so bad it’s good”. This is complete nonsense. Bad movies are bad. Movies can be so preposterous or terribly made that you watch with the same morbid fascination that causes you to leer at car wrecks. (See “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, “Highlander 2”) Movies can also be deliberately cheesy or over the top that you are invited to laugh along. (See “Snakes on a Plane”, “Sharknado”) But these ARE bad movies. I don’t care if the filmmaker is in on the joke; they’re lousy. But I understand the appeal, and am guilty of enjoying watching them sometimes.
And then there’s Paul Verhoeven. I presume he’s trying to make movies of the latter variety – he’s always got deliberate absurdist humor of what I assume is supposed to be the social commentary variety. But he either can’t commit to making intentionally ridiculous satire or he truly does think he’s making good movies – and is legendarily bad at it.
Robocop is a very bad movie. I remember it well from when I last saw it as a teenager. I have no idea how I saw it, as I was definitely underage, and this thing is a hard R. Probably one of those VHS rentals that were so popular in the late 80’s. I think I probably liked it at the time. The gratuitous violence and nudity of Verhoeven’s “films” has a built-in audience with teenaged males. But, wow, does this age poorly.
I try not to criticize movies for effects looking dated; that comes with the territory, and today’s great special effects often look cheesy tomorrow. So although some of these effects are just plain terrible (the mattes probably looked like crap on release day), I recognize that some were quite timely and can appreciate the skill involved.
The production design, however, is another matter. Including a Ford Taurus as the car of the future just because it was new at the time must be one of the most short-sighted choices of all time. To be fair, time is hard on everyone. Dated choices aside, though, most of the design just looks silly and always did. Even by 80’s standards, this is a very bad looking film. Glossy in spots, everything else looks like Pittsburgh. For all the futuristic themes, it’s a very pedestrian future.
And nothing can excuse the painful dialogue, acting and plot points. If you haven’t seen this in years and still have fond memories, I encourage you not to re-watch. Just keep telling yourself it was awesome and that the remake looks stupid and they never should have messed with perfection. Because sometimes it’s better to remember these things as they were.
There’s a good story in here somewhere, but Verhoeven wasn’t the person to go looking for it. The remake can only be an improvement.
|Main Cast||Peter Weller Officer Alex J. Murphy/RoboCop, Nancy Allen Officer Anne Lewis, Dan O’Herlihy (as Daniel O’Herlihy) The Old Man, Ronny Cox Dick Jones|
|Release Date||Fri 17 Jul 1987 UTC|
|Genres||Action, Crime, Sci-Fi|
|Plot||In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.|
|Tagline||Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement.|
|Writers||Edward Neumeier (written by) &, Michael Miner (written by)|