Friday, May 26, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #25: "RoboCop" (1987)

Movie Stats:
Released 1987 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Paul Verhoeven
Stars - Peter Weller, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer, Kurtwood Smith, Nancy Allen

Plot Summary:
In future, crime-ridden Detroit, when police officer Alex J. Murphy (Weller) is killed by a gang of thugs, he’s turned into a cyborg by the corporation that runs the police department. Cox co-stars as Dick Jones, the #2 man at the corporation; Ferrer as Bob Morton, the guy who came up with the idea for the cyborg; Smith as Clarence Boddicker, a crime boss with a connection to Jones; and Allen as Murphy’s partner on the force, Anne Lewis.

Extreme violence; extreme gore; extreme blue language; brief female nudity (breasts only); brief male nudity (butt only); attempted rape; drug use.

Bad Stuff:
The special effect for the ED-209 (a prototype police robot) is laughably terrible. I can’t even tell what it is (Claymation? Stop motion animation?) but it looks bad, bad, bad.

It’s way too violent. This isn’t the kind of thing I normally complain about, so you know it’s got to be pretty dang awful for me to bring it up.

The cyborg suit that Weller wears in it is noticeably cumbersome. I found it a bit distracting. There were multiple scenes of him shooting guns with his non-gun arm cocked at a weird angle and it took me out of the scene as I thought to myself, “He needs to do that because he can’t balance properly in that awkward suit.”

Good Stuff:
I really enjoyed Ferrer’s performance. I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since the TV show “Crossing Jordan,” and it’s fun to see him play out of type. Usually I find his characters likable but I absolutely loathed Bob Morton. So, good work!

It’s an interesting idea, very different from anything else that was out at the time. And, for the most part, I think it was executed well.

Thank goodness for an action film without a shoehorned-in love story. I also appreciated that the only prominent female character wasn’t a romantic interest.

The Verdict:
I spent most of the film thinking I was going to give it 4 stars, but then I got to the big fight scene toward the end and it was so ultra violent that I decided to knock a quarter star off of it. It’s really over the top. [SPOILER] I mean, a guy gets doused in toxic waste and spends several minutes wandering around, melting and wheezing, before exploding into bits after getting hit by a car. So incredibly unnecessary. [SPOILER]  I do like it & think it’s a really solid action film with interesting ideas, a believable plot, and some good performances. I just wish it had dialed it back a notch.

I give it 3.75 stars.


Patricia said...

Well if it's too violent for you, I'm crossing it off my list, for sure.

When the remake came out, there was much talk about how the original was a scathing commentary on 80's era politics. Did you see any of that?

balyien said...

I've been sitting here thinking about it, but I can't say that it occurred to me when I watched it, and, reflecting on it, I'm not completely sure what they mean by that. Maybe if I watched it with that in mind I could make the connection.