RoboCop ★★★★

Clever satire, bone-jarring action, and potent science fiction come together in Paul Verhoeven's "RoboCop," a film that effectively combines light and dark tones for an entertaining piece of work. Though those lighter tone swings keep it from being as impactful as it could be, they give the film its personality and make it an appealing genre spectacle.

Revolving around a Detroit police officer who, upon his death, is enhanced his cybernetic strengths and put back on the force, Verhoeven's film skewers the excesses of the 1980s while offering a hyper-violent slice of science fiction. It is a recognizable and compelling Frankenstein tale, scoring points for those who make sacrifices for the greater good.

Although it takes place in some near-future, the film makes little attempt to look futuristic beyond its cyborg hero. The design, costumes, and locations are steeped in the look and feel of the 1980s, giving the film both a recognizability and a lived-in aesthetic. Effects are sometimes rough but mostly well-rendered, and the cast does its best to maneuver around them. Peter Weller performs well under his robohelm and puts forth a strong and subtly emotive force. The film moves swiftly, and its action is rattling. Its self-aware, satirical moments add a buoyancy that injects the film with character.

"RoboCop" may not please a viewer looking for purely dark and heavy science fiction, but the film has action beats and personality to spare. A cinematic document of a fondly remembered decade, the film has become a genre favorite. Rough yet sleek, weighty yet playful, the film provides a smart and enjoyable experience.

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