Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Criterion Collection Spine #23
A wildly over the top and bloody take on the 80s action genre from Director Paul Verhoeven.
"I'd buy that for a dollar!"
I was first introduced to RoboCop when my dad took me to see the 3rd one in the theater as a kid and I had a great time. So then I naturally wanted to check out the original by renting it at the video store, and discovered this franchise did not start out being aimed at kids. I don't think I saw the unrated cut back then, but I do remember being traumatized when that guy gets mutated by the toxic waste during the climax. And on this rewatch I am still blown away by how extreme this unrated cut is with all the extra bullets getting pumped into people, with blood spraying everywhere, and enough cursing to put a sailor to shame. I guess I only note the swearing since I am a dad that wants to introduce my sons to classic action movies, but I put them to bed pretty soon after I turned this on.
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me!"
For some reason I always remembered RoboCop getting shot up early on and not functioning correctly. And while that does happen in this story it is not until later on after he has already done plenty of ass kicking. Wow that gang of bad guys led by Kurtwood Smith comes off so viciously, as they gun down Officer Murphy which leads him to become our armored hero.
"What are your Prime Directives ... Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law."
The special effects are a bit rough at times like the stop motion used on ED-209, but the mech like robot is so bad ass that you quickly look past those flaws. Plus you got to love how RoboCop puts him in place towards the end. But what were they thinking with how they showed Ronny Cox falling out of the window at the end, with those funky looking long arms?
Under the extreme action movie surface of RoboCop there is also a gripping satire woven in by Verhoeven with him poking fun at mass media, office politics, and the military industrial complex. I have never been to Detroit, but movies like this give it a really bad wrap.
RoboCop is such an interesting time capsule of where America was towards the end of the Reagan era, and is definitely a movie that should be revisited every couple of years. I thought the MGM Bluray looked great, but as a Criterion enthusiasts I would really love to see them put out a 4K UHD Steelbook edition of this extremely violent but fun action classic.
Thanks for reading!
Happy movie watching.... SKOL!