RoboCop

RoboCop ★★★★½

[Sony version]

I honestly don't have a strong nostalgic feeling towards RoboCop. Sure. I watched it a couple of times back in the late 80s and early 90s, but it's not one of those movies I recall with much love or anything. It was entertaining enough, but as time have passed, RoboCop haven't lingered in memory. It might have been because of those sequels, but then again it might just have been because I never truly grasped the layered beauty of Paul Verhoeven's creation.

I don't think this movie could've possibly worked if made in any other era. It's a creation of the 80s, as well as a double-edged sword attacking its own very core so beautifully. The one-liners, the over-the-top action, the social satire, the Sci-Fi elements, the corporate threat, the cheese and gore, and--hell--even half the stuntmen that really should've been able to make better falls; it all lines up perfectly to sync Verhoeven's creation into something larger than its own pure entertaining value from Action alone.

Without Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude van Damme and the rest of the corny 80s singular Action-heroes spewing awkward one-liners and emptying their guns without ever needing to reload, RoboCop would never have hit so hard below the belt, so effectively triggered our smiles over its dark humor, nor worked quite so well in achieving all its levels. How on earth they could even consider remake this classic today is beyond me, but Hollywood will be Hollywood.

I might not be very nostalgic about this, but I admit my smile went at least halfway round my head when ED-209 entered the screen for the first time. We're closing in on the 30th anniversary, but RoboCop holds up surprisingly well--despite the couple of decades that have passed since my last watch. The special effects holds up a lot better than most CGI does from the new millennium, but--then again--that doesn't really tell you a whole lot. It's still nice to note, and once again proves that the overall feel of it all is a lot more important than how pretty it might look.

Once again a classic also scores a lot of credit with me for its choices in not spending too much time making sure we're completely filled in on everything. In my recent review of Alien I praised it for not digging into the mythology of the creature, I should've also said the same about not doing too much time on the Nostromo-crew's back-stories--but rather just feel our way into their interactions and relations. I applaud RoboCop for not spending a whole lot of time letting us know everything about Murphy either, as that so easily would've been sentimental crap just adding to the runtime.

RoboCop isn't flawless, but most of its flaws are inherit within the satirical part that also is so essential to why it all works so well. We have to spend a little more time with corporate dicks than we probably should've overall, but then again the pay-off in depth might not exactly have been so great if done otherwise. It's a balancing act, but this is never boring... so it's hard to fault Verhoeven too much.

Finally I got to add how well the news-reports and ads add to the feel of this dystopian Detroit. Without them and the dark humor to balance the satire and the action, RoboCop just wouldn't be RoboCop. I for one had a blast.

I got to admit, I feel a very strong urge to revisit Verhoeven's Starship Troopers now. When this held up so well, his Starship Troopers might just be exactly what the doctor ordered to have another rewatch-experience surpass my expectations.

Rewatch-probability: 5/5
(It might take another decade or two, but Verhoeven's classic have already proven to stand the test of time.)

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