RoboCop was the first action cyberpunk sci-fi live-action movie I watched. It was a movie that created a bond between my grandpa and me. I loved RoboCop, and to this day, that movie is part of my Top 3 Faves.
Official Original RoboCop Summary
“Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”
In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the police force.
To test their crime-eradicating cyborgs, the company leads street cop Alex Murphy into an armed confrontation with crime lord Boddicker so they can use his body to support their untested RoboCop prototype.
However, when RoboCop learns of the company’s nefarious plans, he turns on his masters. — Google
The Cyberpunk of the 80s
On July 17th, 1987, RoboCop was released in the theatres as an R rated movie. However, it was initially rated as an X movie by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) due to excessive graphic violence.
Ultimately, its unique dystopian style, mixed with low science-fiction and detective, had the crowd hooked. It made its money back at more than 53 million dollars in the USA only.
RoboCop, created by Paul Verhoeven and the movie written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, had an impact on its viewers. The people attending the theatres back then were unaware of its marking scenes. RoboCop wasn’t a comedy, nor was it action only. It was an eye-opener and a movie that would be unique in every way.
“Your company built the fucking thing, now I’m going to have to deal with it? I don’t have time for this bullshit!”Clarence Boddicker
An R rated movie back then is not what it is now. The overall rules to decide which category a video belongs in changed over time. Now, people watch RoboCop for breakfast; back then, it was a disturbing movie, to say the least with its few footages. People can recognize it and hear Peter Weller’s voice when hearing, “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”
The Evil Corporation
In 1987, RoboCop hit the screen, bringing an idea not fully explored back then. The plan that a corporation would meticulously buy its way in every critical aspect of a country. The OCP belongs to “The Old Man” and his vice president, Richard “Dick” Jones, becomes the main villain of the movie.
The OCP company worked its way in the military, politics, municipalities, industries, factories, everywhere. Now, they want to “give back” to a falling-apart Detroit by providing them with extra protection, aka, cybernetic law enforcement.
Detroit is Gotham on steroids. It would require five Batman and 2 Superman to help it keep its head above water. Besides, the crimes are at their most horrifying peak. Not to mention, the police station cannot keep its police officers long enough to calm the population.
To top it all off, those officers are dropping like flies because of cop killers. As a result, a nightmare for the city is on the rise. Police officers want to go on strike.
Furthermore, the OCP, who is in charge of making most weapons, now wants to integrate its machine to help the cops without warning. Somehow, those people aren’t alarmed by the elevation of crime. Why would they? It is their bread and butter.
Quite genius if you ask me. Then again, is that where we are heading now?
The Consuming Culture Humourized
The addition of commercials seemed to be a good idea to lighten the mood during the movie to get from the X rated to R rated. It is. Even the news broadcasting is an addition to the depth of the film.
As a result, we get the sarcastic message that we are a ridiculous consuming generation. We go after the latest gadget because a video tells us to without thinking.
This movie dates back to the VHS era and yet, watch the commercials for the “I’d buy that for a dollar!” or the “Nukem” game, even the “6000 SUX sedan” and tell me this isn’t a ridiculed of what our society has become.
The highest fake commercial success of RoboCop is the “buy that for a dollar.” However, the fake Nukem game, inspired by the war game, is quite unnerving as you see a family play and try to conquer each other’s country through politics, the military, and nuclear bombing. You watch it the first time it’s funny, you watch again and realize, we’re there.
It’s not just a commercial anymore.
The One Scaring Scene
As the movie goes, the police officer Alex Murphy walks in the South Detroit police station after a transfer. On his first day, he meets his female badass partner, Lewis. We see him practice a fast rotation of his gun “a la cowboy” before putting it back in its holster.
It was a trick he practiced for his son to make him proud to be like his favorite television hero. The movement seemed insignificant when first watching the movie.
Then we have the introduction of our secondary main villain known as Clarence Boddicker. Clarence and his gang of thugs are the drug overlords of Detroit. They are also the number one cop killers around.
When Lewis fails to arrest one of the thugs, she falls down the abandoned building level, leaving Murphy alone.
When Murphy apprehends two of the cop killers, another six or eight showed up surrounding him and walking by Boddicker’s side. He had no chance. The shooting, resulting in gore and blood, is quite graphic and horrific.
Don’t Listen To Critiques.
Some said it was “slasher flick” and of bad taste. It wasn’t. The shooting looked real and demonstrated what happens in real life to not only police officers but also soldiers, special agents, and undercover, to innocents and civilians. Don’t think because there’s a liter of blood splashing around that its bad taste. It’s a reality.
If you’re shot by shotguns a hundred times, yes, your hand might explode, and you might scream in agony, losing an alarming amount of blood. Flash news reporters, we have an average of 5.5 liters of blood in our body.
In like manner, the remains of Alex Murphy ends up at a hospital where we see him blink, thinking about his wife and kid. We hear the medical equipment and the blood pouring out of every hole in his body.
Nothing can top that shooting scene. It scared people back then, and it is still epic to this day.
That day, “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!” had no effect.
RoboCop Comes At A Price
Remember the OCP? Well, RoboCop wouldn’t exist without them. Furthermore, it wouldn’t live without an epic fail of Dick Jones’ previous project of ED 209. The infamous UFO on two legs in the colors of black and grey.
Together with Murphy‘s explosive death, the malfunction of ED 209 in the OCP’s boardroom is one of the scenes that had the movie rated X at first. First, ED 209 represented the future of law reinforcement.
Moreover, The “old man” counted on Jones to have it ready. However, its body language reading non-responsive ended up having the demonstration of his capabilities failing when he shot a young man.
Both ED 209’s arms are rotating shotguns. When the young man followed Jones’ orders and pointed a gun at the machine, it gave him sixty seconds to drop it. Sadly, the man did drop the weapon, but the machine didn’t register it and shot him multiple times.
As a result, the man died in a puddle of blood surrounded by his coworkers crying and shouting, “Get the paramedics” quite useless if you ask me.
Nonetheless, the scene is the inciting incident needed for Morton to sneak in between Jones and “the old man” to pitch his RoboCop project.
The monetary loss of ED 209 is the only concern of the OCP president and Jones. Watching the young man died a horrifying and needless death, seemed just like “another day at the office.” All they cared about was how to solve the problem.
Don’t F*ck With Jones
As the movie goes on and RoboCop is turned on, he is a machine. As a result, cops accept him after his many success, moreover, by saving a convenient store owner couple from an armed robbery.
Then, keeping a girl from rape by shooting one of the two rapists through her skirt to hit the man in the crotch. Again, he saved the town’s mayor from an armed kidnapping. His success is undeniable, because “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”
Furthermore, RoboCop comes in contact with one of his killers. The killer recognized him by his tagline phrase, “Dead or alive. You’re coming with me.”
RoboCop’s capability to record live and have instant replay has him as a valid legal, lawful tool. He used his video to look for the killer in the police databank and found him and his accomplices. He recognized the entire gang.
The OCP, now a happy place for Morton, goes south when Jones warns him that he didn’t like what he did. Again, another death worthy of RoboCop, bloody, gory, and explod-y. The death of Morton is a result of Jones working alongside Boddicker.
The 4th Directive
Long story short, RoboCop is an OCP product. People working for the corporation are not idiots. The boardroom alone is an amalgam of corrupted people.
We see them living the celebrity lives of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Furthermore, Jones is friends with the number one drug overlord of Detroit. Of course, “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”
So, to add to the lawful directives of Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law, an extra hidden directive sneaks in. The infamous Directive 4: Any attempt to arrest a senior officer of OCP results in shutdown.
“I had to kill Bob Morton, because he made a mistake, now it’s time to erase that mistake.”Richard “Dick” Jones
In like manner, Jones gratified from this Directive when RoboCop, aka Murphy, unravel the background play that was at work. RoboCop couldn’t arrest Jones for the life of him.
As a result, Jones had the cops shoot him, despite some refusing to shoot a fellow officer recognizing him as Alex Murphy. Then, Boddicker comes back in the picture.
After a long, disturbing chase, RoboCop and Lewis manage to kill Boddicker’s thugs, and the final scene always brought a big smile across my face.
I don’t care what critics say about the movie. Some feminist columnist was saying it was an insult to women. Lewis was a strong woman; she alone took down a few villains, exploded one of them, and brought Murphy to the hospital.
She is the only one who recognized Murphy as RoboCop and the one who corrected his targeting system because she’s a good shot. So, what’s wrong about that? Her look is cop-like. She wears an officer’s suit, and never is she sexualized.
The captain of the South Detroit police station is Reed, a loving and devoted police officer, protective of those under his command. He is an African American, and so is the Mayor of Detroit. We see Johnson, one of the influenceable board members of the OCP as well, among others. POC, i.e., People of Color, are part of the movie in all aspects, meaning as good people or bad.
I also enjoyed RoboCop because, despite its release in the 80s, it was ahead of its time. They used POC in the right places, with no favoritism.
They used women as strong and reliable—Lewis and Dr. Garcia, and lesser, e.g., the two supermodels. The main bad guys? All older white men. It seems right to me. A plus? You get to hear, “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”
So those who opposed to those characteristics of the movie: why don’t you look closely next time? Those who created RoboCop had a vision, and to me, quite spot on. There was no favoritism in their casting, and they played their cards right.
The music, recognizable and now a cult classic of movies, is still holding to this day. The stop motion animation of ED 209 is quite impressive when seen on a 50″ plasma screen. The only scene that doesn’t look as good is Jones going down the building. However, the rest of the movie holds up and is in good health.
RoboCop inspired many people from the generation before me to mine. Its low sci-fi cyberpunk take on American life is still up to date. That tells a lot about our society. Its sequel, just as disturbing, shows the other side of the police enforcement. No more “to serve and protect” only “to corrupt and kill.”
The RoboCop dream is happening. So, don’t tell me this movie is out of date or wrong. If you don’t see it, watch it again. It might wake you up that nothing is what it seems.
Forever, I’ll hear his voice when hearing or reading, “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”