Cinepub


Zombie Month Repost: Survival Of The Dead by Jamie

Originally posted March 22nd, 2010.

I’m gonna try and not include as many spoilers as possible abut a few things will probably slip out. Also at the end of this review I will be spoiling the ending. I will warn you ahead of it.

George A. Romero is one of my all time cinematic heroes. I’m sure any fan of the zombie genre would say the same. The man essentially created the zombie film genre as we know and love it today when he made ‘Night of the Living Dead’. He followed it up with what may be the pinnacle of the genre, ‘Dawn of the Dead’. The trilogy of the dead was created with the release of ‘Day of the Dead’ and what many thought would be an end to the saga came with ‘Land of the Dead.’ All good movies in their own special ways. Land suffered somewhat from the law of diminishing returns but still, it was a fun entry into the genre.

Then Romero came back with ‘Diary of the Dead’ (You can read my full review of it here) and boy was it disappointing. Fuck, it was far, far more than disappointing. It was fucking atrocious. The acting was terrible, the dialogue was bullshit and the social commentary was way, way over the top. The worst part of the film was that, as much as I love the slow-moving zombies, they don’t work if there aren’t many of them and the characters aren’t holed up in one place. The true fact of the matter is that the slow movers aren’t that big of a threat in small numbers. They are rendered practically pointless.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached ‘Survival of the Dead’, Romero’s latest undead offering. Still, I watched it and the question is what do I have to say about it? Well, I shall answer you question in the form of a haiku:

It is better than
Diary of the Dead but
Still not a good film.

I think that’s a haiku. I’m not entirely sure and I don’t muchly care. If it’s not a haiku then it’s a new form which I’m calling fuku. Yeah, take that. Anyway, that pretty much sums it up. It is markedly better than Diary, though there’s no way that it couldn’t be. The acting is a huge improvement and the story is certainly more interesting. Unfortunately that’s about all the good things that I can really say about it.

Unfortunately this film suffers from one of the major problems that ‘Diary’ also suffered from. The character’s are on the move for the most of the time and there are simply not enough zombies. There is one scene, fairly early in the film, where the characters are all holed up near a dock but it doesn’t last very long and the numbers of zombies that gather could hardly be called a horde.

So what does all that mean? Well, it’s simple. As with ‘Diary‘, the zombies in this film are never really much of a threat and whilst it’s true that the zombies in these films are never the greatest threat, it’s the people you’re stuck with, they should at least provide some kind of genuine danger. This isn’t helped in this film by the fact that most of the zombies are chained up or kept in a stable. It basically neuters the zombie as a monster.

There was another major problem I’d like to get into before I get onto the spoilers. The special effects in this film are fucking atrocious. Sure, there’s some pretty sweet zombie kills but they are ruined by the piss-poor CGI. What the fuck happened to the practical effects that you could revel in and enjoy, knowing that someone had spent hours applying make-up and prosthetics so that they could make it look as realistic as possible? It’s a real fucking shame.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ENDING OF THIS FILM.

Ok, so the main plot of the film focuses on a feud between the heads of two families on an island. One patriarch believes that the zombies should be completely eradicated whilst the other believes that they should be kept ‘alive’ and essentially domesticated in case a cure for zombism is discovered. To this end he tries to train the zombies to eat things other than humans. And what happens at the end of the film after most of the main characters are dead? We see a group of zombies chowing down on a horse! What the fuck is that? You can’t throw something like that into the film that completely rewrites the very essence of what zombies are! I don’t care if it has to happen so that the over-arching point of the film is made and I don’t care that Romero basically set down what future generations would understand zombies as being! You can’t change the game like that this far in. If zombies suddenly switch from human meat to animal meat then all you’ve done is served to further neuter the threat of zombies! No fucking way.

As for the over-arching point of this film, I’m honestly not sure what it was. That maybe we should try and live as one with the zombie? That’s fucking insane. Romero has always been known for layering his ‘Dead’ films with social commentary but I have no idea what it was supposed to be in this film. I can’t help but feel that he heard all of the criticism about how over the top the social commentary was in ‘Diary’, and it was fucking over the top, and just decided that he was gonna try and keep it as light in this film as possible. Well, this was too fucking light. I know how I must sound after complaining about the weight of the social commentary as being too heavy in one film and too light in the next but come on! This is George A. Fucking Romero for fucks sake! This is what he’s supposed to be really fucking good at.

So yeah, all around I was pretty disappointed by this film. I hate to say it but it looks like George A. Romero’s talent as a director may have died with ‘Diary of the Dead’ then it came back to life and started shambling about aimlessly as it produced ‘Survival of the Dead’. Someone really needs to aim for it’s head and put it down for good. Just don’t ask me to do it. I used to love it too much. Two and a half pints out of five.

Advertisements


Zombie Month Repost: Diary of The Dead by Jamie

Originally posted 16th December, 2009.

I like zombie films. In fact, I love zombie films, in particular I love the classic ‘Dead’ trilogy that came from the awesome mind of the Deadfather, George A. Romero. Hell, I even like ‘Land of the Dead’. It’s a fun entry into the series. Sure, it’s not up to the greatness of those first three but it’s enjoyable none the less and it really only missed one trick and that is that it should have had Bob Hoskins in it. Then it would have been an awesome ‘Super Mario Bros’ reunion. Who wouldn’t have loved that?

So I was looking forward to finally getting around to watching ‘Diary of the Dead’ the latest but one entry into Romero’s zombie canon, if it is indeed canon with the rest of the films. I’m a little unsure of that actually. Let me check… Ok, according to Romero himself, as quoted on wikipedia, the film is basically a ‘rejigging of the myth’. It’s set in present times but takes place in the same time frame as the original ‘Night Of The Living Dead.’ So yeah, I guess it is canon.

Now ‘Diary of the Dead’ is filmed in the handheld style that really took off with ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and generally I don’t get the motion sickness that some people associate with this style of film making but goddamn was this film the exception. After about ten minutes I was feeling extremely woozy and there hadn’t even been any graphic zombie killings up until that point. I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what the hell was so different about this film to cause this kind of reaction in me. It didn’t seem to be any more jittery than any other handheld movie I’ve seen so I’m really quite confused by this. Anyway, I endured and managed to sit through the whole thing. Good for me.

Except not good for me because you know what? I really didn’t enjoy this film, sickness inducing nature of it aside. Maybe it’s because of recent zombie craze, that has been so relentless that even I have begun to grow a little tired of the walking dead, or maybe it’s the other craze of handheld horror films but nothing in this movie seems to stand out. At times it plays out like a goddamn student film, someone trying to do an homage to both Romero’s films and ‘The Blair Witch Project’. Honestly I expected better from the man who pretty much defined the entire zombie genre.

The main problem with this film is that it’s pretty much a road film. The characters are pretty much constantly moving and as such it’s pretty hard for a shambling horde to gather around them. ‘Zombieland’ had a similar problem but had the advantage of being hilarious as well. This is especially a problem for ‘Diary of the Dead’ because these are the traditional Romero zombies, the slow moving undead. Now, I’m a bit of a zombie purist and I will always, always prefer the walking zombies over their running cousins. But in certain films it makes sense for the zombies to run. In ’28 Days Later’ (And yes, I know some people will complain that they aren’t zombies but that’s bullshit. If people can claim that the abominations in ‘Twilight’ are vampires, then I can claim that the so-called Infected are zombies. Oh and I still have a small bit of hatred for this film because in my mind it‘s responsible for the current trend of the running zombie) it made sense because the characters are on the move for most of the film. Same with ‘Zombieland’. In this however, they only ever come across a handful of zombies at anyone time and the slow movers just aren’t a particularly big threat when your dealing with so few of them. I know it might seem cliché these days but give me a small group of survivors, surrounded by hordes of the living dead who slowly turn on each other. That’s what I always considered these films to be about, the fact that it’s not the zombies who are the biggest threat but the other people they have trapped you with. Still, even if they aren’t the biggest, the zombies sill have to be somewhat threatening and in this film, they just aren’t.

Now Romero’s ‘Dead’ films have always included some kind of social commentary. Be it about consumer culture in ‘Dawn’ or the military and science meddling in things it shouldn’t in ‘Day’, there has always been more than just the flesh eating corpses. In ‘Diary’ the messages come thick and fast to the point where it seems as though this is less a zombie film with social commentary but social commentary with a few zombies thrown in. I’m guessing that Romero is pretty pissed of with culture these days, be it the fact that the media doesn’t always tell the truth or that people film and upload everything to the internet these days, keeping themselves detached from reality by putting a camera between themselves and what’s really going on. There were points where it just seemed to get in the way of the movie. The good thing about the older films was that you could watch it on either level. You could take in the social commentary or you could just have fun watching people getting ripped apart by zombies. Basically what I’m saying is that this film isn’t particularly fun.

That being said there were some fun elements in this film. There were some pretty sweet, if poorly computer generated, zombie kills and I kind of enjoyed the English drama professor though that may have been because he was an alcoholic. No, he had a pretty sharp wit about him as well so, yeah, I enjoyed him. There were also a few little digs at the trend of the running zombie which I certainly enjoyed. The best part of this film though is Samuel, a deaf Amish guy who communicates by writing things on a chalk board and throws sticks of dynamite at zombies. That dude was awesome. He even scythed himself in the head a zombie bit him. Hmmm, scythed wasn’t flagged by my spell checker. Who knew it was an actual word? Something else good came out of this movie.

What surprised me most about this film is just how truly paranoid I am about the Zombie Apocalypse. Seems I’ve actually managed to convince myself that it is actually possible and even a bad zombie film can ignite that paranoia in me. For the rest of the night after watching the film, I was sure that every noise I heard that I couldn’t put down to me making was a zombie trying to get into the hotel. The fact that an air conditioner, which I was fairly sure didn’t work, seemed to turn itself on certainly didn’t help.

So there you go. I’d say that ‘Diary of the Dead’ is a fairly poor entry into Romero’s zombie opus. It has a few enjoyable moments and characters but in general there’s not enough zombies and the way Romero really tries to beat you over the head with the messages just distracts from any fun there may have been in this actual movie. Overall it gets two pints out of five, one for some fairly nice zombie kills and one for Samuel, may he find peace in Amish heaven. I just hope it has the internet so he can read this review. Laterz.



Review: Survival Of The Dead by Jamie

I’m gonna try and not include as many spoilers as possible abut a few things will probably slip out. Also at the end of this review I will be spoiling the ending. I will warn you ahead of it.

George A. Romero is one of my all time cinematic heroes. I’m sure any fan of the zombie genre would say the same. The man essentially created the zombie film genre as we know and love it today when he made ‘Night of the Living Dead’. He followed it up with what may be the pinnacle of the genre, ‘Dawn of the Dead’. The trilogy of the dead was created with the release of ‘Day of the Dead’ and what many thought would be an end to the saga came with ‘Land of the Dead.’ All good movies in their own special ways. Land suffered somewhat from the law of diminishing returns but still, it was a fun entry into the genre.

Then Romero came back with ‘Diary of the Dead’ (You can read my full review of it here) and boy was it disappointing. Fuck, it was far, far more than disappointing. It was fucking atrocious. The acting was terrible, the dialogue was bullshit and the social commentary was way, way over the top. The worst part of the film was that, as much as I love the slow-moving zombies, they don’t work if there aren’t many of them and the characters aren’t holed up in one place. The true fact of the matter is that the slow movers aren’t that big of a threat in small numbers. They are rendered practically pointless.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached ‘Survival of the Dead’, Romero’s latest undead offering. Still, I watched it and the question is what do I have to say about it? Well, I shall answer you question in the form of a haiku:

It is better than
Diary of the Dead but
Still not a good film.

I think that’s a haiku. I’m not entirely sure and I don’t muchly care. If it’s not a haiku then it’s a new form which I’m calling fuku. Yeah, take that. Anyway, that pretty much sums it up. It is markedly better than Diary, though there’s no way that it couldn’t be. The acting is a huge improvement and the story is certainly more interesting. Unfortunately that’s about all the good things that I can really say about it.

Unfortunately this film suffers from one of the major problems that ‘Diary’ also suffered from. The character’s are on the move for the most of the time and there are simply not enough zombies. There is one scene, fairly early in the film, where the characters are all holed up near a dock but it doesn’t last very long and the numbers of zombies that gather could hardly be called a horde.

So what does all that mean? Well, it’s simple. As with ‘Diary‘, the zombies in this film are never really much of a threat and whilst it’s true that the zombies in these films are never the greatest threat, it’s the people you’re stuck with, they should at least provide some kind of genuine danger. This isn’t helped in this film by the fact that most of the zombies are chained up or kept in a stable. It basically neuters the zombie as a monster.

There was another major problem I’d like to get into before I get onto the spoilers. The special effects in this film are fucking atrocious. Sure, there’s some pretty sweet zombie kills but they are ruined by the piss-poor CGI. What the fuck happened to the practical effects that you could revel in and enjoy, knowing that someone had spent hours applying make-up and prosthetics so that they could make it look as realistic as possible? It’s a real fucking shame.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ENDING OF THIS FILM.

Ok, so the main plot of the film focuses on a feud between the heads of two families on an island. One patriarch believes that the zombies should be completely eradicated whilst the other believes that they should be kept ‘alive’ and essentially domesticated in case a cure for zombism is discovered. To this end he tries to train the zombies to eat things other than humans. And what happens at the end of the film after most of the main characters are dead? We see a group of zombies chowing down on a horse! What the fuck is that? You can’t throw something like that into the film that completely rewrites the very essence of what zombies are! I don’t care if it has to happen so that the over-arching point of the film is made and I don’t care that Romero basically set down what future generations would understand zombies as being! You can’t change the game like that this far in. If zombies suddenly switch from human meat to animal meat then all you’ve done is served to further neuter the threat of zombies! No fucking way.

As for the over-arching point of this film, I’m honestly not sure what it was. That maybe we should try and live as one with the zombie? That’s fucking insane. Romero has always been known for layering his ‘Dead’ films with social commentary but I have no idea what it was supposed to be in this film. I can’t help but feel that he heard all of the criticism about how over the top the social commentary was in ‘Diary’, and it was fucking over the top, and just decided that he was gonna try and keep it as light in this film as possible. Well, this was too fucking light. I know how I must sound after complaining about the weight of the social commentary as being too heavy in one film and too light in the next but come on! This is George A. Fucking Romero for fucks sake! This is what he’s supposed to be really fucking good at.

So yeah, all around I was pretty disappointed by this film. I hate to say it but it looks like George A. Romero’s talent as a director may have died with ‘Diary of the Dead’ then it came back to life and started shambling about aimlessly as it produced ‘Survival of the Dead’. Someone really needs to aim for it’s head and put it down for good. Just don’t ask me to do it. I used to love it too much. Two and a half pints out of five.



Great Movies, Shitty Games: RoboCop by Jamie

To finish off my recent RoboCop theme type thing, I thought I’d take a look at the RoboCop NES game.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=3099926&dest=-1]



In The Not Too Distant Future: RoboCop 3 by Jamie

RoboCop 1 Review is here, RoboCop 2 review is here

Ok, so here’s the review of the third film in the series, the one which I said would be up the day after the review of the second film. I don’t know why but for some reason when ever I say something will be up the next day, they rarely ever are. I should probably just saying that they will be. Seems to be more likely that I’ll keep to my schedule if I don’t plan on having one. Anyway, let’s begin.

So, RoboCop 3 was made in 1993 and was directed by Fred Dekker. Now the first thing you’ll notice if you take a look at the UK DVD box set is that, whilst the first two films are rated 18, this film is a 15. Gone are the scenes of extreme violence that had been kind of a hallmark of the first RoboCop films. You won’t see anyone’s hand explode or any surgeons removing the brain, eyes and spinal chord of someone like we’d seen previously.

Also gone is Peter Weller, the role of RoboCop this time being played by Robert John Burke. It’s really disappointing. Burke doesn’t have the mechanical movements anywhere near as well as Weller, he doesn’t pull off the character as well, though there’s less for RoboCop to really do, and his mouth is blatantly different. That’s not really something that can be helped I suppose. Speaking of people’s mouths when they’re wearing masks, doesn’t Christian Bale have a weird little puckered mouth that the Batman mask just accentuates? Maybe it’s just me.

It does have to be said though that without the RoboCop helmet, Murphy does still look quite a lot like Peter Weller. I don’t know if Burke actually resembles Weller that much in real life or if it’s prosthetics of some kinds since they obviously made moulds of Weller’s heads for the earlier films. I guess I’ll never know since there is neither a making of or a commentary included on the DVD and I really don’t care enough to search around the internet trying to find out.

So let’s get down to the plot then. What is RoboCop 3 about? Well, this time OCP, with it’s brand new CEO played by Rip Torn, is trying once more to build Delta City where Old Detroit still stands. This time they are being aided by a Japanese company named the Kanemitsu Corporation who have bought a controlling stake in OCP, so I guess they’re not so much being helped as they are being bought out and continuing with the old companies plan. Or something. I don’t understand business.

In order to carry out this plan OCP has created a new armed force in the guise of the Urban Rehabilitators who are headed by the very English Paul McDaggett (John Castle) who it will turn out is the pieces main villain. That’s right America! Never forget who your first enemies were! And one day, when the time is right, our tiny island nation with will claim back what is rightfully ours! Ahem. Sorry about that. Seem to have gone quite mad for a second there. Where was I?

Oh yes, so the Urban Rehabilitators, or Rehabs for short, are going in to Old Detroit and forcibly removing people from their homes. A few homeowners don’t take too kindly to this and decide to form some kind of Rebel Alliance. They go underground stockpiling weapons and the like and are accompanied by one of the most annoying movie character archetypes of all time, the genius kid who’s unfeasibly good at using computers. God I hate those characters. The character of Lex and her l33t hacking skillz are one of the few things that annoyed me about Jurassic Park. So if it annoys me in a good movie, then you know that in a film that I’m not particularly fond of, it’s really gonna piss me off. And it does. Immensely.

Anyway, whilst RoboCop is trying to defence some of these people from Rehab agents, his long-time partner Lewis is killed by Dagget. This leads to RoboCop joining the resistance along with his ladt scientist friend who maintain him, herself having grown disillusioned with the terrible things OCP are doing. In the end the resistance is also joined by the Detroit Police Department and a war occurs between the resistance and the Rehabs. RoboCop gains the power of flight, Dagget is killed and the day is saved.

The main problem with this film is that it feels like a pale imitation of the rest of the series. Once more the interludes from the news team are back but now they don’t seem anywhere near as effective as they once were. I’m also tempted to say that if there had never been RoboCop 1 and 2 then this would be a mildly entertaining, mindless sci-fi action film but those films do exist making this just a piss poor entry into the series. One and a half pints out of five.

So that’s it for a look at the RoboCop films of yesteryear. So how good are they at representing the futuristic world we now find ourselves in? Well, let’s take a look at the robots/cyborgs first. The series features cyborgs in the forms of RoboCop and RoboCain. Both were amalgamations of mechanical and organic parts. Now, we’re not exactly at the level where we can recreate these kinds of cyborgs but we’re certainly progressing. There are digital eyes, robotic arms which wire into the nervous system and, slightly more worrying given the ways in which the company tried to control their cyborgs in the series, an entire array of remote controlled animals.

As for robots, well, robots have certainly come along way since their ancestors crawled out of the primordial ooze in the forms of devices such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners. There are bands made up of robots, BIGDOG, the frankly disturbing looking robotic beast of burden and once more, an entire array of robotic animals. There are even robots you can have sex with. Warning, the following video is probably not suitable for minors or people who are disturbed by people talking about the wonders of having sex with something that looks like an ugly plastic corpse:

All I know is that I’m not putting my cock anywhere near something that is described as having motors, servos and something called an accelarometer. So yeah, we’re clearly not at ED-209 level of robotics either although ED-209 did shoot the shit out of people so maybe that’s a good thing.

Still, as I said in the first RoboCop review, we’re not really sure exactly when these films are supposed to take place. I supposed that they were probably set somewhere between 2000 and 2050 simply because of the things that have changed and the things that haven’t, so there’s still 40 years worth of scientific discovery and development to go and, honestly, at the rate with which discoveries in these fields are occurring, I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe we had caught up with the technology of RoboCop within that time period and that would be cool.

So I suppose I can’t really finish this without talking about the proposed remake of the original RoboCop. Well, I was actually kind of interested in this one what with the news that Darren Aronofsky, director of 2008’s awesome ‘The Wrestler’ was slated to direct. This seems, however, to have completely fallen apart thanks to MGM wanting the new RoboCop to be a 3D film. Aronofsky has no interest in making such a film and rightfully so. The story of RoboCop is interesting enough that it doesn’t need a shitty gimmick like 3D. I can just imagine a ten second head-on shot of ED-209 as he sprays thousands of 3D bullets into the audience. Oh what fun it won’t be. So yeah, I guess you could say my interest has wavered ever so slightly with this news. I just hope MGM and Aronofsky can come to some kind of agreement and make the awesome remake that RoboCop deserves.

Well, that’s probably it for RoboCop. Laterz.



In The Not Too Distant Future: RoboCop 2 by Jamie

Well, yesterday we looked at the ground breaking 1987 sci-fi film, RoboCop. Turns out that it was quite popular and what happens in Hollywood when something is uber-popular? It get’s a sequel of course! It happened with Jurassic Park, it happened with Jaws and for some reason it’s happening with Ghost Rider. And yes, it happened with RoboCop as well.

RoboCop 2 was released in 1990 and was directed by Irvin Kershner who directed many peoples favourite part of the saga set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘.As for the cast, well, as far as I can tell everyone who wasn’t killed in the first film seemed to return. Peter Weller dons the heavy-ass costume once more and is still awesome as RoboCop. What the hell else has he done anyway? Hmm, ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across The 8th Dimension’ and a bunch of other things I’ve heard of but never seen. I really should check them out.

(Spoilers Ahead) Anyway, this film is set two years after the undisclosed year of the last film and RoboCop is a hit with all the folks who live in Old Detroit. People like him so much, in fact, that OCP have decided to create a new model called, well, RoboCop 2. Massive points for originality there. Anyway, the problem is that every time they integrate RoboCop 2 with a human brain, it goes crazy and immediately commits suicide, unable to take what’s happened to it. It seems that the reason that Murphy was such a success was his strong dedication to holding up the law and the fact that being a strong Roman-Catholic prevented him from committing suicide. Of course, I thought it was just because they’d wiped Murphy’s memory and his humanity slowly came to the forefront. But hey, whatever.

Whilst all this is happening there is turmoil in the streets. The rest of the police force is on strike after OCP has cut their wages and their pensions, Murphy is essentially stalking his wife, the mayor’s office is in debt to OCP essentially giving the corporation the option to buy out the city and a cult has grown up around a drug called Nuke and a dealer with a messiah complex named Cain.

So the wife situation is sorted when Murphy realises that he’s no longer the man he once was and tells his wife that his face is a reconstruction made in honour of her dead husband. Murphy is then captured by the drug cult and essentially ripped to pieces. His parts are dumped by the striking police officers and he is reprogrammed by OCP with a few hundred new directives which are aimed to make him a more helpful figure in the community as opposed to being just a violent tool in the war on crime.

Murphy’s new programming basically renders him useless as a crime fighter, leading to many wacky situations in which he tries to arrest a corpse and give a lecture to a bunch of kids who are trying to rob a shop on how disappointed there parents must be in them. It’s definitely a different turn from the previous film in which RoboCop existed in a ridiculous, exaggerated world but everything about him and his story were played seriously. It’s not entirely unwelcome though. It provides a few laughs and doesn’t last long enough to become particularly annoying and for some reason it must have really stuck with me. The only bit I remember from watching this movie as a kid is when he shoots around a guy smoking a cigarette and says ‘Thankyou for not smoking.’ Good stuff.

Anyway, Murphy eradicates his new programming by electrocuting himself and decides to go after Cain, the striking cops following him and acting as his army. During the attack Cain is mortally wounded, leaving Hob, a ten year old with a penchant for swearing, and Angie, Cain’s girlfriend, in charge of the drug cult. Meanwhile Dr. Faxx, an OCP psychologist, decides that Cain will be the perfect candidate for the RoboCop 2 program, his crippling addiction to Nuke being a good method of keeping him under control.

Christ, there’s a lot going on in this film when you actually sit down to write about it. Let’s try and wrap this up quickly. Mayor’s office tries to make deal with drug cult in order to get money to keep control of city. RoboCain busts the deal, killing many of the mayor’s aides as well as Angie and Hob. RoboCain goes crazy at the sight of some Nuke during a media junket for OCP as they announce the buying out of the city and the deployment of RoboCop 2. RoboCain shoots the shit out of a bunch of people. RoboCop stops him. Good times all round.

So that’s it in a very large nut shell. There’s still the odd news break here and there but it’s not as effective as when Verehoeven does it. The man just has a way with that kinda shit. It’s no where near as good as the first one but it’s still enjoyable enough. There’s some dodgy stop-motion animation used to bring RoboCain to life but as I said last time, that stuff has a certain charm and can help in portraying the jittery motion of a mechanical object. The computer effects used to portray Cain’s face via a screen on RoboCop 2’s body look especially dated but, well, what can you do?

Perhaps the biggest problem with this film is the dramatic change that occurs within Dan O’Herlihy’s character, the OCP President. In the original film he’s portrayed as a kind old man who truly seems to care about the people in his employ and the people of Old Detroit. In this film he’s just a massive douche bag who does whatever he can to make money and make sure his development plans go through. It’s really quite odd.

In summation, I’d give RoboCop 2, the film not the robot, three pints out of five. Laterz and see you tomorrow. Guess what I’ll be reviewing then. I dare you.



In The Not Too Distant Future: RoboCop by Jamie

Well, it’s officially the uber-futuristic year 2010 where cars fly, boards hover and aliens have welcomed us into the inter-galactic community. What a time to be alive! Oh, wait. None of those things have happened. Thanks a lot assorted movies for lying to me. With that in mind, I’ve decided to take a look at some films from our past that made predictions about our not too distant future. So let’s begin by taking a look at the RoboCop series, a bunch of films which never really state a specific year as to when they’re set but I think it’s safe to assume that it’s some time between the years 2000 an 2050, which is good enough for my purposes. Also, the trilogy box-set was just delivered to my house so this seems to be as good a time as any. As always, massive spoilers ahead.

Now the basic plot of the film goes thusly: Cop chases gang. Gang kill cop. Cop get’s resurrected as Cyborg. Cyborg police officer, RoboCop if you will, battles crime whilst battling the conflict between mechanical and organic within himself. It’s a simple yet awesome concept and it’s directed brilliantly by Paul Verehoeven. If you’ve seen Starship Troopers or Total Recall, then you know that Verehoeven is very good at creating worlds which seem slightly off, layering in things such as TV shows, news broadcasts and advertisements to build what you might call exaggerated versions of our own world.

The same is true throughout RoboCop. Every now and then a news broadcast will break in, updating the viewer not only on what is happening with regard to the plot but also what’s happening elsewhere in the world. For example there’s little stories about a Star Wars laser defence system, rebels fighting Mexican and American troops in Mexico and the white government of South Africa getting neutron bombs. It just crafts a vision of a world that’s going to shit. The adverts and TV shows reinforce this with one ad detailing a battleship-esque game which allows the family to play out a nuclear war. There’s even the bizarre TV show called ‘I’d Buy That For A Dollar’ which everyone seems to love.

But that’s all background, brilliant though it is. What about the meat of the story, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a futuristic Detroit in which the police force is owned by a corporation, OCP. They’re trying to clean up the crime-ridden streets so that they can begin work on turning Old Detroit into the new and improved Delta City. To that effect they’ve begun research into robotic law enforcement. One division has come up with the ED-209 but progress comes to a bit of a halt when a glitch in ED’s programming causes him to shoot the shit out of an OCP executive. Instead the company president turns to the RoboCop program which seems more promising. All the program needs is a ‘volunteer’ and in a city where cop killings are a frequent occurrence, it surely won’t be long until they get one.

Enter Alex Murphy , a recent transferee from a quieter district. He’s partnered with Anne Lewis and heads out on his first beat. Is that what it’s called? Beat? Sounds weird. Ah well, I’m sticking with it now. Anyway, they run afoul of a gang, led by Clarence Boddicker (played by Kurtwood Smith who is fucking awesome) and chase them to an abandoned steel mill… A steel mill which was abandoned with a lot of toxic waste still lying around as we’ll find out later. Anyway, Lewis is incapacitated and the gang capture and shoot the shit out of Murphy. There’s a lot of people who get the shit shot out of them in this film. It really is quite gory in some places, which just makes it all the more awesome.

Anyway, OCP get their ‘volunteer’ and incorporate part of Murphy’s brain and face into the RoboCop. The scene where he’s being built is quite cool, seeing jumps through time through RoboCop’s eyes as they switch him on and off during testing. Finally RoboCop is complete and ready to start his beat… That still doesn’t seem right. Meh. Anyway, he starts to make a difference, cleaning up the streets, averting crimes and making people feel safer. The only problem, from OCP’s perspective, is that he still has some of Murphy left in him. He dreams of his family and of the gang who killed him, eventually causing him to pursue a vendetta.

So RoboCop/Murphy manages to track down Clarence and arrests him. During the arrest Clarence reveals that he’s working for Jones, the executive at OCP who was head of the failed ED-209 program and that Jones ordered him to kill the head of the RoboCop program. So he goes to the company in order to arrest Jones but finds he can’t as a secret part of his programming forbids him from taking action against highers-up within the corporation. A fight with ED-209 ensues and is ended when ED tries to follow Murphy down some stairs. Poor ED.

So Jones has Broddick freed from jail and orders him to take down Murphy, who at this point is on the run, the police believing he has gone haywire. Jones provides the gang with some military artillery and a tracker to help find the mechanical lawman. They track him down to the abandoned steel mill where a fight ensues and one of the greatest on-screen deaths ever occurs.

One of the gangsters attempts to run down Murphy in a van. Murphy shoots at the windscreen, causing the gangster to duck and drive straight into one of those mysteriously abandoned barrels of toxic waste I was talking about earlier. This essentially causes the gangsters skin to begin to melt… No that’s not the right word. I’m not sure what is… sloughs, maybe? Why not. His flesh slowly sloughs from his bones. It’s an horrifically brilliant sight. And then a fucking car hits him and he just explodes in a shower of organic material! It’s fucking awesome! Fuck it, let’s just include a video of it. Viewers of a nervous disposition may not want to click play:

Brilliant! And that horrible, strained noise he makes too. Great stuff.

Anyway, Murphy kills Broddick and goes off to stop Jones who is trying to reinstate the ED program after RoboCop’s apparent malfunction. Still unable to take action against an executive at OCP, Murphy shows a recording of him confessing to the murder of the head of the RoboCop program and the president fires him. This allows Murphy to finally take action against him and he does so, in the form of shooting the shit out of him until he falls out of a window. Awesome.

So that’s basically Robocop. What more is there to say? Peter Weller is fantastic in the role of Murphy/RoboCop. The way that he moves when he’s all cyborged up is so mechanical and deliberate and he manages to pull off the mix of a man with thought and a computer with programming with aplomb. I salute him.

In the end, it’s an incredible film. Sure, some of the effects of ED-209, who’s movements were pretty much all stop-motion animated, look a little dated but I think it adds a charm to the ‘character’ of ED and the animation just seems to make him look more mechanical which always helps when dealing with robots. The other problem is this was made in the 80s. No, that doesn’t sound right.. What I mean is that as with all films dealing with the future, it seems as though the people who made the film assumed the fashions and hairstyles of the time would carry on for decades to come, especially in the 80s. I suppose they can’t really be faulted for that.

There you go then. I love this film, I hope I’ve made that clear, and award it five pints out of five. If you haven’t seen it then you shouldn’t have read this review. It’s full of spoilers. I warned you at the beginning. What were you thinking? Now, go watch it. Oh, and if you’re name is Ed and you haven’t changed your last name to 209 then you either haven’t seen RoboCop or you have far more sense than I would if I were named Ed. Laterz.




%d bloggers like this: