Cinepub


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.



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 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.




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