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RoboCop

by

Jeff Nelson

RoboCop is a must see for those interested in seeing a science fiction/action/thriller that's actually worthwhile.

RoboCop
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There have been a lot of films released within the science fiction genre over the past few decades. However, not many of them have held up so well over time. It appears that it's difficult to even make a strong film in this genre to begin with. Often times, when extreme amounts of violence is portrayed in films, it's looked down upon by many people in society. The MPAA even unfairly judges many movies based on the violence. Well, RoboCop embraces its violence. Some may call it an exploitation film based on the fact that there's a lot of violence that isn't toned down, although it's a science fiction/thriller with a purpose. Viewers should be able to look past the violence and see what the message is and how the filmmakers are judging society here and what we're turning into with the advancements of technology. How corrupt cops and corporate greed are affecting society. With a hint of superhero flavor, RoboCop proves to be one of the best science fiction films of all time.

The incredibly powerful cooperation controlling a futuristic, crime-riddled Detroit transforms a dead cop into a cybernetic law-enforcement unit called RoboCop, wiping his memory clean. Soon, the streets are safe, with the exception of the criminals who dare to stand up and fight against the new crime-fighter. From pretty early on in the movie, the violence stands bold. This wasn't placed in the movie for no reason. It's definitely a way to shock the audience, especially for 1987, but also to make a bold statement. The message of corruption and fighting such crime wouldn't have come across as well without this violence. The plot doesn't sound too original, but it accomplishes a lot of what so many other science fiction films have tried and failed. Not only does it have a strong statement to make, but it surprisingly has a well-written screenplay, crafted by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. It doesn't take very long for the audience to feel attached to Officer Alex J. Murphy, also known as RoboCop. At the same time, we even have an emotional attachment to his partner he was assigned while he was still alive, Officer Anne Lewis. The script is able to connect with the viewers very well and make connections without trying too hard. Similar to many other science fiction features, the line between good and evil is very distinct. The twists and turns are predictable, but it somehow is able to bring fresh air to the genre each time I see it. The main group of criminals who killed Officer Alex J. Murphy when he was alive have the cliché bad-guy type roles. Despite the clichés that are present in RoboCop, it's still an extremely fun adventure that still manages to bring some new stuff to the table.

With the well-written script, just alright acting would suffice and still be able to mask the performances. Fortunately, the acting doesn't need to be masked to begin with. Peter Weller performs as Officer Alex J. Murphy, aka RoboCop. His charm somehow draws the audience in to be fond of his character rather quickly, even before he has become the ass-kicking robot. He's certainly convincing in the role. Nancy Allen is Officer Anne Lewis, who also delivers a solid performance. She has the look for her character, but has a similar charm to her that creates a connection between the viewer and her role. While these aren't brilliant performances by any means, it's rare for a science fiction flick of this nature to host some solid acting. Even the cookie-cutter criminals, such as Kurtwood Smith as Clarence J. Boddicker, do quite well in his or her roles.

The visuals of RoboCop scream the mix between science fiction and action. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you're looking for gorgeous high-definition, you aren't going to find that here unless the film goes through a complete restoration However, the effects still manage to look strong. As previously mentioned, there's a lot of violence in this. However, it's displayed very well. The blood looks realistic and the gun battles are very entertaining. The audio transfer suffers in this feature. However, I'm not particularly surprised since it didn't undergo a complete restoration. Therefore, those who own a home theater system shouldn't be expecting an explosive track from this one. The visuals themselves shine in this one though.

If we're talking about science fiction and action flicks from the 1980's, you can't possibly leave out RoboCop out of the list of the strongest ones. There's a lot of violence here that disturbed many audiences, but there's a point to it all. The filmmakers are trying to make a real message to the viewers through all of the violence. When I originally saw this for the first time, i wasn't sure how I would like it. Fairly early into the running time, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. This is very entertaining and some actual quality cinema. RoboCop is a must see for those interested in seeing a science fiction/action/thriller that's actually worthwhile.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

Next movie: Footloose (2011)
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