director Paul Verhoeven
After watching the new RoboCop (2014), I found myself wanting to see the original again. It had been a long time since I’d seen it and I thought the renewed experience might be enlightening.
Sadly, Netflix had the DVD listed as “very long wait” as much of their DVD’s are showing up as these days. I’ve come to understand that moniker to suggest eternity in my experience, a very long wait indeed.
So, I saw that Comcast/Xfinity had the original available for $2.99 to watch and decided the trade off to be a fair deal for immediate gratification. But life lesson renewed, the damn thing was in pan-and-scan and not letterboxed. Curses, foiled again.
RoboCop (1987) is indeed an excellent film. The first of Paul Verhoeven’s American science fiction flicks, it delivered a wonderfully wry and violent commentary on the America of its day, looming technology fears, militarization, corporate control of public sectors all with entertaining action and violence. Because while there is text and subtext, there is a fun movie to watch first and foremost.
The cast is great: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer, Kurtwood Smith. It’s uber Eighties. Yet it also has a great prescience about things to come. And I always loved Phil Tippet’s stop-motion animation of the big robots.
It’s a leaner, funnier, far more fun film that its eventual re-make. And the blood and violence, I think, make a statement in and of themselves.
Also, Verhoeven’s comic pop culture advertisements that pepper the film offer amusing ironic commentary throughout. Something that becomes one of his signature elements.