ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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RoboCop (1987)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Paul Verhoeven

Starring:
Peter Weller/Murphy/Robocop
Nancy Allen/Lewis
Ronny Cox/Dick Jones
Kurtwood Smith/Boddicker
PLOT-CRUNCH
In the future, crime is a disease in Old Detroit. A murdered police officer (Weller) is brought back to life by OCP (a company that owns the Police Force), to become “RoboCop”, half man, half machine…and all badass. The metal donut cleans up the streets fervently until he starts to remember the scumbags that nixed him...and that’s when the real chaos begins. Go RoBo!
THE LOWDOWN
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me!"-- RoboCop

Compare "RoboCop" (released July 17, 1987) to most of the big summer movies splurged out this year (2003) and you’ll see how the state of big, fun, violent and loud cinema has drastically declined over the years. Aaaaaahh...1987, a year when summer movies still had some heart to go along with the goodies! God, I’m feeling nostalgic! Where’s my GNR “Appetite for Destruction” CD...I need some sanity! Now I love Paul “excessive” Verhoeven’s body of work (even "Showgirls"…zippp!) and although "Total Recall", "Hollow Man" and "Starship Troopers" owned, "RoboCop" (his first foray into American Cinema) for me, still stands tall today as his most unquestionable masterpiece.

"RoboCop" shoots countless rounds at us and masterfully hits us in the head with each and every bullet. I was riveted to the screen by its simple, yet well constructed, storyline and mucho touched by Murphy’s (Wellers) journey. That “family revisiting” subplot killed me and had me reaching for the cry baby tissues! Didn’t you feel that shite? I sure did. Action-wise, the flick went KABOOM real loud with all kinds of heavy fire power in the house, big explosions, enthralling shoot-outs and a crazy car chase. We even get a slick “mano-a-mano” between RoBo and a giant lapdog-like robot (Ed-209) that growls like a lion and squeals like a pig (much like that chick I met in Vegas). FUN TIMES!

I’m also happy to report that in true Verhoeven fashion, the sweet, sweet violence found on this ride was cranked up to the “offend” level. Talk about brutal! Although the pussy ass, fascist-like regime known as the MPAA had a scissor field trip with this celluloid, trimming lots of the graphic stuff out before giving it an R-rating, gorehounds should still rejoice, this RoBo doesn’t cop out on the red stuff. Murphy’s demise kicked my skull to ashes and the toxic waste dude was definitely one for the barf bag book! NICE!

The strong characterization and the impeccable casting also came through, right down to the secondary characters. The good guys were all likeable and endearing (Lewis was a cutie, loved the gum) and the bad guys were of the “love to hate them” variety. At least they enjoyed their criminal/psychotic work! Now that’s enthusiasm! Before I forget, let’s have a Tequila shooter for Kurtwood Smith who gave us an extremely memorable villain in Clarence Boddicker. WOW! Who knew that the dad from “That 70’s Show” had it in him to be such an unapologetic, sadistic, yet charismatic, bastard? Now if he would only apply that same brand of razor panache to a certain Ashton Kutcher…just kidding Ash…or am I? Sick him Boddicker!

Wrap all that priceless gold up in a polished directing style, stellar visual effects for the time (loved the stop motion and the RoboCop design was uber kool), a hilarious tongue in cheek satirical sense of humor communicated mostly via television (Verhoeven did the same thing in "Starship Troopers") and even some gripping corrupt bureaucratic intrigue and you get a film that hits the bull’s-eye with every squeeze of the trigger. "RoboCop" just plain all around rocks! "I’ll buy that for a dollar!" Will you?
GORE
Although rated-R, this cut still delivered via the “Rob Bottin made” goods. We get a graphic blown off hand, a bullet in the head, all kinds of gory bullet hits, a Toxic Waste induced melting body (gross stuff), a squashed-to-pieces body and a spike in the neck. Want to “Supersize” that?
ACTING
Peter Weller's (Murphy/RoboCop) monotone voice worked for the role of the Cyborg and I actually got more emotions out of him when he was in RoBo mode than when he was in human mode. Good show! Nancy Allen (Lewis) was cute as button and worked off Weller perfectly. Ronny Cox (Dick Jones) was intense as the hard ass corporate slimeball...I love that guy! Kurtwood Smith (Boddicker) stole the show as the slimy, calm, yet fucking insane, criminal. Now that’s evil! Miguel Ferrer (Morton) put out the right amount of cockiness and chicken shite vibe to nail his part. Ray Wise (Leon) has a small role here as one of the baddies but hey man...it's freaking RAY WISE! That’s all I needed!
T & A
We get a swift tit shot early on, two big titted chicks on TV and some party girl showing cleavage (with cocaine on them, of course). The ladies get some male buns and RoboCop’s buttock of steel.
DIRECTING
Verhoeven does it again by delivering a fast-paced and slick looking film. I adored his camera angles, the bluish hues emanating about, his staging of the action jamborees and the emotions evoked through his images. You go, Paul!
SOUNDTRACK
The score by Basil Poledouris hit hard and was responsible for the goosebumps that rushed through my body at times. Solid.
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: MGM Release Date: June 8, 2004

IMAGE: We get an anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen image.

SOUND: We get a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound with optional subtitles (English, French and Spanish).

EXTRAS: It should be said that the version of ROBOCOP on this DVD is the Director’s Cut with one minute of added nastiness tagged to the film (Murphy’s death and Ed 209’s shooting spree, for example, are longer) HIP HIP HURRAY!

Extras-wise, the first disc from the ROBOCOP TRILOGY puts out the bulk of the goodies, whereas "Robocop 2" and "Robocop 3" only sport a trailer each.

Commentary Track: Paul Verhoeven, writer Edward Neumeier and executive producer Jon Davison all come in to reminisce about the experience that was the shoot on every level. The three men are always on, share pleasant chemistry and provide lots of info, making for a slick listen. I must ask though: where was Peter Weller?

Flesh and Steel – The Making of Robocop (37 minutes): This incredibly insightful feature covers the history of the film from development, pre-production (Michael Ironside and Stephanie Zimbalist were almost Murphy and Lewis) and the arduous experience that was the shoot. Director Paul Verhoeven, producer Jon Davison, writers Michael Miner and Edward Neumeier and more, come in to talk shop and give us mucho substance on everything that was, and is, Robocop. A stellar feature, but I must ask again...where was Peter Weller? I guess he wanted nothing to do with contributing to this disc…bummer.

Shooting Robocop (9 minutes): This feature, which was shot at the time the film was made, starts off with a mock press conference with Bob Morton and Robo and then features the actors talking about their roles, some on-set shooting and more bits with the director, writer and producer. A short, yet very enlightening, segment!

Making Robocop (8 minutes): This bit, which was also shot around the time the flick was made, provides us with more minutes with the cast and crew. Funnily enough, Peter Weller yaps about his part as “John Murphy”, when in reality, it's Alex, Peter…Alex Murphy! We also get some on set footage. This segment felt somewhat redundant after watching the two other featurettes, but it was still a pleasurable sit-down, due mostly to Weller and Allen getting more air time.

And that’s not all! We also get Storyboards (with commentary by animator Phil Tippet) and Deleted Scenes (~ 3 minutes) entitled: OCP Press Conference, Nun in the Street, Interview, Topless Plaza (we get some tits and that “I’d buy that for a dollar” dude returns) and Final Media Break.

Lastly, there’s a Photo Gallery (named: Design, Special Effects, Director Paul Verhoeven, Behind the Scenes, Cast and ED-209), Theatrical Trailers (two of them) and TV Spots (one of them).

If you’re a Robocop fan, you just hit pay dirt with this box set, although I was a bit bummed that "Robocop 2" got the same treatment as "Robocop 3" in the EXTRAS department (which was nothing!) All the fine jive about the original film almost fully made up for it though. Your move creeps!
BOTTOM LINE
"RoboCop" is not only a well-written and poignant offering, but it’s also the definition of top-notch macho entertainment. Gnarly guns, violence up the wazoo, crazy shootouts, wet gore and a hero that doesn’t mess around when it comes to taking care of business. All that was missing on this pie was a heavier axis towards feminine sex appeal/eroticism (What happened Verhoeven? Very unlike you!) and the testosterone pizza would have been complete! "Robocop", much like "Predator" (which came out in the same year), is what big fun movies should be like today: smart, action-packed and engaging on every level. Take down some notes Hollywood or do as the wise Clarence Boddicker says in this film: ”Bitches Leave!”
BULL'S EYE
It took more than 11 hours for Peter Weller to get out of the Robo-suit the very first time. By the time he was done, the shooting day was almost over. It took 10 hours to put the 150-pound suit on. Poor Pete!

The design of the ED-209 droid was based upon a "BELL UH-1H HUEY" gunship, a helicopter during the Vietnam War.

Director Paul Verhoeven has a cameo in the club scene when RoboCop seeks to arrest Leon Nash.

JoBlo himself included "Robocop" as one of the films in his book: "The 50 Coolest Movies of All-Time".
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