Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20th Century Fox's Robocop (1987) starring Peter Weller

The story I'm about to tell you is true: Once upon a time, there was a ten year old boy named Jimbo. He lived about two miles from the borders of Detroit and a movie named Robocop came out. He was, according to his parents, too young to see the movie and so he didn't get to watch it when it first came out. As a matter of fact, it took nearly three decades for him to see it. He just finished watching it a few minutes ago. Quite frankly, he wishes he had waited another thirty years to see it.

This movie was not very good. I was quite frankly disappointed. I've been hearing for literally decades how good Robocop was. I feel like I've been lied to. Seriously. The reasons I don't like this movie are listed below and it's almost painful to type them, but I'll do the good stuff first, because that's how I roll.

The special effects for Robocop were very good considering when the movie was made. Seriously. The ED-209 was awesome. Maybe I've just been too big of a Battletech fan for too long, but I really get a kick out of the combat robot thing. (Yes, I know that Battlemechs are way different. It's a related concept though.) The concept was pretty decent, even if it could have been better executed. Some of the hair-dos were nostalgia-inducing. There were a couple of shots intended to make the city of Detroit look good. I think that pretty well covers it.

As far as what went wrong: Listen guys, I'm a big believer in including a message in fiction IF story comes first. That was not the case here. Someone clearly had an axe to grind with both law enforcement and large corporations and used this movie to do it. Think about it:

Within the first ten minutes a member of the board of Omni Consumer Products is shot down in front of the rest of the board and no one cares. The room just empties out and Dick Jones tells everyone that he never heard the ED-209. As one other character remarks, "That's life in the big city." The rest of the movie is filled with corporate machinations and the eventual murder of for providing an alternative to the ED-209 program with his Robocop initiative.

What follows is a scene showing two of the dumbest police officers ever to walk the face of the planet. Seriously. No self respecting member of law enforcement is going to knowingly go into an abandoned factory complex while outnumbered and outgunned. It just doesn't make sense. Acting in this manner is just asking to die. The only surprising part of the encounter is that one of the two officers manages to make it out alive. The we get to have even more fun at the expense of the police who are seen as going on strike because they're afraid to do their jobs.  It just gets worse from there.

Again, I have nothing against message in fiction if it's well done. This is not an example of how to do it well. This is, in fact quite the opposite. In fact, I'll leave you with a link to one of my favorite shows. It's got a leftist bent as well, but it's entertaining and actually worth watching. Bottom line: Robocop gets two out of five steaming piles of horse manure.

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