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Old January 2 2011, 03:26 AM   #1
Trekker4747
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Location: Kansas City
Robocop

So, in the future, Detroit is a hell-hole, the 1986 Ford Taurus makes a great police-car and the 1977 Cutlass has been rebranded, given a shitty bodykit and is being resold as the hot new car. The corrupt and stretched-thin Detroit Police Department is purchased by Omni Consumer Products (formerly "Evil Co.") with one of the poorest business strategies ever and one of the poorest understanding of criminal justice and arrest procedures ever.

Their latest idea includes taking a hot-shot decorated officer, Alex Murphy, and converting him into a half-man/half-machine supercop and other than having no checks/balances system provided by a justice department or other outside observe the whole thing goes off fairly well.

Robocop is one of those classic 80s movies that mostly a staple of its time of this niche brand of action movie and Verhoeven's style is an off one but the way the movie is made intercut movie "news breaks" (the eerily similar to how indifferent, frivolous and just plain lame news is today) and fake commercials for future products (including the aforementioned Oldsmobile as well as artificial hearts) but it's a good movie and even has a nice arc in it.

By the end of the movie Robocop seems to have regained some of the memory of his human life (even though it was presumably wiped during his conversion) and even some of his humanity (he re-adopts his human name and gains some human mannerisms.) Just a good, fun, movie that shows us that toxic-waste can turn a person into a saggy-skinned monster with the consistency of a water-balloon filled with tomato soup.

And, best of all, Red Foreman is one of our main bad guys.

The the second movie comes and... Ugh.

Overall it's a decent movie but it seems to abandon some of the dystopic themes of the first movie, takes itself too lightly and the plan OCP has in this one (power a super-monster Robocop 2 with a murderous drug dealer's brain) is just stupid.

It at least made some sense int he first movie where OCP is just your typical, shady, company valuing money and profit over any common sense (hence thinking the ED-209 project was in anyway a good idea) but what they do in 2 is just out-right dumb and mustache-twirling levels of evil.

Worst of all any "humanity" Murphy/Robocop seems to have gained over the course of the first movie seems to be mostly gone as he's back to being a mono-tone robot again although the "reprogramming" of him with all the other "Directives" was humorous.

The ED-209, a credit to production/prop designers) is wonderfully over-designed and a nice symbol of Americana's "form over function" way of doing things.

We won't talk about the third movie which was an abortion of mistakes that makes puppies cry. The series, well, probably should be best forgotten too but it had its moments.
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Old January 2 2011, 05:17 AM   #2
Nardpuncher
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Location: Taipei
Re: Robocop

I remember seeing somewhere in 1987 when the first movie came out, maybe in Starlog or something, that the first movie was set in 1994. Not official of course, but funny when you think about it...I mean they were just trying to set it 'around the corner' of the future so to speak.
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Old January 2 2011, 05:31 AM   #3
Holdfast
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Location: 17 Cherry Tree Lane
Re: Robocop

I enjoyed both the first two movies. They're different in tone, but both enjoyable. The third is truly abysmal with no redeeming features that I can recall.

Fun fact: the parking at my complex is monitored and enforced by a company called OPC. The full name it allegedly stands for is so awkwardly unlikely (Observices Parking Consultancy) that I wonder if they deliberately picked the name just so they could have a company with similar initials to OCP. Would suit a bunch of evil traffic wardens.

(even their spiel about themselves sounds vaguely OCP-ish...)
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Old January 2 2011, 05:35 AM   #4
Trekker4747
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Location: Kansas City
Re: Robocop

It's sometimes interesting to me in movies set in dystopic cities that we're supposed to "root for the good guys" and think the evil corporation is, well, evil. In the Robocop movies this culminates to OCP, and Delta City, getting but out of business and shelved (respectively.) This is supposed to be great because we're intended to root for the "little guy" (the people) and shun the big, evil, corporate bureaucrats. (Escape 2000 has a similar theme in it where The Bronx is going to be leveled in favor of erecting a futuristic city, in that movie people are forcibly relocated or killed in order to clear out the crime-ridden and dilapidated city.)

While OCP's methodology leaves something to be desired and they've certainly some shady motivations and business practices is what they want to do that bad? As shown in the Robocop movie Detroit has become even more of a polluted, crime-ridden, shit-hole. It was so bad that they were actively considering heavily armed and aggressive robots to bring the city into check. The police were wearing full body-armor and riot gear just the patrol the streets. Criminals pretty much ran wild and the entire police force was on the brink of a complete strike and shut-down.

All OCP wants to do is build a "better Detroit" and try and make the place somewhat livable again. So, really, their failure at the end of the Robocop movies is bad for the remaining "good" people of Detroit because it means instead of soon living in or near a better, cleaner, and safer city they're stuck living in a piss-hole. Now, again, OCP had some sinister motivations (mostly laced with greed) and their execution (ED-209, contracting with the local street gangs and drug-dealers) was flawed but their end-goal is something that should have been lauded.

"Escape 2000" ends on a somewhat similar note where our "heroes" have managed to defeat (well, stall) the rebuilding of the ravaged city. Granting that in that movie the relocation process was far more aggressive where they were more killing the squatters than relocating them (which seemed to mostly be a show for the media) but their end-game is still to try and build a new, better, city on top of the dilapidated one. We're supposed to cheer for the "heroes" of the movie who manage to stop Evil Co. from carrying out their plans and get to continue moving on living in the crumbling buildings and abandoned sewers of The Bronx. Ummm. Yay? I guess?

(And the movie ends stupidly as while they're successful in stopping/killing the ring-leaders of the project a new guy with equally sinister motives simply steps up to the plate at the end of the movie.)

So is it bad that I kind-of want OCP to succeed in making the city completely unlivable and manage to get through whatever paperwork they needed to do in order to build Delta City? Granted it'd probably be a fudged-up corporate-produced and "only good for the rich" nightmare but tat least Delta City wouldn't be the crime-ridden hellhole of littered streets, rape gangs and giant vats of toxic waste that it is "now." The practicality of how it'd be ran can be gotten through later but at least Detroit would be gone.

You know, I don't think OCP's logo in the first movie makes much sense:



The "C" is easy to see, obviously, but the "O" and the "P", less so.

This logo, which was used later on:



Makes a bit more sense.
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Old January 2 2011, 05:39 AM   #5
Nardpuncher
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Location: Taipei
Re: Robocop

^^ Yeah, the big evil corporation thing gets old after a while.
It can be good here and there (I'm watching Fringe and Massive Dynamic is quite intriguing) but it certainly gets overdone.
I hated the movie Twister where Cary Elwes' character gets impaled by a flying fencepost...his punishment for getting corporate sponsorship for studying the weather.
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Old January 2 2011, 05:48 AM   #6
Holdfast
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Location: 17 Cherry Tree Lane
Re: Robocop

I root for the bad guys in about 60-70% of action movies, and similar TV shows. They're usually much more fun to watch, with more grandiose and intriguing motivations, than the heroes.

For instance, The Old Man in Robocop is awesome, esp. in Robocop 2.
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Old January 2 2011, 05:50 AM   #7
Trekker4747
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Location: Kansas City
Re: Robocop

Well, it was the drive (Eddie?) who got impaled with the fence post, Jonas simply got exploded when the car crashed after being flung around by the tornado. And it was more his own arrogance and refusal to accept help from Bill/Jo that got him killed not his quest to study the weather. But yeah them having "corporate sponsors" was used in the movie to make them "evil" but Bill does point out that Jonas is in the field for the "money" and not the science/saving lives.
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Old January 2 2011, 05:53 AM   #8
Nardpuncher
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Re: Robocop

^^ Yeah but that was still terribly cringe inducing.....a guy who got into studying tornadoes for the money.
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Old January 2 2011, 06:08 AM   #9
Caliburn24
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Location: Gig Harbor, Washington
Re: Robocop

Someday Darren Aronofsky will come back to Robocop and remake it.

It'll be wild.
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