(1987, 1990, 1993)
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Robert John Burke, et al.
Paul Verhoeven, Irvin Kirshner, Fred Dekker
MGM Home Entertainment
Date: June 8, 2004
Review posted: June 6, 2004
In the near
has become a war zone. Crime runs rampant and the corporate-run
police force is unable to keep up. However, when one officer
“volunteers” for the new Robocop program, crime is given a new
enemy, but where does machine end and man begin in a cybernetic
A new drug, Nuke, has hit the streets and has created a new set of
problems for Robocop and the OCP-owned police force, and even Robocop
cannot keep up. However, OCP is using the current strain on the city
to fulfill its own agenda.
Now owned by
the Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation, OCP begins to move ahead with its
Delta City operation. However, this means the removal and demolition
of many people and their homes. When Robocop discovers this, he turns
against his corporate masters and aids a group of rebels in fighting
the fascist corporation at all levels.
and filled with social commentary about big business in the
1980’,s the Robocop trilogy walks a fine line between
nihilistic satire and big budget mindless action. The first
Robocop film presented a vision of the future that seems like
a precursor to the futures that films like Blade Runner and
Alien gave us, a world dominated by gigantic faceless
corporations seeking greater profits at the cost of human lives.
This is the world that Robocop must defend. Even though he
is a product of the corporation, he is still a cop and willing to
do what is right, which may or may not be in the interests of his
creators. Director Paul Verhoeven’s first American film is fun on
many different levels.
The film is
intelligently written and is tactful when dealing with its comments on
society. On another level, it’s a great action film with amazing stop
motion animation from Phil Tippett. The film’s uncut version, while
not much longer, shows how brutal Verhoeven’s original vision of this
world actually was. Peter Weller gives a good performance, considering
we never really get to know Murphy and we spend most of our time with
his robotic alter ego.
continued the story and showed us what happens when the corporation
begins to try and overthrow the existing city government and take
over. With Robocop considered obsolete, a second, and more deadly
Robocop is commissioned, which leads to chaos. Robocop 2 fails
to live up to the expectations set by the original. On a satire level,
the film is too dark and nihilistic. While the first film was also
nihilistic, it had fun with it. Robocop 2 doesn’t have nearly
enough fun to make the nihilism acceptable. The stop motion of the
film is still great, although there is a little too much during the
final battle between the Robocops.
just never worked. In an attempt to be more of a comic book movie, the
film ends up just being silly. By this point, the OCP Corporation has
become a boring villain and the fascism that was introduced in the
first sequel is far too over the top. Toning down the violence to make
the film accessible to a wider audience may have been the film’s
undoing. Also, the inclusion of the “add a kid” character Nikko is
unnecessary. Nikko is in no way adorable or clever, despite an okay
performance by Remy Ryan. Robert John Burke is okay as Robocop, but
the script is so bad that he never has a chance to make anything of
As a whole, this
collection is okay. It’s definitely a set for those who love the
series and would want to have all three films. If not, one can find
all three of the films available separately, including Robocop’s
uncut director’s version.
are pretty good, although I did notice that the transfer for the
uncut Robocop seemed to be a little on the dark side. While
it isn’t anything that affects the film, I did have a hard time
seeing Verhoeven’s face in his brief cameo, which is clear in
every other version of the film I have seen. Other than that,
there is no grain, and the colors look good.
The sound mixes
for all three films are great. The 5.1 stereo surround is
absolutely beautiful, especially in the end battle of Robocop 2.
The dialogue is never lost under the relentless gunfire. The mix
for this DVD set is great.
A new and somewhat inferior commentary track to the one supplied
on the Criterion collection version of the uncut Robocop.
While it does supply a good amount of information, it seems like
a watered down version of the other.
The four deleted scenes, taken from their original video dailies, show
us other bits from the Media Breaks that we never saw,
including the original ending featuring Lewis in the hospital after
being shot up. These don’t enhance the story in any way, but give us a
little more Media Break to enjoy.
Flesh and Steel:
The Making of Robocop; Shooting Robocop; Making
Three nicely detailed making-of featurettes that give the viewer a
good idea how difficult the shooting of the film really was, as well
as some of the techniques used in the film One of the better “making
of” features that I’ve seen.
ED 209 Storyboard
w/ Phil Tippett commentary:
A frame-by-frame discussion with Tippett. It has some interesting
info, but it seems a little too short.
Trailers & Photos:
Production photos and the theatrical trailers.
Robocop 2 and Robocop 3, their respective DVDs
only feature trailers and nothing else.
The presentation of
the original Robocop is really good, and although the
commentary track is only mediocre, the “making of” features are
outstanding. It’s a shame that the sequels are lacking in features. If
these discs had features, I think this set would have been perfect.
Sadly, it’s only for hardcore fans of the series. This is a rental for
the curious and a must buy for the fans.
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