RoboCop - The Original Version Was Smarter Than You Think

Paul Verhoeven's 1987 science fiction classic Robocop was seen as a groundbreaking movie in its day. It led to two sequels - of varying quality... - along with two separate series that took radically different approaches to perpetuating the franchise. Since then, however, it's relegated to a relic 80s, especially since the 2014 remake.


However, once you set aside the styling and the cinematic goodies-versus-baddies tale of justice, there's a lot more to it. First off, there is wry political comment within RoboCop and it has a lot to say about the perils of consumerism taken to extremes. Big Brother isn't just watching you; in RoboCop, he's making all the products too - whatever the true cost to society.


Some see RoboCop as a modern-day version of Frankenstein, albeit with a more positive outcome! There are also religious themes of sacrifice, resurrection and redemption. I would even argue that RoboCop asks some serious philosophical questions about what it is to be dehumanised, and the challenge of balancing the needs of the state and those of the individual.


Yes, there are violent scenes and the viewer isn't spared - especially when Alex Murphy joins the programme, but there's something else in there too. What can easily pass you by, as Murphy takes on the bad dudes, is the satire that's woven through the entire film. Don't tell me you've forgotten some of those classic lines:


"And remember, we care."


"I'd buy that for a dollar." 


"Nukem. Get them before they get you. Another quality home game from Butler Brothers."


"They'll fix you. They fix everything."


Ultimately, once you get beyond the hardware, the fast cars and the boys with toys, it is a life-affirming film with a positive message. Well, three messages, actually:


1. Serve the public trust.

2. Protect the innocent.

3. Uphold the law.


Written by Derek Thompson


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