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Robocop Film Series

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About These Films
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1. Robocop (1987)
2. Robocop 2 (1990)
3. Robocop 3 (1993)

About These Films:  "Robocop" is an interesting science-fiction action movie series, but not without its flaws.  I think the concept of "Robocop" is very cool.  The execution of the films?  Not so much.  The movies are entertaining, but there are things about them that could have been done better, even back then.  I think a reboot of the "Robocop" movies is in definite order.

    The consequent TV series, "Robocop: The Series" (1994-1995) does NOT continue the saga.  In fact, the TV series was deliberately set in an alternate reality from the "Robocop" movies and made as more of a family-friendly program.

    The later TV mini-series, "Robocop: Prime Directives" (2000) also holds no relationship to this movie series or the earlier TV series.  Like the first two "Robocop" films, it was made dark and violent.  Unlike the movies and the earlier TV series, "Robocop: Prime Directives" is once again set in its own alternate reality.  This mini-series is really four full-length films (approximately 90 minutes each) put together.

    The "Robocop" trilogy centers around the rise and fall of the evil OCP corporation.  Robocop, a creation of the OCP company, would eventually lead to their own destruction.  It would have been neat to see "Robocop 4".  What happened after OCP crumbled and Detroit was free of their tyranny?  What new threat developed?  We'll never know, but it would be interesting.



1. Robocop (1987)-  Set in a "near future" Detroit, Michigan in an almost apocalyptic world.  Crime is rampant, the city's police force was taken over by an evil corporation called OCP, and the planet Earth is in a general toilet state.  OCP President Dick Jones is in bed with the criminal underworld, namely the gang of Clarence Boddicker.  Freshly transferred to the worst precinct in Detroit, Officer Alex Murphy is brutally killed by Boddicker and his gang.  Meanwhile Bob Morton, an executive at OCP trying to knock Dick Jones out of first place, has Murphy brought back to life as a cyborg police officer called "Robocop".  Although Murphy's memories were supposed to be erased, the memories of his past and terrible death haunt him.  Robocop discovers his own true identity, and the conspiracy within OCP.  With the help of his partner Anne Lewis, Murphy/Robocop goes after Clarence Boddicker's gang and takes down Dick Jones.  This is easier said than done since Jones sics the Detroit police on Robocop as well as his earlier robot creation, the ED-209.  Boddicker and his gang, Dick Jones, and the ED-209 are all killed.

    A good movie overall, there are some things about it that I don't like or could have been done better.  For instance, I thought the general tone of the movie was pretty heartless.  We see Murphy as a totally nice guy, and his death scene is no nasty.  I really didn't like seeing the blood and gore of a character we're supposed to like.  It's terrible.  They could have just insinuated that he died in a gruesome manner.

    I also didn't like the fact that they never resolved the issue of Murphy's wife and son.  He never sees them again in this film, nor does he really attempt to track them down.  Robocop checks out the house where he once lived, and that was about it.

    Some of the dialogue in this film is way fake.  The cursing is largely forced and without much conviction.  The best scenes in this movie are, quite frankly, the ones where Robocop is in action.

    Although it became a trademark of all Robocop shows, I don't really care for the bizarre TV shows and commercials within the movie.  I know it's supposed to emphasize just how messed up everything is, but it's a bit too odd.  More than that, it just distracts from the real story.

    There was one thing I thought was very well-done.  Throughout the course of the film, Robocop loses his robotic mannerisms and takes on more of the speech patterns and actions of the old Murphy.  The robot develops a personality!

    The action of "Robocop" is very well done.  You can't say the fight scenes look fake.  The only thing about the action that looked fake, even in 1987, was the ED-209 sequences.  But even that is done well enough where you can pretend it's a real killer robot.

Cast:

Peter Weller as Officer Alex Murphy/Robocop
Nancy Allen as Officer Anne Lewis
Ronny Cox as Dick Jones
Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker
Miguel Ferrer as Bob Morton

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2. Robocop 2 (1990)-  This movie is entertaining enough, but it doesn't really accomplish anything in the "Robocop" saga.  The first movie sets things up, the third movie ties up a lot of loose ends.  This second film doesn't do anything, but Robocop does kick a lot of a**!
    Basically, a crazy woman by the name of Dr. Juliette Faxx wants to disable Robocop in favor of her own model of the cyborg, called Robocop 2.  Clever how this works with the title.  Most of the human subjects tested for Robocop 2 have suicidal tendencies or are otherwise inadequate.  Faxx ultimately recruits Cain, a notorious gang leader not unlike the character of Clarence Boddicker from the first film.  Robocop must now battle Robocop 2 because, unlike Robocop, Cain has ALL of his memory and is extremely insane and dangerous.
    The issue of Robocop/Murphy's wife and son is touched on, but not resolved.  It leaves the audience (me, anyway) rather unsatisfied.  The next film had NOTHING about Murphy's wife and son, but basically because "Robocop 3" was a giant battle from beginning to finish and there wasn't any time to use that backstory.
    Comic book writing legend Frank Miller penned the script.  His initial script was deemed "unfilmable" by the producers and studio executives.  Several rehashes of Miller's script were made before the screenplay was established.  Miller, himself, was very unsatisfied.  In retaliation, Miller released a nine-issue comic book mini-series called "Frank Miller's Robocop" based on his original script for the "Robocop 2" film.  The comic series was NOT a great commercial or critical success.  The actual film of "Robocop 2", on the other hand, was another big hit, like the first film.  This film was also the last time Robocop was a true success in anything.
    "Robocop 2" was directed by Irvin Kershner, replacing Paul Verhoeven from the first film.  However, Kershner followed much of the style that Verhoeven had set down.  The major difference between Verhoeven and Kershner is that Verhoeven was more concerned about telling a story that had social and political significance with some action thrown in to fill in the spaces.  Kershner definitely tried to make this more of a straight action film.
    Despite the fact that this isn't an "important" movie in the Robocop saga, I've always liked it better than the first movie.  The only thing I didn't like about it is the fact that Robocop couldn't be more human.  At the end of the first film, Robocop regained a lot of his human tendencies.  In the second film, for no apparent reason, he regressed to his earlier robot state.  However, if you want to see a Robocop movie based solely on Robocop wrecking sh**, "Robocop 2" is probably the strongest of the three.

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3. Robocop 3 (1993)-  I actually liked "Robocop 3" and think it's probably the best movie of the series.  The movie flopped in theaters, but I thought it was the most fun and entertaining of the three films.  It's also the most optimistic.  The first two "Robocop" films are kind of depressing.  The third one is a bit more optimistic as it shows the fall of the tyrannical OCP corporation.  I really didn't notice much of a change in the Robocop actors.  Peter Weller was the hero in the first two films, Robert John Burke played Robocop in this, his only appearance as the super-cop.  Nancy Allen's Anne Lewis was actually a pretty cool character for the first time, but gets "killed off".  I still wonder why Allen wanted to return at all if her character was going to have such a minimal part.  It would have been better for the film series to just write her out and give Robocop a different partner.
    The direction is noticably different from Paul Verhoeven and Irvin Kershner, director of the first two films, respectively.  Although I have nothing against Paul or Irvin's direction, I do think this film is a bit brighter and prettier to look at.  The film still follows the same basic tone as the first two films, so it's not an incredible departure.
    The OCP corporation is in ruin and on the verge of bankruptcy.  The Kunemitsu corporation is about to take over OCP.  OCP, with their newly-founded militaristic police force called "The Rehabs", is trying to clear out areas of Detroit, namely Cadillac Heights, to make room for their Delta City project.  The Delta City plan, the company's scheme since the first movie, is meeting serious resistance from the many innocent citizens that OCP and the Rehabs are relocating and/or killing off.
    Robocop and the entire Detroit Police Department turn against OCP and the Rehabs.  The Rehabs deputize the Splatterpunks, Detroit's nastiest gang, into removing people from Cadillac Heights.  All this, and the Kunemitsu corporation sends out their own, human-looking ninja cyborg Otomo to take care of Robocop and the resistance.  The Kunemitsu corporation is lead to believe, by OCP, that Robocop and the citizens are the enemy.  When all is said and done, OCP is completely destroyed.  Kunemitsu causes the city no more grief.
    The action is awesome, things start going better for our hero and, for crying out loud, he actually flies near the end!  That's awesome!  Robocop flying is one of the coolest things that ever happened in the series!  I also like the idea of the robot ninja that turned out to be THREE robot ninjas.
    It's my belief that "Robocop 3" would have been more of a success if it didn't come out so many years later after "Robocop 2".  If this film would have hit theaters in 1991, just a year after the second film, it would have been more interesting for audiences.  When this movie came out, people had to remember the events that happened in 1987 and 1990 for this film to make much sense, and it didn't work.

Cast:

Robert John Burke as Officer Alex Murphy/Robocop
Nancy Allen as Officer Anne Lewis
Robert DoQui as Sgt. Reed
Rip Torn as The CEO
Felton Perry as OCP Vice President Donald Johnson
Mako as Kunemitsu
CCH Pounder as Bertha Washington

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