Lightning Review: Caddyshack

Caddyshack movie posterSynopsis
Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) wants to win the caddy scholarship to help pay for college. To do so, he must win favor of Elihu Smails (Ted Knight), sponsor of the caddy tournament offering the scholarship. Meanwhile, groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) tries to get rid of a gopher destroying the golf course by using any means necessary.

Review
Caddyshack was Harold Ramis’ directorial debut and what a great start to an awesome career. What makes Caddyshack so enjoyable is that it has four comedians, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray, each with a unique style, that are pretty much left to their own devices. There is a minor plot about a caddy scholarship tournament, but it merely acts as a mechanism to put these actors in the same film. They don’t share many scenes together, allowing them each time to shine. Michael O’Keefe’s Danny Noonan serves as the common thread between their characters. Murray was my favorite out of the bunch. His actions while trying to rid the golf course of a gopher are psychotic and hysterical. Caddyshack is a great slapstick comedy that hasn’t lost any of it’s charm over the years and still provides plenty of laughs.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Harold Ramis – Director/Writer
Brian Doyle-Murray – Writer
Douglas Kenney – Writer

Chevy Chase – Ty Webb
Rodney Dangerfield – Al Czervik
Ted Knight – Judge Elihu Smails
Bill Murray – Carl Spackler
Michael O’Keefe – Danny Noonan
Sarah Holcomb – Maggie O’Hooligan
Cindy Morgan – Lacey Underall
Scott Colomby – Tony D’Annunzio

Lightning Review: RoboCop 3

RoboCop 3 movie posterSynopsis
Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is on the verge of bankruptcy and is in the process of being taken over by the Kanemitsu Corporation, led by Kanemitsu (Mako). Struggling to complete Delta City, OCP sends the Urban Rehabilitators under the command of Paul McDaggett (John Castle) to forcibly relocate residents of the city. When RoboCop (Robert John Burke) gets injured during a shootout with McDaggett and his men, he joins the resistance to stop McDaggett’s Rehabilitators.

Review
RoboCop 3 is an example of what happens when you mess too much with a good thing. One of the best aspects about the first two RoboCop movies was the comical, over the top violence. RoboCop 3 drops down to a PG-13 rating and as a result the violence becomes corny, and not in a good way. RoboCop was never a complex character to begin with and this movie tries to deepen him some more. However, it never truly succeeds to give us more of an idea who Murphy, the heart and soul of RoboCop, is under all that metal and computer hardware. Nancy Allen has gotten the short end of the stick as the sequels went on. She does great but her screen time shortens with each movie. Which is too bad because Allen did great with the role. I know this film was made in 1993 but the special effects are terrible, even for the early 1990s. I have a hard time saying a movie shouldn’t have been made, but unfortunately that’s how I feel about RoboCop 3 since it doesn’t do anything positive for the franchise, except give RoboCop a jet pack. Never mind, I take that back. Even the jet pack was a bad idea.

Rating
1.5/5

For the rest of the RoboCop franchise, check out my reviews for RoboCop and RoboCop 2.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Fred Dekker – Director/Screenplay
Frank Miller – Story/Screenplay
Basil Poledouris – Composer

Robert John Burke – RoboCop
Nancy Allen – Anne Lewis
John Castle – McDaggett
Remy Ryan – Nikko
CCH Pounder – Bertha
Daniel von Bargen
Stanley Anderson – Moreno
Stephen Root – Coontz
Rip Torn – Merrit W. Morton
Felton Perry – Donald Johnson
Mako – Kanemitsu
Bruce Locke – Otomo
Robert DoQui – Sgt. Warren Reed
Jill Hennessy – Dr. Marie Lazarus
Mario Machado – Casey Wong

Lightning Review: RoboCop 2

RoboCop 2 movie posterSynopsis
Omni Consumer Products (OCP) plans to foreclose on Detroit and putting the city under the control of OCP, taking them one step closer to building Delta City. Feeling that RoboCop (Peter Weller) is costing the company too much, OCP develops “RoboCop 2” under the direction of Dr. Juliette Faxx (Belinda Bauer) after finding the perfect candidate in the drug addict Cain (Tom Noonan). But when OCP loses control of Cain, RoboCop must fight a bigger and stronger version of himself in order to protect Detroit.

Review
I really enjoyed the first RoboCop, it was gruesome but satirical and had some interesting themes at the heart of it. RoboCop 2 is just as violent as its predecessor but lacks the thematic undertones. It appeared like it was going to delve more into RoboCop’s humanity and past life, something I wish the first had done more of, but that was skipped over pretty quickly. This movie is more or less a melting pot of several ideas that could have been developed into their own RoboCop movie but instead they were all thrown together and as a result, none were fully developed. The most disappointing, however, was Cain. He had the potential to be a really great villain but instead his character is fairly weak. And his design as “RoboCop 2” is hideous and one of the worst designs for a robot I have seen. RoboCop 2 could have been a strong sequel if it had been able to expand any of the several concepts laid throughout the film.

Rating
2/5

For the rest of the RoboCop franchise, check out my reviews for RoboCop and RoboCop 3.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Irvin Kershner – Director
Frank Miller – Story/Screenplay
Walon Green – Screenplay
Leonard Rosenman – Composer

Peter Weller – RoboCop
Nancy Allen – Anne Lewis
Dan O’Herlihy – The Old Man
Felton Perry – Donal Johnson
Belinda Bauer – Dr. Juliette Fox
Robert Doqui – Sgt. Reed
Tom Noonan – Cain
Galyn Gorg – Angie
Gabriel Damon – Hob
Willard E. Pugh – Mayor Kuzak
Stephen Lee – Duffy
Roger Aaron Brown – Whittaker

RoboCop Review

RoboCop (1987) movie posterSynopsis
In a dystopian future Detroit, crime runs rampant. Mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) has bought the police force, and wants to demolish Detroit to make way for the utopia “Delta City.” In order to gain favor with the police force, Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is transformed into RoboCop after his brutal death at the hands of Clerance Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith). Along with his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen), RoboCop quickly cleans up the streets of Detroit. However, Clerance’s connections run higher than the police could have imagined.

Review
The first time I watched RoboCop was a little more recent than I care to admit, but I remember being stunned. I wasn’t stunned at the level of violence, but the fact that it was a very clever movie. If you cut through all the cursing, blood, violence, and 1980s corniness, deep down there is more to this movie than I expected. It cleverly hides it’s message under mangled bodies and oceans of blood.

RoboCop manages to touch on several themes that I was not expecting. As expected with a man being turned into a robot, the idea of identity was a large part of the film. But there was themes regarding the influence of the media, privatization, greed, corruption, and several others. This could have been a generic 1980s action movie fueled simply by action and explosions, but instead the movie uses those to deliver it’s messages to the audience.

If you are anyway squeamish, or don’t like excessive cussing or extreme amounts of violence, don’t watch this film. Every action scene is filled to the brim with blood and vulgar language. Initially, this film was rated “X” it was so violent and they had to work their way down to an “R” rating. However, the amount of brutality shown is enough that it becomes comical. I think that was what director Paul Verhoeven was trying to do; By overemphasizing the violence, you instead focus more on what the movie is trying to say with the violence.

Sometimes it’s hard to watch special effects from older movies. Stop-motion is used several times throughout the movie and looks a bit dated. But the good thing is that the old effects style doesn’t take away much from the experience.

Clerence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) is a fantastic villain. He is sadistic but clever, a very disturbing combination for a criminal. He is a great personification of the environment being portrayed in the film. And it doesn’t hurt that Smith, Red from That 70s Show, plays the hell out of the character.

I don’t have many complaints about RoboCop, but my biggest problem is that we don’t spend much time with Murphy before his transformation. Only twenty minutes or so is spent with Murphy as a person, the rest is spent with Murphy as RoboCop. Since his character isn’t developed, we aren’t given a reason to understand who Murphy is and what made him a good cop. One benefit, though, is the story moves along quickly.

As intimidating as RoboCop looks, his design is very clunky. He is not very mobile, which I think would be very important when chasing criminals. It is just a small gripe, but it seems like a robot cop would be a more agile than he his.

RoboCop is much more clever than it initially lets on. There are several themes that it touched, including identity, influence of the media, greed and corruption. It is very graphic and vulgar, so much so that it becomes humorous. Easily one of the greatest highlights of the film was the villain Clerence, played brilliantly by Kurtwood Smith, who was equal parts ruthless and clever. I wish more time was spent with Murphy before turning into RoboCop but it does move the story along quickly. RoboCop is a dark satire that understands the message it is trying to portray and cleverly uses exaggerated violence to say it.

Rating
4/5

For the rest of the RoboCop franchise, check out my reviews for RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3, or its remake, RoboCop (2014).

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Paul Verhoeven – Director
Edward Neumeier – Writer
Michael Miner – Writer
Basil Poledouris – Composer

Peter Weller – Officer Alex Murphy/RoboCop
Nancy Allen – Officer Anne Lewis
Dan O’Herlihy – The Old Man
Ronny Cox – Dick Jones
Kurtwood Smith – Clerence Boddicker
Miguel Ferrer – Bob Morton
Robert DoQui – Sergeant Warren Reed
Ray Wise – Leon Nash
Jesse Goins – Joe Cox