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.

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.


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


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.

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.


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


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.

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.


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


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

RoboCop Review

RoboCop (2014) movie posterSynopsis
In 2028, OmniCorp, lead by CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), has revolutionized security around the world but has had difficulty bringing their products to the United States. When Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is seriously injured by a car bomb, OmniCorp takes the opportunity to create a product the people can get behind and transform Murphy into the cyborg RoboCop. What OmniCorp didn’t plan for was the strength of the human element still left inside Murphy.

Remakes/reboots can be difficult to tackle. They can be done in one of two main ways: simply telling the same story but with a new cast or tell a whole new story using old characters. RoboCop does the latter and does so surprisingly well. There have been many remakes of iconic 1980s movies over the last several years, most have which have been sub-par. So imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed it! RoboCop manages to pay homage to the 1987 original, but still offers a fresh and updated take on the character.

One of the appeals of the original RoboCop was its exaggerated violence. Not just the violence itself but the fact there was so much that the film became a dark satire. This movie moves away from that and instead become more politically driven. The ethics of transplanting a human consciousness into a machine is a central theme here. It gets touched on a little in the original, more so in RoboCop 2, but it takes a backseat to the violence.

The pacing is drastically different, too. One of my biggest knocks against the 1987 RoboCop is we don’t get to spend much time with Murphy as a person since he transforms into RoboCop fairly quickly. However, this time we see Murphy interacting with his family and his partner, Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams). I felt this was a stronger lead up to his transformation because allowed us to get to know Murphy before the whole “Am I Alex Murphy or am I RoboCop?” dilemma came into play.

Speaking of pacing, there was also much more time spent on his training than before. This RoboCop doesn’t start patrolling the streets until halfway through the movie. We get to see Alex adjust to his new status rather than just jumping head first into it. Again, this gives us more time to empathize with Murphy and what has happened to him.

RoboCop’s color scheme has been changed, and I actually like the new black color. His design is also much sleeker. Peter Weller’s RoboCop was very clunky, but Kinnaman’s can actually move and run. I think I am in the minority, but I like the new look better than the original. The original’s shiny gray metallic color scheme does make an appearance. There are also several other callbacks to the original RoboCop that I noticed, like the ED-209 looks identical to the one that stood outside OCP headquarters and the RoboCop theme could be heard (but I wish it was used more, the theme is pretty iconic). I was going to list all the references I picked out but there were so many I’m not even going to attempt it.

Micheal Keaton plays a good villain, but I’m not sure about how I feel about Raymond Sellars. For most of the film he seems like he is just a CEO who wants to make his company money, even if that means moving into morally gray areas. But in the final scenes he is all of a sudden supposed to be this bad guy who doesn’t have a conscious. It would have been better if we saw that side of him throughout the whole movie rather than just the end. Otherwise, his character at the end seems out of place compared to the rest of the film.

Honestly, I went into the theater fully expecting to be disappointed when I left. However, RoboCop is one of the better remakes/reboots I have seen in a long time. Part of its success stems from its ability to craft a new story while still paying tribute to the original. Rather than focus on over-the-top violence, this movie is concentrates more on ethics. The story gives us almost half of the movie to get to know Murphy and empathize with his situation. Sellars’ actions at the end of the film don’t fit well with his actions during the rest of the movie. I’m not much of a fan of remakes/reboots, but if more movies handles them the same way as RoboCop, maybe they would actually be something to look forward to.



Cast & Crew
Jose Padilha – Director
Joshua Zetumer – Screenplay
Pedro Bromfman – Composer

Joel Kinnaman – Alex Murphy/RoboCop
Gary Oldman – Dr. Dennett Norton
Michael Keaton – Raymond Sellars
Abbie Cornish – Clara Murphy
Jackie Earle Haley – Rick Mattox
Michael K. Williams – Jack Lewis
Jennifer Ehle – Liz Kline
Jay Baruchel – Tom Pope
Marianne Jean-Baptiste – Chief Karen Dean
Samuel L. Jackson – Pat Novak
Aimee Garcia – Jae Kim
Douglas Urbanski – Mayor Durant
John Paul Ruttan – David Murphy
Patrick Garrow – Antoine Vallon
K.C. Collins – Andre Daniels
Daniel Kash – John Lake
Zach Grenier – Senator Hubert Dreyfuss

Robocop (2014) Trailer #2

Synopsis: In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years – and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.

I’m still not sold on this reboot yet, but I’m willing to give it a try.  This trailer is more action oriented and shows more of the special effects than the more character-focused first trailer. It looks to be more serious than the original RoboCop, which may could hurt it. *cough* Total Recall remake *cough*  Part of the charm of the originals was they were made to be dark and satirical, and did not take themselves too seriously. If MGM can keep that intact, they will at least be on the right track.

The throwback to the original RoboCop color scheme is a nice touch.  Honestly, I don’t think the black looks that bad.

RoboCop, directed by Jose Padilha, will be released February 12, 2014 and stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jennifer Ehle, Michael K. Williams, Jackie Earl Haley, and Jay Baruchel.

RoboCop (2014) Trailer

The first trailer for the RoboCop reboot has been released by MGM.

I have mixed feelings about this.  It seems lately that Hollywood has started moving towards rebooting franchises that didn’t really need it at all, such as Total Recall and the rumored Terminator reboot.  The original RoboCop, released in 1987, is a perfectly fine movie that is still relatively recent.

RoboCop’s new design is pretty slick, though, minus the one non-robotic hand which just looks out of place.  With super-star actors like Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson, maybe it will feel fresh while still staying true to the original.

RoboCop, directed by Jose Padilha, will be released February 7, 2014 and stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, and Jay Baruchel.

[EDIT 10/24/2013] The release date has been changed to February 12, 2014.