Robocop (film series)

The future of law enforcement
The future of law enforcement
D: Paul Verhoeven
Rank/Orion (Arne L. Schmidt)
US 1987
103 mins

Action/Crime/Science Fiction

W: Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner
DP: Jost Vacano
Ed: Frank J. Urioste 
Mus: Basil Poledouris
PD: William Sandell

Peter Weller (Alex Murphy / Robocop), Nancy Allen (Anne Lewis), Ronny Cox (Dick Jones), Kurtwood Smith (Clarence Boddicker), Miguel Ferrer (Bob Morton), Dan O'Herlihy (The Old Man)

At first glance Robocop may simply look like a violent, comic book, science fiction movie, but it also doubles as an intelligent and cutting satire on the media and how it indoctrinates violence into its day-to-day programming.
Set in a future Detroit, in which crime has transformed the City into a wasteland, an honest cop, Murphy, is slain by gangsters and rebuilt as a cyborg by scientists, but with some memories of his former life still remembered, the machine vows revenge on those who killed him, uncovering deep-rooted corruption in the process.
It's a rare feat for a film of this type to feature to be so cleverly written and directed and much credit has to go to Paul Verhoeven. Some of the special effects haven't dated particularly well, but the action set pieces are still impressive and its underlying message is still very relevant today.


ROBOCOP 2 (18)
D: Irvin Kershner
Rank/Orion (Jon Davison)
US 1990
118 mins

Action/Crime/Science Fiction

W: Frank Miller & Walon Green
DP: Mark Irwin
Ed: William Anderson
Mus: Leonard Rosenman
PD: Peter Jamison

Peter Weller (Alex Murphy/Robocop), Nancy Allen (Anne Lewis), Dan O'Herlihy (Old Man), Belinda Bauer (Juliette Faxx), Tom Noonan (Cain), Gabriel Damon (Hob)

There's some attempt to include the satire of the original film, but this is still very much a popcorn sequel with comic book violence and a big injection of cartoonish comedy.
Peter Weller returns as Murphy, a cyborg cop fighting crime on the violent Detroit streets and meets his match when a rival cyborg is created using the brain of a sadistic drug lord.
Despite some good visual effects and action set pieces, there's far too much build up to reward the audience with too short a climax and much of the first hour seems to be played for laughs rather than developing the story at a reasonable pace. It's also quite ridiculous that the audience are asked to believe that a twelve year old boy is the kingpin of a narcotics gang, but the main bad guy, Cain (Tom Noonan), makes up for this with his threatening, if somewhat brief, appearance.
An okay sequel, but inferior when compared to the first film.

Robocop 2
Robocop 2

He's back to lay down the law
He's back to lay down the law
ROBOCOP 3 (15)
D: Fred Dekker
Orion (Patrick Crowley)
US 1993
104 mins

Action/Crime/Science Fiction

W: Frank Miller & Fred Dekker
DP: Gary R. Kibbe 
Ed: Bert Lovitt
Mus: Basil Poledouris

Robert John Burke (Alex Murphy/Robocop), Nancy Allen (Anne Lewis), Rip Torn (The CEO), Jill Hennessy (Dr. Marie Lazarus), Remy Ryan (Nikko Halloran)

Peter Weller flees the series, as does the satire which was so rich in the original film and attempted in the first sequel.
Robert John Burke becomes the title character for this standard popcorn flick, In which the cyborg police officer gets caught up in corruption and chaos between a Japanese corporation and the poor residents of the crime-ridden city.
Aimed at a more juvenile audience, the filmmakers here seemed more focused on selling tie-in merchandise rather than delivering a decent movie.

Robocop 3
Robocop 3

D: Jose Padilha
MGM/Columbia/Strike (Marc Abraham & Eric Newman)
US 2014
118 mins

Science Fiction/Crime

W: Joshua Zetumer, Ed Neumeier & Michael Miner
DP: Lula Carvalho
Ed: Daniel Rezende & Peter McNulty
Mus: Pedro Bromfman

Joel Kinnaman (Alex Murphy/Robocop), Abbie Cornish (Clara Murphy), Gary Oldman (Dr. Dennett Norton), Michael Keaton (Raymond Sellars), Samuel L. Jackson (Pat Novak), Jackie Earle Haley (Rick Mattox)

There are those who say this isn't a remake, it's a 'reboot'. Bollocks! It's a remake!! The main character has the same name, the skeleton of the main story is identical to the 1987 original and the original film's writers, Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner, are credited as screenwriters, which means they either really needed a royalties payment or they just wanted to try and sell ice back to the Eskimos.
The story for those unaware, follows Alex Murphy, a good cop in bad precinct who is mortally wounded when he turns off his car alarm (seriously, he's not even killed in action in this one) and becomes the guinea pig of robotics conglomerate OCP's new experiment to put cyborg police officers on the streets of America, though their hands are tied by government legislation which they try to repeal with the success of Robocop, but there's a more sinister plan behind the motives of the company director (played by Michael Keaton).
Though this may look like Robocop, sound like Robocop and smell like Robocop, it just isn't Robocop. It's so watered down it may as well be a cartoon!  Despite the main story of the human spirit overcoming technology as Murphy solves his own murder, this is little more than a twist on Frankenstein's monster. Gone is the menace of bad guys Clarence Boddicker and Dick Jones from the original as they're replaced by smarmy Michael Keaton and Jackie Earle Haley (who acts like a dick in this for absolutely no reason). There's even a head honcho gangster who is seemingly stepping into the shoes of the Kurtwood Smith role from the original but it's only on the periphery of a grieving wife asking why her husband is now a machine even though she signed the fucking consent forms!
Everything about this film is stupid. Alienating fans of the original and appealing only to those who've not seen it (who will most likely reject this version after they do).
Even the satire which added a bit of comedy to the original film is gone in favour of Samuel L. Jackson being Samuel L. Jackson.  Officer Lewis is replaced by a token black guy as well as the movie relegates all female characters to scenery.
The only positives this film offers is better visual effects, since the animation in 1987 was all quite rudimentary compared to the techniques nowadays, but this does not justify a remake in shape or form.
I'd have been more forgiving if this took on new characters, a new story and took the franchise in a different direction, but it doesn't. It's just lazy filmmaking to capitalise on the fanbase of the original trilogy.