RoboCop all these years later still holds up rather well, and Peter Weller as the title character was the perfect choice for the role and featured a respectable ensemble supporting cast, including Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cos, with special mention to Karen Allen.
— Limited Edition —
Genre(s): Action, Science Fiction
Arrow Video | Unrated/R – 103 min. – $49.95 | November 26, 2019
Date Published: 11/22/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 4.25/5
|“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”
Plot Synopsis: In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the police force. To test their crime-eradicating cyborgs, the company leads street cop Alex Murphy (PETER WELLER) into an armed confrontation with crime lord Boddicker (KURTWOOD SMITH) so they can use his body to support their untested RoboCop prototype. But when RoboCop learns of the company’s nefarious plans, he turns on his masters.
Review: Generally I don’t see many movies multiple times outside of a few like Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation and Heat, but with its multiple releases over the years, I have seen 1987’s RoboCop plenty of times and each one of them, the film holds up rather well, save for a couple visual effects shots that were painfully bad (most notably, one where a character falls out a window which I think was unintentionally funny). Otherwise, the story is well written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, and the direction from prolific filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, gives a biting social commentary that is arguably equal to that of the George Romeo 1978 horror classic, Dawn of the Dead.
Beyond those behind the camera, in front of it, Peter Weller turns in a stellar performance, especially considering he’s in a bulky suit with a helmet on for much of the time, until the satisfying finale. Besides that, he does get to emote, fighting his mechanical body, as the memories of his old life begin coming back, visiting the home of his wife and son, whom had moved on and away. Pretty striking scene and probably the moment where one fully buys into his character and dismantling those who did him wrong.
The supporting cast were also well cast. Nancy Allen, with not a whole lot to work with, plays nicely opposite Weller. Kurtwood Smith made for a brilliant and callous psychopath, along with the character’s maniacal crew, including one played by character actor Ray Wise, each one getting the justice headed their way. Along with Smith, Ronny Cox was great as the corporate baddie, a white collar sociopath. Aliked Ronny Cox and his appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes ‘Chain of Command’ Parts 1 and 2.
As I mentioned before, the effects work was respectable enough for the time, but of course dated in comparison. Still, the scenes with the stop-motion to live action work with the ED-209 was pretty fun even today, and provided some weight which, to me, is often missing in overly-CGI’d films today.
In the end, RoboCop, now going on 32 years later, still is going strong and stands heads and shoulders above its sequels and the 2014 remake, which in fairness, had a few solid moments (Michael Keaton is always a win), but cannot hold a candle to the original.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
|This Limited Edition release from Arrow Video has two discs (Director’s Cut, Theatrical Version) which are housed in a clear HD keep case, side-sliding into a sturdy outer-box containing an 80-page booklet, a two-sided poster, 6 Post Card with Production Stills and a sticker. The inner sleeve is reversible revealing the film’s original poster artwork.
Disc One (Director’s Cut):
The Future of Law Enforcement: Creating RoboCop (16:51) — This new interview with co-writer Michael Miner discusses the genesis of the project and the film’s legacy.
RoboTalk (32:08) — New roundtable conversation between co-writer Ed Neumeier and filmmkaers David Birke (writer of Elle) and Nicholas McCarthy (director of The Prodigy).
Truth of Character with Nancy Allen (18:26) is a new interview with the actress, discussing her role as Office Anne Lewis and recounting memories of working on the project.
Casting Old Detroit with Julie Selzer (8:20) — In this new interview, the casting director talks about how the film’s ensemble cast was assembled.
Connecting the Shots with Mark Goldblatt (11:06) is another newly filmed interview, this with the second unit director and frequent Verhoeven collaborator.
Analog with Peter Kuran and Kevin Kutchaver (13:10) — New featurette focusing on the special photographic effects and includes new interviews with visual effects artists Kuran and Kutchaver.
More Man Than Machine: Composing RoboCop (12:04) — This is a new tribute to composer Basil Poledouris, featuring comments from film music historians Jeff Bond, Daniel Schweiger and Robert Townson.
RoboProps (12:50) is a tour of a super-fan and his collection of original RoboCop props and memorabilia.
2012 Q&A with the Filmmakers (42:37) — Paul Verhoeven, Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ed Neumeier, Michael Miner and Associate Producer Phil Tippett answer a variety of questions at UCLA.
RoboCop: Creating a Legend (21:10) — Older featurette from 2007, exploring the creating of the RoboCop suit and includes interviews with Verhoeven, Weller, Neumeier and others.
Villains of Old Detroit (17:00) are profiles of the bad guys in the film and includes interviews with Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Ray Wise, Miguel Ferrer and more.
Special Effects: Then & Now (18:21) — Explores the stop motion and matte effects in the film.
Paul Verhoeven Easter Egg (0:39) is a brief extra from the 2007 release, where Verhoven explains his cameo appearance.
Deleted Scenes (2:50) — There are four scenes removed from the final film.
The Boardroom: Storyboard with Phil Tippett Commentary (6:02) — Tippett goes into detail on how the ED-209 malfunction scene was executed.
Director’s Cut Production Footage (11:34) is just some raw footage from the filming of the gore scenes.
Last up are some Trailers, TV Spots and Image Galleries (Production Stills, Behind the Scenes, Poster & Video Art)
Disc Two: (Theatrical Cut):
Edited for TV Version (1:35:16) is actually rather funny to see the awkward cuts of the violence. Also available is the RoboCop: Edited for Television (18:35) containing a compilation of alternate scenes from two edited-for-television version, including outtakes in HD.
VIDEO – 4.75/5
|Arrow Video releases RoboCop presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer, provided by MGM and was restored back in 2013. The original camera negative was scanned in 4K and probably underwent some clean-up to remove any dust, scratches and other ailments, after which it was approved by Verhoeven. As such, the picture does look fantastic with a couple exceptions, scenes from the “Director’s Cut” which looked overly grainy, however the booklet does mention that those were taken from lower-generation positive elements as the original negatives had been lost. However, all in all, it doesn’t detract from the film.|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|The 2.0 and 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks were remastered from the original audio stems for this Blu-ray release, and a 5.1 option is also available. Testing these out, all three do sound great, though I mostly watched the film with the 4.0 option. All output clear dialogue and the action sequences does provide some okay depth. Can’t speak to how these compare to previous Blu-ray releases, but this is probably a modest upgrade.|
OVERALL – 5.0/5
RoboCop all these years later still holds up rather well, and Peter Weller as the title character was the perfect choice for the role and featured a respectable ensemble supporting cast, including Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cos, with special mention to Nancy Allen. This Arrow Video release was titled a “Limited Edition” should’ve been called the “Definitive Edition” instead, replacing previous releases.