Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer,
Dan O’Herlihy, Ray Wise, Paul McCrane, Jesse D. Goins, Robert
DoQui. Directed by Paul Verhoeven. (103 min)
by Stinky the Destroyer😺
remember first seeing the trailer for Robocop and thinking,
Wow, that looks really dumb. Even the title suggested
something along the lines of Megaforce or Battletruck.
Then a few buddies who’d already seen it dragged me kicking and
screaming to a local drive-in, touting “You gotta see this!” and
“It’ll blow you away!”
second time I watched it was on video, when I told a few other
buddies, “Hey, you gotta see this! It’ll blow you away!” The
action and gung-ho violence was as rousing as ever, but this time I
noticed how genuinely funny it was. Often because of the over-the-top violence, but also its pitch-black sense of humor and plethora of
surprisingly hilarious - and quotable - dialogue.
course, I later bought it on DVD because it more-than-warrants
repeat viewings. Like a lot of fans, critics and film scholars, I came
to the conclusion that RoboCop is ultimately a rare work of
demented genius under the guise of an ‘80s action film (but has
aged far better than nearly all of ‘em). In fact, it ultimately
defies single genre classification, successfully combining
traditional science-fiction, horror, classic tragedy, dark comedy,
sharp satire, cultural commentary and, of course, good old fashioned
revenge, all of which are as timely today as they were 32 years ago.
that ain’t the definition of a modern classic, I don’t know what
|Best Buy's Employee of the Month.|
spent an entire Saturday evening reviewing this new limited edition
Blu-ray from Arrow Video, and that’s before actually
watching the three cuts of the film that are included. These
two discs are loaded with so many new and vintage bonus features (in
addition to a booklet the length of a novella) that I was simply too
damn tired to fire-up the movie itself until Sunday morning. I was
intrigued enough by the inclusion of the edited-for-TV cut on disc
two to start there (the only version I hadn’t yet seen). Originally
airing on ABC in the early ‘90s, anyone who’s ever seen RoboCop
will concur that it’s about as non-conducive to TV butchery as a
movie gets. The result is a truncated hoot, a de-fanged film with
expletives substituted with hilariously “safe” dialogue and, of
course, shorn of nearly all the violence.
storied Director’s Cut is also here in all its gory glory. Only
dedicated fans could probably differentiate it from the Theatrical
Cut without a magnifying glass, but it is the definitive
version and the 4K restoration is mostly pretty impressive (save for
a few noticeably muddy scenes late in the film). However, the
differences are made quite clear by a nifty bonus feature that
presents side-by-side comparisons of key scenes (including 20 minutes comparing the original and TV cuts).
|Dead or alive, this is coming with me.|
there’s enough supplementary material (outlined below) to keep
Robofans busy for hours. Not only does it cover nearly every aspect
of the film’s production and impact, a lot of the featurettes are
entertaining enough to watch more than once. And I haven’t even
gotten to the aesthetic goodies, including some neat stuff my wife
has already informed me will not become part of our living room décor.
has been released on video plenty of times before, including some
editions that were pretty impressive in their own right. But this one
is so comprehensive and beautifully packaged that double-dipping should be a no-brainer. Barring something extraordinary happening in December, this is the best Blu-ray release of the year.
other words, you gotta see this. It’ll blow you away.
CUT, THEATRICAL CUT & THE EDITED-FOR-TELEVISION VERSION
2 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - #1) Film historian Paul M. Sammon; #2)
Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart & Eastwood Allen.
“THE FUTURE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT: CREATING ROBOCOP”
- Interview with co-screenwriter Michael Miner.
“ROBOTALK” - discussion with co-screenwriter Ed Neumeier with
writer David Birke & director Nicholas McCarthy.
“TRUTH OF CHARACTER” - Interview with Nancy Allen.
“CASTING OLD DETROIT” - Interview with RoboCop casting
director Julie Selzer.
“CONNECTING THE SHOTS” - Interview with RoboCop’s second
unit director Mark Goldblatt.
“ANALOG” - Interviews with Peter Kuran & Kevin Kutchaver,
who created the “computer” effects, included Robo’s POV shots.
“MORE MAN THAN MACHINE: COMPOSING ROBOCOP” -
An appreciation of Basil Poladouris’ score
“ROBOPROPS” - A fan shows off his RoboCop memorabilia
collection, which is pretty impressive.
SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET – This is 80 pages long,
folks! Includes 4 essays, cast & crew credits, promotional cast &
crew bios, restoration credits, behind-the-scenes photos.
DOUBLE-SIDED POSTER – Featuring new and original artwork.
6 POSTCARDS – Featuring promotional stills from the film.
WINDOW STICKER – Faux home-security sticker that reads,
“Warning: This property is protected by RoboCop.”
Q&A – Panel discussion with director Paul Verhoeven,
writers Michael Miner & Ed Neumeier, producer Jon Davison,
animator Phil Tippet, Peter Weller & Nancy Allen.
FEATURETTES - “RoboCop: Creating a Legend”; “Villains of
Old Detroit”; “Special Effects Then and Now”
COMMENTARY – By Paul Verhoeven, Jon Davison & Ed Neumeier
(featured on both the Director’s Cut & Theatrical Cut).
VERHOEVEN EASTER EGG – The director’s
BOARDROOM” - Storyboard of the ED209 boardroom scene, with Phil
ISOLATED SCORE TRACKS
COMPARISONS - #1) Director’s Cut vs. Theatrical Cut; #2
Theatrical Cut vs. Edited-for-TV Version.
SCENES FOR TV VERSION
& TV SPOTS
IMAGE GALLERIES – Production stills, behind-the-scenes stills &
COVER – Featuring new and classic cover art (as iconic as the
original artwork is, the new cover is gorgeous).
MEE-OW! LIKE TAUNTING A MOUSE TO DEATH.