RoboCop (1987) Review

RoboCop is more than just a science fiction film about a cyborg cop, it’s a terrifying look at a future owned by corporations and it’s soaked in political satire like all of the best Verhoeven films. I seem to have walked into a Paul Verhoeven theme here but that’s not bad at all. The acting whilst not Oscar worthy is still pretty good which can be hard to do in a film like this. The characters are creative and unique and I am not just talking about the cyborg even the bad guys are so entertaining thanks to Ronny Cox and Kurtwood Smith. The films dialogue is so fun and light that it can be quoted with ease. The science fiction is fascinating and ponders some interesting questions about the future, but we also get some wonderful crime thriller with drug dealers and corrupted businessmen for RoboCop to take down in his own kick ass style.

RoboCop: “Dead or alive you’re coming with me!”

Robocop - Banner

Paul Verhoeven’s American breakthrough film, Robocop, is an exceedingly violent blend of black comedy, science fiction, and crime thriller. Set in Detroit sometime in the near future, the film is about a policeman (Peter Weller) killed in the line of duty whom the department decides to resurrect as a half-human, half-robot supercop. The RoboCop is indestructible, and within a matter of weeks he has removed crime from the streets of Detroit. However, his human side is tortured by his past, and he wants revenge on the thugs who killed him. The film was later followed by two feature-length sequels and a live-action television series, neither of which were as successful as the original film.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 85%       Acting: 80%      Characters: 85%      Dialogue: 90%

Sci-Fi/Crime Thriller: 90%      Style/Sound: 95%      Visuals: 95%

Total: 88%

Robocop - poster

The story is interesting and in science fiction you need something that raises questions, in RoboCop we get quite a few. Where does the man begin and the machine end? How would a city run by corporations work? Is it ever right to make a man into a machine? The acting is good but Verhoeven goes more for the characters and the villains of the story are fantastic to watch. Ronny Cox as always plays a fantastic villain, you know when he is angry and watching him die is always satisfying. These are good qualities in a villain. Kurtwood Smith delivers the most quoted line by fans “Bitches leave!” and rightly so. My favourite parts are getting to know Murphy before he “dies” because it makes his death more meaningful and the pain he suffers from the loss of humanity more important to the viewer.

Robocop - ED-209

I don’t normally go on and on about the themes and sound of a film but I do like to give credit for good work. Basil Poledouris did great work on this with a fantastic theme that so damn memorable that you instantly think of RoboCop the moment you hear it. The visuals whilst a little dated now where fantastic at the time. We had RoboCop which was okay but I think the best stuff was the ED-209 which was done with a lot of stop motion, one of the last times the method was used in a film like this and the tech landed on highlight.

Must Watch Trailer:

The best reviews I found would be these “Vile, violent, and very funny. The pace is breakneck, and when the wit does run out, way-out weaponry and whole-scale destruction keep the appalled excitement burning” Mark Salisbury. “RoboCop is as tightly worked as a film can be, not a moment or line wasted” Variety. “More intelligent than the usual action-packed sci-fi” Dennis Schwartz. “Behind the black comedy and explicit violence is a sci-fi satire that posits big business running city services like a factory, complete with downsizing and cost cutting” Sean Axmaker. “Though extremely violent, Robocop showcases an invigorating style even in its goriest scenes. Paul Verhoeven makes every scene sparkle with tilted angles, oddball twists, and special-effects wonders” Movie Guide. “A graphically violent sci-fi actioner (especially in its uncut version) with Verhoeven’s now trademark demented sense of humor. The scenes with the ED-209 will blow you away” Chuck O’Leary.

My favourite scene would have to be the ED-209 scene near the beginning when they’re in the office testing it and the guy gets blown to bits. Worst test run ever! It’s so funny when it starts counting down but no one can turn it off and the guy just freaks out and everyone runs away from him, it’s just great scene.

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

53 responses to “RoboCop (1987) Review”

  1. Nostra says :

    Nice to see you reviewing more of Verhoeven’s films. I loved this movie and Verhoeven certainly knows how to make a story like this work, especially with all the dark humor.


  2. sanclementejedi says :

    Some great 80’s style violence in this one. Nice write up Tim.


  3. ruth says :

    I might rewatch this sometime soon, my memory of it is a bit hazy. The only part I still remember is the brutal killing, by that guy from That 70s Show!! 😀


  4. Erik says :

    Good review. It is such a classic now.


  5. atothewr says :

    Back when action movies were R rated and they brought a punch – miss those days. Nice review.


  6. theipc says :

    Good one, Tim! I always forget Red from That 70s Show is in this!! (Kurtwood Smith)


  7. filmhipster says :

    Can’t wait for the remake!! On the same dark style as Dredd!


  8. Brian says :

    I say, “Bitches leave.” every time I walk into a meeting.


  9. Last Road Reviews says :

    Great review. I love this movie!!!! Such an awesome action flick. They don’t make them like this anymore


  10. Ripley Connor says :

    robocops are cousins to us terminators. they’re a little stand-offish though.


  11. CMrok93 says :

    As you probably saw, I did a review on this a little ways back and liked a whole lot of it. Didn’t love it, but came pretty damn close when you take into consideration all of the action, guns, and sci-fi going on here. Good review Tim.


  12. jmount43 says :

    Imagine Robocop Redux in which our metallic hero is given the voice and mannerisms of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.


  13. le0pard13 says :

    God, I love this Verhoeven film. So bloody good, yet so dead-on with its observations. Especially with regard to corporations and their influence.


  14. Jack Flacco says :

    I remember watching this the first time on pay-tv back in the late 80s and thought what an awesome movie. So much is going on that one viewing is not enough. I also agree the movie is incredibly intelligent. I still can’t believe the bad guy turned out to be That 70s Show father. Talk about anti-establishment irony!


  15. keith7198 says :

    Classic! Plain and simple!


  16. mistylayne says :

    And another I need to see!


  17. Victor De Leon says :

    Good review. Tim. One of my favorite sci fi films and you are right about the political satire. It’s a staple in his films. Epic stuff.


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