RoboCop (1987) Review

To mark the release of the reboot here is the RoboCop original 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. 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 simple 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: 100%      Style/Sound: 100%      Visuals: 90%

Total: 90%

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 - Robocop at shooting range

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.

Robocop - ED-209


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.

Robocop - Kurtwood Smith

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!

51 responses to “RoboCop (1987) Review”

  1. The Celtic Predator says :

    I never actually saw this until the remake came out and all it’s hoopla prompted me to finally check out the original. I liked it’s distinctive Verhoven humor and ultraviolence, plus the satire was well done, but at the same time I don’t think the film’s effects overall have aged well since the 80’s. I’m really curious to check out the 2014 remake now and compare the two.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      How did you not see this film, its on TV all the time. Anyway like most 90/80’s Verhoven films its pure ultra-violence gold 😀

      Hope you enjoy the remake, I liked it but for different reasons 😀


  2. The Vern says :

    That theme is pretty bad ass. I do love it a lot. Will be reading your review of the remake once I see it this week.


  3. Hypersonic55 says :

    Awesome review Tim, you’re totally on-point with this review. I was hoping to see this again before watching the new RoboCop but I guess time got away from me. I still remember this film being on of my favourites from the 80’s, it was cool, violent as hell, funny and a great film from the sci-fi genre. Murphy’s death in this film is one I will never forget in any film ever, such a gruesome assault on a person. And that music, yes mate, such a classic theme!

    I can’t wait for your thoughts on the new film. 🙂


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Thanks, great violent and funny satirical film. Murphy’s death scene is one of the most shocking I have seen.

      I have seen the new one and my review is now up. So check that out 😀

      Also, favourite scene?


      • Hypersonic55 says :

        Alright alright I’ll have a look if you really want me to 😛

        Favourite scene would definitely be when the ED-209 kills that board member, jesus christ that is just brutal, I feel so bad for that guy, he gets massacred! It is brutal and fucking awesome! XD


  4. cevans1982 says :

    No beating the original, even more so now given the remake is pretty average!


  5. sidekickreviews says :

    I need to rewatch this because my memory of it is very hazy haha. As for the remake, the last trailer I saw has me a little more interested.


  6. thelastsongiheard says :

    I can remember seeing it on video around 1989 and being surprised at some of the violence… now, when you look at Watchmen or The Walking Dead, and it seems like nothing in comparison LOL


  7. afilmodyssey says :

    Excellent review! It’s hard to believe that the remake could or will encapsulate any of the admirable qualities of the original film. At least the inspiration for it exists, right?


  8. ruth says :

    I thought for a second there that this is the new one, I was like, you’ve seen it already?? Ha..ha.. I actually like this one, though I always remember the guy in That 70s Show being such a mean baddie!


  9. The Geek Mind says :

    I love this film! I love this film so much. Even pre-ordered the remastered blu-ray. Still got memories of the cut version they use to show on TV – watch that version a lot as a kid, until I saw the director’s cut lol – mind blown! Murphy’s death scene was something else!

    Great effects, especially Ronny Cox’s extending arms as he dies.


  10. Victor De Leon says :

    Love Love Love this movie! Saw it when it first came out. I remember being such a hardcore fan that when it came out on VHS, I actually paid something like 60 bucks for it. I ran that VHS into the ground until the picture eventually looked like mud. Good review, man!


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Haha ah VHS, I think my generation was the last to use them. Thanks Vic and I gotta know from a die hard fan, what is your favourite scene?


      • Victor De Leon says :

        It’s gotta be when they corner Murphy in the warehouse and riddle him with ammo and bullets. It’s a tough scene to watch but it sets the tone of the film and is very memorable. I have plenty of other scenes that I love as well but that sequence always gets me.

        Sorry for the late reply, Tim 🙂 Good job on the Robo remake review, by the way!


  11. Three Rows Back says :

    What a classic. One of those movies that if it’s on TV I’ll sit down and watch. Great review Tim.


  12. drakulus23 says :

    I love this movie. It shouldn’t even have a remake but I will attempt to watch it eventually.


  13. Parlor of Horror says :

    If its not necessary, then why bother? Everything will be watered down because god-forbid anyone says anything negative about corporations these days in film or art.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      I actually just saw it and was pleasantly surprised. My review is out tonight and whilst the film isn’t as blood soaked as the original, the message of powerful corporations and technology is still there and the film is enjoyable 😀


  14. mikeyb @ screenkicker says :

    Haha that’s my favourite scene too!

    I think the movie is still relevant today with the increasing number of public sector institutions being privatised. Plus robots!


  15. Last Road Reviews says :

    I’d buy that for a dollar. Love this film. Recently bought the new blu-ray. Gotta get to to it ASAP.


  16. CMrok93 says :

    It’s pure camp, but that’s what so damn fun about it. Don’t know why there had to be a remake for this, but who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out. Good review Tim.


  17. theipc says :

    It’s weird to see Red in anything other than That 70s Show…


  18. keith7198 says :

    “You have 5 seconds to comply”.

    Loved this movie and I grew up watching it over and over. So many scenes are etched into my mind. The scene early on where Murphy encounters Clarence’s gang in the abandoned warehouse is just brutal. “Goodnight sweet prince”.


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