To say I love 1987’s RoboCop is a huge understatement, as it’s one of the cornerstones of my childhood (What can I say? The 80s and kids seeing rated R films was a little more forgiving then.) and one of my all-time favorite films. So of course I had to review MVD’s ultimate release of it on Blu-ray, and I’m so happy to say it’s the best version I’ve seen and will make fans and newcomers love this violent, action-packed, sci-fi, dark comedy classic.
Most people already know of Paul Verhoeven’s cult classic, but for those who don’t, it stars Peter Weller as Alex Murphy, a cop in the not too distant future of Detroit that’s all about cleaning up the streets from the crime that’s taken over them. Sadly on his first day out, he’s literally shot to death and blown apart by some of the baddest criminals in town and left for dead. Meanwhile the mega technology company OCP is looking to make the ultimate cop that can be a one man army on crime, and Alex’s mangled body just happens to fit in with their cyborg program they’re working on.
Now we have RoboCop, who takes out crime violently at every turn. Things seem to be going well for the city until he comes across the villains that killed him and he old human memories take over and decides to get revenge. Oh and of course these bad guys have ties to someone working in OCP that complicates things. But with his police partner Lewis at his side, Alex is set to do whatever it takes to get vengeance and clean up Detroit once and for all.
Director Paul Verhoeven made a comically violent masterpiece here and it hits perfectly on all points as it has action and a lot of comedy via dark humor and satire on capitalism and human greed. It’s basically a perfect movie for those who can stomach the cartoon-like violence and swearing which has yet to be rivaled at how hilarious it is. Everything has a fun sense of camp which makes it a joy to watch, legendary animator Phil Tippett does a sweet job on animating the scary mecha-like monster ED-209, and composer Basil Poledouris commands an epic music score that haunts and moves me to this day.
Thanks to a 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative that was transferred back in 2013 and approved by director Paul Verhoeven, the movie has never looked or sounded better. Here’s hoping for a 4K release in the future, but for now this Blu-ray is fantastic as I was able to see details I had never noticed before, such as how gross the gore is and the details on Alex’s head with his helmet off. Then there’s the DTS-HD 5.1 audio that rips through your sound system as every gunshot, silly quip or swear, and Basil Poledouris’ beautiful score is perfectly heard.
This version also has a ton of special features, starting with the ability to watch the director’s cut or the standard theatrical version of the film. The director’s cut has even more gore in it such as an extended cut of the infamous ED-209 shooting a guy into pulp in the meeting room scene that’s now made even messier, Alex getting shot to death is slightly extended, and more that caused this cut to be rated X/NC-17 back in the day.
There’s also audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier that was originally recorded for the Theatrical Cut and re-edited back in 2014 for the uncut version. There’s also new commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon, and another with fans Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart and Eastwood Allen. “The Future of Law Enforcement: Creating RoboCop” is a newly filmed interview with co-writer Michael Miner as he discusses making the film and more, and “RoboTalk” is another newly filmed interview with co-writer Ed Neumeier and filmmakers David Birke and Nick McCarthy as they talk about the film.
“Truth of Character” is a new interview with star Nancy Allen on her role as Lewis, “Composing RoboCop” is a loving tribute to composer Basil Poledouris featuring film music experts Jeff Bond, Lukas Kendall, Daniel Schweiger and Robert Townson talking about him and his works. There’s a ton more extras on both the director’s cut and theatrical cut discs, but others that stood out to me are the split screen comparison of both cuts, and my favorite is the “RoboCop: Edited For Television” that shows just how silly R-rated movies look and sound on TV with alternate scenes from two different edited-for-television versions that will have fans cracking up with laughter at how butchered the film is.
RoboCop is one of those movies I could go on talking about forever, but if you’ve never seen this original classic (we don’t talk about the recent remake/reboot), you owe it to yourself to pick this sweet Blu-ray release up and prepare to be blown away by the violence, hilarious swears, fun camp, and tons upon tons of special features that’ll have you yelling “I’ll buy that for a dollar!” soon enough.