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RoboCop History Week: RoboCop: Prime Directives: Dark Justice

tn_robocoppdrobocophistoryweekIn 2001, three years after the previous ROBOCOP tv show (the cartoon ROBOCOP: ALPHA COMMANDO) and 14 years after the original movie, the Canadian company that made the LA FEMME NIKITA tv series and MUTANT X owned the tv rights to ROBOCOP and wanted to squirt something out before they expired. Instead of a traditional tv series they decided on a mini-series of four feature length, but not feature quality movies. Or prime directives, if you will.

I watched the first one, DARK JUSTICE, which has RoboCop (Page Fletcher, who I guess played the title character in the early ’90s tv series The Hitchhiker) returning to action on his tenth birthday.

still_robocoppd1This one actually starts out promising enough that at first I thought I would want to watch the whole series. The Media Breaks are done really well, and now called Media Net because they’re upgraded for the internet age. There are often news scrolls at the top and bottom of the screen, and pop ups inviting you to click to purchase movie tributes to fallen heroes, action figures of murderers, crime scene collectibles, etc. In a segment later in the movie a story about terrorists blowing up the Alamo tries to sell you a DVD called “Remembering the Alamo.”

We also hear from a radical named Malcolm X-Plosion (Rogue Johnston, TALONS OF THE EAGLE, TC 2000). His lawyer isn’t happy about what he says, but the Media Net graphics department is ready for it.

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Those type of jokes are easily the best things in the movie, but the re-introduction to RoboCop got my attention too. This part is shot much more cinematic and dynamic than the last ROBOCOP tv show, so it seems to have potential. Robo’s been around the block, he has a big scratch across his helmet, giving him some character, like a scar. He’s at the Chelsea Clinton Savings and Loan trying to rescue hostages from fame-starved terrorists wanting the world to “see the awesome TNT power of Da Bomzz,” but he gets attacked by a guy called “Bonemachine” who wears a skeleton mask and has giant guns for hands.

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And there’s a handy pie chart showing that most of the violence in Delta City is “Bonemachine Related Violence.”

Right off the bat there are questionable themes and confusing story elements. Delta City has been peaceful for ten years, and we’re obviously supposed to think the OCP people are idiots for having “suspended all lethal ammunition,” only giving the police pepper spray and rubber bullets and stuff. Commander John T. Cable, Delta City Security (Maurice Dean Wint from CUBE, who played a different character in one episode of the previous RoboCop tv series) is on the scene, and he tries to shame them for it. BUT IT HAS WORKED FOR TEN YEARS, PAL. I’m not normally one to side with corporations, especially Omni Consumer Products, but if they have created peace by not shooting anybody maybe you’re not really that awesome for wanting to shoot everybody. Anyway, RoboCop uses real weapons, “a gross violation of OCP policy.” It seems like this movie is serious about the ’80s cop movie bullshit that Verhoeven’s movie was joking about.

I’m pretty unclear about how the Bonemachine Related Violence squares with the idea of ten years of peace, and also why RoboCop has been gone and why he’s back, and why he’s not programmed with their current policies, and why Cable is unfamiliar with the way things are done here, when he seems to work here also. There’s a comment about how it’s not the same as in L.A., but we later see that Cable is not from L.A., because half of the movie is flashbacks about his partnership with Murphy when he was still HumanCop. And unless L.A. has a serial killer called the “Motor City Mangler” and a paper called “Detroit News” I’m pretty sure these scenes take place in Detroit.

The story, if you consider there to be one, is about the relationship between Murphy and Cable. The flashbacks have the two on the trail of the killer, which involves exactly one good part:

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But then they end up in that cliche dilemma where the killer has Cable hostage and Cable is begging Murphy to “TAKE THE SHOT!” but he just can’t do it and Cable is disgusted with him. Also the other cliche where Cable could take the killer in alive but instead executes him and Murphy thinks it’s wrong but won’t rat on him because all cops are brothers and they become estranged.

I had trouble taking this Cable guy seriously because to distinguish the older version from the younger version they gave him this mustache:

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Also he spends the entire movie practicing making his mouth into a cartoonish scowl. I thought maybe he was jealous of the other guy for getting to be RoboCop and was trying to prove that he would be really good acting with his mouth. Then at the end it becomes clear he’ll get to wear a helmet in the next one. So maybe he’s just distracted thinking about what the hell he’s gonna do in the upcoming episodes and keeps practicing during the shots.

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It’s interesting to see them now using low budget CG to do what was matte paintings in the old series. Both are fake looking, but you know which one I prefer.

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OCP is involved in a very boring way. First of all, they’ve got a guy proposing a super computer thing like NeuroBrain in the previous series, but now called S.A.I.N.T. This will come to a fruition in a later episode I guess. Also Murphy’s son Jimmy (Anthony Lemke, AMERICAN PSYCHO, WHITE HOUSE DOWN) now works at OCP. We don’t really know yet if he’s a total slimeball or a naive innocent, but I suspect more of this shit where OCP wouldn’t necessarily be evil if not for the scheming of some bad apples, such as Sarah Cable (Maria del Mar, THE SKULLS III). She’s the ex-wife of John Cable, but at least in this one that’s not relevant to anything other than making it weird when she’s on TV talking about him as an OCP spokeswoman and not acknowledging that she not only knows him but still has his last name.

The way these people backstab each other is pretty ridiculous. In one scene Sarah Cable’s rival tries to get her in trouble by cleverly hacking her email:

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For the most part the OCP scenes drag the movie to a halt. They don’t have that incensed satirical accuracy of the movie, they’re just people in suits standing around in dark rooms talking. One minor exception is the scene in the bathroom. It’s not a great scene but I like that the filmatists remembered the importance of corporate peeing in the world of ROBOCOP. I always liked the stock tickers above the urinals in the movie, and as you can see here they believably update that concept to modern technology.

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I guarantee they would have these everywhere by now if people didn’t know how to pee while holding a smart phone. This world doesn’t have smart phones, but in this scene there’s a guy who pulls out a fancy pen and starts talking into it.

But check this shit out. You ever seen this? Walking to the urinal, giving the other guys a many pat on the shoulder while they’re pissing! I bet that’s totally accurate for this world. Fuckin OCP guys, man.

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By the way, there is a guy who uses a fancy pen ass a cell phone.

Anyway, “the privatization of Delta City is over $700 billion over budget” so they got various shenanigans going on and then they reprogram Robo to think that “Terminate John Cable” is the 4th prime directive and he struggles with memories of their past together and fights against the programming.

In this one nobody knows RoboCop is Murphy except for the doctor/tech lady who repairs him at night. They attempt some melodrama with Robo coming face to face with his son but not knowing how to reveal himself to him. And his son just acts like a douche.

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The doctor tries to tell him he should do it. He doesn’t have Lewis anymore, so she’s the only one he can really talk to about human stuff. There is a kind of sweet moment where she’s calling it a night and she has to leave him in his chair to recharge and she asks “Light on or off?” He chooses off, because he’s part man.

Fletcher isn’t bad. He looks kinda like Rutger Hauer. It’s noticeable that he’s shorter than everybody around him, but that’s okay. I guess cyborgs don’t gotta be tall, they just gotta have robot parts. He has different herky jerky movements than Weller, which is also fine. He gets into it, and looks good in the suit. Somehow RoboCop being cool looking makes it much easier to get through the movie.

I just wish they gave him more to do. I didn’t need another unimaginative reprogrammed RoboCop plot, and the drawn out story about Murphy’s disagreements with Cable is really lame. They even have a thing about them playing chess against each other. It’s a poorly thought out collection of cop show cliches presented as if it’s something really thought provoking. And as far as I could tell there was nothing that made sense about the climax where RoboCop, a heavily armed machine with sophisticated targeting systems, felt he had no choice but to shoot Cable in the chest because Bonemachine was holding him. I pictured them on the set going over the script repeatedly, saying “Are you sure? That doesn’t seem right,” and the director saying “Just stick with the script. We’ll figure it out in editing.”

To be fair, there are obviously things in this movie that they’re setting up to be paid off in the later ones. So in that sense I can’t completely judge it based on just watching the first movie. This was pretty cool, to end the movie James Bond style:

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They’re playing the long game, which is logical since they’ve chosen the medium of the mini-series. So maybe it gets better, but at least within the context of DARK JUSTICE it seems like most of this should actually be cut down to a half hour episode, not stretched out Hobbit style. I’m glad there are some moments in there, but this is not good.

I don’t normally use a grading system, but I will make an exception in order to give ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES: DARK JUSTICE a rating of 1 (one) RoboCop tear.

1robocoptear


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 at 11:24 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

47 Responses to “RoboCop History Week: RoboCop: Prime Directives: Dark Justice”

  1. This review is dangerously close to prove that I am so desperate for some satirical ROBOCOP awesomeness that I like it even shoehorned in. Too bad I watched DARK JUSTICE and MELTDOWN with 6 months between them, but that did not stop me from enjoying even the awkward actionsequences and terrible CG. I think its because I enjoy RoboCop without a taser because I´ve seen the remake and now I enjoy what went before because of it. No more tasers, ROBOCOP-making-people!

  2. agreed, shoot. I have personally lost more blood in a childhood fort-building accident than there is in this entire new movie. what the fuck?

  3. ROBOCOP 2014 is not bad,mostly just bland, but giving RoboCop a taser might come across as offensive to some.

  4. It is my opinion that making a boring, grey, joyless Robocop movie does qualify as “bad”

  5. goddamnit, I’m sorry Vern, I really want to talk about this new movie and am having a hard time containing myself on the talkbacks here

  6. Let it out, Randy. I feel for you and I certainly want to cry out betrayal. But I have a classified fourth prime directive programmed that for some reason prevent me from doing so. I need you,man. To do what I cannot.

  7. Really bummed you didn’t enjoy this more, Vern. Maybe the years haven’t been kind to it, or maybe I’ve gotten more Robokind in my old age. I even thought ROBOCOP 3 wasn’t that bad anymore.

    Bring on the REBOOTCOP review.

    Are you planning another Valentine’s day live tweet?

  8. ROBOCOP 2014 is a toothless snooze, you say? With nary anything to add to the established property? What a surprise…

    Is it awful if I just never see it? I think I might go watch GRAVITY in IMAX, instead.

  9. I watched ROBOCOP 3 fairly recently.*PRIME DIRECTIVE 4 ACTIVE* It is not worth arguing about.

  10. The Original Paul

    February 13th, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Damn it, Vern, you really had my hopes up with “Bonemachine”, at least until I read the rest of your write-up. I don’t want Bonemachine to be wasted on a generic Robocop tie-in!

    And what the heck is it with those lavatory scenes? It’s just such a bizarre trend, and it’s also a really bad idea because comparisons are inevitable. I mean, obviously nobody’s ever going to equal the brilliance of the original’s “villain who sends out a guy to put a grenade in another guy’s mouth and pull the pin out because of something overheard in the bathroom. Also the villain’s name is Dick Jones.”

    Also I can’t believe I never thought before how completely appropriate it is that the villain of the bathroom scene would be called Dick Jones. It’s damn near poetic.

    Fred, I actually prefer Robocop 3 to Robocop 2. At least I took SOMETHING out of #3, which is more than I can say about #2 (apart from the freakin’ awesome defective suicidal Robo-prototype. Seriously, that one five-second bit of pitch-black humour was almost worth suffering through the joylessness of the rest of the movie.) I won’t deny that Robocop 3 completely and totally misses the point of Robocop, but having said that… taken on its own low, low merits… it’s kinda enjoyable. And at least it has samurai robots.

  11. I had no clue that there were this many iterations of Robocop. This week has been really educational for me.

    It’s interesting to see all the different ways these Robocops try to handle satire. It sounds like the makers understood that there is this thing called satire and that the original Robocop film used satire. They even kind of understand the form of satire, more or less. At least they recognize that the news clips in the original film were supposed to be satirical and they’re able to reproduce that element for the new Robocop TV shows. But they just can’t figure out what exactly the object of their satire should be. And that’s probably because they likely didn’t fully understand what the original Robocop was satirizing. I probably won’t see the remake, but my guess is that the same problem comes up.

  12. Paul, I’m a convert. The Ninja robot is one of the great missed opportunities though, a very minimal encounter with the hero, also it must be racist to someone, right? Perhaps the most misguided aspect of ROBOCOP 3 was the “Splatterpunks,” Road Warrior styled street thugs. Also the child sidekick.

    But I’ve got to say, in the 20 years since ROBOCOP 3 I’ve seen a lot worse. I appreciate that at least it has practical stunts. We have to sit through computer paintings passing for action scenes now. I still love seeing a stop motion ED-209. And the stunts may have been nonsense (Robocop driving off a parking structure) but they are still stunts. The jet pack still looks fake as shit though, and Robocop doesn’t sound right.

    The failed Robocop 2 suicides are a highlight. At least R2 pays lip service to Alex Murphy with them programming him to tell his wife Murphy is dead (I never bought that. Murphy would resist that programming to the death), and overprogramming ridiculous directives as PR, but it’s executed way poorly.

    I’ll tell you one thing, Robocop has got to stop getting himself into situations where he is dismembered. Maybe we need to stage an intervention. I think we’re all enabling him at this point.

  13. PRIME DIRECTIVES is an entertaining series, but probably not worth the 3 more hours to finish it.

    All you’re missing in further episodes is a pretty decent fight & shootout between RoboCop and Bizarro RoboCop
    (Or maybe it’s just some form of a bad RoboClone. Sorry if you need to correct me on the semantics, comics nerds; all I know about the term “Bizarro” I gleaned from a couple episodes of Seinfeld.)

    And also this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55e-gzQlRKU#t=45

    ********************************************

    Well, this RoboCop History Week has been a success. Shame it’s ended so quickly, but that’s how these things go, since, post-PRIME DIRECTIVES, there are no more RoboCops to see or discuss, ever. The next time ROBOCOP comes up on this websight will be a couple years from now when we make comparisons with the protagonist of DREDD 3D: FAREWELL 2 THE FLESH.

    This weekend, I look forward to Vern’s review of that new reboot of a beloved, hilarious, and very R-rated 1980s classic.

  14. I remember seeing the dvds for DARK JUSTICE and one of the other ones on the shelves of Blockbuster back in the early aughts, I just assumed they were DTV sequels and not some miniseries thing

  15. Fred: they didn’t program Robo to tell his wife Murphy was dead. They appealed to his human side. If he truly loved her, they reasoned, he would let her get on with her life and not remain attached to a man who would never be able to be the husband she deserved. So he took one for the team and told her what she needed to hear to set her free. It’s a good moment. I love ROBOCOP 2 with all my heart, but I’ll admit that’s the only scene that works on any kind of emotional level.

  16. Can we have VERHOEVEN EARLY HISTORY WEEK next week please Vern?

    I know you’ve reviewed most of his stuff post FLESH+BLOOD(apart from the wonderfully awful SHOWGIRLS – we could have lots of fun with that one), but he’s got some great early stuff with Rutger Hauer. And the BASIC INSTINCT type thriller about another ice queen, THE 4TH MAN.

  17. Uh oh, there may be some arguments here soon.

    Fred: I hadn’t thought about a Valentine’s Day live tweet, and I’m not sure I can, but if I did what would be a good movie? BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY would be hard to top, but I’m open to suggestions.

  18. Vern, have you seen the DRIVE prequel THE NOTEBOOK? Or ABOUT A BOY is a good man’s movie. Or how about Bruce’s underrated THE STORY OF US? It’s only 90 minutes.

    Maj, I get the distinction. I considered it programming by suggestion. My bigger problem with it is it’s the crux of Robo 1 and dismissed early in 2 never to be addressed again. I guess I’m fine with the scene itself, but Ellen Murphy wouldn’t give up that easily. But mainly there’s good ideas in R2 but something’s missing. Like the satire is on the nose with no subtext, just funny ads. Lotta little things but I can still watch it.

  19. Did anyone see Joel Kinnaman on THE DAILY SHOW? Teaching Jon Stewart to say motherf***** in Swedish. He certainly is the coolest Swede around these days. After Shoot, of course.

    The most romantic movie ever; THE WILD BUNCH!

  20. Pegs, I second that emotion actually.

  21. PLAY MISTY FOR ME on a double bill with FATAL ATTRACTION are the best valentines day movies in my opinion. As a man they are an important reminder that I have a BRAIN, and that that brain is located in my skull, not in my d#%k.

    Thankyou Adrian Lynne. And Happy Valentines Day Glenn Close, you bunny-boiling weirdo! XX

  22. Fred, you are right, ABOUT A BOY is a really good man’s movie. It has a lot of heart and it got past my Hugh Grant barrier.

    He IS a pratt in it, as in most of his roles, but I liked his character arc from selfish arsehole twat to self-deprecating twat. Like in the part where he saved the boy from ridicule at the school concert, by being an even bigger loser to divert attention from the boy.

    That’s some kind of heroic feat right there, and I was really moved by it.

    I also thought Paul Weitz made another good man’s film, IN GOOD COMPANY, with Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace.

    It seemed to me to be about these two men, a generation apart, and how they measure their identities by the company they work for and positions they hold, then the corporate changes come in and shake things up for them on a personal level.

    You could see that Grace wanted some kind of approval from Quaid as a father figure, and he sort of gets it toward the end. But then(SPOILER – just in case) it surprised me at the VERY end, when you think Grace is gonna hook up with Quaids daughter Scarlett and be a part of this family he always wanted, but he quits his position, and goes off on his own to sort his shit out.

    This rang truer than a nice happy predictable ending would have. Great movie in my opinion.

  23. fuck valentine’s day, lets see that Robcop 2014 review!!!!

  24. PLAY MISTY FOR ME also stars a young Jessica Walter, who bears more than a little resemblance to Francoise Hardy. Suddenly being a Motherboy isn’t so preposterous.

    But I think Vern should go against the grain and review IN THE COMPANY OF MEN through the filter of Valentines Day. If not, maybe IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES. Because why not.

  25. IN THE COMPANY OF MEN is a mean ass film. Aaron Eckhart’s character is horrifying and JAYZUS that movie has nothing good to say about love. Nice Valentine’s Day rec!

  26. Randy – gotta disagree with you I’m afraid.

    Of all the fifty or so films that are coming out or just have come out or whatever, the “Robocop” reboot is just about the last one I’d like to see a Vern review of, because I’m never going to see it, ever. This isn’t even one of those cases where I say “I won’t spend money on it… I’ll just wait until it’s on TV or something”. I simply refuse to watch it. I haven’t seen “Total Reboot” and I won’t see this. You gotta have SOME principles in this world after all.

    And no, I don’t care if it’s decent. (I’ve heard enough about it already to know that it’s not GOOD by most people’s standards, but nobody seems to despise it too much.) I don’t care if everyone says it’s better than the original (which they aren’t) because in the end I don’t want to do anything to give anybody the impression that I support this shit. Maybe if I take that position enough, some other people might start adopting it as their own.

  27. Darren, Hugh Grant started to warm up for me in MICKEY BLUE EYES where he seemed to admit he was a dork, but yeah, when he started playing assholes in BRIDGET JONES, he found his strength. ABOUT A BOY was the ultimate, but man, that’s kind of a brilliant evil plan. Dating single mothers because they’re so unstable he won’t have to commit. Giggity giggity!

  28. Also Toni Collette’s portrayal of clinical depression was really spot on.

  29. IN THE COMPANY OF MEN has to be one of the most emotionally brutal films ever. Just absolutely without mercy.

  30. Mr. Subtlety – the last ten minutes of that movie is just a continuous gut-punch. I never felt like a movie hated me before…

  31. I guess we shouldn’t confine this to Valentine’s Day. What if Vern tweeted a movie on President’s Day? What would be a good president movie to tweet? NATIONAL TREASURE 2? THIRTEEN DAYS? BLACK DYNAMITE has Nixon in it but we’ve all seen it. IN THE LINE OF FIRE to keep the Clint streak? A Clint movie for all occasions.

  32. The Original Paul

    February 14th, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Fred – “Talk Like a Pirate Day” is where it’s at.

  33. I saw FAUXBOCOP today…actually, I just wanted to use that title, I actually thought it wasn’t bad. Not great, but not offensive to me personally.

  34. Fred, POINT BREAK?

  35. Paul – I completely agree with your stance on REMAKECOP.

    To me remaking ROBOCOP is like remaking DIE HARD or 48 HOURS. Not only were those movies boldly original for their time but they were very raw and vivid because of the time they came out during. In today’s more politically correct landscape you can’t do justice to that type of rawness and on top of that it won’t be original based on the fact that it’s a remake of something that spawned many imitators. It just can’t be done plausibly cause we’ve seen too many copycats since those movies came out in the 80’s.

    To paraphrase Dick Jones I feel that remaking RoboCop in the era of IRON MAN and DREDD was a big mistake.

  36. Fred – MY FELLOW AMERICANS? DAVE?

  37. I rarely root for a film to bomb, but I really hope that Fauxbocop does poorly this weekend. I’m not automatically against remakes. I’m against remakes for no good reason. I believe in the possibility of a good, or even great, Robocop remake in 2014, but everything I’ve seen or read about this movie says that this one isn’t it. Verhoeven was ready to attack America’s two central tenants: capitalism and militarism. And he did this using our own Hollywood system. Something like this just isn’t going to happen again.

    Maybe Vern can do a Valentine’s Day/President’s Day mash up and watch The American President?

  38. President’s Day: Anyone remember the title of that early-80s film where Shatner investigates the president’s kidnapping? Perfectly trashy tweet bait.

    Paul: The TOTAL RECALL reboot was inoffensive to a fault and utterly forgettable. I began to forget the film before it had even finished.

  39. Guys, if ROBOCOP had been managed well in the ’80s, we’d be up to ROBOCOP 10, or at least 6 if they started slowing down. However, it was managed terribly so here we are.

    REBOOTCOP is not as good as the original. Was never going to be, never intended to be. It’s just a new take that can possibly sustain a new series. TOTAL REMAKE just sucked everything that was interesting out of that story.

  40. I’m about to live-tweet ROCKY BALBOA if anyone wants to join me. @FredTopel. It’s a love story between Stallone and himself!

  41. Fred: I don’t know if he’s just being contrary, but Mike Stoklasa said recently that he thinks ROBOCOP 2 is virtually as good as the original, while Rich “Laugh of an Angel” Evans was pretty enthusiastic about the third film. Even when people describe the ROBOCOP sequels as terrible, there is almost a note of gleeful enthusiasm in their voices. I haven’t watched either sequel, but it seems to me that the ROBOCOP series isn’t experienced in a manner especially different from all the DIE HARD and INDIANA JONES sequels, yet fans talk about the franchises in quite different ways. All of these sequels received very mixed responses where the flaws are openly acknowledged without necessarily hampering the enjoyment of the actual films, but ROBOCOP is situated somewhat askew to canonical action films; it seems to inspire enthusiasm more than reverence.

    I wonder if the combination of having a robot lead character and Peter Weller’s lack of action hero clout (despite his fine performance in the first film) has contributed to an aura of disposability around ROBOCOP that the other two franchises have avoided. ROBOCOP is not a gorgeous film; it almost invites you to laugh at its chinzy sets and clunky filmatism. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK looks like a Malick film in comparison. I wonder if the perceived element of disposability of the ROBOCOP series is actually part of why people are more protective of it. Verhoeven is more like Raimi in this regard (no amount of gore was going to replace Bruce Campbell’s hambone performance in the EVIL DEAD remake). Both directors play with the tropes inherent to trash films in a manner that is very difficult to reproduce. Fans know that the very upgrade that a reboot thinks the original film requires will destroy the pulpy magic of the originals.

  42. Broddie and Jareth – honestly I think Jareth might be onto something with regard to the Robocop franchise. I’m something of a “Robocop 3” apologist myself, but it was no more a “Robocop” movie than, say, “Die Hard 4” – which I also liked – was a “Die Hard” movie. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the franchise was “diluted” by its second and third installments, and people might very well regard it as a more “disposible” property as a result.

    And Jareth – if there’s anything at all that you should never, ever be able to say about a “Total Recall” movie, it’s that it’s inoffensive. The original held the “highest body count” record of any movie for several years straight, I think. And it had a mutant hooker with three breasts! Not that I’ll ever find out, but it boggles my mind how somebody could take a movie like that and remake it in a way that anybody would find “inoffensive to a fault”. Not that I’m doubting your word here – I’m sure they found a way somehow!

    Oh, and one more thing. This practice of naming the reboot the same as the original movie really, really needs to die.

  43. Interesting theories. I will have to think on them. I think Roth R2 and R3 it’s simply they were bad at the time but there has been so much worse since. At the very least you can look at the sequels and see practical stunts and no cgi.

    TOTAL REMAKE did badly. REBOOTCOP is doing badly and I think the romance remakes this weekend are too, though there’s less pressure on them budget wise. THE THING PREMAQUEL did badly. What does it take to prove no one wants to see these and the name brand means less than an original idea that’s easily digestible as a high concept (GRAVITY)?

    And I like REBOOTCOP. The Alex Murphy story will always be relevant in any form.

  44. The Original Paul: “Also I can’t believe I never thought before how completely appropriate it is that the villain of the bathroom scene would be called Dick Jones.” And . . . played by an actor named Cox.

  45. The Original Paul

    February 15th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Franchise Fred – “The Thing” prequel is the one and only time I’ve broken my rule about not seeing remakes in the last several years. (I know it’s technically a prequel, but come on… everybody knew what was going on in that movie.) And while it is absolutely nowhere near Carpenter’s original (itself NOT a remake, by the way – it had almost nothing to do with the 1950s film) it’s still worth seeing if you’re the world’s biggest fan of bodyshock horror. Except, y’know, you’re not, because then there’d be two of us, and that would be impossible.

    Fred Blosser – I totally forgot that! Seriously, my mind is blown, my jaw is stuck to the floor, and I think I may have orgasmed a little.

  46. The Original Paul

    February 15th, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    …And if they make any more “Bodysnatchers” films, I’m there. Seriously. I will abandon all of my principles for those films. It’s my only weakness.

    For the record, I’ve never regretted paying to see a “Bodysnatchers” film (the first two it was more a case of buying the DVD, of course, since both came out before I was even born, but what the hey, eh?) Even the Kidman / Craig version, which I think most people would agree is by far the weakest of the lot, still has some interesting ideas in it.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to change my underwear…

  47. Paul: I’ve seen the clip from the third movie where Robocop flies around in his jet boots. I don’t think that’s something you should ever have to apologize for enjoying.

    I was going to tell you that they find room to include the hooker with three breasts in the new TOTAL RECALL, but I’m honestly doubting my memory. Maybe? I’m pretty sure she at least gets mentioned. At any rate, I came out of that debacle with more appreciation for GUY PEARCE’S SPACE JAIL. And, strangely, the first UNDERWORLD, which knew exactly how to use Kate Beckhamspice.

    Also, that recent remake of MANIAC starring Frodo struck a very impressive balance between honoring the original and bringing something new to the table. And if push comes to shove I’d admit that the EVIL DEAD remake wasn’t terrible.

    But I’m not defending the practice of remaking movies. They’re almost always terrible. I’d even be willing to argue that Nolan’s Batman movies are to the Adam West version what ROBOCOP 2014 is to Verhoeven’s original. But maybe I’ll leave that sleeping dog alone.

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