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PHOTOGRAPHY

ROBOCOP 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 103 minutes (theatrical and extended versions), two disc set, audio commentary, storyboard featurette with audio commentary, deleted scenes, 6 other featurettes, theatrical trailer and TV spot, and photo gallery.
VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS, 5.1 Dolby Surround, 4.0 DS, French 2.0 DS
Subtitles: English, Spanish
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/ MGM/ Orion
RELEASE DATE: 8-15-2007

ROBOCOP was the first of three great sci-fi action films that director Paul Verhoeven did (the other two being TOTAL RECALL and STARSHIP TROOPERS). ROBOCOP featured plenty of social satire that still rings true today. A few may think the title is pretty stupid. Yet Paul Verhoeven saw Robocop as an American Jesus. Peter Weller is Robocop. He starts out as police officer Murphy who gets blown away by a gang of baddies led by Boddiker (Kurtwood Smith). OCP, a big military corporation, who runs the police force decides to bring Murphy back as a cyborg known as Robocop. Robocop works well until he starts to remember the man he was (and that his ex-partner Lewis (Nancy Allen) knows who he was).

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me."

ROBOCOP was a product of the Reagan era, but it also reflects the problems of today. They have really cold killer businessmen (an OCP employee decides to kill another one who stepped over the line). I love the news breaks and the fake commercials (the Nuke Em game and the 6000 SUX car). The action scene and Basil Poledouris's score help sell ROBOCOP. It does come down to the actors- a fine cast (Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox in the first of his bad guy roles, Miguel Ferrer, Daniel O'Herlihy, Ray Wise). I love the bad guys because the actors put in 100% into playing them. Kurtwood Smith is cold and calculating as Boddiker while Miguel Ferrer is the arrogant business guy who just wants to climb the corporate ladder. I forgot how much fun ROBOCOP is to watch. ROBOCOP 2 was underrated (good and not as classic as ROBOCOP) while ROBOCOP 3 (also Weller didn't play Robocop in that one and one important character got killed) mostly sucked. However, the ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES mini-series was quite good. Director Paul verhoeven had talked about remaking and updating ROBOCOP, but I think the first one did it perfect the first time round.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DISC 1- The original theatrical version has an audio commentary track with Director Paul Verhoeven, Writer Ed Neumeier, and Executive producer Jon Davison. Four mostly pointless deleted scenes are included (though the last one would have been fun to include during the end credits). FLESH AND STEEL: THE MAKING OF ROBOCOP goes into the nuts and bolts of the film from script to production. I'm surprised most directors turned it down and that Paul verhoeven originally turned it down until his wife told him how good the script was.

Two 1987 featurettes are also included-

SHOOTING ROBOCOP is the better of the two and is directed by movie book writer Paul Sammon (Future Noir: The Making Of Blade Runner). MAKING ROBOCOP is mostly a promo fluff piece. THE BOARDROOM is the scene in slo-mo with the storyboards and audio commentary by Phil Tippett as he explains how the ED 209 was shot using a full size prop and stop motion. Filling out disc one is the original theatrical trailer (in Full Frame), the TV spot, a photo gallery, and DVD trailers for THE GREAT ESCAPE and THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY CE.

DISC 2- The extended director's cut (which is just the smae length as the theatrical just with more violence) is here with no audio commentary or optional audio tracks. Three featurettes are on the disc:

VILLIANS OF OLD DETROIT- The actors playing the villians share their stories about playing the bad guys. Kurtwood Smith came up with some good ideas that Paul Verhoeven liked. Ray Wise had alot of fun.

SPECIAL EFFECTS: THEN AND NOW- a look at the special effects of Robocop from the matte paintings to the ED-209 to other efefcts. The special effects crew also talk about how special effects have changed.

ROBOCOP: CREATING A LEGEND is a better look at the ROBOCOP film than disc one's FLESH AND STEEL featurette. It does repeat some of the material in FLESH AND STEEL, but it is more enjoyable.

FINAL ANALYSIS: ROBOCOP is still a classic after 20 years. The DVD set has plenty of extras in a nicely designed steelbook case. Hopefully, MGM will do a special edition treatment to the underrated ROBOCOP 2 and the crappy ROBOP 3.


this DVD Review is (c)8-22-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com