When I first saw "Robocop" on Showtime back in 1989, I was about 8 years old. It was definitely the most violent, and one of the most sophisticated films I'd ever seen (at that time...being 8, my dad had issues with showing me "Blade Runner" though he seriously wanted me to since it was first released). Everything about the film grabbed me on some level. A lot of people seem to really like this film, though I've heard a share of people and critics say that it's a second-rate film due to the extensive violence and sappy dialogue, calling it cartoon-ish. Well, I have to say that the cartoon-ish quality to the film is part of its allure. It's not only a humorous device for the sake of entertainment, but its significance to the story is great. This is a dystopian future where big companies control almost every part of our existence, from the government to the police to our domestic lives. It's almost Orwell-ian (anybody notice how the OCP building is the tallest in the city?). It's a future where criminals run rampant in every form, from street thugs to business execs. Seriously, the head villain is a greedy business suit who uses a street gang to create trouble so he can provide a solution in the form of a droid with enough firepower to put up a
fight with a tank...only to have that blow up in his face and mutilate a fellow exec at its unveiling. Bill Gates never had a bad day like this. Or how about when the gang blows Murphy into a million pieces with enough shotgun ammo to make even the NRA cringe, totally destroying any remnants of his right arm. It's cartoon-ish because it's a comentary on the direction the world could conceivably take, while at the same time being a source of entertainment. Whether the entertainment value was intended for people who love to see guns blazing or for people who like to see horrifying sights (Murphy's execution, for as long as it was and as bloody as it was, HAD to demand a lot of sympathy from people...if it didn't, there's something wrong with you, and let's not forget when Robocop was getting shot up by the swat team). This film has everything going for it. A plot that exists on more levels than its B-movie surface. It's a social commentary, a satire, an action film, a sci-fi film, and at times even a comedy (when Robocop dragged the guy away by his hair, I laughed like mad). The acting is great, the effects are great (not perfect, but that adds to the visual appeal because it's as gritty as the story), the music is great (kudos to Basil Poledouris on an amazing score), and overall...this film is one of the greatest films of its genre. I wouldn't call it "THE" greatest, but it's very high up there. I still have yet to see the uncut Director's version, but knowing Paul Verhoeven's work as I do, I know it must be far more brutal than the domestic version (hard to grasp with how far this film goes, but...it evidently went further, showing just how cartoon-ish things can get I suppose). I give it a definite 10/10!!!