RoboCop–The original sci-fi defender turns 30

RoboCop Blu-ray

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It is likely the best format you will have seen of director Paul Verhoeven’s classic vision of social commentary meeting science fiction since it appeared in theaters 30 years ago.  If you’ve only watched it on TV and in standard formats you’ll want to take another look at RoboCop, your favorite borg cop, on high-definition Blu-ray in its unrated director’s cut.  Known for its excess violence and campy cyborg superheroics, RoboCop avoids the dated look of many of its contemporary films, falling in an elite league of re-watchable, cult-favorite 1980s films with The Terminator and Tron.   Filmed in Dallas for its futuristic building locations instead of its actual story setting in Detroit, the police uniforms, corporate setting, and street scenes all feel as if they could be part of some future, with maybe only hair styles and faked media clips that shout 1980s.

RoboCop remastered

Relive the classic boardroom scene where Ronny Cox’s new alternative police replacement robot has a “glitch.”  Relive the first time you saw Ray Wise and Kurtwood Smith playing their earliest genre roles, plus the late Miguel Ferrer in one of his best roles.  And don’t forget that unforgettable Basil Poledouris (The Hunt for Red October, Starship Troopers, Conan the Barbarian, The Twilight Zone) soundtrack.

Best of all, Peter Weller’s police armor looks superb–Verhoeven’s choice of lighting and camera angles really shows off this unique cyborg supersuit.  Rich, clear colors–those 1980s grainy film images are now gone.

RoboCop plugs in

The only recently updated Blu-ray is packed with features, ideal for a 30th anniverdary watch party.  Two of the special features–“Flesh and Steel: The Making of RoboCop” and a 2012 Q&A panel with the creators and stars Peter Weller and Nancy Allen–are among the most insightful extras you’re likely to find in a new edition of a film classic.  The Blu-ray also includes a commentary by director Verhoeven, screenwriter Ed Neumeier, and executive producer Jon Davison, plus a special effects short, two 1987 documentary featurettes, a scene study on the boardroom scene, and a feature on the villains of RoboCop.  You’ll learn great tidbits about the creation of the costume and how long it took to put on Weller each day, and the fact that Michael Ironsides (who would later star with Ronny Cox in Total Recall) was originally selected for the role.  The only disappointment is a lackluster set of deleted scenes (deleted for good reason), but considering all the rest of the package it’s still a great collection on a single disc.

If you’re thinking about checking out the remake (a good film reviewed here previously at, make sure you see the original classic first.  Robocop: The Unrated Director’s Cut is available at a reduced price now at that will have you shouting “I’d buy that for a dollar”–or just a few dollars more.

C.J. Bunce

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