Robocop is the kind of movie that makes me nostalgic for the 1980s, with bold filmmaking less concerned with reaching the broadest possible audience than blockbusters of the modern era. Director Paul Verhoeven pushed the boundaries of what would even be considered acceptable for an R-rated film, while the 2014 remake of Robocop was safely contained in a PG-13 rating. Beyond the edginess of this 1987 sci-fi action film, Robocop is a marvelous display of technical prowess in filmmaking. The practical effects remain impressive 35 years later, and the satirical elements of the story still have relevance today.
Set in a dystopian near-future Detroit, Robocop follows police officer Alex Murphy (Weller) after he is murdered by a gang of criminals and turned into a cyborg law enforcer by megacorporation Omni Consumer Products. At first Robocop has no memory of his past life, though interaction with his former partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) bring back fragments of memories. Later sequels would explore this further, but the first Robocop is a simple story with impressive set pieces and action sequences.
Robocop feels like the type of movie that would never get made today, but even in 1987 there were edits needed to avoid an NC-17 rating. As a result, there are now multiple versions of the film, all of which are included in this 2-disc limited edition steelbook release. Along with the original theatrical release, also included is the unrated director’s cut and an edited-for-TV version. Both the theatrical and director’s cut of the film are included on two 4K UHD Blu-ray discs with Dolby Vision and original lossless stereo and four-channel mixes plus DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Atmos surround sound options. The film was given a 4K restoration from the original camera negative in 2013, approved by director Paul Verhoeven.
release also comes with a 44-page collector’s booklet which has new writing on
the film by Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth, along with
production photography. Blyth’s essay goes into the specific differences between
the various cuts of the film included in the set. Additional special features
are included on each of the discs:
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
- Feature commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier on both cuts of the film.
- Commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon
by fans Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart and Eastwood Allen
- The Future of Law Enforcement: Creating RoboCop, an interview with co-writer Michael Miner
- RoboTalk, a conversation between co-writer Ed Neumeier and filmmakers David Birke (writer of Elle) and Nicholas McCarthy (director of Orion Pictures’ The Prodigy)
an interview with star Nancy Allen on her role as Lewis
- Casting Old Detroit, an interview with casting director Julie Selzer on how the film’s ensemble cast was assembled
- Connecting the Shots, an interview with second unit director and frequent Verhoeven collaborator Mark Goldblatt
- Analog, a featurette focusing on the special photographic effects, including new interviews with Peter Kuran and Kevin Kutchaver
Man Than Machine: Composing RoboCop, a tribute to composer Basil Poledouris featuring film
music experts Jeff Bond, Lukas Kendall, Daniel Schweiger and Robert
- RoboProps, a tour of super-fan Julien
Dumont’s collection of original props and memorabilia
Q&A with the Filmmakers, a panel discussion featuring Verhoeven, Davison,
Neumeier, Miner, Allen, star Peter Weller and animator Phil Tippett
Creating A Legend, Villains of Old Detroit, Special Effects: Then
& Now, three archive featurettes from 2007 featuring interviews
with cast and crew
- Paul Verhoeven Easter Egg
Boardroom: Storyboard with Commentary by Phil Tippett
- Director’s Cut Production Footage, raw dailies from the filming of the unrated gore scenes, presented in 4K (SDR)
- Two theatrical trailers and three TV spots
- Extensive image galleries
- Two Isolated Score tracks (Composer’s Original Score and Final Theatrical Mix)
- Edited-for-television version of the film, featuring alternate dubs, takes and edits of several scenes (95 mins, SD only)
screen comparisons between the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut, and the
Theatrical Cut and edited-for-TV version
- RoboCop: Edited for Television, a compilation of alternate scenes from two edited-for-television versions, including outtakes newly transferred in HD.
Entertainment Value: 9/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10
Historical Significance: 8/10
Special Features: 10/10