RoboCop (1987)

Somehow I managed to see the sequel before the original in this case; not sure how, I just recall it being on TV (which, to be honest, is about as much as I do recall) and decided for some reason to watch it despite not having seen the original. Which omission I’ve finally rectified (thank you, Brendan, you will no doubt find many of your DVDs covered here in the months ahead)… Apparently Paul Verhoeven had to be convinced by his wife to direct the film after he threw the script out (like numerous other directors had already done), she found qualities in that he didn’t; Ken Russell (no relation to yours truly) called the finished result the best SF film since Metropolis, which, if nothing else represents some sort of masterpiece of overstatement. While the film’s satirical angle is undeniably visible (I do rather love the casting of Leeza Gibbons as the hostess of the vacuous TV news program, and the whole concept of the police being privatised), none of the subtextual stuff is allowed to get in the way of the 80s cheesy action; it’s maybe not just the dumb action movie Verhoeven thought it would be when he read the script, but I’m not sure it’s much more than that. The action is undeniably impressive (the bit where RoboCop deals with the rapist by shooting between the woman’s legs to hit him in the crotch is particularly inspired) and it was a fun late-night watch, but something about the film stops me from being too enthusiastic. Maybe it’s just not my flavour of cheese, I don’t know.

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