The remake that came out earlier this year wasn’t nearly the train wreck we were expecting, but there’s just no replacing the original. Paul Verhoeven’s pitch-black, hyper-violent satire skewers ’80s American culture where it hurts, but manages to tell a genuinely ripping yarn that still stands as an undisputed genre classic nearly 30 years later. Peter Weller’s performance as Murphy/RoboCop gives the story some genuine heart and soul amidst a bleak, nihilistic world filled with unforgettable assholes such as Dick Jones and Clarence Boddiker, and helped set the cinematic bar for this sort of “what makes a man?” story. Like Ghostbusters or Back to the Future, RoboCop is one of those classic ’80s flicks that holds up perfectly three decades later, and I guarantee you its characters are more memorable, its dialogue more quotable, and its action scenes more rip-rousing than anything Michael Bay has to offer with twelve times the budget and a phalanx of CGI-crafting gnomes. (For the record, Verhoeven’s RoboCop budget: $13 million.) More importantly, you will actually care about Murphy, which is more than you’ll be likely to say about any of the constructs onscreen in Age of Extinction — human, robot, or otherwise.
Fun Robot Fact
RoboCop screenwriters Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner allegedly came up with the idea after seeing a poster for Blade Runner. Neumeier says he asked his friend what the movie was about and got the response, “It’s about a cop hunting robots.” This sparked the idea of a story about a cop who was also a robot.