It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since Robocop was released, which became a celebrated favorite for decades to come. This 20th Anniversary Edition of Robocop is respectively housed in a steelbook, and features two DVDs, supporting a significant amount of features. Robocop instantly became a favorite back in the late 80's. I was barely old enough to see it in a local theater, and even then, my parents weren't as enthusiastic about seeing it as I was. One of the first films to use the theory of hybridizing advanced electronic components and humans in a not-so-distant future, viewers discovered a realness to the robotic cop, and sympathized with his experiences. At the same time, viewers were also cautiously excited because this was a hard-hitting, violent film which did not hesitate to explore the possibilities of how crime in the future would be dealt with, and how primal and savage criminals and corporations would become. Robocop became a cult favorite over the years, and even made its way on a Criterion release, which gave it the status of exception and originality.
20th Anniversary Steelbook Edition
Features: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), DTS 5.1 (English), Original Dolby 4.0 Surround (English), Dolby Surround (French). Two-disc set, featuring Steelbook packaging, several commentaries and featurettes.
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release: August 21, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr 43 mins
Official Website: robocop.com
Fan Website: robocoparchive.com
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase
This particular edition of Robocop has had the audio and video remastered, along with the original soundtrack available. There have been several different video transfers over the years, and the debates on which transfer is better, varies. Because of this, a comparison is not going to be offered unless I get my hands on a different version of Robocop myself. Suffice it to say though, this transfer looks damn good.
Robocop begins with a "news break", revealing the current status of the city of Detroit. We discover criminals are taking over the city, cops are dying on a regular basis, and something needs to be done. Paul Verhoeven is famous for using "media news" as a multi-pointed tool for exploiting various elements of society (another example is Starship Troopers), and is very effective in his delivery. A few minutes later, we find Officer Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) being involuntarily transferred to the roughest precinct in the city, by Omni Consumer Products (OCP), who are currently in control of the police department.
OCP has been contracted out by the city of Detroit, to find a solution to the crime problem. And in a few moments, we discover what their solution is. Enter the Enforcement Droid 209 (ED 209). It's super-firepower abilities to take on an army and enforce the law will not be questioned by criminals on the streets. Of course, there needs to be a volunteer to show how ED 209 deals with armed criminals. In what is probably one of the top memorable scenes of films created to date, we discover ED 209 skipped the part where if someone puts down their weapon, you don't turn them into hamburger. Indeed, ED 209 kills an OCP employee named Kinney (for some reason, South Park episodes come to mind). This is not good.
Due to an internal rivalry between company executives, another program, named the Robocop Program, has been going on in the background for some time. Apparently, potential candidates for the Robocop Program, have been placed in areas where they are most likely to benefit from the Robocop Program. In other words, the high-risk areas of town where crime is the highest, is going to get you a one-way ticket into the Robocop Program. And Officer Murphy becomes the candidate after pursuing the city's worst organized criminal gang.
After a rather horrific and violent demise, Murphy wakes up. But he's not Murphy. He's now Robocop.