RoboCop 1987

RoboCop is a time honoured classic that has made its way into many hearts over the years. So prominent is our love for RoboCop that we created a paper back based off the screen play, two sequels to the original, with merchandise, a TV series, a remake in 2014, two animated cartoons, a mini series, a variety of video games as well as a number of comic books. Many people have wondered over the years about what year the movie takes place. Writer Edward Neumeier mentions in an interview, that not specifying a particular date for the movie caused some discourse on set, and stated that he wasn’t going to tell anyone what year the movie actually takes place in. With some research others have discovered some clues from the movies and novel to help us narrow down the particular time frame of the film.

“Robocop is set in the years 2043 and 2044.

There is no indication in the film of which year Robocop is set. However, the book provides the answer. From page 148:

“Good morning.” Casey smiled, his teeth nearly reaching his ear lobes. “I’m Casey Wong with Jess Perkins and these are today’s top stories. It was revealed today by doctors at the Texas Clone Institute that Hollywood immortal Sylvester Stallone died yesterday during an unsuccessful brain transplant. A longtime supporter of bio-engineering, Stallone was ninety-seven. His last film,Rambo 38: Old Blood, will be released posthumously next month.”

Sylvester Stallone was born on 6 July 1946, so he would be 97 in the second half of the year 2043 and first half of 2044.

Conclusion: Robocop is set from November 2043 to February 2044, plus or minus one month.”

“When (in Which Year) Is Robocop Set?” – Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange. Stack Exchange, 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/43112/when-in-which-year-is-robocop-set>.

 

I have cited the quotation and linked you to their website, I highly encourage you to visit the link and view some other questions that have been posed there such, as how long it took for OCP to create RoboCop?, and what is the time frame for the film?

Now that we know when this dystopian future is taking place let’s talk about the film. Lets also mention that the story takes place Detroit, Michigan. Detroit is run and maintained by the mega company, Omni Consumer Products (OCP). OCP produces everyday consumer products to military weaponry. With such a wide product range this mega corporation has its hands in a little of everything, including the government. Starring Peter Weller as Officer Alex J. Murphy, RoboCop is the unfolding of Murphy’s destiny. While making an investigation with his new partner Anne Lewis, the two land themselves in serious trouble. Outnumbered and outgunned Murphy is critically and violently injured and left for dead. After three months of surgery and engineering Murphy is resurrected as ROBOCOP. Left with little to no memory, RoboCop is given 4 directives:

  1. “Serve the public trust”
  2. “Protect the innocent”
  3. “Uphold the law”
  4. (Classified)

After having a vivid dream of his death, everything changes and he is on the hunt for those who changed his life.

 

Noteable Characters

Kurtwood Smith, probably best known for his role on That 70’s Show as Red, plays the ruthless crime lord Clarence J. Boddicker. Clarence is a mean son of a bitch, with people and power at his fingertips there is little that stands between him and what he wants. If there is something shady that needs to be done, this is the man you call. When you call, just make sure it’s worth it. This sleazy crime lord does what he wants, and what suits his needs best, now that just might exclude your life. So think about it.

 

Officer Anne Lewis is an amazing character and partner. Though their relationship was fresh, your partner is your partner. Lewis never loses hope in Murphy, and even when things seemed out of sorts she still knew he was in there. One of the most memorable moments for me, regarding Lewis, is when she stops Murphy after he experiences his dream. She tells him his name, and tries to converse with him and find the source of the strange behaviour. Being the only person who was able to make Murphy stop is immensely important to the story line. After the dream, it is the first real piece of evidence that shows us  there is more human left in him than cyborg. Anne Lewis is played by Nancy Allan. The role was originally given to the Remington Steal actress Stephanie Zimbalist, due to the popularity of the show, Stephanie was called back to set, unable to continue with RoboCop.

 

RoboCop VS RoboCop 2014

There are quite a few differences between the two RoboCop Costumes. I will say outright that I have not seen the new 2014 remake and all my observations will be from research. Starting off with RoboCop 2014, it takes place in a time period much closer to our current time, the year is 2028. The technology available in 2028 seems way too futuristic especially for taking place 14 years in the future (from film date, 12 years from now). For a dystopian Detroit, the city looks rather clean and bright and almost well maintained. The 2014 movie focuses more on the drug dealing storyline rather than RoboCop helping everyday citizens. When do we get to see the thugs and the crime rolling over the brim of society? When do we get to see RoboCop clean up the streets? These are questions I feel are important when you compared it with the original. In the original, RoboCop rescues a woman from rape and stops an armed convenience store robbery and inevitably seeks his vengeance on those who changed his life forever.  Additionally, the way that Murphy becomes RoboCop is 100% rewritten. Instead of being shot up and losing limbs from evil thugs, Murphy is blow up by an explosion. Which is pretty weak in my opinion.

 

The Suit

There are some very prominent differences between the classic suit and the new one. The classic suit is more bulky and has more of that robotic feel to it. His helmet was removable, however it appears that its main purpose was to be attached at all times, excluding repair. Comparatively, the new RoboCop helmet is more removable and has a visor. The visor is able to be slid up or down to cover half the face. The suit itself is more sleek and in the colour black instead of steel grey. The visor of the new RoboCop suit also reminds me of the Cylons from BattleStar Galactica (2004). One of the major differences (one that bothers me quite a bit actually) is that new RoboCop HAS HIS HAND. Now if anyone reading this has had the opportunity to see the original, you would know that he has no arms or legs left. Except for his head and brain, his is 100% cyborg. There is a particular part in the movie when the engineers at OCP try to reason with Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) to let him keep his arm. It wasn’t damaged enough to be replaced, but Bob wouldn’t have it. He wanted him all cyborg with no human weakness, like authentic limbs. Now in the 2014 version they do the parallel opposite and insist he keeps his hand. The reason he gets to keep his hand is because Omnicorp CEO Raymond Sellars recalls that his father always told him you could tell a lot from a man’s handshake. This piece of evidence is found on the 2014 BlueRay deleted scenes. Now, since we are building a cyborg that we can potential control, why do we need to know about his character? Granted I have not seen the 2014 version, so I am at a loss as to how much a cyborg Murphy becomes. From what I can tell he seems to be modelled closer to Tony Stark, with the inability to remove his suit. Also their suits are very close and are probably based off the same costume model is not the same one only modified.

 

The Gear

Classic RoboCop features a three kinds of guns. One fore Murphy before and two after he becomes RoboCop. Before Murphy’s transformation he is seen carrying SIG-Sauer P226 in 9x19mm after the gun stored in his leg is the Beretta 93R (as the “Auto 9”). The last gun used is provided to him by Lewis, it’s a Heckler & Koch P9S, which also happens to be the standard issue of the Detroit Police Department. In addition to these weapons, Murphy rolls around Detroit in a modified Ford Taurus with the OCP logo.

2014 RoboCop features four different weapons before and after his construction. Murphy uses a  Beretta Px4 Storm with extended/threaded barrel and a Ruger KP89 before his transformation, after he is seen using a Heckler & Koch MP7A1 , and a modified M2 Battle Rifle. Without replacing the beloved Ford Taurus they decided to keep it and make some alterations to give a call back to the original. They also included a Kawasaki Ninja 1000, a Kia Optima, a modified Dodge Calibre and a SWAT truck. They also gave Clare (Murphy’s wife) a modified Toyota Venza. The remake seems to have a lot more going on with gear, from more weapons to a wider variety of vehicles and the updates done to the suit. I think they spent too much time on props and not enough time on making a quality movie with a good script and a direction you can follow.

 

The Family

The classic version of RoboCop does not show you Murphy’s family until the second movie when he tries to find them. The new version shows a lot of the family, and how they seem to be involved with OCP in giving consent, allowing Murphy to become RoboCop with him even having a home life. There is even a scene with a welcome home sign made by their kid, with the kid waiting sadly under it. It is clear that they have written these characters in to provide more depth and emotion to the movie. I feel that they are just trying to do too hard to make it a serious movie and are distracting themselves making the satiric action movie that is RoboCop…. A man who becomes a robot and continues to be a cop with little to no human characteristics and kicking ass in the process

 

The Partner

As I have mentioned previously, Anna Lewis is Murphy’s partner and clearly female. In the new version they give the role of Lewis to Michael Kenneth Williams and rename him Jack Lewis. After all the sequels and that included Nancy Allan, I don’t understand why they would change the gender of the roll. Why not make Murphy a woman? If you are going to change his female partner to a man, you can surely change RoboCop to be a woman. The loss of Anne is detrimental to the quality of the new movie. Without her believing in her partner and persevering through all the turmoil that comes with being RoboCop and being replaced with a mediocre actor who plays deflated role is a large let down. Especially with the lack of action sequences. The original with filled the grimy scenes, bloody action sequences and satire, the three things that won the hearts of it fans.

Jack-Lewis-Anne-Lewis-RoboCop-1987-2014

 

All in all, I would not recommend watching the remake from 2014, but I do highly recommend the RoboCop series. 1 and 2 are very well written and produced, I would personally skip RoboCop 3. That would be because they swapped Peter Weller for Robert John Burke and that is a continuity thing I just can’t stand ❤

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