RoboCop is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. The film stars Peter Weller, Dan O'Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith, Nancy Allen, Miguel Ferrer, and Ronny Cox. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan in the near future, RoboCop centers on police officer Alex Murphy (Weller) who is brutally murdered and subsequently revived by the malevolent mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as "RoboCop".
RoboCop includes themes regarding the media, gentrification, corruption, privatization, capitalism, identity, dystopia and human nature. It received positive reviews and was cited as one of the best films of 1987, spawning a franchise that included merchandise, two sequels, a television series, two animated TV series, and a television mini-series, video games and a number of comic book adaptations/crossovers. The film was produced for a relatively modest $13 million.
Plot[edit | edit source]
In the near future, Detroit, Michigan is on the verge of collapse due to financial ruin and unchecked crime. The mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) enters into a contract with the city to run the police force. OCP plans to demolish "Old Detroit" and redevelop it as a high-end utopia called "Delta City." To address the city's crime, OCP tests several projects to engineer robotic law enforcement. During a presentation of a project spearheaded by the senior president, Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), the ED-209 enforcement droid malfunctions and kills a junior executive. With Delta City's construction scheduled to begin within months, the OCP Chairman (Dan O'Herlihy) immediately advances an alternative put forth by an ambitious, middle-ranking executive named Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer). Morton calls his cyborg project "RoboCop."
Veteran police officer Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) is transferred to a new precinct in Old Detroit and is partnered with Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). On their first patrol, they chase down a team of miscreants led by crime boss Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) to an abandoned steel mill. After Lewis is knocked unconscious by one of the gang, the rest of Boddicker's thugs corner Murphy and brutally murder him. Murphy is pronounced dead at the hospital, and OCP subsequently harvests his body to construct the first RoboCop.
RoboCop single-handedly deals with violent crime in the city according to three simple directives programmed by the engineers (Serve the public trust, Protect the innocent, and Uphold the law) along with a fourth, classified directive. The RoboCop project is hailed by the media and Morton is promoted to vice president (which draws the ire of Jones). However, unbeknownst to the OCP engineers, remnants of RoboCop's life as Murphy have survived the memory wipe, including brief glimpses of his wife and son and the habit of twirling his gun before holstering it. Lewis recognizes the habit and deduces RoboCop's identity.
After thwarting the armed robbery of a gas station by one of Boddicker's men, Emil (Paul McCrane), RoboCop has a nightmare featuring memories of his previous life. He identifies the members of Boddicker's gang from his dream and hunts them down. Meanwhile, Boddicker's alliance with Jones is revealed when Jones orders him to kill Morton for embarrassing him and taking advantage of his previous failure with the ED-209 presentation.
Robocop tracks Boddicker to a cocaine factory, where he kills an army of criminals to get to Boddicker. When it becomes clear that the cyborg means to kill him, Boddicker reveals his alliance with OCP senior vice president Dick Jones. When RoboCop proceeds to nearly strangle the unarmed Boddicker, he begs that he can't kill him because he is a cop, which causes RoboCop's directives (Uphold the Law) to make him stop. Instead, he arrests Boddicker and visits Jones at his corporate office, intending to arrest him as well.
The attempted arrest, however, triggers RoboCop's classified fourth directive, preventing him from arresting or acting against any senior executive of OCP and causing Robocop's systems to start shutting down. Jones then dispatches an ED-209 against the now-vulnerable RoboCop. The ED-209 pursues RoboCop with an onslaught of military-grade firepower, but it is unable to follow him down a stairwell. RoboCop's escape, however, is cut off by an ambush by a police SWAT team with orders to destroy him. Lewis arrives to save him and they retreat to the steel mill.
After the police launch a labor strike, the city is plunged into chaos. Because the recording of Boddicker's confession could implicate him, Jones arranges for the release of Boddicker and his men from prison and provides them with "Cobra assault cannons" to destroy RoboCop. Using a tracking device, Boddicker and his gang converge on the steel mill for a showdown, where RoboCop and Lewis kill all the gangmembers.
RoboCop returns to OCP headquarters and uses a Cobra assault cannon to destroy the ED-209 guarding the building. He then interrupts Jones' pitch to resume the ED-209 project and informs the OCP chairman about his inability to act against Jones due to the classified fourth directive. After Jones' recorded confession of his role in Morton's death is presented to the board, Jones grabs a gun and takes the chairman hostage. During the standoff, the chairman terminates Jones' employment, thereby enabling RoboCop to shoot Jones and send him falling to his death through the window of the OCP board room.
The chairman commends RoboCop for his skill and asks for his name, to which RoboCop replies: "Murphy."
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Peter Weller as Officer Alex Murphy / RoboCop
- Nancy Allen as Officer Anne Lewis
- Ronny Cox as OCP Senior President Richard "Dick" Jones
- Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker
- Miguel Ferrer as OCP Executive Robert "Bob" Morton
- Dan O'Herlihy as "The Old Man" (OCP Chairman)
- Paul McCrane as Emil Antonowsky
- Ray Wise as Leon Nash
- Jesse D. Goins as Joe Cox
- Calvin Jung as Steve Minh
- Michael Gregory as Lt. Hedgecock
- Robert DoQui as Sergeant Warren Reed
- Felton Perry as OCP Executive Donald Johnson
- Lee de Broux as Sal
- S. D. Nemeth as Bixby Snyder (TV comedian)