So what have we learned about Robocop? I think we’ve learned that it is one really awesome/great/all-time/classic movie that still holds up and demands to be seen still to this day, but an incredibly weak franchise that has never risen close to the heights of the original or has lived up to even lesser but good sequels. Paul Verhoeven is the one man that understood how this thing worked and also was able to successfully translate it to the big screen. I like to give a lot of credit his way, but a case could also be made that this story and character truly can only work for one movie. The more you focus on him and the longer you follow the goofier and more ridiculous it can get.
Maybe there’s someone out there who could make another great Robocop movie. I’m not saying put him out to pasture, but I’m quite all right if he hangs up his visor for good and I still have the 1987 classic to keep watching over and over. But one thing that does strike me as an opportunity, something that Jim Dietz, Aaron Neuwirth and I discussed last night, is that Robocop didn’t just create a memorable character. The series gave us Delta City. The city in the film is its own character. From the police, to the civilians, to the crime underworld, this place has a vibe and attitude that could very much be expanded upon. Maybe a premium channel television series that focuses on some of this and NOT Robocop would be cool. One that follows a police officer maybe and just stays away from the whole Robocop thing. Or if they include him, make him a glorified cameo side character and a gimmick. That might just work.
And finally…here’s my rankings
4. Robocop 3
Scott Mendelson recently made a comment about how he planned to give Robocop remake a fair shake by not watching the original before going, but that even watching Robocop 3 was a mistake. Hmmm. He's not not wrong. Its not that clear cut of a choice, but I can't see it all the way with him. I'll give that Robocop 3 will stay with me for longer than the new one, but not for good ones. This film is pretty embarrassing. But I'm willing to give much of that a pass as it was made for kids. Still...yikes.
3. Robocop (2014)
Yeah, like I mentioned, this film is highly forgettable. The word I keep coming back to is lame. And that's without even comparing it to the first one. It's the cast of this movie and some scenes between Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman that helped me serve this one up over 3. My sister, who's not sure if she's seen the first one or in its entirety at that, seemed kinda as if after this one she didn't need to anymore. Rest assured I'm making sure she friggin' checks it out, cuz I was like NO NO NO...forget this one, the first one is incredible. But, I must thank this movie for one thing- the amazing new Blu-ray edition with a fantastic new transfer and all the extras ported over (at $7.99 no doubt!).
2. Robocop 2
Not that this one is deserving of the spot, but it wins it by default. 2 has its share of embarrassing moments, but they're not incredibly diluting. Its got bright spots in Tom Noonan and some of the action bits. But, it combats them with some really weird emotional beats and choosing to have a kid lead the nuke drug empire (which no, it doesn't work, but I kinda laugh it off). And that kid is pretty annoying. But unlike the others, this one is watchable in a sense that seeing it more than 1 time isn't going to hurt or kill you like the other 2 might.
1. Robocop (1987)
A classic in the truest sense of the word. I can't go back on my "Lifetime" series now, but if I did...this probably earned a spot. My problem being is that this film and I spent far too many years away from each other. Its a perfect paced, carefully told story that isn't afraid to go for it and surprisingly maintains a relevance with its themes today. Its special effects are still incredible and awe inspiring today. This is one film where I'm going to drop my rating schtick and say...it needs to be R to tell this story. I think we've seen quite well, it doesn't work being handicapped to a PG-13. A Robocop film cannot be worried to not be extreme with drugs and violence. It was kind of the point of it. You should all really own that damn Blu-ray at 7.99...just saying lol.
NEXT TIME: What's a romantic holiday without a quickie, eh?