Robocop Trilogy - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Oct 28, 2010, 14:40 GMT
In ROBOCOP (1987), a terminally wounded cop in crime-ridden Detroit returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him. ROBOCOP 2 (1990) features a corrupt businesswoman seeking to disable Robocop in favor of her own model of cyborg. In ROBOCOP 3 (1993) Robocop saves the day once more. This time the half man/half robot takes on ruthless developers who want to evict some people on "their" ...more
“I’ll buy that for a dollar!”
Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The sticker on the cover loudly proclaims “first time on Blu-ray” but it’s only partially true. The true part will only make you wish that more effort would’ve been put into the classic film and not on its lackluster sequels.
Robocop (1987): In a future Detroit (well, maybe not…), out of control crime has made it a not so nice place to live. Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) steps into a rundown police precinct after being transferred there and meets up with his new partner officer Lewis (Nancy Allen).
The police force is run by Omni Consumer Products which is in turn run by the Old Man (Dan O’Herlihy). The Old Man’s dream is a shining city on a hill run by OCP is dubbed Delta City and clearing out the crime bosses, the most ruthless and violent one is Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), is the first step in accomplishing that dream.
To that end the company has developed the ED-209 law enforcement robot under the supervision of executive Dick Jones (Ronny Cox). When the demonstration of the 209 goes horribly awry, opportunistic executive Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) sees his chance to sell his idea to the Old Man.
He’s given full permission to begin the Robocop project. Meanwhile, Murphy and Lewis have cornered Boddicker and his gang, but the arrest ends with Murphy gunned down by the thugs and killed. However, Murphy’s body is whisked away to OCP and turned into a crime fighting biomechanical Robocop.
Movie rating: 5 stars.
Robocop 2 (1990): The streets of Detroit are still a battleground, OCP and the police are at loggerheads and the police have gone on strike, but Robocop is still on patrol.
A new threat is on the street from a drug called Nuke that is distributed by Cain (Tom Noonan). The drug has only increased the violence that the city faced on its street corners.
OCP is looking for an alternative to the Robocop program and the Old Man (O’Herlihy) is convinced by Dr. Faxx (Belinda Bauer) to let her oversee the new Robocop 2 program. She decides that Nuke addicts and criminals might just be the perfect operating system for the new crime enforcer.
She even goes so far as to sabotage Robocop’s (Weller) operating system.
Movie rating: 2.5 stars.
Robocop 3 (1993): OCP has been taken over by a Japanese firm, but the dream of Delta City is still in motion with them and the new OCP CEO (Rip Torn). However, to accomplish this dream many people are going to have to be forced out of their neighborhoods.
Such is the case of whiz kid Nikko (Remy Ryan) who finds herself homeless after OCP thugs break up her home and she runs away. She meets up with resistance leader Bertha (CCH Pounder) and gets involved in the underground movement to save the neighborhoods.
Robocop (Robert John Burke) and Lewis (Nancy Allen) end up at a church that the troops led by Commander McDagget (John Castle) have been told is full of vicious, armed thugs.
The church only contains women and children so Robocop and Lewis attempt to intervene and the results will see Robocop going over to the side of the rebels. The leader of the Japanese corporation (Mako) sends over the ninja Otomo (Bruce Locke) to make sure that Robocop doesn’t interfere with Delta City.
Movie rating: 2 stars.
Robocop was a surprise hit of 1987 and actually turned out to be a fantastic film. Sadly, the laws of diminishing returns started to take effect with the sequels. The first film asks do androids that were once human dream of electric sheep and the answer is firmly yes. Peter Weller adds both humanity and pathos to our fallen officer. It’s really an excellent film… given an uneven video transfer.
Robocop has been on Blu-ray before (2007) and Fox just throws that old disc in with the sequels. It has moments where it looks really good and others where it doesn’t. It seems like a remaster could bring it up to snuff. I’d buy that for a dollar.
You’d think even more so when you see how good Robocop 2 and 3 look. The second film’s quality sinks and there’s even a scene of Robo malfunctioning and becoming kid-friendly.
Ironic considering he went even more kid-friendly with the third film and its PG-13 rating and cute kid character.
All three films as presented in 1080p high definition transfers (1.85:1). The later two look much better than the first, which is an old transfer. All you get for special features are trailers (Robocop 1 minute trailer, Robocop 2 1 minute and 2 minute trailers, and Robocop 3 – 2 minutes) in high definition.
Even more disappointing since there was a two-disc 20th anniversary DVD in 2007, but none of those special features made it over to that 2007 Blu-ray either.
Robocop was a hit that produced some diminishing sequels. It’s too bad that those middling sequels look better on Blu-ray than the first film. Even worse is if you want the sequels you have to buy all three and there are no special features. It was still fun to revisit them though.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
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