Taglines: Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement.
Detroit – in the future – is crime-ridden and run by a massive company. The company has developed a huge crime-fighting robot, which unfortunately develops a rather dangerous glitch. The company sees a way to get back in favor with the public when policeman Alex Murphy is killed by a street gang. Murphy’s body is reconstructed within a steel shell and called RoboCop. RoboCop is very successful against criminals and becomes a target of supervillian Boddicker.
RoboCop is a 1987 American cyberpunk action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. The film stars Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith, 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 shot to death by a gang of criminals and subsequently revived by the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as “RoboCop”.
Themes that make up the basis of RoboCop include media influence, gentrification, corruption, authoritarianism, greed, 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, a remake, two animated TV series, a television mini-series, video games, and a number of comic book adaptations/crossovers. The film was produced for a relatively modest $13 million. Honors for the film include five Saturn Awards, two BAFTA Award nominations and the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, along with nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
About the Story
In the 2040s, Detroit, Michigan is a dystopia and on the verge of total collapse due to financial ruin and a high crime rate. The mayor signs a deal with the mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP), giving it complete control of the underfunded Detroit Police Department. In exchange, OCP will be allowed to turn the run-down sections of Detroit into a high-end utopia called “Delta City”, which will function as an independent city-state free of the United States.
OCP senior president Dick Jones proposes replacing the police with the ED-209 enforcement droid. At its first demonstration, however, ED-209 malfunctions and gruesomely kills a board member. Bob Morton, an ambitious employee, uses the opportunity to introduce his own experimental cyborg design, “RoboCop”. To Jones’s anger, the company chairman approves Morton’s plan.
Meanwhile, police officer Alex Murphy arrives at his new precinct following an OCP-directed transfer where he is introduced to his partner Anne Lewis. On their first patrol, they chase down a gang led by the ruthless criminal Clarence Boddicker, tailing them to an abandoned steel mill. When he and Lewis get separated, Murphy is caught and fatally injured by Boddicker’s gang just before Boddicker himself executes the helpless cop. Morton selects Murphy for the RoboCop program and replaces most of his body with cybernetics, except for his brain and part of his digestive system.
RoboCop is given three primary directives: “Serve the public trust, Protect the innocent, and Uphold the law”, as well as a classified fourth directive that Morton does not know of. He single-handedly and efficiently cleans Detroit of crime, earning Morton a promotion to vice president. Enraged, Jones hires Boddicker to murder Morton in his home. Meanwhile, Lewis realizes that RoboCop is really Murphy, and tells him his real name. RoboCop begins to remember past events from his life and returns to his former home, only to find that his wife and son have moved away. He connects to the police database, looks up Murphy’s entry and discovers Boddicker’s gang, who were responsible for his death.
RoboCop tracks down Boddicker to a cocaine factory and after a battle, threatens to kill him. Panicked, Boddicker admits his affiliation with Jones, verbally triggering RoboCop’s law-abiding programming. RoboCop arrests Boddicker and turns him over to the police. He then confronts Jones and attempts to arrest him, but begins to shut down. Jones reveals that he planted the fourth directive, which prevents RoboCop from arresting any member of OCP’s executive board.
Jones explains his larger goal of taking over OCP, and confesses to Morton’s murder before activating his personal ED-209 to destroy RoboCop. During the ensuing battle, Jones calls the police claiming that Robocop has malfunctioned and gone rogue. Robocop manages to escape ED-209, but is soon cornered by heavily armed police units and is heavily damaged. Lewis helps RoboCop escape, and takes him to the abandoned steel mill. As RoboCop repairs himself, he and Lewis discuss his former life.
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Robert DoQui, Ray Wise, Felton Perry, Rick Lieberman
Screenplay by: Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Production Design by: William Sandell
Cinematography by: Jost Vacano, Sol Negrin
Film Editing by: Frank J. Urioste
Costume Design by: Erica Edell Phillips
Set Decoration by: Robert Gould
Art Direction by: John Marshall, Gayle Simon
Music by: Basil Poledouris
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: July 17, 1987