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Revisiting RoboCop: Awesome RoboFacts…

On the eve of the RoboCop remake, I went back to the original, now available in an Unrated Director’s cut on Blu-ray, remastered with 4K technology.

It’s been a while since seeing the film in its entirety, and I was really surprised how well it not only holds up, but represents a very different time in the history of Action Hollywood Blockbusters.  
Here are a few other things that surprised me while watching the new Blu-ray release, courtesy of some great bonus features…

TRAUMA DRAMA


After Murphy is blown to bits and pieces, the trauma team that attempts to zap him back to life is noticeably uncomfortable with being on camera.  
Watch their “performances” closely and you’ll pick up on the fact that their dialogue was ad-libbed because they were an actual hospital trauma team going through the real process.



NIXON MEETS ROBOCOP
And you thought that photo where Nixon meets Elvis was strange?
In 1987, Orion Pictures hired former President Richard Nixon to help promote the film’s release on VHS.  The meet-up occurred at the National Board Meeting of the Boys Club of America, and $25,000 in donations were raised for the origination.
That’s not Peter Weller in the costume, by the way.  #Obvi

PETER WELLER’S RUSSIAN INSPIRATION

Inspiration can come from the strangest of places for an actor, but here’s a giant leap.  Peter Weller watched a lot of actor Nikolai Cherkasov.  In particular, his performance in Ivan the Terrible as directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
As the RoboCop costume was extremely constricting, movement coach (and current Juilliard faculty member) Moni Yakim suggested the classic film to Weller.  
VERHOEVEN’S CRAZY CAMEO


Look quickly in the club sequence (when RoboCop goes to arrest Nash) and you’ll catch a glimpse of the always amusing Paul Verhoeven jumping in front of the camera for a cameo.

Put down the coffee, Mr. Verhoeven.  You’ve had plenty.
PRIME HOMAGE

There are three “prime directives” that RoboCop states (and a forth that’s revealed at the end of course):
 – SERVE THE PUBLIC TRUST
 – PROTECT THE INNOCENT
 – UPHOLD THE LAW
These are actually a tribute to Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws” first introduced in the short story Runaward and later appearing in his most famous I, Robot.
YOU KNOW, FOR THE KIDS…

I hadn’t thought of this since it premiered in 1988, but RoboCop became one of those strange animated series aimed at kids (and selling toys) that were clearly inappropriate.  
Others included Rambo: The Force of Freedom, Police Academy, and Toxic Crusaders.
Driven by an “I’d buy that for a dollar mentality,” it’s amazing that television executives managed to get these series on daytime children’s programming.  
The RoboCop animated series replaced bullets with lasers, and was distinctly more science-fiction, but nevertheless, it was based on a freakin’ ultra-violent R rated film.  RoboCop returned to television years later in two other syndicated series, this time in live-action. Meh.
I blame the animated series for the much more tame RoboCop 3 in diluting the original’s edge.  It’s clearly aimed at a younger audience.  And me.  I kind of dig it.  Sue me.

LAWYERS WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR

Stay for the end (the very end) credits of the movie and you’ll catch the very funny adapted protection disclaimer, which reads “… unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil, liability and criminal prosecution by enforcement droids.”
Lucky for Orion Pictures, George Lucas didn’t catch that, as the word droid is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd.

And finally, who can resist RoboCop shilling fried chicken?  Guess what?  That’s not Weller in the suit, either.

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