THIS ENTRY SUBMITTED BY:
Money Making Trilogies/Franchises: How they ruin perfect movies with Unnecessary Sequels. The Rebooting/restructuring/de-Murphying/re-memorizing/rebuilding manipulations of Detroit’s Noble Hero: Alex Murphy (RoboCop)
Need to Know: Movies: RoboCop 1, 2, and 3; Directors: Paul Verhoeven (First), Irvin Kershner (Second), and Fred Dekker (Third); Key Players (Actors and Actresses): Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Dad from That 70’s Show (first), Belinda Bauer, Tom Noonan (Second), and Robert Burke, Remy Ryan, Rip Torn, and the Stapler Guy from Office Space (Third).
The original RoboCop is classic 80s cinema. Ideas like Cyborg Cops and incredibly gritty scenes of violence worked for the punkish times. Such action is a genuine refresher nowadays. Compared to the over usage of CGI now, it’s uniquely entertaining to watch something like RoboCop. Scenes rely on real, physical effects that impact an audience almost on a personal level. Those who use phrases “outdated/ aged bad” don’t look at the movie’s entirety. Besides RoboCop being incredibly violent, it is also incredible in social commentary, acting, and it’s righteous “Daa Da Da Daaa Da Daa Da Da Daaa Da” soundtrack.
That being said… those who worked on the sequels squandered their opportunities. They used the commercial appeal of a “RoboCop” to guide their films. Rather than focus inwardly on Murph Dawg’s suppressed memory and his *literally* torn life, they kept him suppressed as the one-liner mongoloid that didn’t mind having his helmet hide his true humanity bad ass nature. That being said… here’s more about the movies themselves and how they stumbled down the dark path of shallowness, emotionless, and a profane desire for profit otherwise known as pooping out shit.
Robocop “Dead or Alive You’re Coming With Me” – Alex Murphy AKA “Murph Dawg”
Sick of dead cops and fed up with their corrupt city, the Detroit Police Force never looked more bleak. With their numbers dwindling and locker name tapes being replaced every other day, Chief Reed needed a new recruit bad. Seeking no other financial option, Detroit’s Mayor signs a deal where the police will be funded by the Omni Consumer Products (OCP) Corporation.
(And this movie depicts Detroit long before they filed Bankruptcy… Definitely ahead of its time.)
While the cops bicker over their fates, OCP continues their search for an effective law enforcement enhancer. Their search starts awfully. In the first test of the ED-209 Law Enforcement Droid, one of the younger execs is just unmercifully merked inside the office. Old Exec Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) is pissed. Young Exec Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) sees a need for a new approach.
Enter Alex Murphy/ Murph Dawg (Peter Weller), the tough and cocky cop that you actually like, only to be blasted to smithereens on Day 1 of his new job. Brutal. Yet, somehow I liked the guy and he left an incredible impression on his new partner, foxy Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen).
Dick Jones’ sponsored street punks, led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), reduced Murph Dawg to a bloody pulp. This gory setback didn’t stop Morton from crafting the most deadliest cop out there.
From that point on, Robocop is born. Although, throughout the rest of the film, Robocop wrestles with his shattered memories, the thugs who ruined his life, and the corporation that sponsored it all. In the end, Robocop has enough swagger to clearly show that cocky Alex Murphy was never completely erased. Little did we know that Muphy’s Glory Days of shaking up tough thugs and corporate corruption will be short lived.
Robocop 2 “Patience Lewis, We are only human” – Peter Weller’s Last Line as Robocop… Not Murphy
Robocop 2 is when Murphy really settles into the idea of being Robocop and fails to rebuild his broken humanity. After unsuccessfully contacting his family *cyborgs and restraining orders are new to the study of US Law,* Murphy decides to focus on his role as a law enforcer. So devoted, Murphy forces himself to tell his wife that he doesn’t even recognize her when she does come to visit him. Rough. Either he has a knack for relentless devotion or he’s becoming depressed by constantly seeing Detroit. Detroit looked awful in the first movie, but now it’s an urban, drug addicted wasteland.
The first scene in the movie can be summed up as the Food Chain of Depravity. It starts off with an old lady pushing a shopping cart full of cans, followed after the car that hits her cart she’s robbed by a pickpocket-er, followed by two hookers who quickly rob him, until the scene ends with Robocop shooting up a couple of gun robbers from the local gun store. (worst store idea ever in that town). It probably doesn’t feel that great to be at the top of the Depravity Food Chain.
The main issue in Detroit now is the development of “Nuke,” which is a highly addictive narcotic. The main supplier goes by Kane, who also happens to have a pirate-mouth 11-ish year-old as his PIC (partner in crime). Eventually, Robocop manages to bring them to justice.
Back at OCP Dr. Faxx is beginning to screen new candidates to be developed into the newest Robocop 2 model. Unfortunately, once those candidates discover that they have become physically deformed into a mechanical body… they shortly commit suicide. This drives Dr. Faxx to investigate the possibility of using homicidal maniacs. For instance, *spolier* she takes Kane’s awful brain to create her most successful… and most unsuccessful cyborg. Just as OCP can’t make a successful follow-up to Robocop, neither can this franchise make a decent sequel.
The ending of Robocop 2 is forgettable and, at times, I catch myself saying that the movie’s outdated. With ominous/ Nazi regime connotations, the CEO of OCP proudly boasts of a drug free environment. Protected by the long awaited Robocop 2 cyborg, which can also be called the robotic mess controlled by Kane’s sadistic, drug fueled, brain, everything in the new Delta City should be completely safe… right? It takes maybe five minutes before Kane malfunctions into MURDER/FEED ME NARCOTICS Mode. Luckily, our true Robocop hero miraculously appears at the right time to stop this evil cyborg.
The ideas behind the great red banners and Nazi-looking cops are quickly forgetten as two faceless, might as well be, emotionless cyborgs duke it out. Including a fall from a skyscraper that looked like it should have been in a Looney Tunes Cartoon or a Mortal Kombat level, the derpy looking Kane machine takes way too much time to die. Where stop motion was acceptable back in 1987, the ED-209’s simpler movements kept it from looking too obnoxious.
The audience has to watch Robocop wrestle some clumsy robot while, in the meantime, they’re also wrestling whether or not they should just turn the movie off. I almost believed Dr. Faxx when she yelled “You get out of here! You’re Obselete!” to Robocop since the 80s worked so well for the first movie, but the 90s did not help its case.
Robocop 3: “I’d buy that for a dollar!” maybe…
First off, any decent movie trilogy takes some consideration into naming their sequels. The Indiana Jones trilogy had The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, Star Wars had The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. There are numerous trilogies out there that actually care about their story enough to give them great titles for their sequels.
There are exceptions to this ruling though, but not often (Kung Fu Panda 2 is one).
Now back to Robocop 3. Since Detroit’s been crumbling for some time now, it only makes sense that OCP would eventually fail after their inability to recreate a deadlier Robocop. Still set on constructing the idealistic Delta City, Foreign (Asian) investors now finance and assist OCP’s plans, as well as their new Rehab police force led by (British?) McDaggett, a ruthless henchman working for OCP.
The police force’s main concern is the underground resistance movement in Detroit. Along with a computer whiz kid and other odd citizens of Detroit, *one including the stapler guy from Office Space* the group succeeds in recruiting Robocop after OCP murders Murphy’s partner Lewis in a costly gunfight. After that, there’s a couple of Cyborg Ninjas that show up, the bad guys lose, and Murphy is not only repaired in the same first person shot from the last two movies, but his fourth directive to defend OCP is finally abolished
(Fed up Peter Weller ↑↑↑) Seems like a lot happens, but there really isn’t much substance to it. The PG-13 Rating chokes the story worse than any homicide case ever reported and reduces Murphy’s old ego to a couple of half-assed one-liners. Fill in more time with continuous, painstakingly slow, cyborg-superman walking and you have half of the action scenes remembered. The other half mostly consists of Robocop simply shooting back.
Worst of all, this movie didn’t even have the original Robocop actor. Peter Weller’s face is used on a fake body for the rare times that Murphy has his helmet off, but it isn’t his voice. Instead, Robert John Burke recycles the already overused Robocop outfit.
The first movie had everything right going for it. The evil corporation, a tragic hero, terrifying enemies and an actual script that allowed some humanity into Murphy. The second movie took the violence that worked for the first film and severely overused its original appeal through drug addicts and a cursing little kid. The partnership between Lewis and Murphy didn’t develop anywhere besides the fact that they shot bad guys out on the street together. It’s sadly no surprise that she kicks the bucket in the third movie, since the second basically wrote her out of Robocop’s highly inflated heroic status. The third film sadly chose commercial appeal over creative storytelling, thus diluting the film to a couple exciting scenes, but none that really stuck like the first. When great creative films are given sequels solely to make money seems pretty sh*tty to me.