No matter how hard you look, the brutal truth of the Robocop Trilogy
is that there’s only one film in there that’s consistently worthy of your attention. Yet this keenly priced boxset does offer a chance to look at the two subsequent sequels with the benefit of a high-definition upgrade. And while both have major problems, they still make for intriguing viewing.
The original first, though. Robocop is a bone-fide science fiction masterpiece, an hour and a half of satire, violence, humour and the future of law enforcement. There’s a fairly conventional good vs evil story at the heart of it, yet this is nonetheless an ambitious film, gloriously realised on a low budget.
The sequel, Robocop 2, tries its damnedest to mirror the original, but it stumbles several times, not least for failing to carve out an identity of its own. So keen is it to be reverent to what went before, that the film suffers. But there are ideas here, and moments that make the movie well worth sitting through.
The third? Well, Robocop 3 is car crash cinema, sadly. Shoddy effects, and a decision to tame down the violent edge for a more child-friendly rating costs the film dear. It’s entertaining, albeit not for the right reasons.
Yet this remains a fascinating trilogy, boasting one excellent movie, one intriguing failure, and one film that’s as far removed from what made Robocop so interesting in the first place that it’s almost hard to resist. --Jon Foster
A triple bill of sci-fi cops. The first film, 'Robocop', is set in the near future and Detroit's soaring crime rate is unsuccessfully policed by a corporation which plans to build a new city, if its workers can go about unmolested. When its new 'enforcement droid' proves unworkable, a murdered cop (Peter Weller) is wired into a computer-controlled titanium body and set to the task at hand. Unimpressed, 'Robocop' seeks vengeance on all sides in this violent but often funny tale. In the second film, 'Robocop 2', a new model, Robocop 2 (Tom Noonan), is built while Robocop 1 still patrols the streets of Detroit. Robocop 2 is given a maniac's 'soul', thereby setting the stage for a showdown between the two computer constables. Finally, in 'Robocop 3' Robocop is befriended by a young girl whose parents have been killed, and after his partner is killed by the head of a private security firm, he joins a group of rebels to fight back against the evil businessmen. There is a notable fight sequence between a plastic-like robot Ninja and the sluggish metal Robocop, which, together with the rebels hiding out in the derelict General Motors Factory, constitutes a thinly veiled critique of the Japanese car industry from the heart of Detroit - the original motor city.