Robocop: 20th Anniversary Special Edition Paul Verhoeven

Robocop: 20th Anniversary Special Edition Paul Verhoeven

Twenty years after its theatrical release (and only a few removed from the release of the entire trilogy on box-set), Paul Verhoeven’s ultra-violent sci-fi satire Robocop is available in a metallic, dual-disc anniversary edition. This set is one of my favourite special edition re-releases, full of great extras, as well as theatrical and extended cuts. For anyone not familiar with the story of Robocop, I’ll keep it simple: cop meets criminal, cop is brutally murdered by criminal, cop is transformed into a cyborg law enforcer, cyborg law enforcer kicks criminal ass. Despite the major advances in special effect technology, Robocop still looks good today. There’s something satisfying, and more robotic, about seeing the stop-motion ED-209 lumbering onto the screen instead of the fluid CGI creation we’d see today. The extended cut of Robocop doesn’t add a great deal of material, instead it reinserts Verhoeven’s unaltered scenes of violence, which were removed due to ratings considerations. These discs are chock-full of special features, including a number of retrospective interviews with the cast and crew, which are much more interesting than most current special features. Two decades after filming, the interviewees are not actively promoting the movie and are able to speak honestly about their experiences. Of special interest is the “Special Effects: Then and Now” feature, where the special effects team look back at how the pre-computer generated effects were created. In “Robocop: Creating a Legend,” Peter Weller, who plays Robocop, explains the troubles and tribulations involved in playing the legendary cyborg, including his work with a mime coach, and the difficulties acting while wrapped in a hot, heavy fibreglass suit in Texas in the summer. Even the commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, writer Ed Neumeier and executive producer Jon Davison is energetic and enjoyable. And, if you’re still in need of more after all that, there are “making of” featurettes from 1986, storyboard comparisons and deleted scenes. After years of only seeing the less violent TV cut when channel surfing, this disc is a great reminder of why this is truly a classic sci-fi film. (MGM)