Robocop Trilogy [Blu-Ray]

Robocop Trilogy [Blu-Ray]
Like The Terminator, Jurassic Park and The Matrix, RoboCop is one of those movies that is singularly perfect, but so chock full of what Hollywood calls "franchise potential" that the studios can't help but want to redouble its box office success and cultural relevance. Any person with a brain knows that Paul Verhoeven's 1987 RoboCop is an undisputed masterpiece: still the apex of gory, high-octane, satirically high-minded action cinema. The film took a premise that on paper appeared stupid-as-hell ("Part Man. Part Robot. All Cop.") and made it totally tenable, peppering a solid script with memorable one-liners ("Your move, creep," "Can you fly, Bobby?" and the immortal "I'd buy that for a dollar!") while also grappling with urban destitution and corporate avarice in the '80s, and higher-level questions about the nature of mind and body. It's pretty much perfect. The problem is that the sequels bung up the balance Verhoeven struck. RoboCop 2 trumps up all the public/private tension while also adding a whole bunch of baseless psychobabble (like Murphy/RoboCop being unable to kill himself due to Irish-Catholic guilt). It also transforms the more believable urban dystopia of Verhoeven's film into a neon gangland more befitting Batman Forever. Likewise, the third film strays too far from its roots, casting Robo (Robert John Burke, a pale imitation of Peter Weller in the first two films) as the hero of a scrappy proletarian uprising. He also fights Japanese samurai androids. And has a jet pack. That said, all the films in the trilogy are variously entertaining, with even RoboCop 3's silliness faring pretty well on a hung-over Sunday viewing. That the latter two films in the series could not match the brilliance and charm of Verhoeven's original is no surprise, given that Verhoeven is a master of both sly high-satire (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) and hyper-real action effects (Total Recall, Starship Troopers). This Blu-Ray boxed set is pretty bare ― no special features of note, save for trailers ― but considering that it's priced to move, it's a worthwhile pickup for any RoboCop fan who doesn't already own the original on Blu-Ray. (MGM)