Dave Cordes | Denver, CO | 08/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On the cusp of HD, RoboCop gets re-released as a 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD that portends quick obsolescence but you shouldn't let that dissuade you from purchasing this standard def DVD to tide you over until the HD format war has ended. However, it appears that there is a "glitch" more severe than a malfunctioning ED-209 present on Canadian versions of disc 2 with a duplication of disc 1 onto disc 2 and the first copy I purchased here in the US had an authoring glitch that would not allow me to select the DTS or alternate audio tracks on Disc 2. I can already hear the Old Man yelling "You call this a glitch!?" If you own the legendary Criterion release featuring the "Extended Cut" you will be pleased to know that the upgrade is well worth getting, though you will probably want to hold on to your original Criterion disc for some of the extras that didn't make the migration over to the new 20th Anniversary disc.
Disc 1 features the original theatrical cut in anamorphic 1:85:1 widescreen (The Criterion release was presented in 1:66:1 which is Paul Verhoeven's "preferred" aspect ratio) and Dolby 5.1 and DTS sound but the real treat on this disc is the excellent documentary "Flesh & Steel: The Making of RoboCop" featuring interviews with Paul Verhoeven, Jon Davison, Ed Neumeier, Basil Poledouris, and Peter Weller. There's also a couple of 8-minute 1987 featurettes: "Shooting RoboCop" featuring Miguel Ferrer in character as Bob Morton introducing RoboCop like an OCP publicity gimmick and "Making RoboCop" with a behind-the-scenes look at the production and interviews from back in the day. "The Boardroom" is a storyboard-to-film comparison of ED-209 accompanied with Phil Tippet commentary, 4 deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer with music from, appropriately enough, "The Terminator," another cyborg sci-fi smash from Orion Pictures.
Disc 2 features the "Extended Cut" in anamorphic widescreen 1:85:1 and Dolby 5.1 and DTS sound which is a phenomenal enhancement over the old Dolby surround mix on the Criterion release and restores :23 seconds of graphically violent shots of ED-209 gunning Mr. Kinny into hamburger in the OCP executive board room, Murphy's hand getting blown-off and his stump spurting blood, and Clarence Boddicker's jugular squirting blood after Robo stabs him in the throat which were edited from the theatrical version to garner an R-rating and have been seamlessly restored back into the film. Why they couldn't just make this a seamless-branching feature on the same disc as the theatrical version like the Commando Director's Cut DVD and put all of the bonus features on the second disc is puzzling though. Disc 2 also features another outstanding featurette: "Villains of Old Detroit" with new interviews with Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer, and Ray Wise and is a terrific follow up after watching the film. "Special Effects: Then and Now" talks about the advances in digital compositing versus the in-camera matte shots and stop-motion animation employed on creating ED-209. "RoboCop: Creating a Legend" features interviews with Peter Weller, Paul Verhoeven, Rob Botin, et al. about designing and engineering the suit and took between 10-11 hours each day to fit Peter Weller into before shooting.
As Murphy's Law would have it, ironically, I ended up having to return my first copy to the store I purchased it from because I was not able to select the DTS track on disc 2. The department manager and I tested this on different players and on another copy and confirmed the problem. Since originally writing this review I have recently obtained another copy from a different retailer and it did not have any of the problems selecting the audio tracks so I must have got one from a bad batch and hopefully it is fairly isolated. This is also going to be released on Blu-Ray but too bad it won't be a combo disc. I'd buy that for a dollar."
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me."
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 05/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"**Note: This review deals with the "Criterion Collection" edition**Still hailed as a sci-fi classic even today (and happens to be one of my personal favorites), "Robocop" is a marvelous and outstanding film. This is one of the few movies I can watch over and over again and never get sick of it. I may not be a big sci-fi buff, but that's one of the great things about this movie; you don't have to be one."Robocop" takes place in the future where Detroit is plagued with crime and murder. Cops are threatening to go on strike while crime lords and gangs run amuck. And when a police officer is brutally murdered by a relentless crime lord and his band of thugs, that's when corporation giant OCP resurrects him and transforms him into the ultimate crime-fighting machine. In all of it's violent and dark glory, "Robocop" is a film that proves to be both a successful action thriller and a clever satire.I love everything about this movie. The story, the plot, the characters, everything! This is one of the few movies that when I pop it in the DVD player and hear the music for the opening titles, I get chills. It's like seeing it for the first time every time I watch it. It's very well written and directed. It also has some terrific acting. (Who would've thought that the father from "That 70's Show" could prove to be a very effective villain?) And for an older movie, it has some incredible special effects.Be warned, this is not a movie for people who do not like excessively violent movies. This one's as violent as they come. Gun shot wounds, arms and heads getting blown off, people getting shot multiple times... you get the idea. After all, this is Paul Verhoeven we're talking about (the very man behind "Total Recall," and "Starship Troopers"). So be warned.The version I have is the "Criterion Collection" edition. It's a shame that this one is so hard to find, because I do think this is the best version out there. Not only is it loaded with some very cool features, it's also the unrated director's cut that offers a few extra seconds of extra gore in two specific scenes. (I think it's only two.) Now, that's not a very big deal and doesn't really add much to the movie, but it is something at least. And the picture and sound is great. I am aware that the newer version is supposed to look a lot better than this one, but that DVD doesn't appear to have ANY special features on it. So I will stick with this one until a better one comes out. (I have a feeling that a better one will come out in the future.)Some special features included on the Criterion version are storyboards, theatrical and teaser trailers, commentary, film-to-storyboard comparison, and more. It would've been nice to have a few more extras, but it's not a bad package if you ask me."Robocop" will forever remain a classic in my eyes. It's one of the few sci-fi flicks I can watch over and over again. THIS is the one to see (while #2 wasn't too bad of a movie, the third one is a complete embarrassment). If you want to see a great sci-fi movie with brains and action, this is the one to experience.In the very wise words of Robocop himself, "Stay out of trouble.""
I'd buy that for a dollar!
S. H. Towsley | 03/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Robocop is one of those classic Sci-Fi films, borderlining between campiness and ultra-violence, making it an interesting experience. Throw in a creative and original story, a well-rounded cast, great special effects, and you've got one hell of a movie. Robocop looks great on DVD and the director's cut for the Criterion collection adds in a couple great extra scenes of bloodletting which didn't make the final cut, so now audiences can see Robocop the way it was meant to be shown. Unfortunately I was a little dissapointed at the lack of features on this DVD, considering that it is a Criterion Collection disc. I mean, other than the director's cut, all this disc has is 2 trailers, commentary, and a couple of storyboards. Given there's nothing wrong with this, but since the disc costs so much more than most DVD's, you think they could have thrown in a couple more things, like a documentery, or behind-the-scenes footage or something. Overall though, Robocop is a great movie, and if you don't want to shell out the extra cash for this disc, you could always just get the regular version, but one thing's for sure: this movie is a must-have for any DVD collector."
The Only Robocop is the First Robocop
S. H. Towsley | Fort Wayne, IN & Los Angeles, CA | 10/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I worked for Ed Neumeier during the development of the first Robocop concept, which owes a little something to Iron Man and Judge Dredd comic books, among other influences. Robocop turned into such a great screenplay that it is often taught in scriptwriting classes in Hollywood. I remember getting calls from Ed (who was also co-producer) on location, worrying that the movie wouldn't become all he hoped for. As it turns out, the movie works just great -- the story of a cop named Murphy who struggles, after being horribly wounded, to maintain his humanity inside a metal shell. Such a touching ending this clever movie has, with the "Old Man" firing the villain (with Robo's help) and then asking Robo, "what's your name, son?" A cheer went up in the theater when Robo replies "Murphy!" A perfect little gem of an action comedy (yes, a comedy, Ed was very clear about that element), this film was cut slightly for violence to obtain the R rating, and the Criterion DVD offers the opportunity to study the uncut version, notable for two longer scenes: first, when ED 209 malfunctions he doesn't just shoot the hapless young executive -- he shoots and shoots and shoots and shoots him. The scene, as funny as it was in the final cut, is even funnier that way. And of course, there is the more graphic scene in which Murphy is blown apart by the pack of thugs. The so-called X version has additional shots of Murphy's skull blown apart and hand blown off. All in all, a very informative and worthwhile Criterion DVD for the student of this movie, which I thought was out of print, but looks like you can still have it here.The later films got the emphasis wrong -- the first film spent its entire length focusing on the importance of Robo's human side, called Murphy, and the later films jettisoned the humanity for the Robo character. ... Suffice to say this franchise could be re-invented by studying the first film and getting it right next time. Meanwhile, enjoy the only good Robocop movie here, and see why Paul VerHoeven's career in America really took off afterward (as well as that of Ed Neumeier, Michael Miner, et al)."