The future of law enforcement
RoboCop is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. The film stars Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, and Ronny Cox. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan in the near future, RoboCop centers on police officer Alex Murphy (Weller) who is brutally murdered by a gang of criminals and subsequently revived by the malevolent mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as “RoboCop”.
RoboCop includes themes regarding the media, gentrification, corruption, authoritarianism, greed, privatization, capitalism, identity, dystopia, and human nature. It received positive reviews and was cited as one of the best films of 1987, spawning a franchise that included merchandise, two sequels, a television series, two animated TV series, a television mini-series, video games and a number of comic book adaptations/crossovers. The film was produced for a relatively modest $13 million.
Some Facts about RoboCop:
1. RoboCop was written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Edward Neumeier stated that he first got the idea of RoboCop when he walked past a poster for Blade Runner. He asked his friend what the film was about and his friend replied, “It’s about a cop hunting robots”. This then sparked the idea for him about a robot cop.
2. RoboCop marked the first major Hollywood production for Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. Although he had been working in the Netherlands for more than a decade and directed several films to great acclaim (e.g. Soldier of Orange), Verhoeven moved away in 1984 to seek broader opportunities in Hollywood. When he first glanced through the script, he discarded it in disgust. Afterwards, his wife picked the script from the bin and read it more thoroughly, convincing him that the plot had more substance than he originally assumed.
3. Before Peter Weller was cast, Rutger Hauer and Arnold Schwarzenegger were favored to play RoboCop by Verhoeven and the producers, respectively. However, each man’s large frame would have made it difficult for either of them to move in the cumbersome RoboCop suit, which had been modeled on hockey gear and designed to be large and bulky. Weller won the role both because Verhoeven felt that he could adequately convey pathos with his lower face, and because Weller was especially lithe and could more easily move inside the suit than a bigger actor.
4. Filming started on August 6, 1986, and ended on October 20, 1986. The scenes depicting Murphy’s “death” were not filmed until the following January (1987), some months after principal shooting had ceased.
5. The task of creating the RoboCop suit was given to Rob Bottin. Having come off doing the special effects for John Carpenter’s The Thing, the studio decided that Bottin would be the ideal person to create the RoboCop suit. A budget of up to a million dollars was given towards the completion of the suit, making it the most expensive item on the set. Six suits were made in total: three regular and three showing damage.
6. The original gun for RoboCop was a Desert Eagle but this was deemed too small. A Beretta 93R was heavily modified by Ray Williams of Freshour Machine, Texas city, Texas, who extended the gun barrel to make it look bigger so as to be proportional to Robocop’s hand. The gun holster itself was a standalone piece that was not integrated into the suit. Off screen technicians would operate the device on cue by pulling cables that would force the holster to open up and allow the gun to be placed inside.
7. The 1986 Ford Taurus was used as the police cruiser in the movie, due to its then-futuristic design. As of May 2012, RoboCop’s Taurus is on display at the Branson Auto Museum in Branson, Missouri.
8. The ED-209 stop motion model was designed by Craig Davies, who also built the full size models, and animated by Phil Tippett, a veteran stop-motion animator. As one of the setpieces of the movie, the ED-209’s look and animated sequences were under the close supervision of director Paul Verhoeven, who sometimes acted out the robot’s movements himself. ED-209 was voiced by producer Jon Davison. Davies and Tippett would go on to collaborate on many more projects.
9. In one scene, Emil (Paul McCrane) attempts to run down RoboCop but instead accidentally drives into a vat of toxic waste, causing the flesh to melt off his face and hands. These effects were also conceived and designed by Bottin, who was inspired by Rick Baker’s work on The Incredible Melting Man, and who dubbed the RoboCop effects “the Melting Man” as an homage to the production.
10. The movie was originally given an X rating by the MPAA in 1987 due to its graphic violence, in sharp contrast to most other X-rated movies that received the rating due to strong sexual content. To appease the requirements of the ratings board, Verhoeven reduced blood and gore in the most violent scenes in the movie, including ED-209’s shooting of Kinney in the boardroom, Boddicker’s gang executing Murphy with shotguns, and the final battle with Boddicker (in which RoboCop stabs him in the neck with his neural spike and Boddicker’s blood splatters onto RoboCop’s chest).
Source text: Wikipedia.
Recommended reading: 10 Reasons Why The Original RoboCop Can’t Be Beaten By The Remake.