6 things that Robocop (2014) can't be worse than

Did...did I leave my symbolism at home?

Robocop and I have a history. I was 4 years old when we first met. Before I knew to answer to my teacher what color the cat was(oddly enough, "orange". and not my estimated "yellowish stripes, variedly dark), or what went after 1989, I knew the tale of  Alex Murphy, a cop from the future that was killed and came back as a better cop (because this time he was a more Robo.)

So I'm in a perfect position to say that this year's Robocop starring Michael Kinnaman and directed by Jose Padilhla, will completely destroy the foundations of my childhood, If only because I've more respect for Peter Weller in a robot suit than I have for most strangers. I will not claim that. Asides from common remake arguments like "I don't have to watch it" or " I don't have the money to watch it", "seriously, where the hell are my priorities?" I don't feel  a movie as strong as Robocop (1987) can be destroyed by ill conceived by products that Paul Verhoeven has nothing to do with.  If it was so, it would have happened a long time ago, and perhaps it would have happened when they made...:

1)The Sequels

"What do you mean the warranty doesn't cover this?

If kid me had been asked how many sequels Robocop should have had, I'd have probably simply laid out some kind of bi-weekly Robocop sequel program while drooling all over my Super Mario Bros 2 shirt. If it'd been suggested one of these movies would have had Robocop fight robot ninjas and robot druggies and have a jetpack and an arm cannon, I'd have had a seizure, because I like all those things and they're putting them in Robocop. Okay, not the druggies, but they're bad guys, so it's awesome.

But older me's grown to appreciate the non-robot parts of the film. Paul Verhoeven's greatest success was making a movie that's a different kind of awesome as you get older. It works as a satire, yet it  can be seen  played straight. It's hockey and ridiculous and Robocop moves very silly, but the subtlety with which it handles things is incredible.  But the sequels did not fully grasp that, and in fact,  I might as well say that none of the following articles in this list did.  The studios had their  cash cow, and the milking was to be sloppy and careless, especially after the third movie. Wait...

2)The OTHER sequels

Like most action franchises in the 80's that met with success, Robocop continued to limp along long after it's earned goodwill had been spent by doing low budget sequels that never went to theaters. The Robocop franchise had 4 sequels that went straight to television as part of a miniseries Prime Directives. They don't even have Robocop in the titles, so you might be pleasantly watching "Dark Justice"  and suddenly, hey Robocop is in this!
Man, that second season of Mortal Kombat Legacy was shitty.

In this series Robocop battles foes like "Robocable"(which is neither a cyborg television service provider nor related to the convoluted X-Men character Cable who is  himself already part robot.) and "The Bone Machine"(which is not what the ladies call me...yet...) on his way to stop a techno organic virus. Essentially, Prime Directives makes the theater sequels look like well thought out extensions to the original stories.
A Technovirus...just like Cable...

If you want to know how close this is in spirit to the original movie after  reading that, I'll let you know the actor who plays Robocop made sure not to watch it, and made up his own idea of how Robocop should move, and that since the makers did not have the rights to the movies themselves, they have a strict "I don't know if this is tied to the Robocop movies at all." policy.

Man, Robocop don't belong in Television!

3) The Television series
But I'd be lying if I said I didn't watch all this crap as a kid.

Running Robocop by television standards is a tricky business. Violence is central to the plot and plentiful, and this is a dirty corrupt world of drugs, theft and prostitution. In television, apparently sometimes you can't say 'asshole'. But "artistic integrity" is not something you can put into an offshore bank account, and so they commissioned the creation of a Robocop TV series.

Filmed in the gritty streets of Toronto, the TV series differs from the movies, in the same way a machine washable tiger plushy is different from a panther. Actually ignoring several events from the movies, the show gave Murphy several "upgrades" that allowed him to take down foes like "Puddleface" without killing them. Not for nothing, but the guy who took out the arm cannon and put in a net gun, a zipline and ground anchors needs to be fired.

So this year when your watching new-Robocop go into "social mode", remember that Robocop hasn't really been rated R since 1993. How many years is this? Defanged of it's violence and wiped  clean of it's satire, Robocop is essentially a cartoon character.

4) The Cartoons

By tricking the FCC they could pass this half an hour commercials as educational.

Robocop is not for kids. My mom trusted me to watch it, and I was a pretty mature toddler, but basically it's not for kids. However, Robocop has 2 robots, which nets you points with precocious theater- sneaking punks.

So naturally, this violent ballade about a guy who gets shot a million times and comes back as a robot to basically avenge himself, was repackaged for children's animation twice.

But just how do you sanitize Robocop even further? Well, lemme put it this way: remember Clarence Bodicker, one of the men who killed Murphy and won our hearts with his disdain of bitches? What was his state at the end of the movie? Brutally killed, you say? Because the cartoon was so tame, he isn't even allowed to be brutally dead offscreen, and makes a comeback.
Ladies, leave!

Understand: Robocop kid's merchandise was not an oddity or an exception during the 80s. Robocop toys were on stores, and nobody laughed at the idea of a candy dispenser shapes as the upper half of Robocop. I got one, and you could actually remove it's helmet to watch an unpainted likeness of Peter Weller's agonized face as you ate your sweet chalk pellets. Robocop was  a hot commodity.

But that can't explain  the other cartoon. Ditching the "Not too distant future" setting for a "really far into the future" one, Robocop: Alpha Commando was released in 1998 to coincide with absolutely no other Robocop product. In it, a reactivated and Upgraded Murphy battles one of those stupid acronym happy terrorist organizations. Upgraded here means "retrofitted with stupidly huge arms that can shoot paste." Indeed, Robocop does not shoot anyone in the face, because he's got skis that come out of his feet and an aggravating robot voice that announces each item just before he draws it out. I'd say he was basically Inspector Gadget, but this one's incompetence was not an endearing trait.

"I do not know what the whole 'legs day' thing is about."

You know it's bad just from the intro, where the lyrics are merely different tones of 'Robocop', like they meant to add something about how cool he is like every other cartoon intro,  left  it like that until they can come up with something that rhymes with "cop"("Robocop! He can...hop? He likes...mops?") but then they remembered they didn't care about anything. This was the last animated show MGM ever did, probably because new limits of suckage  established by the FCC in the late 1990s. Er...citation needed.

5) The Videogame.

Well, I wasn't going to buy it until I learnt Robocop might 'interact' with animals.

There are plenty of videogames about Robocop, mostly concerning his movies and that time he had to shoot the Terminator. But those games exist in a time where to make a videogame all you needed was a license and a handful of Japanese coders.

But when a Robocop game got announced for the original Xbox in 2002, the standards had gone up. After all, the technology to display shiny helmets and a sorta  story was now at their fingertips.

The game was a first-person-shooter and had Murphy stop a new drug from ravaging the streets, with his own version of D.A.R.E. (which in this case means "Dudes assault Robocop then end") Despite the franchise and genre being a match made in heaven, the game was strictly programmed in hell. Much like "Alpha Commando", the game's mercenary hunger to catched that Robocop zeitgeist was made much more obvious by the fact  there wasn't really any zeitgeist to capitalize on at the time. Try jumping out of the bush at a stranger and yelling Robocop at random moments. That's what this game was. Also, don't try what I just told you.

6) The Comics
What, no pouches? Early 90's Marvel I am disappoint.

Marvel produced an early 90's series of comics that followed on the original stories from the movies. Did you know that Roboco's original designs where not done by that guy that Clarence Bodikker killed, but rather by another crazier scientist and he stole it? Did you know he made robot monkeys to fight Robocop? Well did you? Of course not. Marvel had to ship a book every month that said Robocop on the cover and reenacting scenes from the movie would probably only get you so far. So not only did Marvel get creative with Robocop's future, but past as well.  Oh, and there's a new drug on the market, and Robocop must stop it. Man, that one never gets old.

Off course, if you like Robocop, you're already writing that you knew all this stuff, and among you there must be some of the kind of people who would bemoan a blander, PG 13 remake of Robocop, and regard it as sacrilegious heresy . If you fall into that part of the Venn diagram, answer truthfully: how bad would it have to be to be worse than all this?

You have 15 seconds to comply.


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