Skip to main content
Buy TET Life art on Skateboards and more. etourist Skateboards Store.

RoboCop Reboot: The Return of Social Satire

RoboCop is one of the all time great Sci-fi creations. A reboot has been talked about for years and, as of writing this, it looks like it's back on again according to this report on Den of Geek, What to expect from the RoboCop reboot.

I think the time is right for a reboot as I'll explain further below along with my ideas for how it might be approached. First let's start with what inspired this post and some thoughts on the first three films.

RoboCop 1, 2 and 3

I recently purchased the RoboCop Trilogy as a three disk DVD set. I can't say I'm a huge RoboCop fan but I do remember the first movie being released in 1987 and it was considered quite ground breaking for its time. I'm a Sci-Fi fan with an interest in any movie about robots and cyborgs so I wanted to add RoboCop to my collection.

After watching all three films (I've only ever seen the first previously) it's easy to see why the three movies were being sold in the one DVD case for half the price of your average new release DVD. I'm not going to say movies two (1990) and three (1993) were appalling but only a hardcore fan would buy them as separate disks... and even then, they'd probably have to include some compelling special features.

The original movie was considered a master piece and, what made it great from a story point of view, is exactly what enticed director, Paul Verhoeven, to take another look at a script that he thought was just some popcorn action flick. The multiple layers that give the film some intelligence and depth.

People say that RoboCop, at its heart, is an action movie. Personally I don't think it is. At its heart it is a human tragedy, layered with some very biting social satirical commentary. Paul Verhoeven saw RoboCop as a Jesus-like figure. A good cop resurrected. In some respects I can see it but this cop was resurrected without any say in the matter, resulting in a conflicted cyborg wondering about who he used to be.

That's not to say the action isn't important. One trademark of the original films is the over the top, graphic violence and destruction. However I think it serves more to enhance the dark comedy and take it to a whole new level. It's no so much laugh out loud it's more so far beyond reality you can't help but laugh.

But getting back to the human aspect and social satire. Although they tried to maintain this in the two successive films it never really had as much impact in RoboCop's story arc. To me it seemed more like a 'yeah we've dealt with those elements, now lets get back to the action'. Where as in the first film Robo's human side was much more integral to the action and the satire really was crucial to understanding many of the supporting characters motivations.

You've got to have those layers dealt with equally to make a RoboCop film work. It's the human aspect that makes us care about RoboCop, it's the satire that reflects life and adds intelligence and it's the action that makes it a 'Hell Yeah!' experience.

Time for a Reboot

Edward Neumeier, one of the first film's original writers, explains on the DVD's special features that the corporate world depicted in RoboCop is very much satire for the Wall Street high fliers and Company Executives of the nineteen eighties taken to the extreme of them actually killing each other.

In 2011 corporate success and excess has taken on a whole new meaning with technology companies like Apple driving consumer product demand to an almost ridiculous frenzy. Are we not now living in the world of Omni Consumer Products (OCP - the fictional developers of RoboCop)?

ED-209
What about 'The War on Terror'. OCP was originally all about selling the ED-209 to the Military. However more to the point the War on Terror is also about protecting the homeland public from urban extremists. As one of the most successful abstract wars of all time, bringing in an erosion of civil liberties and a culture of almost extreme patriotism this is territory ripe for RoboCop's dark satire.

Finally more and more countries are attempting to give their police and the law in general more powers to police things that police have no business policing. For example, in my own state of South Australia, the anti-association laws that would have empowered police to prevent members of bikie gangs from even meeting up - for any reason. Surely there's some great social commentary to be had about Police states and what is considered to be 'real crime'?

What I'd like to see for a Reboot


Note that this is my personal opinion of what I'd like to see happen with a reboot. I'm sure, if you are a fan you have your own ideas too. You may even like to read some of the Den of Geek's ideas in their article, What we'd like to see in the RoboCop Reboot.

First up, do not change the suit. Get the original or make a copy of the RoboCop 1 suit. I'd almost go so far as to say keep it all real with no CGI but after Ironman, I wouldn't mind a little CGI if it brings in bigger action. However if an actor can do the scene, get someone as good as Peter Weller was in the role and use the actor first. (oh and use a more human voice like films 1 and 2. I don't know what was with that robotic voice used in 3?).

I say keep the suit and use an actor because we really don't need a more nimble CGI RoboCop. RoboCop was originally kick-ass because he could just walk into danger and blow its head off with that targeting computer and gun of his. Granted he got shot up quite a bit in films 2 and 3 but that didn't seem to deter him from getting up and just walking in all over again.

Next, let's not deny the key events of the first three films (but lets conveniently forget those robot ninja warriors in RoboCop 3 - thanks Frank Miller but not every idea you have is gold). We've got a very solid origin story, a well established and geniously flawed central character in RoboCop and a failed corporation in OCP that destroyed its self from the inside with corrupt management and failed business ventures.

Let's take all that and literally reboot RoboCop himself, twenty years after his funding from OCP ran out, into today's world. Why? Because even in today's world RoboCop is still ahead of his time. He personally hasn't dated even if the fashions and hairstyles of his films have.

I'd love to see a modern consumer company buy out OCP's Intellectual Properties for the rights to their flagship products, RoboCop, RoboCop 2 and ED-209 for further development and to once again privatize law enforcement focusing on the War on Terror as a public safety issue. 

To kick start the buy out the new company would relaunch OCP's only successful prototype RoboCop but secretly may have some concerns about his past renegade exploits. i.e. RoboCop will still be a walk straight  into the villain's hide out and deal with the consequences as they arise kind of guy - and perhaps he's still dealing with his former life issues pre-RoboCop that made him hiccup on those directives from time to time.

Rather than go over old ground with RoboCop's memory why not give him the new problem of attempting resolve his human side. The first film demonstrated his memory did affect his sense of identity. Is sitting in a chair during his down time really satisfying for his human side or does he need to find an outlet to remain balanced and reliable. Even if they can erase his memories he still has a human brain. It must do something that programming can't.

As mentioned, the War on Terror gives plenty of opportunity for all kind of extremist enemies, though I wouldn't like to see the obvious enemy of Islamic Extremists. I'm sure we can do better than that? What about patriot extremists or corrupt government agents, corporations etc. using the War on Terror for profit. Conspiracy theories even?

How about a rival robotics company building their own RoboCops with all the success (or lack of it) of the ED-209 or RoboCop 2 (if you really must have a machine vs machine battle that's one way to go).

I think I'm starting to ramble so finally, I would like to see elements of the first film maintained to tell the story. POV shots from RoboCop, News desk reports, satirical commercials, extreme violence and graphic, over the top injuries etc. Things that are really trademarks for how a RoboCop story unfolds. Not there for the sake of it but there to drive the plot just a little bit more.

You're not a fan if you don't want another film

The one thing I don't buy is all the rhetoric that some fans don't want to see another film. Sure they don't want to see another bad film but if you have a favorite character that's suited to a series of films then a new film will always be of interest.

Hopefully the studios have made enough mistakes with RoboCop to know what doesn't work and deliver a solid film that will set the direction for a real franchise reboot.

Comments


Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Jo's new Art Studio/Conservatory. Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog,  Creating My Oddessey . Y ou should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse. We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against -

Batman v Superman: Dawn of the Onesie #Sadbatman

Although we haven't seen it clearly for sure, film director Kevin Smith (who has seen a well lit, color photo of the suit), says Ben Affleck's Bat costume is pretty much identical to the Frank Miller, Dark Knight Returns suit. If that's true then Ben's world weary Batman will be going 'old school' and be wearing his underpants on the outside (as he should).

One Week on Light n' Easy #lightneasy

My partner, Enigma, and I recently decided to try Light n' Easy to replace all our daily meals in an effort to eat healthier (and not have to think at all about cooking evening meals). Enigma is about to embark on her third week of their full menu but I caved after one and opted just to get the dinners.

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured). At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop , Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self . As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside . Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme , was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2 , because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below. My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went now

Course Review: YouTube for Bosses - Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to grow your YouTube Channel into a Business

YouTube for Bosses Free Mug...  or the most expensive mug  you'll ever buy? I've been subscribed to  Sunny Lenarduzzi's YouTube channel for a few years, learning a lot on how to grow a following on sites like YouTube and Instagram. If you have any interest in growing your own YouTube channel I'd highly recommend watching some of Sunny's videos on the subject.  Definitely explore her 2019 back catalogue for the most useful information. This year she's been on a bit of a 'being authentic' pivot that, personally, doesn't resonate all that much with me (but probably speaks volumes to anyone with similar experience). I'm not saying she shouldn't or isn't being authentic, it's just I didn't subscribe to hear stories about her life journey. To get back on track, Sunny runs a successful online business with her flagship course, YouTube for Bosses , a stand alone paid course that does act as something of a gateway to further paid (but opt

Movie Review: Justice League (2017) *Spoiler Free*

I'll say, right out of the gate, I enjoyed Justice League . Sure it has a fairly straight forward, let's get the team together and battle a world destroying common enemy, plot but, after the complexity of Batman v Superman , it was nice just to see my favorite heroes come together and fight as a team. I've seen a few reviews that claim you don't get enough backstory for the newer team members, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg, but honestly, knowing more about their history isn't essential.