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RoboCop

From Academic Kids

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RoboCop was a 1987 science fiction action movie, directed by Paul Verhoeven. It also spawned a comic book and television series, all featuring a cyborg police officer.

RoboCop is a film about a dystopian future, set in the city Detroit, Michigan. Violent crime and deindustrialization is out of control and the city is in financial ruin. The city charges the megacorporation OCP (Omni Consumer Products), with operating the police department. In other words, the Detroit Police Department was privatized. OCP is interested in rebuilding "Old Detroit" and replacing it with what they called "Delta City". Before this large construction project could begin, they wanted to put an end to crime in the city, thus they created RoboCop, a cyborg.

RoboCop was followed by two more movies, a number of television series and several comic book series.

Contents

The Fictional Character

RoboCop was formerly a dedicated police officer by the name of Alex Murphy, played by Peter Weller. Murphy was married with one son, and was unknowingly transferred to a different precinct in Detroit by OCP. He was on the list of potential "volunteers" for OCP's Robocop project, which was the primary reason for his transfer.

Richard "Dick" Jones (Ronny Cox) was vice president of OCP, and had secret ties to Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) - the head of the local mafia. Dick Jones introduced the Enforcement Droid 209 (ED-209) during a board meeting as a means of policing areas of high criminal activity without risking officer safety. However, when the robot failed to respond correctly during an exercise and executed one of the board members, the President of OCP turned to executive Bob Morton. Morton had been developing a similar project whilst waiting for Jones to slip up; a human-machine hybrid - a "Robocop". All that was needed was an unfortunate volunteer.

Alex Murphy and his new partner, Anne Lewis, had been pursuing Clarence Boddicker and his gang after a failed bank robbery, in which the money was accidently burned. Chasing the villians to an abandoned steel mill and separated from his partner, Murphy shot and killed one of the thugs before being surrounded and tortured, and then murdered. After having his weapon knocked away and collapsing after a blow to his legs, Murphy's right hand was blown off at point-blank range by Boddicker's shotgun.

As Murphy rose up in pain, a thug named Emil Antonowski blew Murphy's entire right arm away at the shoulder. Immediately the rest of the gang followed and shot at the helpless officer until they ran out of ammunition. Thanks to his body armour, Murphy was not killed instantly but sustained multiple shotgun blasts to his torso. Boddicker ended it with a single shot to Murphy's head. Lewis discovered her fallen partner and called for a medical transport which delivers Murphy's braindead body for an emergency operation; however, Murphy's heart flatlined on the operating table. At this point, OCP stepped in.

Murphy was chosen to be the center of a new cyborg. His brain, face, and other organic parts were attached to a life-support system in a human-like titanium body; this cyborg was named RoboCop. His organic right hand had been destroyed before Murphy was killed, which made it necessary to fashion a replacement. Whilst the surgeons were able to save the left arm, Bob Morton (head of the RoboCop Project) insisted on giving him an entirely artificial body. The left arm was then removed.

RoboCop's external-skeleton was made out of titanium, and was coated with kevlar, rendering him practically bullet-proof. His hands and legs were enhanced by hydraulic motors, which enable him to crush a human throat with his grip and break through concrete walls. His hands were capable of exerting 420 foot pounds (569 Nm) of torque, which would be enough to crush every bone in a human hand. His remaining organic material required a limited amount of sustenance, which RoboCop was able to be gather through a nutrient-paste solution, similar to baby food.

RoboCop was equipped with a modified Beretta 93R semi-automatic pistol, capable of (and used almost exclusively with) a three-round burst setting. When not using his pistol, he stored it in a retractable holster built into his right thigh. Before his death, Murphy would mimic his son's favourite television show hero, "TJ Laser", by spinning his gun around his index finger and holstering it - a trait which he continued to use as RoboCop. RoboCop also has an automated targeting system, which made him an excellent sharpshooter.

RoboCop had several useful features such as thermal vision, voice recognition and an inbuilt video recorder. He could also access computers - such as the police department's computers and some of OCP's systems - directly using a retractable input/output jack built into his right hand, between his second and third knuckle. The jack was in the form of a sharp spike which also made it a suitable emergency hand to hand weapon.

RoboCop also had a radio transmitter built into him. This enabled OCP, government officials, and anyone else with a specialized tracker to be aware of his location at all times. It also enabled computerized dispatching programs to communicate with RoboCop and make him aware of situations requiring his presence.

RoboCop was programmed to follow four prime directives:

  1. Serve the public trust
  2. Protect the innocent
  3. Uphold the law
  4. Classified

The fourth directive, which he was programmed to be unaware of unless it became relevant, rendered him physically incapable of placing any OCP employee under arrest. In the first movie it made him unable to act against corrupt Vice-President Richard 'Dick' Jones until Jones was fired by the chairman of OCP. During the second movie, he was unable to act against OCP officials, even though he knew that they had committed crimes. In the third movie - when RoboCop became a member of the resistance against OCP - the fourth directive was finally erased.

Whilst at first no one outside a few OCP employees knew who RoboCop was, eventually a few clues surfaced that revealed his original identity. Former partner Anne Lewis realized that RoboCop was Murphy after he used his personal holstering technique. She confronted RoboCop with the phrase "Murphy - it's you" just after he just had a flashback about his final moments alive. When Emil - played by Paul McCrane - heard RoboCop say, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me", he also realized who RoboCop actually was. Emil then yelled back, "You're dead! We killed you!", causing the officer to hesitate as he replayed the sentence. Later, he would return to his former, empty home as memories resurfaced of his life. Near the climax of the movie, RoboCop, having been severely damaged by ED-209 and the reluctant Detroit Police, unscrewed his helmet and finally looked at his own face in a mirror. He commented on his family; "I can feel them, but I can't remember them". Finally, at the end of the first film, when the President of OCP asked RoboCop what his name was, RoboCop replied, "Murphy," having regained his identity.

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Trivia

  • "RoboCop" was Dutch-born director Paul Verhoeven's first American movie.
  • He first threw the script of the movie in the trash after giving it a casual look. It was then read by his wife, who convinced him there was a lot more substance to the plot than her husband first thought.
  • The oddball TV show with its catchphrase "I'd buy that for a dollar!" seen throughout the movie is called "It's Not My Problem". This is not shown in the movie, but is rather revealed by script writer Ed Neumeier on the commentaries track of the Robocop Trilogy DVD release.
  • The actors of some of the movie's most notable villains, including Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and Emil Antonowski (Paul McCrane) are all described as being very friendly people in real life.
  • "Barbara", secretary of OCP executive Dick Jones, is played by Joan Pirkle, real-life wife of Kurtwood Smith.

Sequels

  • RoboCop 2 - RoboCop faces the problems caused by an addictive and dangerous new drug called Nuke, that is flooding the streets of Detroit City while OCP uses a dead drug-addict dealer, Cain, for the "RoboCop 2" project.
  • RoboCop 3 - OCP is on the edge of bankruptcy and set to be sold to a Japanese corporation. RoboCop defends the residents of Old Detroit from a forced transfer by OCP who plans to rebuild the city as its new grand project.
  • RoboCop: The Series (television series, cancelled after one season)
  • RoboCop - Prime Directives (4-episode television miniseries) - RoboCop gets a new partner, John Cable, who joined the RoboCop project after losing his baby. OCP decides to shut down the RoboCop project for good, while a former OCP scientist threatens the world with a lethal virus.
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Spin-offs

Due to the enduring popularity of the character, there have been a large number of RoboCop spin-offs. These include:

  • Video games for arcade and home systems.
  • Two animated television series, the first in 1994 and the second from 1998.
  • Comic books published by Marvel and Dark Horse that along with containing the further adventures of RoboCop also included titles such as the speculative RoboCop VS Terminator and Frank Miller's RoboCop, a graphic novel mini-series of Miller's rejected original script for RoboCop 2.

External links

de:Robocop fr:Robocop ja:ロボコップ sv:Robocop

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