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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Robots > Thriller > Superhero > Robocop Trilogy (1987 - 1993/Orion/MGM Blu-ray)

Robocop Trilogy (1987 - 1993/Orion/MGM Blu-ray)


Picture: B-/B/B†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: D†††† Films: B+/B-/C+



Some films are so unforgettable that they become flawlessly engrained into our pop culture psyche.There are not many people who donít recognize that Robocop has grown way beyond its original filmís structure to influence a plethora of other forms of media.


So here on Blu-ray we get to explore the downward spiral that was the Robocop franchise.The first film was dark, gritty and symbolic of the era and futuristic decay.The sequels, however, were money grabs that had little to do with the original outside of the title.


Paul Verhoevenís Robocop is and was a landmark sci-fi film that perfectly mixed action, violence, drama, science and dark humor to make an epic film event.There are some moments in Robocop that are more blaringly 1980ís than others, but the film has aged well and stands as a brilliant science fiction satire.Peter Weller plays the gunned downed police officer (in probably one of the best shoot-up scenes ever) who is resurrected to fight crime on the streets of Detroit as a man that is now more machine, but retains glimpses of his humanity.This futuristic action flick has paved the way for many other films, including the sadly disappointing sequels.


Robocop 2 was directed by the recently deceased and revered Irvin Kershner of Empire Strikes Back fame and penned by the brilliant Frank Miller, so we canít go wrong right? Wrong! Robocop 2, whereas not nearly as horrific as Robocop 3, teeters between a watchful popcorn flick and shameless money grab.The creative, yet somewhat aged, stop motion robotic moments are fun and inventive, giving the film that extra flare.Overall, however, the entertaining film undoes all of what Robocop created.The wonderful story arches, the deep rooted emotion, the conflict with self and trying to grasp reality; all gone, traded for cheap one-liners and a variety of unnecessary moments.


Robocop 3 is in a whole different league of horrible.With Frank Miller penning the debacle and Fred Dekker at the helm the film aimed for a PG-13 rating and went down in flames.Whereas both Robocop and Robocop 2 made no secrets about its gratuitous violence, Robocop 3 tried to pull in younger audiences and of course merchandising with its toned down idiocy.With Peter Weller being smart enough to not show up for Robocop 3, Robert John Burke took over as the humanity stripped Robocop.Robocopís partner is dead and suddenly there is a revolution in Detroit; with some nonsense about privatization and mechanization of Detroit taking center stage, rather than focusing on our robotic hero.


The downfall of the Robocop franchise is a sad one and with the first film being so amazing it is hard believe that Hollywood could break a working formula so fast.Robocop will forever be a science fiction classic, but the sequels will be (for good reason) forgotten.


The technical features on this Ďtrilogy setí are surprisingly poor.The first film is the same presentation that was released in 2007 to many fansí dismay.That means an epic film crushed and squeezed onto a 25GB disc.The (not so great) sequels, however, get the upgraded treatment on 50GB Blu-ray discs and look surprisingly good as opposed to the original.The first film is a 1080p MPEG-2 transfer, whereas the sequels are presented in a 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfers that, as previously mentioned, look much better than Robocop itself.


The original film as a long history of issues on Blu-ray and they are no different here, as this disc was simply pulled off the 2007 racks and placed in this set.The 1.85 X 1 Widescreen has problems with grain throughout and though colors are vibrant, flesh tones remain off and detail is absent.So between the edge enhancement and the digital noise, I just find the entire presentation messy.The better older transfer was a 720p master and this version is the gutted edition that cleans up detail too much and ruins the color as well.


The sequels are better with the third (ugh) film looking the best.The MPEG-4 presentations, along with 50GB disc space gives the films room to breathe.The grit and grain is mostly gone for the sequels (though not completely), yet the films often appear washed out.There is significantly better detail and clarity for the sequels, particularly the third film, but they remain far from perfect.The sound is a DTS-HD Lossless 5.1 Master Audio for all of the films and whereas mostly crisp and clear (dialogue wise) they are far from immersive and the occasional murky sound, coupled with poor panning makes the presentations less than stellar.


Outside of two trailers for Robocop 2 and one trailer on Robocop 3 there are no extras to speak of; which is sad because they are out there, but someone just isnít willing to give them up, nor invest the time.


For another take on the franchise, please refer to this link below:




If you are a diehard Robocop fan then perhaps now is the time to buy the trilogy, as with all the issues the film series has had to date, I donít see it being re-released anytime soon.And it looks like that remake is on the way.



-†† Michael P. Dougherty II


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