Robocop Trilogy (1987 - 1993/Orion/MGM Blu-ray)
Picture: B-/B/B†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: D†††† Films: B+/B-/C+
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
another take on the franchise, please refer to this link below:
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