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Blu-ray Review

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The Creation of Robocop


Starring: Paul Verhoeven, Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ray Wise, Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox and Miguel Ferrer
Distributor: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 18 December 2023

Icon Films releases Robodoc – The Creation of Robocop, a 4-Part intensively in-depth documentary covering all aspects of the making of the Science Fiction hit Robocop from 1987, directed by Paul Verhoeven. This 2-disc Blu-ray Special Edition first aired on the Icon Film Channel. It is directed by Eastwood Allen and Christopher Griffiths (who both worked on Pennywise: The Story of IT) and produced by Michael Perez (Scream: The Inside Story; Hollywood Dreams and Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story), Gary Smart (Pennywise; Hollywood Dreams and Nightmares; Dark Ditties Presents), and Hank Starrs (Elstree 1976). It features brand new interviews with the BAFTA-nominated Verhoeven, and stars including Peter Weller (Murphy/Robocop), Nancy Allen (Officer Anne Lewis), Ray Wise (Leon C. Nash), Kurtwood Smith (Villain Clarence J. Boddicker), Ronny Cox (Dick Jones), and Miguel Ferrer (Bob Morton). There is plenty of on-scene, behind-the-camera footage, clips from the film itself, and the following Bonus featurettes: Meet the Makers; The Weapons of Robocop; Robo Cast Quotes; Art of the Steel; Call to Action; Gun Guns Guns; Part Gan Part Machine All Video Game; and Roboteam Assemble. The set includes an A4 Poster and 4 x Art Cards, and the running time for the four episodes and the bonus material comes to around 5 hours. That’s what you call attention to detail!

There is much to appreciate here for lovers of the Robocop films and science fiction in general. It has to be one of the most intensive and meticulous explorations of a single film and is becoming more commonplace with recent detailed looks at other genre matter, such as Living With Chucky/Brad Dourif, Pennywise/Tim Curry, and Freddy Krueger/Robert Englund. In this one each aspect is studied in turn, with the main emphasis on the essence of the tale: what it means to be human. The bottom line being they can’t take away your core essence: what it is to be you. Consequently, there is much discussion of the prolonged and sadistically violent torture and kill (or attempted kill) of Murphy.

The section I find most engaging is Rob Botin’s design of the Robocop armour – with several clay models having been created – and nice touches such as the leg incorporating Robo’s specially made gun. Botin, of course, was an amazing artiste of real physical effects (no cheap-looking CGI here), who worked on groundbreaking movies such as John Carpenter’s The Thing, Total Recal, The Howling, Piranha, and many others. It’s interesting to realise how many times Robocop came close to having the plug pulled, due to delays and a constantly rising budget. There was definitely a certain attention to realism portrayed as a dystopian future of violence and disorder. Kurtwood Smith had to be shoved against the precinct counter by Robocop, but he threw himself forward with such force that he cracked two ribs, refusing to reveal the fact until the scene was in the can. There are in-jokes, such as having all the names of the police officers based on serial killers, thereby depicting a grey area of human nature, and Verhoeven’s liking for lots of blood, in almost comic book depictions of violence, also comes across as an accepted one.

It seems strange watching a documentary which is more than two and a half times the length of the movie itself. Those individuals who only watch the films themselves, ignoring any commentaries or behind-the-scenes features will, of course, find this of no interest. However, film and TV extras wouldn’t be supplied if they were not demanded by the fans themselves. Whether these stand-alone documentary releases will stand the test of time and popularity remains to be seen, but this is certainly a fascinating incite into a classic sci-fi movie.


Ty Power

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