Revisiting RoboCop - Looking back on the original trilogy

“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

RoboCop remains one of the most iconic, enduring characters in all of science fiction. Since 1987, the franchise has spawned sequels, reboots, video games, toys and TV shows, and with the original three RoboCop movies now available on Sky Cinema, what better time to look back at where it all began.

RoboCop (1987)

In a dystopian, near-future Detroit, sinister mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is handed control of the besieged police force. Their first act? To create a monstrous, gun-toting robot called ED-209, intended to replace human cops on the beat. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong.

So OCP turns to Plan B: they resurrect KIA officer Alex Murphy, transforming him into the emotionless, trigger-happy cyborg that they call RoboCop. What follows is a brilliantly funny satire on everything from consumerism to corporate fascism, backed up by tons of squishy, bloody ultraviolence.

Inspired by sci-fi classics like Blade Runner and violent comic books like Judge DreddRoboCop is a masterpiece of ‘80s action cinema. It’s full of iconic moments: Murphy’s gruesome death, the toxic waste scene, ED-209’s battle with its greatest nemesis, stairs. And it will never not be cool to see RoboCop’s hand-cannon emerge from the compartment in his thigh.

I’d buy that for a dollar.

RoboCop 2 (1990)

Following the massive success of the first movie a sequel was a no-brainer, and three years later RoboCop returned to the streets of Detroit in this slightly darker, weirder follow-up.

RoboCop has been reset to factory settings, and been given a whole load of new prime directives to boot. But he’s still having flashbacks to his previous life and has even started creepily hanging around outside the home of his wife and son. Meanwhile, evil mega-corporation OCP are trying to replicate their past success by building RoboCop 2.0, with… mixed results.

The film benefits from an original script by comic book legend Frank Miller (Sin City300The Dark Knight Returns) and direction from Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strike Back), and it takes the classic sequel approach of more is more - more violence, more robots, more satire, although it’s rarely as funny as the original.

But there’s still a lot to love. RoboCop 2 has some excellent action set pieces, some great stop motion effects and a fun pair of villains in Cain and Hob, who are basically a junkie Fagin and a homicidal, foul-mouthed Bugsy Malone, respectively. Well worth a watch.

RoboCop 3 (1993)

And then there was RoboCop 3, which certainly… exists.

RoboCop goes rogue and joins up with a group of underground rebels, taking on OCP’s heavily-armed army of ‘urban rehabilitators’. Along the way he gets a flamethrower, fights cyborg ninjas and learns to fly. Which is not as cool as it sounds.

To be fair, the movie had a lot working against it from the start. The producers, banking on tie-in toy lines and animated series, inserted a tech-savvy kid sidekick and pushed for the franchise’s trademark ultraviolence to be massively toned down.

And, most significantly, Peter Weller chose not to return in the title role. Instead, the production cast Robert John Burke - mostly because he physically fit inside the existing suit from RoboCop 2.

The resulting movie is a bit of a mess. There are precious few highlights, Bruce Locke’s evil cyborg Otomo being the main one, a robotic ninja with a human face that only seems to have two settings: stoic warrior and manic, grinning lunatic. The rest is a bit daft and toothless, and a whole lot less interesting than the first two.

RoboCop on Sky Cinema

All three RoboCop movies are now available to watch on Sky Cinema, making this the perfect time to revisit these sci-fi action classics.

Check out the best Sky Cinema package deals available right now - including Netflix, Paramount+ and more - and take a trip to the streets of dystopian Delta City. You have twenty seconds to comply.

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