Thursday, April 9, 2009

Robo Satire

At first glance, Robocop seems like just another cheesy 80s action movie. The quality of the movies lies in the satire. The movie uses comedy and exaggeration to warn on the public about the evils of corporations, over-privatization, and Reaganomics. Although privatization is known to increase efficiency, innovations and etc, Robocop is making the point that privatizing things like prisons, hospitals, the police force, or even the military can lead to disaster because of the lack of checks and balances. It is the social commentary that is wrapped up in the action and the comedy that makes this movies genius. I think that there were probably many people that have seen the movie as nothing more than explosions, blood, and gore with a touch of sci-fi. For the majority of the movie the satirical elements are quite obvious, but it would not surprise me if people with little knowledge of politics and economics made it through the whole movie completely oblivious to the satire.

The other element of the movie that I think went beyond the useless blood and gore is the explorations of humanity. Many movies have shown how machines can go bad and attack the people who created them. The ED 209 is the perfect example of this view of robots. However, there is something different about Robocop (Murphy). Robocop still has a human element which prevents him from firing on innocent bystanders, like the ED 209. Some people may think that Robocop’s trip to his house, the pictures of his family, and his friendship with Officer Lewis is sort of hokey, but I think it is an important part of the film. Other characters in the film such as Dick Jones and Clarence Boddicker are so ruthless that they lack the ability to humane. It is ironic that in the end the Robocop is more human than his advisories. By having the robot as the humane character, Verhoeven is making a point about awful people have become.


  1. I hadn't thought about the irony you mention at the end, but you're right. Robocop was far more humane than any of the guys he killed. I think that's parly why the movie got to me. I'm not ususally one to get emotional over movies like this, but Murphy's character really made me stop and think about how cruel his existence was as a robot, especially since he still seemed to have most of his human emotions attached.

  2. One thing Paul Verhoeven movies never seem to do is provide some kind of solution to the problem of us loosing our humanity. Does Robocop contain this answer and I am just not seeing it?