When the trailer for the RoboCop reboot last week it created a bit of a “stir.” While I was complaining on Twitter, all around good guy Mike Williamson made the point that this is hardly the first time the character has been watered down. Even if 1990’s RoboCop 2 lacks the deft hand of the original, it still has plenty of bite. The same can’t be said for 1993’s PG-13 RoboCop 3 or the TV versions that followed.
While these trailers are no real replacement for watching the films, they help us dip our toes into the idea that perhaps the remake is headed into territory that’s actually familiar for the franchise (if not Verhoeven’s 1987 original). Even if you’re like me and think that a reboot should really be about re-invigorating the spirit of the original (something that remains to be seen I should point out, we’ve only seen two minutes from the Padilha version), looking at what’s happened to the property as a whole can provide a fresh perspective.
The re-booted RoboCop hits on February 7th, 2014. Head below for to see the legacy it’s inheriting.
Interestingly enough, this trailer also shows very little of the gore and satire that were the benchmark of the original film. Of course we know now how great Verhoeven’s masterpiece is, but is this teaser really an indicator of its majesty? I also like how they use the Terminator theme as sort of a Pavlovian technique, “hey, you liked that *other* cyborg movie.”
Going by the trailer alone you’d almost think RoboCop 2 was a more interesting film than the original. Obviously that’s not the case, but just seeing it reminded me of Cain’s serviceable brutality. Even if it followed the law of diminishing returns, RoboCop 2 was very much cast in the spirit of its predecessor.
Here we can see that spirit broadening out a bit. PG-13, Rip Torn, big-hair gangs, a different Murphy – it’s a replica of the original portrait rendered with fat crayons. The quality of this teaser is pretty muddy (and it’s been 20 years since I saw this film), but this is proof positive that RoboCop has been down more family friendly alleys.
To be honest, I’ve never seen this and I’m surprised that it exists. The fact that it came out in 1988, just one year after the original film received its initial X-rating, blows my mind.
Looks like it more or less follows the lead of the original film, just pretty watered down. Network TV in 1994 only really pushed the envelope when it came to showing the ass of Dennis Franz.
This is getting hilarious now. It sure looks like RoboCop, but even the way he moves seems cheap and careless. This is almost like a pratfall highlight reel.
How does the context of the above trailers affect how you watch this one? I’m not trying to guide you to any conclusions (though I still wish I liked it more), but is the original RoboCop the actual anomaly of the franchise? Even after looping in the second film, everything after RoboCop 2 seems kind of unremarkable.