Quantcast

Robocop Trilogy (Blu-ray Review)

At long last the complete Robocop Trilogy has finally arrived on Blu-ray!  The first Robocop had already been released, with the exceptions of Robocop 2 and Robocop 3. The review for the Robocop Trilogy will be a cumulative review.  Readers may notice slight formatting differences, but should rest assured that they will be adequate score to the best of Why So Blu’s abilities.  Think of the Elvis Collection: (Blu-ray Review) a few months back.  It will be reviewed in that similar style. Now sit back and enjoy The Robocop Trilogy: Blu-ray review.

Film  

Robocop: Detroit: The near future.  Omni Consumer Products (OCP) has subcontracted the entire police force and implemented a program that will draft one unsuspected police officer into its Robocop program.  Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is a new transfer, and along with his partner Ann Lewis (Nancy Allen) team up to take down the scum of Detroit.  After following a gang of armed robbery suspects led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), a shootout takes place and Murphy is horribly wounded.  OCP comes to rescue and turns Murphy into a cyborg of sorts.  From there, it actually turns into a pretty cool revenge picture.

I saw Robocop on VHS as a little kid and was horrified at how violent the film was.  It was also very profane.  At that point in my life I’d never seen or heard anything like it.  Years later the Criterion Collection laserdisc and dvd hit store shelves and I was once again taken to that place of ultra violence and harsh language.  You have not lived until you have seen human beings ripped to shreds by robots and ammunition.  My jaw dropped.  Robocop is a searing satire and commentary about society and its excesses.  Yes, a film entitled Robocop can and does have a message.  The title of the film is one of many of the inside jokes.  Robocop is one of the best films to come out of the 80’s and is still very much relevant today.

Robocop 2: A year and half after the events in the first film, a drug war has erupted in the city of Detroit.  The ruthless drug lord Caine (Tom Noonan) is taking over America with his new designer drug called “Nuke.”  OCP is on the verge of completely taking over the city, and Robocop (Peter Weller) is back doing what he does best.   After being set up by Caine,  Robocop is literally stripped for parts.  Eventually, Caine is nearly killed and brought back, literally, as Robocop 2.

I saw Robocop 2 in theaters twenty years ago and it was a riot!  I always had a soft spot for the film.  It still contained the satire from the original, but was turned into a more action packed version of the first film.  The last quarter of the film never lets up.  It’s loud, bloody, violent, and showcases some pretty neat stop motion animation by Phil Tippet.  It was cutting edge at the time.  One thing that can still be considered shocking, even by today’s standards, is the little boy who acts as Caine’s apprentice.  He kills, cusses up a storm, etc. I remember being shocked then, and I was shocked now at how violent and brutal Robocop 2 still is.  Yes, I’m fan.

Robocop 3: Yikes.  I had the displeasure of sitting through this mess this week for the review.  I was dreading it.  By 1992, Fred Dekker had taken over the project, Peter Weller did not want to come back for a third film, and Frank Miller’s original script was again ravaged by the powers that be.  The biggest drawback is that what was an ultra violent satire of a franchise became a typical, almost slapstick, version of its previous self.   

Robocop (Robert John Burke) is back to clean up the streets in old Detroit, and this time is pitted against a Japanese corporation that is determined to take over OCP.  In addition to this acquisition, there’s another plot point that has the bad guys “evicting” everyone from their neighborhoods in order to erect the metropolis known as Delta City.  Oh, and we have robot ninjas as well.

So at this point, the powers that be felt that Robocop was now a kid’s hero, which was never supposed to be the case.  They cleaned up the rating, got rid of the epic violence of the previous two films, and introduced a bunch of annoying characters and bad actors to take the reigns.

“I’ll be as loyal as a puppy!”

Yeah, that’s the badass ED-209 urban pacification unit uttering those words.  In addition to the cringe worthy dialogue, we have good guys and bad guys who shoot endless amounts of ammo and don’t hit anything!  Robocop has a new machine-gun attachment arm and he’ll spray bullets across and kill only one or two people.  He used to never miss.  Too bad the film does.

Video 

All three Robocop films are presented in 1:85.1 widescreen aspect ratios.  Please keep in mind that there is a misprinting on the video specs for the first Robocop film.  On the back of the box it states that Robocop is presented in AVC @21 MBPS codec.  This is incorrect.  It’s the same MPEG-2 disc from the original standalone release.  Robocop 2 and Robocop 3 are presented in AVC @30 MBPS.  Having never seen the original release on Blu-ray, and seeing the latter films for the first time on the format, I’m quite pleased as to how they turned out.  Grain is ever present, certain shots do appear a bit soft here and there, but do look as good as they have ever looked.  I noticed that there was less pulsing during the many matte and visual effects shots in Robocop 2 considering they used a lot of rear projection effects.  The video specs are more than adequate for this set of films.

Audio 

The Robocop Trilogy is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The first film has great bass response.  It’s pretty evident every time Robocop takes a step.  You can feel it in your chest.  Robocop 2 is both bass aggressive and kind of loud.  In a good way.  The action never lets up, so you’re surrounded by bullets, explosions, etc.  Robocop 3 also has a pretty good three dimensional sound field.  Considering no one ever hits anything, the viewer can hear the bullets whizzing by them distortion free.  Again, a more than adequate soundtrack for the series.

Special Features

I’m so glad I kept my Criterion Collection DVD of the first Robocop film.  The Robocop Trilogy contains ZERO extras unless you count the one or two trailer each film has.  Not cool.

Final Thoughts 

It’s about time that all three films made it to the Blu-ray format.  It has been a long time coming.  For the true fans this is a must own.  For the casual fans it may be a better idea to wait until MGM/FOX releases them individually.  For me, it’s all about Robocop and Robocop 2. I also wanted to clarify that as much as I hate the third film in the series, I give the films four stars, because Robocop and Robocop 2 elevate the series.

*

Bring home The Robocop Trilogy on  Blu-ray!

Share

Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

6 Responses to “Robocop Trilogy (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Sean Ferguson

    I’ve got the Criterion edition of Robocop so I’m not sure if I need to upgrade that but I do want Robocop 2. Can’t go wrong with Irvin Kershner directing!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Besides Empire, which could be enough to give anyone a pass, Kirshner’s credits are pretty terrible. Robocop 2 is ok, but I don’t even count Never Say Never Again as a real Bond film, let alone some of the earlier junk he’s done.

    First Robocop – classic
    “what’s your name son?”
    “Murphy”
    Credits

  3. Brian White

    You NEED the Blu-ray version Sean.

    I cannot remember the 2nd and 3rd film.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    Empire is all he needs in my book. I also liked what he did with Robocop 2.

    Brian I don’t know if the quality of this Blu-ray is much better than my criterion and from this review I know that the Blu-ray’s extras can’t even come close to what I have already. Gerard wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the video and audio quality.

  5. Brian White

    What Gerard meant to say is that no DVD version of this, whatsoever, could ever touch this Blu-ray. Special Features…meh… How often do you ever re-watch them?

  6. Gerard Iribe

    @Brian – The director, writer, and producer commentary is great and the fact that it was the first time, besides the laserdisc, that had the rated X version.