You need to watch the most subversive sci-fi movie on Amazon Prime before it leaves next week

Dead or alive, You come with me. This slogan, spoken by Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) in RoboCop, initially scans as a cool threat from a gunslinging badass. But if you actually saw RoboCop, then you know the line is tragic. Here’s why this 1987 masterpiece by Paul Verhoeven deserves another look, especially before it leaves Amazon Prime.

RoboCop did well at the box office, despite the challenges. Released in the summer of 1987, it went one-on-one with the James Bond movie Living daylights and horror movie the lost boysand was also facing a theatrical re-release. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. There are probably two reasons why it wasn’t crushed: first, the title slaps, and second, the poster of RoboCop getting out of his car is one of the best pieces of 80s film marketing.

Is he all cop? If you’ve seen the movie, the answer is clearly no. Orion

The hook for RoboCop was here. It felt like a big summer blockbuster that could promise thrills similar to the original terminator (1984) or even that of the previous year aliens. Like these two films, RoboCop belongs to a fascinating era of mainstream sci-fi movies that catered almost exclusively to adults and frequently used tropes found in gory slasher movies. Cover of RoboCop was right at home in star diary as it was in Fangoria. It had a hard R rating and, like the original Terminator, it more than deserved it.

But the fundamental difference between terminator and RoboCop is simple: the latter is not what it appears to be. With horror-sci-fi like aliens and terminator, what you were getting was pretty much telegraphed in the marketing. But if you’ve never seen RoboCop and are only aware of it by name and pictures, you really have no idea what kind of movie it is. For contemporary audiences, it’s probably best to imagine a movie-length episode of black mirror designed to make you feel bad about corporate greed, but filmed like a grindhouse horror flick.

It’s not a spoiler to say that good cop Alex Murphy (Weller) is killed early in the film, then resurrected Frankenstein’s monster-style, as a cyborg called RoboCop. It’s also tempting to say the film succeeds because it’s played out as an obvious tragedy. As RoboCop, Murphy says “dead or alive, you come with me”, as it was one of the last things he said before he was killed. He also twirls his gun around like a nerdy gunslinger because, before he died, he was trying to impersonate a TV hero to make his son proud.

But this tenderness is not why RoboCop is tall. It’s great because its premise is bold. In this twisted near future, a giant corporation called OCP has bought out the police force outright. Not all Murphy deals with is really about evil crime bosses or scheming bank robbers. Instead, the film is about the corrupting evil of corporations when they influence what should be publicly regulated agencies. It is as if cop lands was a sci-fi movie, fused with the biting world-building of a Philip K. Dick novel.

Peter Weller as RoboCop.Sunset Boulevard/Historic Corbis/Getty Images

by RoboCop the appalling violence can make you feel uncomfortable. But it will make you even more uncomfortable because it’s hard to know who to root for. The systems that Alex Murphy was a part of were corrupted before he was murdered and turned into RoboCop. The idea that the film is a parable about technology gone too far is barely relevant to the actual story; instead, the film suggests that its technological aspect is a subversive trick.

When you look RoboCop, what you see is a great sci-fi movie about how people are systematically dehumanized. It’s a film that denounces the numbness of a consumer culture, and the most violent anti-violence film of all time. by RoboCop the power is that there isn’t a single reductive meaning to its story, and its brilliance is that you can’t look away for a second.

RoboCop diffuse on Amazon Prime until the end of the month.

Comments are closed.