Hollywood will continue its assault on the films of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven this weekend with the rebooted version of RoboCop, and whether Joel Kinnaman is a worthy successor to the Robo suit — or the entire thing is just a heap of scrap metal — isn’t the issue here. Today, we pay tribute to the original savior of dystopian Detroit — the original RoboCop.
The movie gave 1980’s audiences their second bad-ass cyborg of the decade and a Jesus allegory that was splattered with blood by the end of the film. Its themes of corruption, authoritarianism, greed, and human nature are just as relevant today as they were in 1987, and its special effects makeup remains impressive.
With a new (presumably not nearly as awesomely bloody) PG-13 rated version on the way, now is the perfect time to roll out some obscure facts for one of the greatest sci-fi action movies to ever blast its way onto the big screen.
1. Director Paul Verhoeven initially didn’t film the crucial scene of Officer Murphy’s death. The film was behind production and over budget, and wrapped without filming Officer Murphy’s death (which would allow him to become RoboCop). After wrapping production, Verhoeven and producer Jon Davidson approached the studio with the information and were given more money to film the scene in a Los Angeles warehouse.
2. Learning to move in the suit was difficult for Peter Weller. The heavy suit was designed by a team led by Rob Bottin and caused considerable delays because of changes to the design. The suit didn’t get final clearing until the first day of shooting, which meant that Weller had no time to rehearse with it on. Naturally, this caused problems and production had to be halted for three days so that Weller could be coached on how to move while wearing the suit — which could take up to 11 hours to put on!
3. The studio was worried that real-life cops might object to the brutality. The studio was worried that RoboCop throwing Clarence Boddicker through the glass while reading him his Miranda rights might upset actual police forces. Not surprisingly, when officers were brought in for the test screening, that scene was met with cheers and applause.
4. The movie was pitched as a futuristic version of The Lone Ranger. The movie mimics aspects of the western classic from RoboCop’s gun twirl to Murphy being gunned down by bandits, only to return as a masked lawman of vengeance.