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The year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years - and it's meant billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy - a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit - is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.
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MGM originally released Robocop as a bare bones blu-ray all the way back in 2007 in the unrated director's cut form. There had been a previous blu-ray prepared by Sony I believe that actually got released to some DVD/blu-ray review sites but the picture quality was horrible and that led to MGM releasing their own blu-ray with better picture quality. While that 2007 blu-ray did look better than the last DVD, it was lacking in a lot of areas not the least being that it had none of the extras from any of the prior DVD special editions. They eventually released Robocop 2 & 3 in a trilogy box set along with the original film but that set also featured that original MGM blu-ray while Robocop 2 & 3 looked considerably better as they were much newer HD masters done at that point and time. A year or two ago, it was announced that a new fully restored & remastered at 4K resolution print had been prepared under direct supervision of director Paul Verhoeven and the original cinematographer. This new print of the unrated director's cut made the rounds to various major cities in which cast & crew Q&A's occured after the film was shown. It is this same restored print that made its way to this new blu-ray.
How does it compare to the older blu-ray? In a nutshell, it blows it away without even trying. I saw Robocop in theaters back in 1987 and even though my memory might not be the best it used to be, I don't remember this movie looking this amazing during its original theatrical run. It's very obvious that a lot of care and attention went into this new HD remaster and restoration of this classic film. The film retains a very nice filmic grain structure and I saw no instances of any digital noise reduction (also referred to as grain scrubbing) done to the film. The flesh tones in particular are much warmer and the colors (in particular the copius amounts of blood) have greatly improved as well. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This might upset purists a bit as director Paul Verhoeven has stated that his preferred aspect ratio for the film is 1.66:1. The old non-anamorphic Criterion DVD is the only release so far to present the film in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. In Europe back at that time, 1.66:1 was considered the normal matted theatrical exhibition aspect ratio while in the U.S., 1.85:1 was the norm. Even though the 1.85:1 matting is just a wee bit tighter, at no point did I notice any information on the top or bottom seeming cramped or cut off. Essentially, the film looks absolutely breathtaking on this new blu-ray and I doubt that we'll ever see it look any better than it does here. One thing though that I do need to mention is that some of the additional unrated violence footage does look a bit softer and more washed out compared to the rest of the film but this has always plagued the unrated version even going back as far as the non-anamorphic Criterion DVD. I'm not sure if the original negative elements were lost for these additional shots that the MPAA forced them to trim out to avoid an X rating at the time but while the change in quality is noticeable, it isn't drastic enough to pull you out of the film and only amounts to less than a minute of footage.
I compared it to the older blu-ray (as well as the even older 2 disc special edition DVD) and in my eyes, it was like night and day. The audio is presented in multi-channel lossless HD audio too and will really shake your housing foundation if you have a great sound setup.
MGM this time saw fit to port almost every single extra from the previous DVD sets with the only exception being a photo gallery that I could notice. That means you get the commentary from the 2 disc MGM DVD special edition, all of the excellent making of documentaries and some deleted scenes. There is a great new extra that was added to this release in the form of a cast & crew Q&A from 2012 that runs a little over 42 minutes. There's a ton of great information contained in this new extra and it's great that MGM saw fit to add something of great value to this release in addition to porting over the majority of the prior extras from the DVD sets.
At the time I am writing this review, Amazon and retailers like Best Buy are selling this new blu-ray for only 7.99. That is a steal as I would have happily paid 15 bucks for it. This is easily one of the best HD restorations of a classic film done to date and is the best that Robocop has ever looked or sounded. I can't recommend it enough. I'd buy that for a dollar!
I can't even believe it looks this good in some ways. The old transfer in comparison is complete trash. This 4K readymade also has a ton of extras to boot! I was worried about this as Sony has been releasing their 4K ready releases with absolutely nothing on disc but the film, leaving a lot of the disc space unused, despite charging full price for their product.
In short, this is EXACTLY how you do a Bluray catalogue release. Unrated edition as well. Support this release if you are interested in this film! Although it has a good moral message this film is very violent and bloody. Not for the unprepared.
Robocop is one of my favourite Paul Verhoeven films i've watched it many times
i've had the 2 Disc special edition dvd for many years now which has both versions on the 1st Disc
and the special features on the 2nd Disc
when i found out that MGM were re-issuing this film on blu-ray again
called Robocop remastered edition
but with an all new 2013 HD remaster, i knew i had to buy it and i did buy it and it's definitely worth the cash for sure
the widescreen picture quality looks amazing and definitely has been upgraded for sure
the audio has been boosted to a 6.1 surround sound track which sounds excellent in my opinion
this new 2014 blu-ray only has the UNRATED version which includes about 1-2mins of extra violence
which i think is a much better version than the Theatrical release but all Robocop fans will have opinions
on which is the better version
about the special features
all the old making of Documentaries and featurettes from the previous DVD release are on this blu-ray
there are 2 brand new featurette exclusive's just for this blu-ray thou
an all new pro-shot Q & A from 2012 with some of the cast and crew from Robocop
excellent Q & A goes for about 40mins
and a Paul verhoeven Easter egg which goes for about less than a minute
it's just Paul talking about his Cameo scene in the film that's all
which is the Nightclub scene in the film. i couldn't see the point of it actually.
so there's about 2 hours of extras from the old special edition dvd release
plus a new 40mins Q & A released just for this blu-ray release
this 2014 blu-ray release is worth buying just for the Q & A in my opinion.
so if your a fan of the UNRATED version and then get this blu-ray for sure, worth the money
and sell the old dvd release
but if you prefer the Theatrical version then just keep the special edition dvd version
cause it's not on this blu-ray, up to you.
this new 2014 blu-ray of Robocop is definitely worth 5 stars for sure
you get the UNRATED version only in a brand new HD remaster with boosted audio of 6.1
plus all the Documentaries and featurettes from the old special edition release
and a new 2012 Q & A with some of the cast and crew.