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Robocop ( Blu-ray Review ) Love this film, 5 stars! Blu-ray not so hot
on February 10, 2010
I don't think too much can really be done for Robocop visually as it's never been a really great looking film in whatever format... be it VHS, DVD or now Blu-ray high-definition. It's always looked grainy because of the film print used during that time. Many films from the 1980s have suffered in that respect. I have the Criterion Collection DVD, the Robocop Trilogy set with the MGM remaster and this Blu-ray release as well. This BD is by far the best the film has ever looked in the home market. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that there's no upgrade from the DVD, those people are out of their minds. There is so much more detail in the film print and scenes that looked dull and two dimensional before have a sparkle and three dimensional life to them now. However all is not rosy as the many reviews on this page can attest to.
There is grain throughout, the colors don't exactly pop off the screen but Robocop is not a very colorful film anyway. The director's cut scenes with the additional violence from the so called X-rated cut always looked really lousy and didn't mesh as well with the rest of the film. This was a problem on the Criterion disc and the MGM releases too. That problem persists on the Blu-ray. Without a big restoration by the studio Robocop won't look much better than this in any format. The sound quality is actually really good, with a solid DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 track. All the gunfire, explosions, dialogue and of course the fantastic musical score hit all the right marks. This is an impressive sounding Blu-ray for an action film from the 1980s. The extras are non-existent as others have noted and complained about save for the trailer. Not very impressive work by the studio. The Robocop 20th Anniversary DVD release had some good extras and that DVD sports the exact same cover art as this Blu-ray. It was released almost at the same time I believe and yet MGM's home video distributor is Fox Home Entertainment. Fox was at the time notorious for releasing a multitude of Blu-rays stripped of all special features while charging full price. All the DVDs had extras but the Blu-rays were stripped almost completely. Ridiculous is all I have to say about that. Now that this Blu-ray has come down in price, it's a solid deal for the Robocop enthusiast. I haven't heard of any news for a Blu-ray double dip. If you love this film like I do, there's no current better way of seeing it than right here.
Here are my actual thoughts on the movie, taken from my review of the Robocop Trilogy box set.
"As for the movie itself, what else can be said? It's a bonafide classic. The film works on so many levels. As science fiction, as satire of capitalist society, as a document of social depravity and immorality, as a human story about a man who loses everything and then regains his soul. Existentialism and all that and the film even works as an action movie, a revenge story for god sakes! Peter Weller gives his greatest contribution to cinema in his noble, dignified performance and this film is not only the best American movie Paul Verhoeven directed, it's the best film he's ever made period. Did I forget to mention the score by Basil Poledouris, wow! Does Hollywood even attempt such multi-layered sci-fi films nowadays? Doesn't seem like it!"
One of my favorite films of all time, in my top 10. I saw it for the first time back in the late 80s while I was still a citizen of the Soviet Union. Imagine watching Robocop in a Russian movie theater dubbed into Russian while you're a seven year old kid! Things like that stick with you and I've always found this movie to be fantastic entertainment with a human heart at it's center. That's why it remains a classic. I'm very skeptical of the supposed remake by Darren Aronofsky since I consider this film perfect in it's own unique way.