Friday, April 13, 2007

The Greatest Movie of All Time?

I'm supposed to be writing a paper, but I've decided to watch a telecast of Robocop 3 instead. Geez, I haven't seen this in years and years-- maybe since it first hit TV. I used to love Robocop. Well, I still do, I just never act upon it. (Now I realize I have to somehow track down every issue of the Marvel Comics Robocop series. Damn.)

The cast is ridiculous. EVERYBODY is in this movie. Mako. Jill Hennessy. Stephen Root. Bradley Whitford. Rip Torn. CCH Pounder. The commandant from Malcolm in the Middle. The obligatory Kurtwood Smith archive footage. Hot damn. (No Peter Weller in this one, though. Bah.)

It's got jetpacks, robot ninjas, dirty cops, shootouts... it's got Dark Knight Returns-esque (after all, Frank Miller did co-write the thing, apparently) groups of corporate flunkies (the bad cops, and some thugs) versus a resistance movement (underground shmoes and disillusioned Detroit cops looking to do the right thing despite the consequences). There's a scene where Robocop punches through the windshield of a pimpmobile he's driving to shoot at a SWAT van of dirty cops. Did I mention the pimpmobile is on fire? And he's still coming at them? When the people of the city finally band together against OCP, there's even an old lady firing an automatic weapon! It's got Robocop flying in on a jetpack and blowing stuff up! Dear God, it's uncanny.

And it's got the return of the ED-209. Oh hell yeah. (Actually, I think they cut out the only ED-209 scene in the movie. Damn network television.)

So one would think it's the greatest movie ever, right? Well, no. Far from it. In fact, it's bloody awful. The acting, the cinematography, the production values... a lot of it is pretty subpar. I mean, it's got the best special effects ever, for 1984. Too bad it came out in 1993.

However, I still like it. I mean, it's hilarious. If anything, its overall quality is enhanced by its craptitude. It's so big and crazy, but the scope couldn't compete with the budget. Still-- dammit, they tried so hard. It's about time they were recognized for the effort. And it's a hell of an effort. Then again, what else would one expect from Frank Miller (Lord knows how badly they butchered his script--in fact, I don't even think he actually worked on this movie, but, whatever) and director Fred Dekker, the guy who helmed The Monster Squad. Yes, the one with "Wolfman's got nards!"

The film, if I dare call it that, is really just an over-the-top B-movie. I am perfectly okay with that. I love this kind of movie. Hell, I want to know why they haven't made a new Robocop movie! (Researching this, I discovered an animated series and a TV mini I hadn't heard about. Now, the original TV show, I knew, but... a mini-series made in 2000? I must find this. And something else called Robocop: Alpha Commando? What the hell are these things? Why did no one tell me about them?) If I ever find myself with any power at all in Hollywood... I'm bringing Robocop back. Right after I adapt Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency to the big screen.

Robocop 3 absolutely bombed at the box office. Box Office Mojo tells me it only made ten million in the theater. Compared to the first two, that's abysmal. I can see why it performed as such. Regardless, it now lives forever in Bill's Hall of Awesomeness, where many obscure, forgotten, or disrespected things can proudly exist. At least one person thinks they're cool, even if it's just me.

For more things in the Hall of Awesomeness, check out my (here comes the plug, do do doo doo) 365 Reasons to Love Comics column at Comics Should Be Good.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

By mini-series, I presume you're talking about Prime Directives? It was fun in an airheaded sort of way. The big hook? If one Robocop with a machine pistol was cool, how about a second Robocop with TWO pistols!!

James said...

The movie was released in 1993, but actually filmed in 1991, over two years earlier (it was released at the end of the year, if I remember correctly). Which somehow seems fitting. Weller turned Robocop 3 down for David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch, and thank goodness for that.