Monday, March 30, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 4
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
1917
AD ASTRA
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGABLE: DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER (2019)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: GRACE AND FRANKIE
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1995)
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: ROBOCOP
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART
BLAST FROM THE PAST: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
BLOODSHOT
DOCTOR SLEEP
DOWNHILL
EMMA
FANTASY ISLAND
FORD V FERRARI
GUILTY PLEASURE: THE HANGOVER
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GIRL MEETS WORLD (2014-2017)
HATEWATCH: 92ND ACADEMY AWARDS (2020)
HATEWATCH: NAILED IT!
HATEWATCH: THE WITCHER (2019)
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I STILL BELIEVE
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
JUST MERCY
KNIVES OUT
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
LITTLE WOMEN
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING
ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
ONWARD
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE CALL OF THE WILD
THE GENTLEMEN
THE HUNT
THE INVISIBLE MAN
THE LAST FULL MEASURE
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
THE WAY BACK
UNCUT GEMS
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: DOUBLE DRAGON (1994)
UNDERRATED: INSOMNIA
UNDERRATED: SHUTTER ISLAND
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNDERRATED: THE FALLING
WESTWORLD (Season 3 debut)
YESTERDAY
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

BLAST FROM THE PAST: ROBOCOP

PHOTO BY IMAGE COURTESY OF ORION PICTURES

BLAST FROM THE PAST: ROBOCOP


Where is it playing?: HBO, YouTube, Amazon Prime

What's it rated?: R

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

He shoots rapists in the groin with super-computer targeting, hurls burglars into egg cartons, and walks through gas stations engulfed in flames.

He’s RoboCop, your friendly neighborhood metaphor cautioning against the corporatization of government.

RoboCop is also one of the coolest films of the ’80s, brimming with sharp satire and a layer of nuance left out of the action films of today. The film is part dystopian portrait, but, more significantly, it treads precisely the line between action and well-honed satirical observations. RoboCop doesn’t so much take itself seriously as it delivers the lighter moments—always in newscasts or TV ads—in deadpan fashion.

It deftly uses the newscasts, complete with accurately cheesy and rigid banter between anchors, to set atmosphere and the rules in which these characters operate.

The world is a brutal one where foreign nations are locked in revolution. Detroit is as well, but instead of a revolution of arms, it’s a struggle between corporate titan Omnicorp and the city of Detroit.

The darkest moment of the film is the creation of RoboCop. When officer Alex Murphy is brutally gunned down by a murderous gang, soulless corporate entity Omnicorp swoops in to transform him into a law-enforcement cyborg.

The company has entered into a contract with the city to run the police department. The center of that plan is a giant, bipedal robot, ED-209, equipped with all kinds of high-caliber firepower. Early in the film it malfunctions and kills an executive in a boardroom demonstration. The prevailing sentiment of the characters over the death is one of annoyance rather than guilt or any other normal human reaction.

The main villain and program manager of the robot, Dick Jones, played by Ronny Cox, is the embodiment of corporate greed.

Once his project is bumped off in favor of RoboCop, he delivers the most tragicomic line of the whole film: “I had a guaranteed military sale with ED-209—renovation program, spare parts for 25 years. ... Who cares if it worked or not?”

The line hits almost too close to home, mirroring the tragic story of the M-16 in Vietnam, a weapon military leaders knew would fail. The rifle was meant to be an improvement on the previous M-14 model, but instead was dangerously unreliable.

RoboCop is timeless in part because the entanglement it describes accurately tracks bureaucratic missteps that have happened before and after the film came out.

The film, sadly, is probably part of a dead era of brainy action films that use a touch of camp to lighten heavy messages. Starship Troopers fits the mold too, appearing at first to be a dumb alien movie, but also delivering insights into the dangers of blind allegiance.

Another perk of these films, and RoboCop in particular, is that they don’t have to be analyzed to be enjoyed. The movie is loaded with action but not dragged down by it. The production value is top-of-the-line for its time, and the run time avoids bloating by finishing at 1 hour and 43 minutes.

RoboCop is inherently tied to the idea that a corporation can bind itself inextricably to our lives. After all, even in death, Murphy is possessed by Omincorp. The message is even more cynical than Benjamin Franklin’s death and taxes quotation. In RoboCop, even after death, something is still owed. (103 min.) m

—William D’Urso








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How are you occupying your time during this pandemic?

Catching up on movies and books I've been wanting to read or watch.
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