"You have 15 seconds to comply...."
The 1987 movie Robocop inspires this weeks set of T-shirts.
In 1982 whilst working on the set of Blade Runner, Edward Neumeier had an idea for a story that eventually became the 1987 movie Robocop.
Directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Peter Weller, the film is a classic lesson in satire and is more than just a gore fest it could have become. The violence and carnage is outlandish, bordering on the ridiculous which makes it all the more comical and extremely fun. Special effects in Robocop are all practical and were created by the legend that is Rob Bottin (The Thing, Innerspace, Total Recall, Seven).
In a violent, future Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatise the police force. To test their crime-eradicating cyborgs, the company leads street cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) into an armed confrontation with crime lord Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) so they can use his body to support the untested RoboCop prototype.
Like all great action and sci-fi movies it explores surprising complicated themes including what it means to be human, personal freedom, greed and power. Taking the American greed at all costs 80's culture and firmly exposes them to wicked mockery. (Wall Street was released the same year and examines similar themes of corporations and power)
The use of parody in adverts that are shown throughout the film played a huge part in poking fun at materialism, rolling news and even the threat of cold war “That's it buster, no more military aid! Nukem”. One of the most famous segways is the fake programme “It’s not my problem!” starring Bixby Snyder and the famous line "I'll buy that for a dollar!", you can clearly see the influence it played many years later in the GTA series of games.
In an ironic twist the movie eventually went from satire to toy sales, the sequel was a lot more trivial and the subsequent sequels were universally panned, a tv and cartoon series followed and a line of toys rolled into production.
1987's Robocop is humanity of man vs greed of corporate America (where the criminals are just as likely to wear suits as hold a gun), the privatisation of public services and the gentrification of urban areas, issues which unfortunately still ring just as true now as it did 35 years ago.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime and in May will be re released in UK cinemas in a 4k directors cut.
Featured image: MGM Studios/Amazon