RoboCop 1987 ★★★★★

I am astonished at how well this movie aged. It’s still fascinating, still relevant, and the ultra-violence as hard to witness as it was when I sneaked into the movie theatre during the first decade of my life (oh, yes, I couldn’t sleep that night). Even though clearly extrapolated from the afflictions of the 1980s, the dystopian world presented here is believable, in no small part because of the little details – the TV news bulletins, Delta City billboards, “8.2 mpg” small print for the 6000 SUX advertisement, an off-hand mention of Lee Iacocca Elementary School.

Like the protagonist himself (itself?), this movie has a lot of heart and soul if you care to look deeper. Within the entertaining, bleak world of crime, corruption, corporate greed, and consumerism writ large, what we have here is a serious exploration of a belief in technology as our saviour. This topic was later picked up by Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica and a number of other works, but it was fitting to hear about it first from Detroit, a place whose relationship with technology turned from promising to painful seemingly overnight.

At the very end of the movie, when the hurt (damaged?) RoboCop utters “They’ll fix you. They fix everything,” I laughed with the rest of the audience. Today, just as I can look past the sci-fi exterior and appreciate the movie so much more, these two sentences too carry on much more importance. What if we never learn how to fix some things? What if some things are better left unfixed?

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