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Byron Brewer

Wayback Machine: RoboCop!

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With the Wayback Machine, M.E. Byron Brewer takes us "way back" with a look at various television series and their respective characters from years past.

 

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Besides (or perhaps in spite of) his awkward appearance years ago on a WCW Wrestling PPV, I have never had any interest in the RoboCop movie franchise, such as it is.

Until now.

As reported earlier on CBN, a new synopsis for a RoboCop reboot was unveiled today at Comic-Con:

In RoboCop, the year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.

So let’s fire up the old Wayback Machine and buzz back to -- 1987!

In this first film, it is the “near” future and Detroitis on the verge of collapse. The mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products enters into a contract with the city to run the police force (farce?). With plans to destroy Old Detroit, OCP pictures a new utopia called “Delta.”

Recognizing that humans are insufficient as crime stoppers, OCP runs several programs to find robotic replacements, including the ED-209 enforcement droid, headed by senior president Dick Jones (Ronny Cox). Unfortunately, the robot malfunctions and kills a junior executive during its demonstration. As a result, OCP Chairman (Dan O’Herlihy) decides to utilize a cyborg program helmed by middle-ranking executive Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer), code-named --  “RoboCop.” (Yawn.)

Veteran police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Walker) transfers to a new precinct in Old Detroit and is partnered with Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). On their first patrol, they chase down a team of criminals led by kingpin Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) to an abandoned mill. Lewis is rendered unconscious while the rest of Boddicker's men corner Murphy and murder him. Murphy is pronounced dead at the hospital, so OCP takes his body and uses it to create the first RoboCop. (Natch!)

He is able to single-handedly deal with much of the violent crime in the city, causing the rest of the police force to become worried they may be replaced. Unbeknownst to his human monitors, RoboCop still retains memories of his life as Murphy, including brief glimpses of his wife and son, and the action of spinning his gun before holstering it, a trick Murphy had done for his son. Lewis recognizes these elements from Murphy's mannerisms, and tries to learn more, but he remains silent on the issues. Because of RoboCop's success, Morton is promoted to become one of OCP's Vice Presidents.

However, Morton's arrogance leads Jones to have Boddicker, secretly in his employ, kill the young executive. Meanwhile, an armed gas station holdup by one of Boddicker's men allows RoboCop to track down Boddicker to a cocaine bunker. RoboCop bursts into the facility and Boddicker reveals his alliance with Dick Jones. Boddicker is arrested and RoboCop visits Jones at his offices at OCP, intending to arrest him as well.

It is during this confrontation that RoboCop's previously unknown directive preventing him from arresting or harming any senior executive of OCP activates, incapacitating him. (Saw it on Lost in Space and in last month’s Green Lantern comic.) Jones sends an ED-209 against RoboCop and it proves incapable of descending a stairway, enabling RoboCop to escape.

When RoboCop enters the parking complex of the building, a police SWAT team led by Lt. Hedgecock (Michael Gregory) is waiting for him with orders to destroy him. The hail of bullets severely damages RoboCop's armor, but he is saved by Lewis, his former partner.

And yada yada yada --

I for one think the 2013 treatment will be much more intelligent; it has to be better acted.

RoboCop, directed by Jose Padilha, debuts August 9, 2013, and stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish and Hugh Laurie.  

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