L  e  n  s  V  i  e  w  s

A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment





Robocop - BRD

(Paul Verhoeven - 1987)





Studio: MGM (USA) / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (USA)



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Feature film: 1080p / MPEG 2 @ 21 MBPS

103 minutes

Supplements: HD



English DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio

English DD 4.0 Surround

French DD 5.1 Surround

Spanish DD 5.1 Surround



English, Spanish, French, Korean & Chinese



Theatrical Trailers


17 chapters

Standard Blu-ray case:

1 disc: 25GB single layer

Release Date: October 9th, 2007



RoboCop ~ Comment

I've always had a special fondness for this movie.  The good guys may not be wearing white hats, and the bad ones not all dressed in black, but there is definitely a cartoon-like simplicity to the characters, the action, and the moral presumptions of RoboCop.  Peter Weller's loveliness being torn apart by shrapnel and then having to spend most of the movie as more machine than man, where all we can see is his eyes gives this sci-fi techno thriller more than a little bit of humanity.  For there is something about that cyborg, besides how he twirls a gun, that convinces his former partner, Annie Lewis, that he is in fact, Murphy, who was brutally gunned down on their first assignment.  Indeed, there is still a conscious remnant in that titanium hull, as his disturbing dream life attests.



While RoboCop's socio-political themes are plainly announced just a hair this side of self-parody, and the careless pursuit and arrest tactics of Murphy and Lewis deserve their being ensnared by the bad guys, I am always surprised by the amateurish line readings by some of the cops that hang around the precinct and the suits at OCP.  I guess these guys didn't know they were on candid camera.  That said, the performances of the principal characters are all solid, with high marks going to Miguel Ferrar as Bob Morton, Kurtwood Smith as Boddicker, Ronnie Cox as Dick Jones, and Peter Weller as Officer/RoboCop Murphy.




While the technicals would be far more seamless today than they were 20 years ago, what now seems so primitive actually clarifies the genre.  Indeed hardly anyone complained about them in 1987, though today we would find something reminiscent of animé in the stop action movement of the ED-209 droids, brilliantly shadowed by Weller as RoboCop.



RoboCop ~ The Score Card


The Movie : 7

Detroit is rampant with crime.  In today's TV news, three police officers are reported killed, with one more in critical condition.  Ruthless crime lord Clarence Boddicker and his merry band of cutthroats seem as untouchable as they are unstoppable.  The truth, it turns out, is much more insidious.  Meanwhile, a private security division at OCP (Omni Consumer Products) has developed the ultimate crime-fighting weapon, the ED-209 Enforcement Droid.  Of course, it has some glitches: like it can't be stopped from pursuing its logical conclusion after the presumed perpetrator surrenders.  In a demonstration to the execs, the ED-209 blows hell out of some unfortunate volunteer.  Up and coming Bob Morton gets the go-ahead from on high to develop an alternative weapon, the RoboCop, created from the dying carcasses of fallen policemen. 


The first RoboCop is Officer Alex Murphy, a young transfer to the "Precinct from Hell" who gets wasted on his first day.  When he comes to, he is surrounded by technicians making the final tweaks of his cyber-nervous system.  Otherwise, he seems to have forgotten about who he once was. . . until his ex-partner, Officer Anne Lewis, puts the thought into his head that he once had an identity.  The next thing we know RoboCop has a new mission: to find out who he was and who killed him.  As it happens the latter research brings him face to face with the forces behind the city's crime wave and the deaths of so many police.


Image : 8 (7~8.5/9)

The score of 8 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs.  The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.


As you can see form the comparative screen captures, the new Blu-ray is clearly superior to all previous comers in terms of sharpness, consistency of color, contrast and depth.  Metallic and plastic surfaces come off best; skin tones tend to get a bit fuzzy at times, and some shots with numbers of people, such as in the board room, can get a little indistinct.  The image is much cleaner than previously, with the biggest problem being a lack of shadow detail, especially in the scenes inside the abandoned factory.  Still, it is a significant improvement such that we are not distracted as the movie takes it course.


1) Criterion (1.66 letterboxed 'director's ratio) - TOP

2) Anniversary release (August 2007) - MIDDLE

3) MGM / Fox Blu-ray - BOTTOM




1) Criterion (1.66 letterboxed 'director's ratio) - TOP

2) Anniversary release (August 2007) - MIDDLE

3) MGM / Fox Blu-ray - BOTTOM













Audio & Music : 7/8.5

The audio effects track is appropriately aggressive and dynamic in keeping with the image, which gives the impression that the image is actually better than it is.  I always liked the score – a sort of dress rehearsal for Terminator – not as metallic nor as clarified in the bass, but substantial.


Operations : 7

It's there in the world's smallest font on the Special Features menu: "Robocop Theatrical Trailer"; and in the "Trailers" menu: three additional HD non-Blu-ray trailers.  Why not include all the trailers under one heading?  Is it to hide the fact that there really are no special features worth the name?  At least the menu functions are easy to access from the remote, and do not require translation from a code know only to the designer.




Extras : 1

In addition to the theatrical trailer, which is a hoot, Fox gives us three HD, but not Blu-ray, trailers for To Live & Die in L.A., The Usual Suspects and Bulletproof Monk.  Only the last of these is demonstration material; in fact the BD edition of The Usual Suspects looks better than predicted by this preview.  As Mel Blanc would say, "That's all, folks!"   That means no commentary, not even one that Verhoeven recorded for previous MGM editions or Criterion, which makes those DVDs more valuable than coasters.




Recommendation: 7

Robocop was one of the early titles announced for Blu-ray, some copies of which were sent around to reviewers, but that version never reached the shelves.  I gather it sucked big time, being hardly any improvement over the original MGM SD.  The absence of any documentary features or commentary is regrettable, but this Blu-ray remains, for the time being at least, definitive.

Leonard Norwitz
October 14th, 2007





Casino Royale
Enter the Dragon


Hit Counter