The streets of Detroit have become overrun with crime, to the point where even the police struggle to provide protection. The level of violence is horrifically high, as crimes are getting more brutal and remorseless. A potential solution comes from the Omni Consumer Products Corporation, who seek to privatize the police force. With Omni’s resources, the police would be better equipped to deal with the violence in the streets. The master plan however is ED-209, a mechanized police unit that patrols the streets, but some recent malfunctions have the project delayed. In the meanwhile, a project called Robocop is put into motion, with newly dead officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) turned into a robotic long arm of the law. But is the transformation complete, or will old memories prove to slow down this otherwise impervious creation?
This is one kick ass movie. Robocop is great science fiction and great action, a lethal combination of the genres with some wicked social commentary thrown in. In this two disc edition, we have both the original theatrical version and the extended version, in which the violence is returned to its intended insane levels. In this extended cut, the blood runs like Niagara Falls and the squeamish might want to keep their eyes shut. But there is more to Robocop than over the top violence, gun battles, and action set pieces, there is a great story interwoven with these elements. The conflict of man and machine, the issue of privatization, and corporate greed are all on showcase here, in what amounts to a more than solid overall plot. The special effects still hold up for the most part, but Robocop’s suit still stands out as an especially fantastic creation. This long awaited Blu-ray disc does offer enhanced visuals, but the upgrade isn’t as substantial as expected. Add in that MGM included no supplements, despite a two disc edition available on DVD, and even fans might hesitate to upgrade in this case.
Video: How does it look?
Robocop is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is the second release on Blu-ray for Robocop, but the first one was canceled just before release. The transfer on the original release was terrible, but thankfully the second time around MGM has graced us with a new treatment. If you’ve seen the 20th Anniversary DVD, then you know about what to expect. This transfer looks like a more refined, fine tuned version of that presentation. I found detail to be sharper, with more image depth, while colors seemed to be brighter as well. This is not a massive step up, as we might have hoped, but this is an improvement over previous editions and is the best available treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included lossless DTS HD option is impressive, but keep in mind, this film is two decades old. In other words, while this new soundtrack draws out the best from the material, the audio is still limited and doesn’t have the depth or presence you’d hear from a more recent film of this kind. Even so, this mix sounds great and offers ample surround presence, especially in the action scenes, which are frequent here. There is a good deal of power on showcase, but the subtle touches also sound good, so the overall atmosphere is effective. I found the music to be well handled also, while dialogue is clear and never a concern. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 4.0 option, French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and of course, Korean.