‘RoboCop’ has certainly become far more than a mere film over the years. With this original classic spawning two sequels, an animated series and video games, plus a toy line, eventual reboot and various comics, TV films/shows and more.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen
Release Date: November 26, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 10/10
Heroic cop Alex Murphy is gunned down in the line of duty, only to be resurrected as RoboCop – a cybernetic mix of spare human parts and Motor City steel. As RoboCop’s memories of his former life resurface, only his former partner Lewis stands beside him to fight against the vicious thugs responsible for his death, as well as a nefarious top-level OCP executive orchestrating the chaos from above.
After being mercilessly gunned down on duty, officer Murphy is declared dead, yet technically still alive enough to make him the perfect candidate for a new corporate experiment. Recrafting him with the latest armor and weaponry and removing the more human elements underneath, the late Murphy becomes RoboCop, ready to set out on the streets of Old Detroit and take out the various criminals populating it. Finally giving the corporate big shots at OCP (Omni Consumer Products) a fighting chance at eradicating the filth they consider old Detroit to be and paving the way for their new dream town. But when Murphy starts to remember elements of his past, including those who gunned him down, he starts to fight against his programming while his memories and overall humanity seeps back in.
‘RoboCop’ has certainly become far more than a mere film over the years. With this original classic spawning two sequels, an animated series and video games, plus a toy line, eventual reboot and various comics, TV films/shows and more. Its ability to expand beyond the adult audience it was intended for and reach people of all ages as a result of its smart, tongue in cheek approach and of course the bold and honest hero at the forefront quickly made it a success across various forms of media and for people of all ages. Directed by filmmaker Paul Verhoeven and initially released in 1987, ‘RoboCop’ remains a staple for sci-fi action films that still holds up with the best of them over three decades later thanks to its perfect balance of action, humor and heart. Now, Arrow Video brings home the 1987 classic ‘RoboCop’ in a stunning and impressive new 2-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray release that fans won’t want to even consider missing out on. Featuring the Unrated Director’s Cut and the Original Theatrical Cut of the film each sporting wonderful high definition video and audio presentations, in addition to the edited-for-TV version and tons of great bonus content both new and old (please see the special features section in the technical specification coverage of the review below for more detailed information), as well as solid and beautifully crafted packaging and some rewarding physical extras within, this new Limited Edition Arrow Video Blu-ray release of ‘RoboCop’ is nothing short of magnificent and without a doubt the definitive release of this unforgettable 1980’s classic.
Overall, Arrow’s new 2-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray release of the 1987 cult classic ‘RoboCop’ is nothing short of outstanding. It features both the Unrated Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut of the film on separate discs with stellar high definition video and audio presentations, along with the edited-for-TV cut of the movie and more than enough bonus goodies to satisfy even the pickiest of fans and collectors. I can’t possibly recommend this new Limited Edition Blu-ray of ‘RoboCop’ from Arrow Video highly enough to fans of the film (and of filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s work in general) who are sure to be blown away by this carefully crafted and thoroughly loaded 2-disc release that doesn’t lack in any way shape or form. The release is without a doubt the definitive edition of ‘RoboCop’ on Blu-ray and will likely be a definite must-own for the hardcore fans.
Arrow’s 2-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray release of ‘RoboCop’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of both the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut, each on separate discs and utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio; taken from a 4K restoration done by MGM in 2013. On page 76 of the included booklet under ‘About the Transfer’ it also provides the following information:
“RoboCop was restored by MGM in 2013 and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with 5.1, 4.0 and stereo 2.0 audio.
The original camera negative was scanned in 4K and all grading and restoration was completed in 4K. The grade and final restoration was approved by director Paul Verhoeven, as well as executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer/co-producer Edward Neumeier. All audio tracks were remastered from the original mag sound elements.
As the original camera negative only corresponds to the original R-rated theatrical version of the film, at the time of MGM’s restoration, additional print elements were sourced to make up the additional or alternate shots in the Unrated Director’s Cut version. Since these inserts were scanned from lower-generation positive elements due to the negatives for these sequences being lost, there is an unavoidable subtle shift in picture quality throughout these scenes. We sincerely hope these shifts do not affect your enjoyment of the overall film.”
The Unrated Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut both look great in their own right and provide rich, smooth and sharply detailed presentations that still retain plenty of grain, pops and other elements representative of its source material. There is a noticeable difference between moments in the unrated cut as mentioned above, but it still serves up a generally competent presentation with these mild quality shifts still coming together smoothly and offering a gorgeous presentation altogether. Overall, both cuts of the film on both discs deliver magnificent high definition video presentations that should thoroughly please fans.
Arrow’s Limited Edition Blu-ray release of ‘RoboCop’ features three audio options for the film; the original lossless stereo presentation, in addition to both DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 and 5.1 presentations. I personally opted for watching one cut with the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track utilized and the other with the 4.0 DTS-HD option and both more than deliver across the board. While the 5.1 soundtrack naturally offers a bit more separation for the auditory material and spreads things out a bit more noticeably, both offer some noteworthy surround content, particularly with the music booming throughout all available speakers, while gunshots, explosions and other action effects frequently zip back and forth; all the while never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously and remaining crisp, clean and aggressive throughout. Overall, both the 4.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks offer impressive and quite active audio presentations that are always smooth and balanced, and both options should easily please the dedicated fans of the film.
Arrow Video’s 2-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray release of ‘RoboCop’ comes absolutely jam-packed with noteworthy extras both new and old, not to mention gorgeous, solid packaging with new artwork as well as some physical goodies included within. On the physical end, the solid, beautifully crafted case is filled with an interior Blu-ray case which offers reversible artwork featuring the new artwork on one side, and the original cover art on the reverse, along with the inclusion of a reversible poster with the same options on either side and a nice, 80 paged collector’s booklet that features new writing on the film by Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth, plus a 1987 Fangoria interview with Rob Bottin and archive publicity materials. Various lobby cards and a fun sticker with ‘Warning: This Property Protected by RoboCop’ are also all included within.
When it comes to the various extras included on the discs themselves, I’ve broken everything down by disc below for simplicity and easier navigation.
Disc One (aka Director’s Cut) is overloaded with fun bonus content that should impress fans. It features ‘3 Audio Commentary’ tracks including: an ‘Audio Commentary with Paul Verhoeven, Jon Davison and Ed Neumeier’, a second ‘Audio Commentary with Paul M. Sammon’ and a third ‘Audio Commentary with Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart and Eastwood Allen’. The disc also offers tons of brand new extras created specifically for this release, plus plenty of archival extras and includes everything from Behind the Scenes Featurettes to Interviews, Round-Table Discussions and more. They include: ‘The Future of Law Enforcement: Creating RoboCop’ (running approximately 17 minutes in length), ‘RoboTalk’ (running approximately 32 minutes), ‘Truth of Character with Nancy Allen’ (approximately 18 minutes), ‘Casting Old Detroit with Julie Selzer’ (8 minutes), ‘Connecting the Shots with Mark Goldblatt’ (11 minutes), ‘Analog with Peter Kuran and Kevin Kutchaver’ (13 minutes), ‘More Man Than Machine: Composing RoboCop’ (12 minutes), ‘RoboProps’ (13 minutes), ‘2012 Q & A with the Filmmakers’ (42 minutes), ‘RoboCop: Creating A Legend’ (21 minutes), ‘Villains Of Old Detroit’ (17 minutes), ‘Special Effects: Then and Now’ (18 minutes), a ‘Paul Verhoeven Easter Egg’ (40 seconds) and ‘The Boardroom: Storyboard with Phil Tippett Commentary’ (6 minutes).. As if all of that wasn’t enough already, the first disc also treats us to a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (approximately 3 minutes altogether), plus ‘Director’s Cut Production Footage’ (11 minutes), ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ (3 minutes combined) and ‘3 TV Spots’ from the movie (2 minutes total), along with ‘3 Image Galleries’: ‘Production Stills’, ‘Behind the Scenes’, and ‘Poster & Video Art’.
Disc Two (aka Theatrical Cut) includes some more noteworthy bonus material such as an ‘Audio Commentary with Paul Verhoeven, Jon Davison and Ed Neumeier’, in addition to the option of viewing the film with ‘2 Isolated Scores’; either with ‘The Composer’s Original Score’ or with ‘The Final Theatrical Mix’. The second disc also features the ‘Edited-for-TV Version’ of the movie (running approximately 95 minutes in length) along with a compilation of some additional footage from two different TV broadcasts in ‘RoboCop: Edited for Television’ (running approximately 18 minutes), and ‘2 Split Screen Comparisons’ showing select scenes and the difference between the content in the cuts. The split screen options are ‘Theatrical vs Director’s Cut’ (approximately 4 minutes) and ‘Theatrical vs TV Cut’ (20 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 10/10
‘Robocop’; The Original Classic From Paul Verhoeven is Now Available to Own on Limited Edition 2-Disc Blu-ray from Arrow Video.