Thursday, April 9, 2009

Big Business is Evil

This week in class we watched the epic 1980s movie RoboCop. This is an awesomely cool movie. With the amount of action and violence that is shown throughout the movie, it is hard to believe that there is more to the story than shooting and explosions. The movie was written and directed as a satire of the US in the 1980s. The story starts off with a news report, a death at a large corporation that is seen only as a set back, and a new transfer to the Detroit police force, Murphy played by Peter Weller. The Sergeant welcomes him to hell. On his first day out, Murphy and his partner Lewis, played by Nancy Allen, follow a group of bank robbers to their hideout where the are at. They shoot Murphy many times with shotguns. First, they shot off his hand, then they opened fire on his chest, blowing off his arm in the fire. Lewis comes up to see him almost dead. He gets taken back to the hospital where they half heartedly try to bring him back to life with no avail. This is when we see the true evil that the director Paul Verhoeven is trying to depict... dun dun DUN big business corporations. They take the dead body of Murphy and turn him into RoboCop. They take away every piece of humanity that he has, even going to the lengths of removing his undamaged arm and replacing it with a mechanical one. The only part of humanity that is left is the basic organic functions of a body that keeps the RoboCop on the beat.

Even though the movie is a great example of an action movie that has gun shots, loosely connected plot points, and splosions (a splosion differs from an explosion in that it an explosion has a purpose and a splosion just happens for no reason (notice the tin shacks)). The movie is a satire on how the privatization of what are suppose to be public works will lead to greed and corruption of the people running the hospitals, prisons, and police to name only a few. When you look at the film as a satire, it works very well. The parts can be dissected to mean probably exactly what Verhoeven wanted it to say, but I feel if you do not look at the film as a satire, it turns into just an awesome action film. There is nothing wrong with either prospective, but I do not know if someone that is looking at an action movie would be struck by “Oh my god, business is evil.” Either way, RoboCop is cool.


  1. I agree with your general consensus at the end- Robocop is cool. I went in to the movie with little expectation of liking it, and once they blew Murphy literally to bits I just wanted to stop watching it because I hate pointless gory action movies. In the end I was glad I had watched it though because it actually proved to have a point and a decent plot.

  2. One thing that always gets me about this movie is the total lack of sex. The closest we ever get to a sex scene is when Lewis helps Robocop get his aim back. With this in mind how does Robocop's coolness compare to someone more like, say, Shaft?

  3. Why were the corporations in the movie a bad thing? Is it not a possibility to have a corporation that is doing something for the right reason? Or will it always just end up fucked like we saw in robocop?

  4. there's a term that should be more widely spread.

    How evil are corporations? Is it possible to rise up in the corporate world without having that evil drive for profit at the expense of others, or is success only possible while crushing others at your feet?

  5. Thank you for the term "splosions." I usually just use "asplode" as an all purpose, but yours works nicely as well.

    Is it really an awesome action film without the satire? It's 102 minutes long - just an hour and a half - but it feels longer and more dragged out. It's got its ridiculously bloody, gory scenes, but is it really a good action movie if you focus simply on the action? Good action movies can have story (Casino Royale, for instance), and good action, but can it really be good if the satire, which the movie depends on so much for its story, can be easily dismissed?