The original version of RoboCop in 1987 and its two sequels are set in the near future. Decades later, the idea of cyborg law enforcement still feels pretty far off. So, why not have another go at it?
Original co-screenwriter Edward Neumeier got the idea when a friend told him that “Blade Runner” was about a cop hunting robots. He thought, “What about a robot cop?”
The movie and its sequels are not just action — they include some pointed commentary on moral and physical decay. A “futuristic” portrayal of sun damage as a consequence of climate change no longer seems like fiction. Philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek said:
RoboCop, a futuristic story about a policeman shot to death and then revived after all parts of his body have been replaced by artificial substitutes, introduces a more tragic note: the hero who finds himself literally “between two deaths” – clinically dead and at the same time provided with a new, mechanical body—starts to remember fragments of his previous, “human” life and thus undergoes a process of resubjectivication, changing gradually back from pure incarnated drive to a being of desire. (…) [I]f there is a phenomenon that fully deserves to be called the “fundamental fantasy of contemporary mass culture,” it is this fantasy of the return of the living dead: the fantasy of a person who does not want to stay dead but returns again and again to pose a threat to the living.
Here’s the original trailer.