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ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES

Published at: Oct. 8, 2000, 5:19 a.m. CST

Hey folks, Harry here... I'm a bit stunned... I've heard about the ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES... heard they were TV movies... and then never gave them another spare thought... I mean... Why? Robocop... TV? Nah... not for me. THEN I READ THIS... Ummm... count me interested... I looked around, but I can't seem to find where it's playing in the U.S. Apparently it debuted on something in Canada called CITY TV... Here's the OFFICIAL SITE and ya know... I can't wait to see this. Read on..

Robocop: Prime Directives "Dark Justice"

Review by 11thIndian

Funnily enough, the first part of the new Robocop TV movies could also have been titled "The Phantom Menace" and, believe me or don’t, lives up to that title in all the ways Star Wars Episode 1 didn’t!

"Dark Justice" opens in a way which should be familiar to all Robocop fans, in the form of a "Media Break" segment which quickly brings the viewer up to speed on where we are and what’s been going on in the world of Delta City. In one breath the anchor declares Delta City, "The safest place on earth", then in the next goes on to describe another attack by a mysterious vigilante known as Bone Machine! Robocop (Page Fletcher) is celebrating his 10th birthday, and you can tell the mileage is starting to add up for our cyborg boy in blue. These media bursts are jam packed with all sorts of crap that will require repeated viewings and a decent pause on your VCR to catch them all.

The first thing to do when watching these new movies is…FORGET THE TV SERIES!!! Forget the bloodless non-action, forget the passive OCP, because the cue here is definitely coming from Paul Verhovan’s original. That means foul language, blood, and more blood!

The film proper opens with a hilarious sequence in which the a group of terrorists calling themselves DA BOMZ (you can find out why for yourself) lead by Malcom X-Plosion has taken a group of hostages in the Chelsy Clinton Savings and Loan. If this all sound a bit ludicrous, it is! But don’t be fooled, once Robo is on the scene, a headshot to one the terrorists makes you think twice about what type of film this is going to be. Much like the original Robocop, "Dark Justice" walks that fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous. Here, Robocop isn’t portrayed as a cartoon hero, in fact the film isn’t really about Robocop, it’s the continuation of the story of a man called Alex Murphy. Through John T. Cable (Maurice Dean Witt from "Cube"), Alex’s old partner, we’re given a new view into who Alex Murphy was before he joined Delta City Security and met his untimely demise. This material in no way contradicts Murphy’s established character, but adds more than there ever was before. At the same time, the sharp wit of that mad Dutchman is duplicated here by Canadian Director Julian Grant and scribes Brad Abraham and Joseph O’Brien, who seem just as keen to take jabs at America’s media saturated culture as Verhoven did with Corporations in the first film. And just like in that film, or in "Network", as ridiculous as some of the jokes seem, the scary fact is there not as far from reality as you’d like to think.

Much like in "The Phantom Menace", there’s a "disturbance in the force" as it were in Delta City, and there’s some shady dealings going on. But here they actually amount to something, and create some anticipation for what’s to come. Each of the characters has their own motivations and agenda, and by the end of "Dark Justice" (which doesn’t end necessarily well for our hero) you actually feel like you’re a little farther ahead than you were when you started. There’s some great interaction going on here between some of the lead players, particularly Murphy and Cable in their "flashback" scenes to their days as beat cops, there’s also a highly amusing and what can only be called parasitic relationship between OCP Junior Exec. Damian Lowe (Kevin Jubinville) and a computer genius named Edwin Hobley (David Fraser). There’s fine work from the cast all around, including Maria del Mar as Security Concepts Chief Exec. (and John’s ex) Sarah Cable; and Anthony Lemke as a grown up Jimmy Murphy who’s now also working for OCP.

All four of the new Robocop films were made for a budget of about 10 million dollars, but Director Grant is smart to not try to pile on tons of effects he can’t pull off. The show moves quickly without being brainless. There’s real empathy for Robocop this time around, and I think that a lot of viewers who’ll have given up on Robocop after the Series (or Robo’s 2&3 for that matter) will be happy to see a what is at heart a true sequel to the original film.

For all the reasons that matter, "Dark Justice" is a better first chapter for a series than "The Phantom Menace", and IMO a better movie altogether. Yes that right! This TV movie sequel to a long though dead property wins out over empty excess! Watch it! THEN TELL ME I’M WRONG!

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 8, 2000, 5:38 a.m. CST

    Cool

    by Pseudonym

    Hope it comes out in the states; sounds interesting. It's GOT to be better than Robocop 3. Ick.

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 5:42 a.m. CST

    Great

    by Dilbert

    This sounds fantastic and will finally exorcise film 2 & 3 and the shockingly bad kiddie franchise series

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the heads-up about the show, dude, but we could've do

    by Herbert Kornfeld

    That's one argument we DON'T need to have all over again in Talkback.

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 8:54 a.m. CST

    "..WHAT THE flOP!? WHY ME!? WHY ME!? WHY ME!?..." <<>> "...hE

    by Valles Marineris

    "ROBOCOP", THE TV dubbing version. Some people think it ruined the whole floppin thing, but I liked it.

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Just read the intro to the web site

    by keeper

    "This is not the PC light ROBO you've seen on TV. This is Alex Murphy - the electric Frankenstein story - as you've never seen before. You may be shocked. Scared. At times even repulsed. Good. Don't say you haven't been warned. Enjoy" I think that about says it all.

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 3:45 p.m. CST

    To air on sci-fi channel?

    by Krigan

    I read an article about 6 months ago in starlog, I beleive. I think they said it would be airing on the sci-fi channel. The article had an interview with the director and I was very impressed with what he had to say. He dissed everything but the first movie and claimed his version would be even darker and more violent than the original(strong words indeed). They also had some stills from the movie and I thought they all looked cool except that the bones villain looked a bit corny.

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 4:01 p.m. CST

    think i was wrong about sci-fi.

    by Krigan

    The more I think about it I think I was mixing this up with the dune series (as far as where it will be shown). Check out the review at www.fandom.com, he really liked it and thinks it will be shown on a premium channel like HBO due to the excessive violence. I guess I will have to wait for dvd or video, I don't have HBO or any premium station :(

  • Oct. 8, 2000, 8:05 p.m. CST

    Robocop movie

    by Kingdopy

    I find this all this funny, because I just watched Robocop last night for the first time. Then I come out here and read this. I now want to see this TV movie badly. Sounds cool.

  • and that would probably broadcast in Buffalo, maybe. And since its going to air on SPACE anyone signed up with ROGERS/COGEGO cable service will be able to see it later in the year. All I can say is God Bless Moses Zanimer, the guy who runs CHUM productions. They air movies and don't edit the sex/violence/nudity in it, which is a good thing (on CITY, the only bleeping i've heard was the MOTHER. out of the word MOTHERFUCKER. Its only edited if the source is comming for a US broadcast station). Also, CHUM is the home of MuchMusic, which as an interesting side note, has Intimate & Interactive program, which I've heard has been copied exactly to become Total Request Live on MTV, which I think is kinda cool. Anyway, yeah, CHUM and CITY/MUCH/SPACE/BRAVO are usually pretty good when it comes airing unedited gritty content, and they're definately one of the coolest stations out there, so more power to 'em. Yay for us. And don't Blame Canada, you guys will get it eventually too. . .

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:11 a.m. CST

    Wait. . . Can It Be. . . ?

    by Cowblaster

    . . . that the long-lost art of Fine Story-Telling through film has re-emerged into. . . Robocop? Well, color me "Intrested." When can I see this? Where will I see this? WILL I see this at all here in the U.S.? I have to know! I used to love Robocop until, about, the first cartoon came about, then the sequels came along, then the crappy TV series, followed by another, even WORSE cartoon series. Yeah, I just about lost all intrest until now. Sounds promising!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:02 a.m. CST

    Sci Fi Channel?

    by Milo_357

    Hey, wasn't this stuff supposed to show up on the Sci Fi Channel???

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:27 a.m. CST

    WTF???

    by Vincent D.

    "Da Bombz"???!!!??? "Malcome X-Plosion"!!!???!!! Was the screenwriter in the Klan? Shit! How the hell do you expect us to believe that this piece could bring possibly be good when such obvious crap is in it? (Except, of course, our own fanboy longing.)

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Will this ever air in the UK?

    by Roborob

    As you can tell from my nickname I am a Robocop fan. I'm the one that actualy liked Robocop 2 & 3 and I actualy liked the TV series (no symphathy please). As you can imagine I realy want to see these TV movies but as I'm in the UK I can't find out if, where or when it will be on British TV. There was a rumour in the British papers that the UK's Channel 5 was going to show it but when I asked Channel 5 via it's web site I was told that the channel had not bught the series and that it didn't know who did. I checked the official site and got the same reponse, DOES ANYONE HAVE THE ACTUAL TRUTH ABOUT ROBOCOP THE MINISTRIES SHOWING IN THE UK?

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 3:46 p.m. CST

    FOR MOST UP TO DATE INFO...

    by 11thIndian

    Seems to be coming from the website, that's where I found out about the TV date here in Canada. The director has said in the forums section of the offical website that he had to make some small cuts (for gore) for UK market, so I can only assume it will broadcast there. Both the Director (Grant) and writers mentioned above seems to monitor the forum on the official site (linked above) and alt.tv.robocop regularly, and often answer questions that people ask. So, GO TO THE SOURCE! DA BOMBZ is the exception not the rule in PD, it's almost like they were trying to catch viewers off guard... PD takes Robocop VERY seriously. PS I mentioned TPM in my review as both are first chapters in a "series" of films and certain basic ploting ideas are similar (which I mention in my review).

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 12:57 p.m. CST

    I have a different opinion

    by Renzella

    I too saw this movie here in Canada, and I think this reviewer is blowing a little too much smoke up about it. I'll admit to only seeing the 1st and 3rd movies in the franchise, and that I never caught the TV show or cartoon, but this movie had the production value of the average TV movie-of-the-week. Those flashback scenes were more like cheesy scenes from a bad TV cop drama, and overall I was not very impressed by the movie. That doesn't mean its awful, but its certainly not the masterpiece this reviewer is making it sound like. And by the way, the SW comparison made is inane. Technically, you should compare this movie to 'A New Hope', since it is a continuation of the story, not the first chapter