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!