Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: Robocop (1987)

“I think you had better do what he says Mr Kinney”

Taken from what I believe to be Paul Verhoeven’s best movie, this scene from Robocop showcases why this is one of best examples of post-modern cinema. In typical sci-fi satirical fashion, Verhoeven leaves the viewer feeling both shocked and entertained as ED209, hailed as the “future of law enforcement”, fails catastrophically at its first hurdle. By visibly mocking modern civilisation’s habit of using violence and technology to answer mankind’s problems, the ED209 is paradoxically advanced and flawed at the same time. Aside from the fantastically brutal death of the unlucky volunteer, there is much to love about this scene. As the seemingly perfect killing machine is unveiled, it is immediately juxtaposed with a pretty ropey looking control system being wheeled in by some bumbling scientists, who “believe” they have control.

The board members are both terrified and excited by the lumbering robot, but are immediately won over by the confidence of Dick Jones, as he speaks of the urban pacification that is possible. But it all goes wrong, I remember being scared for poor Mr Kinney when the grill-faced menace growled another warning after he drops the gun. Everybody’s instinct to save themselves serves as another reminder of Verhoeven’s message, which all ends in the body of Mr Kinney landing bloodied and torn, on the model of New Detroit, ending the scene as a fitting metaphor for a capitalist disaster. I think we all loved the ED209 when he first made his appearance in Robocop, and in some ways he made the film such a massive cult hit across the world.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Movie Clip of the Week, look out for next time’s classic scene!

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