So here’s how the mind of a film nerd works; I’m on Twitter replying to a comment about Donald Trump, feeling all pleased with myself for noting that he reminds me of the fake adverts in Robocop (1987) and the Leonard Cohen line about America being ‘the cradle of the best and the worst’, when I think that I haven’t listened to The Future (1992) for a while. I go to the CDs and get distracted by I’m Your Man (1988). Track 3 is Everybody Knows and I’m now blogging about Pump Up the Volume.
It’s interesting that it’s Cohen that led me here. I can’t imagine that a teen film would go with that now. I mean, he’s like so old. But then I can’t imagine a teen film like Pump Up the Volume coming out now. Where are the films that hate grown ups? Is this something we’re losing now that we are growing up into perpetual childhood?
I’d love to watch a film for teenagers and not understand it.
I love this film and it’s distrust. I love that it shows self-regarding poser nonsense like Rebel Without A Cause (1955) up for what it is (if ever a film was focused on the wrong character!) and that the 80’s / early 90’s gave us kids who looked real and didn’t live in mansions but became superheroes when pushed.
I’ve probably over done it there but that’s what these films felt like.
The problem here isn’t, and was never going to be, the rating. The film was always going to be different and a different tone could easily be part of that. The fatal flaw is the lack of focus that means the film keeps threatening to be about something quite substantial without ever getting to it.
It’s enjoyable, I suppose, in a throwaway sense but as it’s based on such high-end source material and it has Jose Padilha, the director of the blistering and highly recommended (if a little fascist) Elite Squad (2007 and 2010) movies, behind the camera being ‘so-so’ is just as damning as being terrible.
RoboCop is endlessly re-watchable. That’s a fact, a personal, subjective fact, but a fact nonetheless and facts don’t lie. What makes it so enduring is that so much clever is crammed into the 102 minute runtime and yet it never forgets that it is also pulpy genre cinema and proudly trumpets all the excess and mayhem that that entails.
RoboCop is one of the many reasons that I love mainstream American cinema, it’s a movie you can hold up and say ‘look, here’s a really smart film and it has a cool bit where a guy melts and then gets hit by a car’.
1. Here’s a great link to the BBFC’s original certification notes – http://www.bbfc.co.uk/sites/default/files/attachments/Robocop.pd
2. Although enjoyable and a great way to get all that pesky exposition sorted I always thought that the adverts / news coverage laid it on a touch thick… but being British I’d never seen Morton Downey Jr. before…