Nostalgia and Movies: Robocop

Over the last week or so I have been re-watching Robocop (directed by Paul Verhoeven, 1987) – it took me a while as I just watch 15 to 20 minutes at a time as I have my lunch. One of the things I was thinking about as I watched the film is what constitutes a ‘perfect film’ – i.e. giving something a rating of 10 on IMDb, for example (Details about Robocop on IMBd can be found here – Before re-watching the film, Robocop was a 9 for me (compared to the average of 7.6).

While the film was released in 1987, I don’t actually remember when I first saw it. I assume that I went to the cinema to see it – despite not yet being 18. But Robocop quickly became one of the cult must-see films (along with films such as Top Gun) amongst many at my school, Concord College. I wouldn’t be surprised if I went to see it more than once. Regardless of how many times I saw the film itself, I soon had a poster on my bedroom wall.

Soon there was also a Robocop computer game which I regularly played on my ZX Spectrum. This game was one of the few shoot-’em-up games I was even remotely good at (that the villains attacked in the same way each time helped, as you just had to learn the pattern, which suited my mathematical brain). On top of the computer game was the Original Soundtrack. I should probably have included this in my post on Influential Albums (and I think I did when I did a version of this post before on my personal Facebook timeline). I would often have the Robocop album on when playing other computer games (usually more strategy ones) and this is perhaps what started me not being able to work in silence.

I then remember seeing a cut-out of Robocop outside a cinema when on holiday in Isola in France one early Spring. While my parents went skiing, I used the outside pool (surrounded by snow – an early introduction to the delights of an rotemburo (outdoor hot spring) experience that I have had many times in Japan), went for walks, listened to music, and, I’m guessing, going to see Robocop again, though I don’t remember.

When the video for Robocop came out, I got a copy – despite how horrifically expensive it was. I needed to have a copy straight away. I watched this many, many times – though most notoriously I showed it to my cousin who wasn’t even 10 at the time. Not good when it came to some scenes. Sorry.

After that there was, of course, Robocop 2 – which was OK, but nothing like the first. I did, however, get the Japanese book of that film and this was, I’m slightly ashamed to say, the first book in Japanese that I ever attempted to read. As I was only in my first year at university, it was a struggle and although I could work out bits due to having seen the film, I don’t think I ever finished the book. It is on one of my bookshelves at work, however! I didn’t keep up with all the other Robocop releases – I did see the re-make, but it wasn’t a patch on the original.

But Robocop had made an impression on me. When JR Central released the 300 series shinkansen, I couldn’t help but see Robocop’s helmet as the front of the train.

A 300 series shinkansen

In 2022 Robocop returned to the cinema as part a 35 year anniversary celebration. Sadly, I didn’t get to see it. I did enjoy reading some of the stories about the film, however – such as this one in The Guardian. I also enjoyed an episode of the ‘The Podcast That Wouldn’t Die’ that covered the film. This episode introduced me to my favourite bit of Robocop trivia (which doesn’t seem to be on the IMDb entry at the moment) – one of the characters (Emil), after offering someone a cigarette, which is refused, delivers the line ‘Do you want to live forever?’ Funny enough as it is. Brilliant, however, because the actor, Paul McCrane, had also appeared in the TV series Fame (who wants to live forever). When I watched Robocop again recently, I particularly enjoyed the delivery of Emil’s line.

When I originally wrote my post My Top Movies and TV Shows, as I said, I gave Robocop a 9. It’s not perfect. But what movie or TV series ever is? I gave NCIS a 10 as I enjoy it so much – but there are some episodes which don’t deserve a 10. As for my favourite film, Jaws, it’s clearly a 10 (though I’d happily give the 3D version that I saw at the cinema recently an 11 (or more)), despite the few errors, etc., that exist in it. A 10 doesn’t mean perfection. At least not to me. It’s recognition that I enjoy the film for whatever reason – the storyline, the music, the acting, the nostalgia I associate with the film, etc. On that basis, I’m changing my rating for Robocop and giving it a 10 (and regretting even more that I didn’t get to see it on the big screen… perhaps a real 3D version will be out one day and I can catch that).


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