Review: Paul Verhoeven's 'RoboCop' in 4K Another Major Release from Arrow

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday May 16, 2022

Review: Paul Verhoeven's 'RoboCop' in 4K Another Major Release from Arrow

A very hard thing to achieve in filmmaking is the perfect, balanced marriage between social commentary and genuine drama. And it's even more rare that the social commentary of a film grows to prescient levels and only elevates the film as time rolls on. But with Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic "RoboCop," you get all of that. It's not only a rollicking big-budget action film, it also drives a stake right at the heart of the privatization of police forces in the United States. Rather than side with the overworked cops, "RoboCop" fleshes out a fictional future where drugs and violence run rampant, and corporations are the dealers.

Arrow Video has upgraded their previous Blu-ray edition of "RoboCop" to 4K Ultra HD with a winning release that pulls out all of the stops for Paul Verhoeven's classic. The brand-new Dolby Vision HDR suffuses the 4K presentation with incredible shadow detail, natural-looking film grain, and detail I hadn't noticed after decades of watching the film. While the brightness and vividness are turned up in the film, the presentation is very faithful to the source material. Just look at the optical effects in the opening minutes and you'll see that the 4K restoration preserves the dated look of those.

In a dystopian and crime-ridden Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the government to privatize the police force. OCP tests their new methods out on street cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller). After Murphy is led into a gangland shootout orchestrated by hardened criminal Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and is murdered, he's revived by OCP by using what's left of his physical mind and body to make a robotic police officer. At first, the newly minted RoboCop is racking up arrests like nobody's business, but soon Murphy's submerged memories start to haunt the cyborg.

Speaking of upgrades, if you have a home theater system capable of playing the newly produced Dolby Atmos 7.1 audio track, then you'll be ready to experience "RoboCop" like never before. The track is hugely immersive and makes great work at bringing the most out of the pulsing score, rollicking action sequences, and heightened dialogue.

As for special features, Arrow has ported over all of the features available on their 2019 releases of the film. That's not to say what Arrow provides here is just more of the same. Quite the opposite, as the previous Blu-ray editions of the film from Arrow were packed solid with interviews, making-of featurettes, trailers, commentaries, etc. to celebrate everyone's favorite robotic police officer. In particular, I highly recommend checking out the interview with co-writer Ed Neumeier, as he speaks breathlessly about his involvement in the film and how Verhoeven approached the production.

If you're looking for the ultimate edition of 1987's "RoboCop," you've found it here with Arrow Video's new release. From presentation to supplements, Arrow has truly knocked it out of the park for this classic. Dead or alive, you should pick this up!

Other special features include:

• Six collector's postcards (Limited Edition exclusive)

• Double-sided fold-out poster (Limited Edition exclusive)

• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork (Limited Edition exclusive)

• 80-page Limited Edition collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth, a 1987 Fangoria interview with Rob Bottin, and archive publicity materials (some contents exclusive to Limited Edition)

• Commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier (originally recorded for the Theatrical Cut and re-edited in 2014 for the Director's Cut)

• Commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon

• Commentary by fans Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart and Eastwood Allen

• "The Future of Law Enforcement: Creating RoboCop" — An interview with co-writer Michael Miner

• "Truth of Character" — An interview with star Nancy Allen on her role as Lewis

• "Casting Old Detroit" — An interview with casting director Julie Selzer on how the film's ensemble cast was assembled

• "Connecting the Shots" — An interview with second unit director and frequent Verhoeven collaborator Mark Goldblatt

• "Analog" — A featurette focusing on the special photographic effects, including new interviews with Peter Kuran and Kevin Kutchaver

• "More Man Than Machine: Composing RoboCop" — A tribute to composer Basil Poledouris featuring film music experts Jeff Bond, Lukas Kendall, Daniel Schweiger and Robert Townson

• "RoboProps" — A tour of super-fan Julien Dumont's collection of original props and memorabilia

• 2012 Q&A with the Filmmakers, a panel discussion featuring Verhoeven, Davison, Neumeier, Miner, Allen, star Peter Weller and animator Phil Tippett

• "RoboCop: Creating A Legend," "Villains of Old Detroit," "Special Effects: Then & Now" — Three archive featurettes from 2007 featuring interviews with cast and crew

• Paul Verhoeven Easter Egg

• Four deleted scenes

• The Boardroom: Storyboard with commentary by Phil Tippett

• "Director's Cut Production Footage" — Raw dailies from the filming of the unrated gore scenes, presented in 4K (SDR)

• Two theatrical trailers and three TV spots

• Extensive image galleries

"RoboCop" is now available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Arrow Video.