Near the end of the magnificent four-part series RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop, co-writers and co-directors Eastwood Allen and Christopher Griffiths pose a question: how many fathers of 8-year-old kids allowed them to see the graphic, gory classic RoboCop when it was new? Well, my dad let me, claiming he did not know it would be so bloody and violent. The violence and the sheer power of the film blew me away. In reference to now-adults like me, executive producer Jon Davidson goes so far as to say, “It’s a wonder that you’re not, you know, a complete serial killer or something. I mean God!”
I’ve always had a strong opinion against the argument that violent movies and video games are highly influential on children for this very reason. If anyone would have been affected, it would have been me growing up with things like this and Mortal Kombat. But here I am, an upstanding member of society, writing for Film Threat. Maybe that last part isn’t such a good example, so I digress.
I expected a fantastic documentary about the creation of RoboCop when I saw the talent involved. Griffiths made the highly entertaining films Pennywise: The Story of It and Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story. Even still, this series exceeded my high expectations by giving you everything a fan could want. Stars Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Ray Wise, and Kurtwood Smith are all here. Writer/producer Edward Neumeier and the aforementioned Davidson get a good amount of screen time. The main man himself, director Paul Verhoeven, is interviewed. They, along with many others, dish the dirt on behind-the-scenes stories and conflicts. My favorite is when Weller apparently threw a tantrum as RoboCop over Oreo cookies. The film’s message and power as a whole are deconstructed, and individual scenes and elements are broken down.
“…about the creation of RoboCop…”
I’m willing to bet that you will not see another movie documentary more comprehensive than RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop. I mean, not counting the bonus features, there’s almost five hours of footage, which is a dream come true for fans. The personalities of Weller and Verhoeven are so creatively unique but also confrontational that you can’t take your eyes off them or their insane stories on set. Verhoeven grew up in The Hague, seeing dead bodies all around from World War II, desensitizing him to the extreme violence he puts on screen. At the same time, he creates such an emotional bond between the main characters and the audience while sneaking in hilarious and contemporary social commentary. When you blend those elements together, it makes for a sci-fi movie for the ages.
Verhoeven was so obsessed with Christ and the Crucifixion at the time of production that he turned the main character of Murphy into, interestingly (whether you’re a believer or not), a Christ-like figure. The whole concept on the surface seems absurd, but it works so well largely due to Verhoeven and everyone contributing nicely with creativity and ad-libs. This documentary works in much the same way.
I grade movies on what they’re trying to accomplish, and as far as RoboCop docs go, I could not imagine anything better. This movie literally covers everything one could hope for. It’s as if RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop is saying to other pop culture documentaries, “Your move, creep.” There’s even a funny Stan Lee story to be unearthed that relates to The Terminator. “‘Nuff said.”
"…could not imagine anything better."