The original ROBOCOP is a masterpiece. It’s also one of those movies that I saw at far too young an age that has forever been embedded into my brain, and which only made me want to see more R Rated movies. The many sequels, TV spin-offs, cartoons, comics and recent remake can never hold a candle to that original ROBOCOP movie, because it happens to be one of those rare cinematic “lightning in a bottle” scenarios. BUT, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to love about the subsequent ROBOCOP projects that have come over the years!
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Scream Factory had obtained both ROBOCOP 2 and 3 as part of their line, and now that both discs are officially out, do they warrant the upgrade? Yes. If you, like me, are completely obsessed with the behind-the-scenes development of these indelible movies.
Both discs are loaded with special features, but the primary retrospective docs uncover a lot of fun tid-bits and interesting trivia that I figured you, our devoted readers, would appreciate. These barely scratch the surface of what you’ll find on these releases, making them must-owns for die-hard ROBOCOP fans, but just to whet your appetite, here are 8 things we learned from these Blu-Ray collector’s editions!
The First Sequel Attempt: The Unmade ROBOCOP II: CORPORATE WARS
There was a point where all the key principles were in place to tackle a “ROBOCOP 2.” Director Paul Verhoeven and writers Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner came in and hashed out a story for the first script, which was tentatively titled “ROBOCOP II: CORPORATE WARS.” According to author Paul M. Sammon, Robocop fell in love with the brain of a woman that was essentially connected to everything, an early nod to the “world wide web,” perhaps? The opening saw Robocop immediately destroyed by a mortar, and coming back to life 25 years later. OCP employees put him back together and revive him, for a new story set in the future. Verhoeven, Neumeier and Miner eventually walked away from the project, but the above story makes sense for the writer they did end up going to, considering he applied a similar plotline to the World’s Greatest Detective…
From THE DARK KNIGHT to ROBOCOP
Because of Orion’s financial troubles, they wanted to make ROBOCOP 2 and 3 simultaneously in an attempt to save the company from bankruptcy. Since the original had made so much money, it seemed like a sure deal. Frank Miller was brought in for his first Hollywood project, because of the success of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. He had drafted the screenplay for ROBOCOP 2, as well as an detailed outline for what ROBOCOP 3 would be, although he never ended up working on that second sequel. Years later, Avatar Press produced a 9 issues series that properly adapted Miller’s original vision for a comic book titled “Frank Miller’s ROBOCOP.”
Tim Hunter was the original director of ROBOCOP 2
The director of RIVER’S EDGE and multiple episodes of TWIN PEAKS, DEXTER, HANNIBAL and MTV’s SCREAM was the first director brought on board after Paul Verhoeven left the project. He was paired up with Frank Miller, but left shortly thereafter and Irvin Kerschner (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) was brought in as his replacement.
Frank Miller Saw Galyn Gorg As The Perfect Live-Action “Elektra”
Galyn Gorg, who played Angie, Cain’s companion, got along great with writer Frank Miller. In fact, Miller thought if there was ever to be a live-action version of Elektra in 1990, Galyn would’ve been perfect to play her. He would know! Before redefining Batman in the comics, he completely revitalized Daredevil for Marvel comics, and created the character of Elektra! Looking at the above pic, he was definitely spot on with that pick!
THE MONSTER SQUAD Led To ROBOCOP 3
In between the time that ROBOCOP 1 and 2 had come out, and leading up to the upcoming 3rd chapter, the perception of Robocop had changed quite a bit. There were Robocop toys marketed towards children. There was also a Robocop cartoon. And kids had probably grown up watching the original Robocop on cable or VHS. The producers saw Fred Dekker’s THE MONSTER SQUAD, a kid friendly monster movie that also dealt with scary monsters and thought he’d be the ideal director that could balance those tones, and deliver a more kid-friendly version of Robocop. Hence, he was brought on to helm the PG-13 version of Robocop to the best of his abilities.
Shane Black And Fred Dekker Were Originally Asked To Rewrite Frank Miller’s ROBOCOP 3 Script
At that point, both Black and Dekker had written THE MONSTER SQUAD, and initially the pair were asked to rewrite Miller’s script for ROBOCOP 3, which was basically a rough draft Miller had culled together from un-used ideas for ROBOCOP 2. Black was reluctant and already writing scripts for THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT and THE LAST BOY SCOUT. But when the offer came back for Dekker to also direct, he felt he couldn’t say no.
Peter Weller Respectfully Turned Down ROBOCOP 3 In Person
It was fairly obvious early on that Peter Weller was not going to do ROBOCOP 3. After all, he was fully committed at this point to doing David Cronenberg’s NAKED LUNCH. But regardless, he came in to personally meet with director Fred Dekker to explain why he couldn’t do the movie in person, which is a rarity with actors. Dekker has always held the actor in high esteem for doing this. Respect!
Fred Dekker Takes Full Responsibility For ROBOCOP 3
Joel Schumacher has spent years taking full responsibility and apologizing for BATMAN AND ROBIN. In a similar fashion, Dekker takes all the responsibility for ROBOCOP 3. He admits on the new documentary that if he had to do it all over again, he would’ve concentrated on more of the action sequences and tried to deliver action like we’ve never seen before. He also would rather have gotten someone else to rewrite the script so he could focus solely on the directing part of the filmmaking process, and have some perspective. He admits to being a far better writer now as opposed to back then, and regrets not being able to give his actors better stuff to work with. 10 years after the movie came out (and even still to this day!), he’s still thinking of weird ideas he wished he could’ve done. He’s unhappy with a lot of aspects of the film, but he loves the flow of it, and recommends watching it with the sound turned off to appreciate the transitions and flow of the entire piece.
ROBOCOP 2 and 3 are now available in special “collector’s editions” from Scream Factory, and loaded with bonus features.
Any excuse I can use to share Screen Junkie’s Honest Trailer for ROBOCOP, I’ll take! So I leave you with this brilliant love letter to the original.