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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is more of a bloodbath than you probably remember. Numerous characters are killed onscreen, many weapons are used, and there are some truly gruesome scenes, like when a policeman's hand and arm are shot off. Some characters snort cocaine, one off a woman's breasts; others commit crimes such as rape (attempted, taunting a woman with a knife before help arrives) and armed robbery. A corporation that controls the local police force is portrayed as corrupt.
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What's the story?
In a crime-plagued future, Detroit is controlled by a corporation called the OCP, which is trying to develop a robotic law-enforcement agent. Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) is searching for a human volunteer for his "RoboCop" cyborg experiment, and he finds one in newly transferred Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller). While on a dangerous assignment, Murphy is seriously injured and winds up becoming Morton's RoboCop, an organic system composed of titanium and Kevlar. All that remains of Murphy is his face, which is only partially visible under a mask and helmet. Soon, RoboCop is on the beat and making news with his heroic crime-fighting techniques. But RoboCop begins to have dreams and flashbacks of his past life, and his efforts to learn about his history lead him to expose a corrupt member of OCP.
Is it any good?
ROBOCOP could have been a great sci-fi movie for pre-teens. Its premise, after all, is fascinating: A police officer is transformed into a law-enforcing cyborg after being killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately, director Paul Verhoeven drenches his film in so much violence and profanity -- and occasional overacting -- that even some adults might feel squeamish.
Weller does a good job of humanizing RoboCop, and Allen is tough and loyal as his partner. The scenes of RoboCop's engineering are intriguing, and it's fun to watch him make the bad guys squirm. Still, some of the movie feels dated and over the top. In spite of that, Robocop still remains a thought-provoking action movie that examines the use of technology and the abuse of power.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it is ethical for OCP to turn Murphy into a cyborg when he never volunteered for the experiment. Does the corporation care more about money and fame or protecting the city's residents? What does this movie have in common with the Terminator series and with some M-rated video games?