Episodes viewed: 4 of 4
Launched as a Kickstarter in 2015, this passion project from RoboCop superfans Christopher Griffiths and Eastwood Allen finally arrives in all its Kevlar-laminated titanium glory. One of the longest ‘making of’s this side of Peter Jackson, RoboDoc is an exhaustive look at the creation of Paul Verhoeven’s pulpy, gory, indelible 1987 classic.
It’s hard to overstate the sheer amount of material on display here. If you were involved in RoboCop and are still alive, chances are Griffiths and Allen interviewed you. Every single scene is covered; everyone from Verhoeven and man-behind-the-mask Peter Weller, down to a kid whose short scene didn’t even make the final cut, appear as talking heads.
This is the equivalent of a lifetime’s supply of baby food for RoboFans: no stone is left unturned, no painful experience with squibs unmentioned, no iconic line of dialogue unrepeated by actors who spoke them nearly 40 years ago. Verhoeven is ebullient, giddily describing the film’s action as “the bang-bang and the shoot-shoot”, while Weller is frighteningly intense, even when candidly discussing the many sexual liaisons he undertook in his trailer.
Griffiths and Allen have lovingly produced a slick, zippily edited, rollercoaster ride through what was and what could have been, with comic-book-style animations imagining scenes that never made it to film, and interviews enhanced with fun, tongue-in-cheek effects — whenever an actor mimics firing a gun, muzzle flashes and sound effects are added to spice up the story.
If anything’s disappointing here, it’s the glossing over of any analysis of RoboCop’s coruscating satire of Reaganomics, its Jesus metaphors and its thoughtful existentialism. RoboDoc is very much a soup-to-nuts look at one film’s creation, and a better structure might have allowed these ideas to breathe rather than be shoved aside for another anecdote about how great it was to shoot a massive gun.