Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quadruple Feature - Robocop: Prime Directives

Genre - Action/Sci-Fi
Year Released - 2000/2001
Running Time - 374 minutes [each film is approximately 94 minutes in length]
Directed by Julian Grant
Written by Joseph O'Brien & Brad Abraham
*Based on characters created by Edward Neumeier (the original Robocop and Starship Troopers films) and Michael Miner (the original Robocop, Lawnmower Man 2, and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid)
Cast Includes:
Page Fletcher (who was originally offered the role of Robocop in 1994!)
Maurice Dean Wint (Cube)
Kevin Jubinville
Maria del Mar
Anthony Lemke (American Psycho)
Leslie Hope (Teri Bauer from 24)
Geraint Wyn Davies (Nicholas Knight from Forever Knight)

Overall Rating: 2 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Thirteen years after the original Robocop, Delta City - considered to be the "safest place on earth" - has become a futuristic city owned and operated by OCP, and Robocop - Alex Murphy - has begun to feel his age. Murphy finds himself nearly obsolete, and must deal with the fact that his now-grown son, James, is an OCP executive - unaware that his father is still alive.
Also, Murphy's former partner, John Cable, has returned to Delta City as its new Security Commander.

But slowly, new enemies arise, and Murphy and Cable begin an investigation into a mysterious villain known as the Bone Machine, unaware that they are coming dangerously close to exposing an evil group of OCP executives known as The Trust. . . which James Murphy is a part of.
Desperate to prevent their sinister plans from being revealed, The Trust programs Murphy to kill John Cable. . . blah, blah, blah

Being a huge fan of the original Robocop [one of my all-time favorite action films!] I was, of course, hesitant when I first heard the news of the planned Robocop "re-boot" - that is until I heard that it is going to be in the hands of Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, and last year's The Wrestler - which I haven't seen yet, but am looking forward to) Anyhow, Aronofsky has warned that he plans to return to the ultra-violence found in the original [which sounds good to me - especially after this watered-down mini-series! Now, It will really make my day if the new film comes out NC-17!] The script is being written by David Self (the man who wrote the script behind this year's re-make of The Wolf Man) The "re-boot" of Robocop is planned for a 2010 release.

Now, where was I? Oh yes - this mini-series. . . For those of you who may be unaware [I certainly was, until I started looking into the new Robocop] Prime Directives is a Canadian mini-series comprised of four films: Dark Justice and Meltdown were released in 2000 and Resurrection and Crash & Burn were released in 2001.

Rather than rating these films individually [watching them back-to-back, they all sort-of merged together] I have simply given them all a lump 2 Skull rating [which, as you know, simply means wait for television - the reason I rented them from Netflix was because they were each R-rated [which gave me hope, since the last lack-luster feature was rated PG-13] Alas, this R-rating meant absolutely nothing. . . [Also, since this is a series of films, they are all intertwined - you can't really see one, without having seen the others before it]

In case you are still curious, here's a brief break-down of each segment:

In Dark Justice, we find out that the powers that be, behind OCP, are creating a new massive computer called S.A.I.N.T. [Sentient Artificial Intelligence Neurainet Terminus] which will do everything for everyone. . . there is also a horribly silly terrorist named Bone Machine
[Yes, I have just summed up the entire 94 minutes running time for you]
At the end of this film, Robocop is given a 4th directive [remember, the 3 main directives are: 1. Serve the Public Trust 2. Protect the Innocent 3. Uphold the Law] this 4th directive is to Terminate John Cable *****spoiler alert***** If you know Robocop at all, then you should know that he can't very well just simply dismiss a directive programmed directly into him, so the outcome of this shouldn't really be a surprise. . .

One of the things that I did like about this mini-series were the commercials used within the film [just like in the original!] In Meltdown, one of the 1st commercials we see is that "Robocop is becoming too violent" and we are asked, "Is he a Metal Messiah or Frankenstein's mistake?" What's going on here, is that OCP is trying to turn the people against Robocop - why, you may ask? *****spoiler alert***** Because OCP now has an upgraded replacement - RoboCable [remember the name of Murphy's partner?] I actually liked the newer/sleeker upgrade look of RoboCable

A picture of RoboCable

Resurrection, the 3rd film, is when things were beginning to feel old after a while - you know - "we've seen that already - nothing new here" feeling. It was also around this time that I began to wonder why Robocop and RoboCable never run out of ammo. . . In this film however, we are finally introduced to Geraint Wyn Davies' character [I'm not sure why, but I like him, and after sitting through two films, with his name on the credits, I was looking forward to his appearance] Without giving anything away [just in case someone still wants to see these films] Davies' character is cool and brings an interesting twist into the story.

In the 4th and final film - Crash & Burn - everything [obviously] comes to a conclusion, and we finally get to see *****spoiler alert***** the climactic battle/face-off between Robocop & RoboCable [but in all honesty, it's not really all worth it]

For those who still may care, at this point, here's the trailer:

So, with all of the above said and done, this series is really only for die-hard Robocop fans who may want to watch something until the "re-boot" comes about. . .

I'll leave you with a cool picture that I found, while looking for one of RoboCable:



when is evil cool? said...

i'm looking forward to the Aronofsky reboot.

i saw the original Robocop when i was really young. it was one of the 1st R rated movies i ever saw. the rest were just so so and started really coming off the rails 1/2 wat through the 2nd one.

thanks for taking one for the team. i'm removing the Prime Directives from my netfliks list. thanks for saving me the time.

The Lightning Bug said...

When I started reading your review I was like, oh cool a Robocop miniseries, but after reading it I'm glad I found out here what the skinny is.

I as well will be awaiting the reboot. I didn't know Aronofsky was attached, and that fact gives me some hope. (and I also want to the The Wrestler really badly).

Anyhow great reivew and thanks for warning me.

thebonebreaker said...

Evil & LB,

We all do our fair share watching the undesirables out there :-)

I am glad you guys read this review, and thus saved yourselves 6 hours! :-)

You can bet that I will be there, on opening day, when the re-boot finally does come out, so stay tuned . . .


Film-Book dot Com said...

Now, where was I? Oh yes - this mini-series. . . For those of you who may be unaware [I certainly was, until I started looking into the new Robocop] Prime Directives is a Canadian mini-series comprised of four films: Dark Justice and Meltdown were released in 2000 and Resurrection and Crash & Burn were released in 2001.

I watched these years ago on the sci-fi channel. They actually promoted that they were going to show the films.

Are you kidding about the R-rating? This series earned it. You may be desensitized. Inside and Martyrs will do that.

I loved the commercials. They were hilarious.

We have vastly different opinions on the Series.

Here is mine:

thebonebreaker said...

Film-Book, thanks for the info, and you may be right, unfortunately, about the desensitization factor...

I will check out your review, when I can.