Tag Archives: Peter Weller

RoboCop (1987) Review

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Robocop

Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Peter Weller as Alex Murphy/RoboCop
Nancy Allen as Anne Lewis
Daniel O’Herlihy as The Old Man
Ronny Cox as Dick Jones
Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker
Miguel Ferrer as Bob Morton
Director: Paul Verhoeven

In a dystopic and crime-infested Detroit, a terminally injured policeman (Peter Weller) returns to the force as a potent cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

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RoboCop was a classic action sci-fi movie from the 1980s. 34 years later, it remains not only a staple for iconic 1980s action films, but also one of the most intelligent and satirical, and it surprisingly holds up all these years later.

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RoboCop could’ve been dismissed as enjoyable action fare from the 80s, but categorising this film as just a B-level action movie doesn’t do it justice. In fact, oncoming years have only allowed the value of the film to become clearer than ever. It is one of the most intelligent B-movies, flawlessly blending sharp satire and grand sci-fi action. RoboCop is a smart and sharply written satire of America’s warped, violent culture of vanity and the state of said culture. It lashes out at the division between the rich and the poor alongside the growing industrialism running rampant across the screen. It also covers Reagan era economics, corporate privatization of public services, corrupt politics, consumerism, capitalism, and of course militarisation of police. What used to feel like a cautionary tale about the near future’s rise of corporate fascism now just feels like a documentary of today, and much of the movie remains relevant as ever. Paul Verhoeven’s satire isn’t subtle but in RoboCop it is only fitting that everything is so distinctly in your face, it suits the nature and style of the film so perfectly. At the same time, RoboCop also works as a B-movie sci-fi flick. It is very cheesy from the over-the-top action moments to the dialogue, but it was also witty, well made and well paced across its roughly hour and 40 minute runtime, with not one wasted scene. It seems like it should feel dated but as said earlier, it was ahead of its time. As goofy as the movie is, it’s also violent, vulgar and schlocky. The main character is technically killed within 20 minutes in such a brutal way, establishing the tone for the rest of the movie. There’s also all the little touches of worldbuilding throughout for this futuristic setting, such as the automated greeting unit for prospective house hunters, and the ads poking fun at consumer culture.

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The cast all perform well in their parts. Peter Weller convincingly portrays RoboCop even under the bulky suit and helmet. He really immerses himself as the character, giving him a real, profound depth. The supporting cast are good in their parts too. However among them, it’s the cast of villains who shine the most, especially Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith and Miguel Ferrer.

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Paul Verhoeven’s direction is great. Although it takes place sometime in the future, the film makes little attempt to look that much futuristic beyond its cyborg lead. The design, costumes and locations are steeped in the look and feel of the 1980s, giving the film both a recognisability and a lived-in aesthetic. The effects are sometimes rough but mostly well-rendered, and the practical effects are fantastic. There’s even some stop motion, while that does look dated, it does add something to the style and feel of the movie. The violence of RoboCop is especially unrestrained, and there are many uses of authentic looking effects for the gore.

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RoboCop works as both an 80s action B movie, and a social satire, goofy and entertaining, yet very intelligent and relevant. It’s been said many times but it’s surprising how well it holds up over a few decades later. I’d go so far as to say that RoboCop is essential viewing, especially if you’re a fan of action movies.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) Review

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Alice Eve as Lieutenant Dr. Carol Marcus
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Peter Weller as Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike
Director: J.J. Abrams

The crew of the Starship Enterprise returns home after an act of terrorism within its own organization destroys most of Starfleet and what it represents, leaving Earth in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) leads his people (Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana) on a mission to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction (Benedict Cumberbatch), thereby propelling all of them into an epic game of life and death.

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JJ Abrams’s Star Trek was loved upon its 2009 release by regular audience members and Star Trek fans alike. Yet for some reason some people really didn’t like its 2013 sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness. I personally liked it slightly more than the previous movie, in regards to its villain and some of the action. But for the most part it is pretty similar to the original movie, same great actors and characters, similar action, it’s overall a pretty good sequel to the original film.

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Now unlike a lot of Star Trek movies where it goes to many different planets and sites “Going where no man has gone before”, it doesn’t happen that much here, aside from a couple of brief scenes, it mostly takes place upon ships, which I guess doesn’t make it that much of a Star Trek movie. The plot (or dark tone for that matter) isn’t something that you’d expect from a Star Trek movie. However I’m still fine with this, then again I’m not that huge of a Star Trek fan. It does have plenty of callbacks to previous Star Trek films, especially Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, almost to the point of parody but I still liked them, even for as cheesy or ridiculous they may seem looking back. After seeing this movie a few times, I did notice that there were some plot holes and conveniences in the story, but nothing major to take away from the overall experience.

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The cast from the previous film returns and once again were great here, particularly Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, who really own their roles. Both of these actors share great chemistry and you can easily see their friendship. All the other returning cast members did a great job as well, which consists of Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and many others. I also really liked Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain. Eric Bana did a fine job in the previous movie as a villain but he was sort of restricted and just wasn’t as memorable. Cumberbatch has much more to work with however and was a lot more memorable, every time he’s on screen he conveys such a presence. It helps that his character was presented as being such an unstoppable force, and really had a lot more focus on him.

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JJ Abrams always makes a great looking movie and Star Trek: Into Darkness is no exception. The visuals and effects are on point and are truly done great, it’s so easy to get pulled into this movie. Yes, there is plenty of lens flares once again but I didn’t really mind them, that’s part of Abrams’s style. The action was once again great and even better than the previous film. The music by Michael Giacchino was once again really good and it helped elevate the scenes. On the technical side at least, Star Trek: Into Darkness is directed perfectly.

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Star Trek: Into Darkness is in my opinion another great addition to the Star Trek series. It has the action, performances and story that the previous movie had. It may have a couple of plot holes and conveniences in the script at times but it’s not enough to lessen the enjoyment that I had watching this movie. With Star Trek Beyond, it’s hard to see how Justin Lin can make it as good as or better than Abrams’s two Star Trek movies but we’ll just have to wait and see.