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CinemaDome: Robocop vs Total Recall

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06 Dec 2016 21:47 #239999 by Jackwraith
At the root level, I'd love to say Total Recall because the capacity to tell a really awesome story is there. First, it's Philip K. Dick, so you know you're going to get something at least mildly intriguing. And, even better, it's kind of his central premise: Am I actually here and experiencing this or is it just some twisted fantasy that my mind is creating to protect me? Or, even worse, is it a fantasy someone else has implanted in me in order to protect them from me? OR...? And it keeps going. There was a lot there to toy around with but Verhoeven kinda stuck to the guns and explosions end of the action thriller genre, which is disappointing. Plus, you have to feel sympathy for Michael Ironside continually getting stuck in those one-note roles. You'd think he was so angry all the time on screen because of it (he's also a method actor who stays in character throughout production, so maybe he WAS really pissed.) But the production was kinda cheap for everything they were doing and Schwarzenegger was still just Arnie. The only really memorable performance, of course, was Mel Johnson as Benny ("I got five kids to feed!") and there was a lot more money and attention applied to the special effects than to the screenplay or much of anything else.

Robocop, OTOH, attempted to apply some real world sensibility to the SF story. The script, again, isn't great, but it never pretends to aspire to anything higher. Even the social issues pushed to the forefront are just vehicles for the killing machine masquerading as a cop. If you're willing to accept it at that level, then it delivers exactly what you expect. As others have noted in the thread, Kurtwood Smith was the highlight of the performances as Clarence Boddicker, no matter if he's the hardass ("Hey! Take a look at my face, Dick! He was trying to kill me!") or the dealmaker ("Well, I guess we're gonna be friends after all... Richard.") The other aspect that makes it the better film is that the world was more embedded in the story. It's an easier thing to do when you're doing "near future" of cyborgs and the 2000 SUX than the farther future of space travel and holograms, but the inclusion of commercialism to the cultural attitudes of the story are what really sell it for me ("Nuke'Em. Get them before they get you.") Verhoeven would do a similar thing with the slogans and propaganda in Starship Troopers and I agree with MB that that's a better film than either of these (and easily the funniest and probably smartest of Verhoeven's career.)

Not much I can say that hasn't already been said. Robocop is the easy winner here.

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06 Dec 2016 22:56 - 06 Dec 2016 22:57 #240002 by Shellhead

Vlad wrote:

Shellhead wrote: Since we're already talking about Paul Verhoeven, I just want to say that Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds is a tame imitation of Verhoeven's excellent Black Book.


Black Book is very good and I'd say is the most coherent and less slapstick Verhoven movie since his early days. Both it and Basterds explore some similar themes, that haven't been explored in a WWII movie before. And, knowing Tarantino, he's not the kind of a person to have missed Black Book. And he would definitely feel inspired (read: steal whatever he feels is worth stealing). And yet, Black Book does not do it better than Basterds on any level. But thanks for reminding me about it, I haven't watched it in a long time!


The only things that I loved about Inglorious Basterds were the high stakes conversations involving Christopher Waltz. The tension in those scenes was like nitroglycerin. Everything else about the movie displeased me. Brat Pitt, phoning in yet another lame performance, a shadow of his early work. The goofy antics of the Inglorious Basterds themselves. The meta-ness of the movie theater scene. The utterly wrong music selections. Don't get me wrong, I have vast appreciation for Tarantino's taste in music, but a period piece should have period-appropriate music, period. Inglorious Basterds was a turning point in Tarantino's career, and not for the better. It might be a better movie sheerly based on Waltz's performance, but Black Book was a bold and unflinching look at certain lesser known aspects of the same war.
Last edit: 06 Dec 2016 22:57 by Shellhead.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Matt Thrower, Black Barney

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07 Dec 2016 01:58 #240005 by Vlad
Well, a movie in which Hitler gets wacked in a way that would've made BJ Blazkowicz proud, should not be concerned with soundtrack inaccuracies. Besides, it's David Bowie and Bowie is timeless. Barry Lyndon would have been a better movie if it had more Bowie.

And although I love Pitt in Basterds, I agree that this movie belongs to Waltz. And he's playing a similar character to the bad guy in Black Book, and exposing the same kind of turncoat dilemmas that so few WWII movies are concerned about. But I don't remember the bad guy in Black Book, and I do remember Hans Landa. Which is actually the same thing you're saying, now that I think of it. So, yeah, if it wasn't for Waltz, Black Book could have stood toe to toe with Basterds, definitely. Now I really want to watch it again, Carice Van Houten and that German guy whose name I don't remember were awesome there, and all the post-war scenes, too, and the fact that it takes place in Holland. It's a shame Verhoeven will be remembered for his Hollywood schlock more than for this or Flesh+Blood.
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07 Dec 2016 07:39 #240009 by JEM
Robocop, possibly more relevant today even than when it was made.

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07 Dec 2016 08:21 #240011 by Mr. White
Winner!


10 - 9

I'm pretty sure I watched the Robocop remake at some point, but don't remember much about. I only recall him jumping around on 3-4 ED 209s near the end like he was some low rent Spider-man. Never saw the Total Recall remake, but I think I'm good.

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07 Dec 2016 12:10 #240040 by Black Barney
Don't ever see the Total Recall remake Jeffie. It's literally worse than the Holocaust

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07 Dec 2016 12:11 #240041 by Jexik
I wanna play NUKEM

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09 Dec 2016 17:01 #240276 by quozl
Robocop 2

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