Robocop Prime Directives: Dark Justice
Robocop Prime Directives: Dark Justice 2001
While the two Robocop sequels aren’t that well known at this point, they did at least get a theatrical release. What’s even lesser known is this Canadian miniseries that takes place ten years after the events of the first movie and moves things away from Detroit to Delta City, and yet continues to have multiple flashbacks from Murphy’s time as a police officer in Detroit. This is the first of those movies and while it’s not quite the TV series or cartoon which made Robocop much more family friendly, this returns to the violent and satiric tone of the first film, although with much less talent behind the writing, acting, and special effects. It’s an interesting concept, but very little was done with it to make things more interesting than a low budget, TV movie.
One odd little bit of trivia is that both the IMDB and Wikipedia entries for this movie mention how it takes place 13 years after the first Robocop movie, but within the first act of the movie, they have a news report that specifically mentions that it’s the ten year anniversary of the Robocop program. And although he’s had ten years worth of practice, Alex Murphy still behaves just like he did when he first became Robocop. He’s very robotic and doesn’t entirely seem to understand human emotions. It would have made more sense to have a ten year old Robocop be more human, more relaxed, more used to the job and the situation he’s in. There are a few signs that he’s nearly obsolete, considering that his repair team is down to just a single elderly woman, and he has some battle damage on his armor, and the program never created a second Robocop. At least, not until the next episode.
It’s also odd that while this movie takes place far into the future, it actually spends quite a bit of time in the past, as the new head of security also happened to be Alex Murphy’s partner back while he was still a cop in Detroit. Not only that, but Murphy’s son is now fully grown and has become an executive over at OCP. Even at quite possibly the end of Robocop’s life, it’s just odd to bring back all these connections to the past. It just makes it become a redundant story that has been told more or less in all three previous theatrical movies. Robocop has already overcome his robotic tendencies in order to find his inner humanity as Alex Murphy.
As far as the action goes, the entire thing is quite obviously a very low budget. But they try to make up for the low budget with some blood and gore that would bring it much closer to its R-rated original movie rather than the PG-13 rated TV movie or American series before it. The big villain for Robocop to fight is Bone Machine who honestly barely gets any screen time and gets dispatched pretty easily all things considered.
Where it does do a few interesting things is how it brings back the news segments and occasional callbacks to the earlier movies to add a level of satire to the generically violent action movie. There are a few nice little jokes like how the news is advertising a movie to be released at the end of the week that is about the events of the news that is happening right at the moment. Not only that, but when the facts about the news changes, the title of that movie also changes to reflect the story. In the future, entertainment moves fast.
It’s mainly just disappointing because there are so many different ways that they could have gone with in looking at an obsolete Robocop. But instead, they just rehash some of the same plots that were used in the earlier movies with a few different twists. There’s something suspicious going on within OCP with some infighting and a mysterious city-wide project led by an up and coming executive. There’s some cover-ups and warring factions within OCP itself and everyone’s just trying to further their own goals. It seems to take forever for them to reveal that James Murphy is Robocop’s son even though it’s extremely rare for two characters in a movie to share the same last name without being related whether or not you remember that his son’s name was Jimmy. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this film though it does set up another redundant story that took place in at least one of the theatrical sequels in the creation of basically Robocop 2. It had a lot of potential where it could have looked at Robocop in plenty of different and interesting ways, and while it did bring back some of the news satire present in the first movie and the darker and more violent tone, it just failed on so many other levels that it’s easy to see why this basically faded into obscurity. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.