Keynote: RoboCop—half-man, half-machine, all Detroit

I’ve been linking lately to several of these Dissolve “keynotes”, where a movie of the week gets dissected and kicked off with an extended essay on the film’s themes and impact. And for good reason; the writing is uniformly excellent, and every so often there’s a selection that I’m already a huge fan of. Case in point, 1987’s violent, lurid action/social satire RoboCop:

The dualities of RoboCop are also reflected in the movie itself, a sleek hybrid of genres, creators, motives, and influences: hyper-violent 1980s action and dystopian science fiction, two American writers and a Dutch director, commercial savvy and artistic ambition, real-world blight and comic-book cartoonishness. Like RoboCop himself, the film is a complex organism that’s made to seem stark and simple, and it makes other Hollywood action movies look like ED-209—big, lumbering machines that look fearsome, but sputter, pop, and break down with alarming frequency.