If the original RoboCop movie is any indication, sometimes life does imitate art.
The 1987 film shows a crime-ridden and financially ruined Detroit turning to a part-human, part-robot cop to police the streets. As far as I know, no cyborgs have ever patrolled the neighbourhoods of Motor City, but 27 years after the movie hit theatres, Michigan’s most populous city declared Chapter Nine, becoming the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.
Fosterwealth.com wrote, “With Detroit’s bankruptcy, we’ve seen much of RoboCop come to pass,” while screenwriter Ed Neumeier remembers a note written in the margin of his copy of the script, “The future left Detroit behind.”
The writer also told CNN, “We are now living in the world that I was proposing in RoboCop.”
The original Peter Weller movie lived at the centre of popular culture when it came out, spawning two sequels, a television series, two animated shows, a mini-series, video games and several comic books.
And today RoboCop is still a going concern.
Later this year a 10-foot-tall tribute statue will be unveiled in Detroit and this week a remake will become the first RoboCop movie to be released in IMAX.
The new RoboCop is an all-star affair, with Swedish star Joel Kinnaman as the title character and appearances from Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Jay Baruchel. Just don’t expect a straight-up copy. “I’m not trying to remake RoboCop,” says director José Padilha, “because I don’t think RoboCop is remake-able.”
Instead, Kinnaman says, the new film will be “realistic,” and “will have a satirical quality… It’s going to have that wink in the eye, but we’re not looking to replicate the [original director Paul] Verhoeven tone.”
The one thing the two films have in common for sure is that while both are set in Detroit, neither used the city as the principal shooting location. Verhoeven filmed his movie in Pennsylvania and Texas whereas the new movie was lensed mainly in Toronto and Vancouver.
Even criminals love RoboCop
Another incident illustrates how the film aided real life law enforcement… at least once.
A robbery suspect/movie fan in Sacramento, Calif., tried to elude police by hiding out in a movie theatre showing RoboCop. He became so immersed in the film he didn’t notice the cops evacuating the audience, leaving him alone and busted when the lights came on.