Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cool Individuality

In contemporary times, cool is not the word I would use to describe Robocop. Instead, I would probably say it’s a classic satirical action movie that should be appreciated for what it was during the time. The slow, moving machines and computer noises are annoying now, but in the eighties it was state of the art. Of course, the satire is probably the true cool aspect of this movie. By missing the satire, the movie just seems a bit goofy and over the top; however, watching the movie with the understanding that it’s a satire makes it cool. So, rather than the actors, characters, or situations being cool, the writer and director are the cool ones because they step out of the box and write a criticism about how things should be changed. They have the courage to step up against the mainstream and challenge widely accepted ideas. In American society, voicing your opinion is less revolutionary than other places where the government controls free speech. Regardless, it’s still cool when a person stands up for their ideals, examples of this in an extreme situation would be people like Gandhi, Malcolm X, or Harvey Milk. So, while the creator of this movie is no Gandhi, he still fights for what he believes in.

Robocop has all of the ingredients of a badass besides one key component; he is not human. A major factor in cool is being able to surpass normal human flaws and temptations and take human abilities to a whole new level. This is why it was necessary to emphasize Robocop’s humanity because, as a robot, he can’t be cool anymore than a car or a cell phone. Technology is an accessory to a person’s cool; for instance, James Bond is cool because of the guns, cars, and spy tools. The man who created Robocop was greedy and malevolent which reflected on Robocop; I saw Robocop as a sort of Frankenstein, not cool. Instead of being cool, Robocop is pitiful. He lost his life being a heroic cop, was turned into some corporate science experiment, and had his family and life ripped away. Robocop had no say in his own destiny and was ultimately at the disposal of a corporation. He was a programmed computer, not a free-willed individual which was what kept him from achieving cool status.

Robocop presents a sort of cool individuality. The writer employs humor and a popular genre, action, as a medium for expressing his serious opinions about privatization. He captures a large audience and conveys his ideas through film. So, for once, this film, ironically, shows a sort of behind the scenes cool, not an in-your-face, hyper masculine cool.


  1. I agree with you; I didn't really see Robocop as the cool, action hero some people seemed to think he was. I thought he was more pathetic than anything, perhaps even a martyr to some degree in that he was sacrificed to show the rest of humanity the evils of corporation.

  2. Why don't you see cheesy stop motion as cool? Isn't the original King Kong cool? With the fuzzy gorilla... and the... never mind, I see your point.

    I can see how is a a martyr, but I wouldn't call him pathetic. But wouldn't you call most martyrs cool just because they believed in something so much that they died for it. I think that is cool.