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Omar Ahmed

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325253

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325253.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022



(p.9) Introduction

Omar Ahmed

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop (1987). If one were to compile a canon of great science-fiction films, the inclusion of RoboCop would be problematic simply because of the puerile title. Given the way films are inevitably marketed, made palatable for audiences naturally means film titles are transformed to suit commercial inclinations, often conflicting with the content of a film. In terms of high-concept cinema, the title RoboCop is a moribund simplification of the film's existential core. Yet it is such outward simplicity that fosters a contradiction often lurking in Hollywood-genre films like RoboCop. RoboCop's reputation was an early source of ridicule, such was the fate of many violent films of the 1980s when sanitised by the puritanism of the BBC or ITV. Fortuitously, the critical standing of RoboCop has grown over the years, in no small part aided by the intervention of Criterion, a specialist home video label which was first to re-release the film on Laserdisc and then later on DVD in an unrated directors cut. While the Criterion edition of RoboCop has long been out of print, the film's inclusion in the Criterion library accentuates its merit as a seminal science-fiction film; a key American work of the 1980s, overturning familiar genre trappings while its erudite philosophical address transforms the iconic Frankenstein narrative into an altogether more radical, theological work.

Keywords:   Paul Verhoeven, RoboCop, science-fiction films, Hollywood-genre films, Criterion, Frankenstein narrative

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