Story

RoboCop is set in the year 2028. It opens with scenes showing robots battling terrorists in what appears to be a Middle Eastern country. The robots are manufactured by OmniCorp, a billion-dollar company run by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton). Sellars wants his robots to be deployed throughout the USA to replace American law enforcement officers. But the American public are sceptical about using robots for this purpose, and Congress has passed a law preventing their use on US soil. To get around this, Sellars decides to develop an android that is part human and part robot – a RoboCop.

Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is a Detroit undercover detective hot on the trail of corrupt police officers selling high-powered guns to drug dealer Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow). Realising that Murphy is getting too close for comfort, Vallon orders Murphy murdered in a car bomb explosion. The explosion doesn’t kill Murphy, but it does leave him badly mutilated.

Murphy’s injuries make him the perfect choice for OmniCorp’s experimental RoboCop project. Scientist Dr Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) is given the job of transforming Murphy into the world’s first RoboCop. But the transition from man to machine isn’t smooth. Dennett is forced to alter Murphy’s brain, making him more machine than man. But there is more to the human brain than either Sellars or Norton bargain for. When Alex’s old personality overrides his programing, he seeks to right the injustices done to him.

Themes

Corruption; urban warfare and terrorism; suicide bombers; robots

Violence

RoboCop includes some violence. For example:

  • Androids point guns at civilians including women and children who have their hands raised.
  • In one scene several suicide bombers strap bombs to their stomachs and chests. In a later scene a suicide bomber blows himself up along with an android.
  • Men dressed in civilian clothing fire machineguns and rocket launchers at androids. Cars explode into fire balls, and a jet plane fires rockets at gun-wielding terrorists on top of a building. The building explodes in flames.
  • There is gunfire exchange between men with machineguns and hand weapons and two undercover police officers with handguns. Several men are shot in the chest at close range. Following the gunfire exchange at least six men lie dead on the ground.
  • When a man tries to turn off his car alarm, the car explodes in flames, hurling the man through the air to land on the front porch of his house. This scene is repeated several times later in the movie. We see the man’s badly burned arms and leg. In a later scene he is shown in hospital with a burned face, badly bloodshot eye and both legs and one arm amputated and the stumps bandaged.
  • One scene shows simulated CGI images of a man holding a woman and young child hostage and pointing his gun at them. There is a CGI image of RoboCop shooting several villains as well as the hostage-taker.
  • RoboCop has a fierce gun battle with dozens of androids. RoboCop shoots androids and destroys others with his bare hands, ripping the head from one. RoboCop also shoots a human with a tazer gun. The man convulses on the ground until he becomes unconscious.
  • In a scene that looks like a computer game, RoboCop remorselessly kills dozens of men by shooting them in the chest and back. One man is killed when he drops a grenade, which explodes. No blood and gore is shown.
  • RoboCop pulls a man from his car, breaking the man’s hand in the process. RoboCop tortures the man by repeatedly stepping on his broken hand until the man gives him information.
  • RoboCop shoots a police officer (who is threatening him) in the chest at close range. RoboCop also shoots a second police officer (who isn’t threatening him) as a payback. RoboCop threatens to shoot a female police officer. He aims a gun at her head but is disabled before he can shoot her.
  • In a gun battle, RoboCop is shot multiple times in the chest and back. He is injured and has bloody scratches on his face as well as severely damaged body armour and helmet.
  • A man points a gun at RoboCop’s wife and young son and threatens to shoot them.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, RoboCop has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The movie shows images of large and scary androids throughout.
  • One scene shows the still living partial remains of a man’s mutilated torso – all that remains is the man’s head, throat, heart and lungs. There are graphic images of the man’s exposed contracting oesophagus, breathing lungs and beating heart. The top of the man’s skull has been removed exposing the top of his pulsating brain. In a later scene clear tubes are attached to the back of the man’s mutilated torso and blood and bodily fluids pass through the tubes.
  • One scene shows a man’s brain being operated on while the man is conscious. The top of his skull is removed and several metal implants are inserted deep into the top of the brain. The surgeon talks to the conscious man as he operates. There is blood and gore covering the surgeon’s gloved hands. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, RoboCop has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, a young boy holding a knife stands in front of a tank-like robot. The robot fires at the young boy. Although we don’t see the boy being shot, it’s pretty clear that he is dead. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the violent and scary scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the violent and scary scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

RoboCop has some sexual references, including reference to a rapist. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

RoboCop shows some use of substances. For example:

  • A man drinks spirits from a glass in a bar.
  • Alex Murphy drinks beer from a bottle.
  • One scene shows a drug deal – people exchange small packages and money.
  • One scene shows an illegal drug lab with equipment, people making drugs and large plastic bags with white powder. 

Nudity and sexual activity

RoboCop has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Alex Murphy embraces his wife and kisses her passionately. He then pulls off her top and reveals her bra, pushes her onto a bed and lies on top of her, kissing her passionately. The scene ends when a car alarm goes off.
  • A woman wears a tight-fitting top.
  • A robot uses x-ray to scan several women, revealing the outlines of their bodies beneath their clothes. 

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in RoboCop, but merchandise associated with this movie is being marketed to boys in particular. 

Coarse language

RoboCop has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

RoboCop is a remake of the 1987 movie of the same name. It is a science fiction action thriller targeting older adolescent boys and adults.

Although it has less blood and gore than the original movie, it deserves its M rating. It has numerous gun battles, suicide bombers, gruesome images and a very high body count. Although the movie might attract children under 15 years, it has several violent and disturbing scenes and characters. These make it unsuitable for children under 13 years, and we strongly recommend parental guidance for young adolescents.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • It isn’t worth giving up freedom for safety.
  • There are problems with drawing the line between humans and machines.
  • Greed can be an overriding factor when large companies determine people’s needs.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include commitment and determination. Although Alex’s wife must contend with extraordinary circumstances, she remains totally committed to him. She is determined to make their marriage work and keep their family together. Both Alex and his wife show commitment towards their son by helping him cope with changing circumstances.