ROBOCOP S.E. (As part of the trilogy set) I’ve decided to review only the first film of this set, as the other two are pretty much the same as the single releases. Alex J. Murphy has just been transferred to old Detroit. Old Detroit is gloomy, and crime-ridden and the police officers there are on the verge of striking. Murphy, being the good-hearted family man that he is, doesn’t think anything like that and immediately gets suited up and off to work. Later in the day a report comes in of a van containing stolen money and armed felons. Murphy, and his partner Lewis, follow this van to an old steel mill, where they find out it is the criminals’ hide-out. In the process of trying to apprehend one of the criminals, Murphy is ambushed and brutally (and I can’t stress brutally enough) murdered. But Murphy isn’t totally useless yet. O.C.P., a major corporation funding the police, has started their “RoboCop” program and they need a volunteer. That’s all I want to reveal about the movie, because anymore would spoil it more than it needs to be. RoboCop is a science fiction masterpiece in my opinion. The film has so many layers. On the surface it is a violent sci-fi action flick, but when you look deeper than that you find that it is so much more. It is about a man finding out who he is, and learning to deal with it. You see him go from man to machine, then slowly back to man again. The film is also a biting satire on the 80’s, most notably, the yuppies. The entire O.C.P. corporation is more or less symbolic of big corporations, and the shark-like tactics the businessmen involved. Now on to the DVD. The picture quality is an improvement over the Criterion DVD, much clearer and more vibrant, but the aspect ratio thing is a problem. The film was intended for 1.66:1 by Verhoeven, but MGM has put it in 1.85:1. This is something I can get over, though. One thing I noticed is that the re-inserted footage is a lot more noticeable with the clearer picture, which doesn’t really hinder the experience, but you can clearly see what was cut. The sound is something I had some problems with, I noticed many of the sound-effects that were very prominent in the Criterion were a lot lower here, which was sad, because they were usually at points where it heightened the impact, such as during Murphy’s demise, many of his moans and groans were lower than the Criterion, which lessened the brutality of it all. That was my one gripe about the sound, other than that, it was great, with the music being very full and loud, but not over-bearing. The extras are where this new MGM disc really surpasses the Criterion, though. Four deleted scenes are provided, and while all interesting, I can clearly see why they were excluded and I’m glad they were. There are three futurities, the most interesting of the group being “Flesh and Steel,” which goes in depth about the whole process of getting the film made. There is an interesting new commentary with Verhoeven, one of the writers and the executive producer. I recommend it to everyone. Another neat feature is a storyboard, with commentary by the animator. Rounding out the extras is a neat little photo gallery, two trailers, and a TV Spot. The first trailer still cracks me up, with its blatant ripping off of The Terminator. They are both very interesting trailers in general, though, as they make the film seem like a mindless action flick. Despite the ratio problem, and my minor gripe about the sound, this is an otherwise flawless release. I recommend it to all. With it being only $26 at Best Buy right now, and not to mention you get the two sequels with it as well, it is a great deal.