Come quietly or there will be…trouble. One of the most iconic movies of the 1980s and indeed arguably the best cop flick of all time, Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop is an undisputed classic. 2023 has proven to be an incredible year for fans, with the acclaimed video game RoboCop: Rogue City released and now this staggeringly in-depth documentary RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop. And when I say it’s in-depth, I mean it. Coming in at over 4 hours in length, no stone is left unturned in this richly detailed exploration of RoboCop from inception, through production, and into the continuing legacy that is still felt to this day.
Across four individual parts, RoboDoc allows plenty of time to tell the story. And what a story it is! The production history of the film is fascinating and filled with larger-than-life characters, and makes for a hugely entertaining documentary. There are a lot of laughs throughout – an Oreo anecdote from the film went somewhat viral among film fans on Twitter, and there’s plenty more like that.
The film is also impeccably edited with some great effects throughout, and the runtime allows for lots of great archive material. There are some fascinating little tidbits from the film’s production, including archival audio recordings of the ED-209’s iconic dialogue which are amazing to hear. Every episode brings a new wealth of surprises from the archive. Gaps in the archive are recreated with charming animation segments, too – creating a lovely mixture of materials and adding to the film’s already exciting pacing.
Equally amazing is that the series secured interviews with seemingly everybody involved both behind and in front of the camera, and everyone is on wonderful form – there is a true passion felt throughout, and everyone seems so happy to stroll down memory lane. Even the darker anecdotes of clashes of ego or creative differences are shared honestly and with self-awareness.
RoboDoc is a magnificent documentary series, and a real masterclass in how to make a making-of doc. The series remains compelling and entertaining throughout, and is packed with fascinating insight. The film has clearly been constructed with the utmost love from top to bottom, and the result is the definitive story of RoboCop and a love letter to one of the 1980s’ most celebrated films. I’d buy that for a dollar!