Saturday, February 7, 2009
Robocop and Subversive Social Criticism
Okay, yesterday I watched and had my mind a little blown by Robocop.
First, I love this movie and always have. The first time I saw it, I was 13 or 14 and it remains one of the most violent and funny action films ever.
Also, Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker might just be my favorite movie villain ever.
But what really stuck with me when I watched it yesterday was just how accurate the prophecies of this film turned out to be.
Slyly Marxist both in tone and philosophy, this film is essentially about greed and the privatization of the government.
It’s a world where police forces and the military are run, not by the government, but by corporations.
And there is a sharp warning in here about what happens when those running public services as enterprises find themselves on top with one motivation: making money.
I kept thinking about the last eight years and how much of Verhoeven’s twisted premonition has actually come true.
It might sound odd, but Robocop is kind of a continuation of Eisenhower’s cautionary farewell address.
It’s cheering when you find some of the smartest social criticism in the least expected places, like an ultra violent action film like Robocop or in the political commentary disguised as lowest-common-denominator potty humor of South Park.
Seriously, go watch Robocop and think about Blackwater & Halliburton and get back to me.
I promise you’ll be just a little freaked out.