RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop leaves absolutely no stone unturned when it comes to the making of Paul Verhoeven’s seminal sci-fi classic. Directed by Eastwood Allen and Christopher Griffiths, this 4-part documentary is a serious deep-dive into the film’s production that stretches from its origins as two separate concepts by writers Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner (before they teamed up to create one of the gutsiest screenplays of the 1980s) to the cultural aftermath of its release.
What makes this detailed documentary so insightful is the sheer access to RoboCop’s talent – both in front of and behind the camera. Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith – and almost anyone with a speaking role – are all present and correct. They’re interviewed alongside everyone from Paul Verhoeven, producer Jon Davison and pretty much everyone from the production team. In fact, the only notable absences come from effects guru Rob Bottin and the sadly deceased Miguel Ferrer and Basil Poledouris (who appears in archival footage).
Available in four episodes, RoboDoc breaks things down into digestible chunks, with each episode lasting a little over an hour. This means that the interview segments have time to breathe and that Allen and Griffiths can tackle each tale from multiple angles – something which helps offer a balanced overview to some of the stories which may seem far-fetched.
The fact that RoboCop was made almost forty years ago means that all bets are off when it comes to tales about the production. The good, the bad and the ugly are all aired and you’re privy to tales of onset arguments, affairs and the fact that tension on the film ran high during nearly every aspect of production. Discover how Peter Weller arrived on set with a whole idea for RoboCop‘s body movement only to discover that the suit meant months of work had to be scrapped. Learn how Verhoeven made the make-up effects team wait for so long that they walked off the set. Find out why the film’s title meant that most directors declined the opportunity to direct before they’d even read the screenplay. It’s an absolute goldmine of tales told straight from everyone involved.
In a time when most making-of documentaries are nothing more than vacant PR puff pieces, RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop comes across as fresh, honest and incredibly detailed. That it contains interviews with all key personnel – from Paul Verhoeven and Peter Weller down means that it’s fully comprehensive and exhaustively detailed. In fact, it’s so comprehensive, that you’ll swear that you were part of the RoboCop production team!
I’d buy that for a dollar!