Sunday, February 05, 2012

MARQUEE SHOWDOWN #4: Terminator vs. Robocop

WHY?
Because a) they're the cybernetic icons of the 80s, two badass robots that made kids discover the meaning of "Rated R". And b) with the studios once scrambling to pit such iconic characters of the 80s against another (Jason vs Freddy, Alien vs Predator), it's about time somebody threw those two in a cage.

THE PLAYERS:
  • Terminator - Ah-nold, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Lance Henriksen. Legend has it Arnold was being tagged for the hero part and Henriksen for the killer 'bot, until the former convinced Jimmy Cameron to let him be bad which relegated Henriksen to a tiny role; the director made it up to him with Aliens. In any case, all major players became stars after this, Arnold most of all who made it his signature role.
  • Robocop - Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox. I wonder if it was an inside joke to have Ronny Cox face-off against Dexter Morgan last season, after Weller did for a few episodes the previous. Cox was a common sight during the 80s, Smith is an awesome badass, but otherwise little star power was involved in this, and without it Weller would still be a complete unknown. Is Nancy Allen even still alive?
  • ADVANTAGE  Terminator 

BOX-OFFICE: 
  • Terminator   - $6.4M production budget, in 1984. Domestic theatrical take of $38.4M  (Domestic Total Adj. Gross: $90.1M) with an addition $40M world wide.  Attendance estimated at 11,350,400 butts in seats.
  • Robocop   - $13M budget, in 1987. Domestic take of $53.4M (Domestic Total Adj. Gross:$108,4M).  Attendance estimated at 13,663,300 people who didn't have a cell phone back then. 
  • ADVANTAGE:  Robocop(But certainly not for the sequels...)

RATINGS:
  • Terminator  -  MetaCritic= 84%, IMDb= 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes= 100%, Rogert Ebert= 3.5/5
  • Robocop  - MetaCritic= 67%, IMDb= 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes= 88%, Roger Ebert= 3/5
  • ADVANTAGE:   Terminator

ANALYSIS:
  • The Terminator  was followed by probably the greatest sequel of all time, and two more slightly disappointing ones not worth mentioning. For years (actually, until the groundbreaking sequel) it was considered the greatest non-Spielberg action film. F/X are shitty by today's standard, but nobody cares, it's the coldness over Arnold's unstoppable killer that makes the film and gave us one of the most memorable movie characters ever (and catchphrase as well...). He's burned very deeply in our popular consciousness, so much you can't dissociate the powerhouse actor from it - remember how everybody used to call him during his short interlude into politics?
  • Nothing to boast sequel-wise for Robocop, yet Paul Verhoeven gave us something unique that no one truly managed to ever replicate; it works as an action film, but it's not really one. It's chock full of sarcasm, overblown clich├ęs and intentional cheese that hit the target at every shot taken. Doesn't matter that Peter Weller's career never truly amounted to anything on it own, his place in pop culture immortality is assured thanks to this. Now, if only someone could understand how to truly remake or follow it up...


WINNER: Terminator



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