Robocop

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Short takes

Not suitable under 13, PG to 15 due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Robocop
  • a review of Robocop completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 February 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes
Children aged 13 to 15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Robocop
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes and violence
Length: 117 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Robocop is set in the year 2028 and opens with scenes depicting drones and androids engaged in urban warfare against terrorists in what appears to be a Middle Eastern country. The robots are manufactured by OmniCorp, a billion dollar company run by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton). Sellars wants his androids to be deployed throughout the U.S.A to replace American law enforcement officers. However, the American public are sceptical of the use of robots for this purpose and congress has passed a law preventing them being used on American soil. To circumvent current laws, Sellars decides that his company needs to develop an android that is part human and part robot - a ‘robocop’.

Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is a Detroit undercover detective hot on the trail of corrupt police officers selling high-powered guns to drug dealer Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow). Realising that Murphy is getting too close for comfort, Vallon orders the murder of Murphy via a car bomb but the attempt fails, leaving Murphy severely mutilated.

Murphy’s injuries make him the perfect choice for OmniCorp’s experimental machine/human hybrid cop and scientist Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) is given the job of transforming Murphy into the world’s first Robocop. However, the transition from man to machine is not a smooth one. Dennett is forced to alter Murphy’s brain, making him more machine than man. But there is more to the human brain than both Sellars and Norton bargain for and when Alex’s old personality overrides his programing, he seeks to right the injustices done to him. 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Corruption; urban warfare and terrorism; suicide bombers; robots

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains intense sequences of action violence including gun violence, some scenes of suicide bombers, occasional gruesome images and occasional blood and gore. Examples include:

  • Androids point guns at civilians including women and children with their hands raised.
  • In one scene, several suicide bombers strap bombs to their stomachs and chests. In a later scene we see a suicide bomber blowing himself up along with an android.
  • Men dressed in civilian clothing fire machine guns and rocket launchers at androids. Cars explode into fire balls and a jet plane fires rockets at gun wielding terrorists on top of a building which explodes in flames.   
  • A gunfire exchange between a group of men wielding machineguns and hand weapons and two undercover police officers wielding handguns. During the exchange we see several men shot in the chest at close range. Following the exchange of gunfire at least six men are left lying dead on the ground.  
  • When a man attempts to turn off his car alarm, the car explodes in flames hurling the man through the air to land on the front porch of his house. This scene is repeated several times later in the film. We see the man’s badly burnt arms and leg, and in a later scene he is shown in hospital with a burnt face, badly bloodshot eye and both legs and one arm amputated and the stumps bandaged.  
  • One scene depicts simulated CGI images of a man holding a woman and young child hostage pointing his gun at them. We see a CGI image of RoboCop shooting a number of  villains and the hostage taker.
  • One scene depicts RoboCop engaged in a frenetic gun battle with dozens of androids. RoboCop shoots androids and destroys others with his bare hands, ripping the head from one. RoboCop also shoots a human with a tazer gun, the man convulsing on the ground until he becomes unconscious. 
  • In a scene resembling a computer game, RoboCop remorselessly kills dozens of men by shooting them in the chest and back. One man is killed when a grenade he drops explodes; no blood and gore is depicted.
  • RoboCop pulls a man from his car, breaking the man's hand in the process. RoboCop then tortures the man by repeatedly stepping on his broken hand until he divulges information.
  • One scene depicts RoboCop shooting a police officer (who threatens him) in the chest at close range with RoboCop shooting a second police office (who was not threatening him) seemingly as a payback. In the same scene we see RoboCop threatening to shoot a female police officer aiming a gun at her head with RoboCop disabled before he can shoot the woman.      
  • In a gun battle, RoboCop is shot multiple times in the chest and back, leaving him injured with bloody scratches to his face and severely damaged body armour and helmet.
  • A man points a gun at RoboCop’s wife and young son and threatens to shoot them.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Throughout the film we see images of large and scary androids.
  • One scene depicts the still living partial remains of a man’s mutilated torso; all that remains is the man’s head, throat, heart and lungs. There are graphic images of the man’s exposed contracting oesophagus, breathing lungs and beating heart. The top of the man’s skull has been removed exposing the top of the pulsating brain. In a later scene clear tubes are attached to the back of the man’s mutilated torso and blood and bodily fluids pass through the tubes.   
  • One scene