What else is there new to say about RoboCop that hasn’t been said? The movie really fucks.
Arrow Video’s 4K UHD release is largely identical to its earlier Blu-ray. The 4K restoration was completed in 2013 by director Paul Verhoeven. This set is a two-disc deal, housing both the director’s cut and the theatrical version. The former is clearly superior, but the latter may have nostalgic value for fans who pretend the film isn’t vastly improved by every additional squib exploded in the longer version. To each their own. At least the sound is the same across both cuts, with lossless stereo and Atmos sound for either. If you have the right sound-system setup, you might just get the cops called on you.
The Limited Edition packaging follows the same form factor as other slipcased Arrow collections, with half the space devoted to a traditional disc case and the other to a nice square-bound booklet. In this edition, the essays are courtesy of Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth; also included is a 1987 Fangoria interview about the film. Six collectible postcards and a double-sided poster round out the goodies.
Each disc features plenty of special features in addition to their respective cuts. Commentary by Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier is available for both versions. Disc one also features a commentary track by film historian Paul M. Sammon, as well as a commentary featuring Griffiths, Gary Smart and Eastwood Allen. There are half-dozen special features about the production of the film, delving into the special effects, the casting, the costuming, the props, the memorabilia and more. There’s even a behind-the-scenes look at the raw dailies of the gore scenes that were originally sliced from the film.
The second disc is lighter on features, which mostly exist to emphasize the fact that the theatrical is inferior. The option of running split-scene comparisons between the two really cuts to the point. There are also edited-for-TV versions on this disc, which is a relatively unique inclusion. For a film like RoboCop, toning down the violence without ruining the story is no easy feat.
Arrow’s 4K UHD RoboCop is as impressive and definitive a version of the 1980s classic as will ever exist.