In 1987, the future of law enforcement was introduced…and the world hasn’t been the same since.
The original Robocop blended dark humor with action and sci-fi, resulting in a movie that had a massive impact upon popular culture. In the 30 years since it first hit theaters, its reputation has only grown — inspiring merchandise, several sequels, various TV adaptations, and a misguided 2014 remake. However, none of these projects have been able to recapture the magic of the original…although they sure tried.
Over the course of the past three decades, the Robocop character has shown up in some weird and unexpected places. Seriously. Dude gets around. Which is where this article comes in. From would-be dance club hits to foreign commercials and beyond, here are some memorable examples of how Robocop has changed the world.
The electro band BOSE had a dancefloor hit in the late ’80s with “Robocop (Who R U?),” an absolute jam of a song that should still be required listening at clubs everywhere.
Not to be outdone, here’s another techno song about the character: The Sleeze Boys’ 1988 single “Robo Cop.” Dead or alive, you are coming to dance.
Here’s the introduction to Marvel’s 1988 Robocop cartoon. This was the first animated series based on the franchise, and it is enjoyable in its own way — even if it never crossed over with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. As the Kurt Vonnegut saying goes, “of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are it might have been.”
Then there was the time in 1990 that Robocop decided to get involved with professional wrestling. Sure, why not?
Robocop was HUGE in Japan, so much so that he was used to sell everything from ramen noodles to televisions. Above are his two greatest Japanese ads. I’d buy whatever he’s selling for a dollar.
In this foreign ad, the saddest of all low-rent Robocops is utilized to remind UK residents to pay their TV license fees. Although if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have to endure ever seeing this spot again…which feels like a pretty even trade-off to me.
Robocop is a lot of things, but a fashion role model he most definitely is not. So you’ll pardon me if I seem a bit confused as to why he showed up in this ad for Brazil’s Santista Jeanswear. It’s not like he could even get his legs into those pants. And what exactly is his endgame here? A police state where everyone is forced to wear denim?
Meanwhile, back in the States, Pink Robocop is not going to pay a lot for a muffler.
Since the plot of Robocop 2 was largely concerned with drugs, the above PSA featuring Peter Weller is the rare example of a Robocop ancillary video that actually makes total sense. Well done.
What would happen if Predator met Robocop? Wonder no more thanks to this trailer for the shameless 1989 flick Robowar.
Remember VCR board games? They pretty much peaked around the time that Robocop hit theaters, leaving us with the above digital memory of a now long-gone analog world. Bummer.
Actually, I’m not sure what is happening in this clip from 1988’s Robo Vampire. What I can tell you though is that I am super into it.
Finally, to wrap things up, here’s what happened when Robocop met Pee-Wee Herman at the 1988 Academy Awards. Yikes.
What’s your favorite Robocop moment (be it in the films or these weird spin-offs)? Let us know below!
This article originally ran last year and is being reprinted as part of our Summer of Sci-Fi series of posts.