Hard to believe, but RoboCop is technically older than Jesus—this year marks the 35th anniversary of Paul Verhoeven’s satirical sci-fi splatterfest classic, while the latter only walked the Earth (and water, depending on who you ask) for just 33 years.
Yesterday, The Guardian featured a couple of short remembrances on the film from both Verhoeven and RoboCop’s co-star, Nancy Allen. Both offer some great bits of film trivia (a police officer’s recognition of Allen got her out of a speeding ticket once, for instance), but it’s Verhoeven’s retrospective that sticks out to us the most... particularly his insistence that RoboCop, neé Alex Murphy, is a stand-in for “American Jesus.”
“The scene where Peter’s character is executed is extremely violent—like a crucifixion. And what happens after is a kind of resurrection. I started to look at the movie in those terms,” Verhoeven recalls, adding that this was also why he had RoboCop walk over water during his final confrontation with Kurtwood Smith’s villainous Clarence Boddicker. “I felt he was like the American Jesus—whereas Boddicker is evil personified. We even gave Boddicker glasses so he looked a bit like Heinrich Himmler—to indicate that he is ultra-evil.”
You know what, Verhoeven? You’ll get no argument from us here. A resurrected policeman anointed with military-grade weaponry and legal immunity? Yep, that tracks. Sounds pretty much like U.S. of A. Jesus to us.
Of course, there are quite a few liberties taken with the whole Jesus metaphor—for instance, we can’t recall the Bible verse in which the Son of God blasts a dude’s nuts off... not that that’s a big deal for us, or Verhoeven. “I’m not a Christian,” he is sure to clarify at one point during his interview.
Oh yes, Paul. We are well aware of that by now.
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