RoboCop (1987) Is an Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Film

The Old Testament is full of examples of chiasmus, which is a figure of speech used in ancient times to emphasize balance. It lists a bunch of ideas or things and then repeats each of them in reverse order. It’s often not an identical repetition. It frequently uses the opposite of what came before or something similar to it.

Here’s a simple chiasmus I came up with to show you what it looks like:

A. The cat was heavy

 B. She ate too much food

  C. Something had to change

 B. I gave her less food to eat

A. Now she’s less heavy

The first and last lines are similar, the second and fourth lines are opposite but related, and the third line is the turning point that links the ideas contained in the chiasmus.

Why am I giving a grammar lesson? Because I’ve noticed this same pattern used in films – a Cinematic Chiasmus, if you will. That shouldn’t be too surprising. Good storytelling involves setting up ideas and then paying them off over the course of the story. But some films have second halves that so closely mirror their first halves that it makes them truly breathtaking to behold once you notice their chiasmus at work.

RoboCop (1987) is the first film I reviewed on this website, so it’s fitting that it should be the first that I talk about here. Get ready to see how RoboCop is an almost perfectly symmetrical film.

The Chiasmus

First of all, I’ll write out the chiasmus in the film’s sequence of events:

A. Main title

 B. Media Break 1

  C. Main character identifies himself as Murphy

   D. OCP Junior Executive Kenny is killed after holding a gun in a meeting

    E. Bob Morton goes over Dick Jones’ head to initiate the RoboCop Program

     F. Clarence Boddicker makes his debut

      G. Car chase with Boddicker and his cohorts

       H. Partners Alex Murphy and Anne Lewis separate to take on Boddicker’s gang

        I. RoboCop is born and he tests his abilities at a shooting range

         J. RoboCop causes property damage in the name of law and order

          K. Media Break 2

           L. Lewis reminds RoboCop who he really is

            M. RoboCop visits the home where he lived

             N. RoboCop hunts for Boddicker

              O. Boddicker reveals he’s working for Jones

               P. RoboCop gets shot at by a lot of drug dealers in a warehouse

                Q. RoboCop arrests Boddicker

                Q. RoboCop attempts to arrest Jones

               P. RoboCop gets shot at by a lot of cops in a parking garage

              O. Boddicker gets another assignment from Jones

             N. Boddicker gets a tracking device to hunt RoboCop down

            M. RoboCop hides at the steel mill where he died

           L. RoboCop sees his own face for the first time

          K. Media Break 3 (Note: This is the only thing that’s out of order. It actually takes place where O is)

         J. The bad guys cause property damage in the name of chaos

        I. RoboCop fixes his targeting system

       H. RoboCop and Lewis split up to take on Boddicker’s gang once again

      G. Car chase with Boddicker

     F. Boddicker is killed

    E. RoboCop plays a recording of Jones saying, “I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake”

   D. Jones is killed after holding the same gun Kenny held in a meeting

  C. Main character again identifies himself as Murphy

 B. Media Break 4 (Note: Deleted scene)

A. Main title

Now let’s go through each of these points to see their similarities in greater depth.

A. Main Title

RoboCop title bookends.

This is pretty straightforward. The movie is bookended by its title. “RoboCop” is the first thing we see. No “A film by Paul Verhoeven” or “Orion Presents” preceding it. And “ROBOCOP” is the last thing we see before the end credits roll.

B. Media Break

Media Breaks 1 and 4.

In the first Media Break, we learn that a police officer is in critical condition after a gun battle with Clarence Boddicker. Plus, OCP Senior President Dick Jones says of the cops who are threatening to strike, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” In the final Media Break, which was deleted from the final cut of the film, Officer Anne Lewis is shown to be recovering after a gun battle with Boddicker. She repeats Jones’ line from her hospital bed.

C. Main Character’s Identity

The main character introduces himself as Murphy at the start of the film and at the end.

When Alex Murphy arrives at his new precinct, he tells the Police Chief, “Hi. Murphy, transferring in from Metro South.” At the end of the film, when the Head of OCP asks for his name, he replies, “Murphy.” It’s a subtle thing, but it’s meaningful because it shows how RoboCop has regained his humanity by returning to his level of self-identity from the start of the film.

D. OCP Executive Killed During a Meeting

OCP Junior Executive Kenny gets brutally killed by ED-209 and OCP Executive Dick Jones gets brutally killed by RoboCop.

In the first demonstration of ED-209, a junior executive on the OCP Board points a gun at the giant robot and is promptly shot to pieces, landing on a scale model of the planned Delta City. In the final scene, a desperate Dick Jones uses that same gun to take the president of OCP hostage. However, RoboCop soon shoots Jones many times until he falls outside the building.

E. Bob Morton and Dick Jones

Dick Jones gives a murderous stare to Bob Morton and later gets the same from RoboCop.

An ambitious junior executive named Bob Morton literally goes around Jones to pitch his idea for RoboCop to the Old Man after Jones’ ED-209 demonstration fails spectacularly. Jones gives Morton a murderous look as Morton walks off. Later, when RoboCop is asked for evidence that Jones is guilty of murder, he simply provides testimony from Jones himself saying, “I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake.” His mistake, of course, was making Jones look bad in front of the Old Man.

F. Clarence Boddicker’s Introduction and Farewell

Clarence Boddicker is angry in his introduction and at his demise.

The first time we see Clarence Boddicker, he’s angry at his cohort for frying the money they stole, and he gets violent. The last time we see him, he’s angry at Lewis for frying his last henchman, and he again gets violent.

G. Car Chase with Boddicker and His Cohorts

A car chase is brought to a sudden halt after Clarence Boddicker kills one of his gang members.

Murphy and his new partner Lewis engage in a high-speed pursuit of Boddicker and his henchmen. Boddicker kills a wounded member of his team by throwing him out of his van, bringing the chase to a sudden halt. Later, Lewis pursues Boddicker in another car chase. Boddicker accidentally kills one of his wounded team members, which leads to an unexpected end to the pursuit.

H. Partners Split Up

Anne Lewis and Alex Murphy-RoboCop split up to go after Clarence Boddicker's gang.

After finding Boddicker’s abandoned van, Murphy and Lewis go in different directions to try to find his gang members. Lewis is wounded and unable to help Murphy until it’s too late and he’s been killed. Later, Lewis drives a car while RoboCop draws the bad guys’ fire on foot. She gets shot by Boddicker and she’s unable to warn RoboCop in time to prevent him from getting crushed by falling metal beams.

I. RoboCop at the Shooting Range

RoboCop tests his targeting system first to show off and later to work out a few kinks.

One of the first things RoboCop does after being created is test his aiming ability at a police firing range. He hits dead center with every shot. After taking heavy damage, his targeting system is off by a few inches. Lewis helps him correct it so he’s perfectly accurate once more.

J. Causing Property Damage

RoboCop causes a lot of property damage in the name of law and order but his enemies cause a lot of property damage in the name of chaos.

His first night on the job, RoboCop causes a lot of property damage in the name of serving the public trust and protecting the innocent. On the night that the Detroit Police Force goes on strike, the city’s criminals cause a lot of property damage in the name of chaos and self-gratification.

K. More Media Break

Media Breaks 2 and 3.

The second Media Break focuses primarily on RoboCop and how he is on his way to eliminating crime in Old Detroit. The third Media Break focuses on the Detroit Police Force’s impending strike, which will cause crime to skyrocket in the city.

L. “Murphy, It’s You”

Anne Lewis reminds RoboCop who he really is and is glad to see him.

At her first opportunity, Lewis stops RoboCop and says, “Murphy, it’s you.” This reveals his real name, which he had forgotten. Later, RoboCop removes his helmet, revealing his face, which he hadn’t seen since his death. Lewis says, “It’s really good to see you again, Murphy.”

M. RoboCop Goes Back and Tries to Remember His Family

RoboCop goes to where he used to live and tries to remember his family but later he goes to where he died and realizes he can't remember.

After learning of his own murder, RoboCop visits the old home and finds it abandoned. He has a few flashes of memories of his wife and son, but nothing substantial enough to rekindle his old self. After surviving another attempt on his life, RoboCop hides out at the abandoned factory where Murphy was killed. He laments to Lewis about his family, “I can feel them… but I can’t remember them.”

N. Predators Hunting Their Prey

Leon Nash helps RoboCop track down Clarence Boddicker and Dick Jones helps Boddicker track down RoboCop.

RoboCop goes to a night club to find a member of Boddicker’s gang who can lead him to the crime lord’s hideout so he can kill Boddicker. Later, Jones gives Boddicker a tracking device to lead him to RoboCop’s hideout so Boddicker can kill him.

O. Boddicker Working with Jones

Dick Jones hires Clarence Boddicker to kill Bob Morton and then to kill RoboCop.

Boddicker shows up at Morton’s home and tells his girlfriends to leave. Then Boddicker plays a recorded message from Jones, showing that he works for Jones. Later, he goes to Jones’ office and hits on his receptionist, who not so subtly tells him to get lost. Then he gets another assignment from Jones to take out Morton’s creation, RoboCop.

P. RoboCop Survives a Firing Squad

RoboCop survives an onslaught of gunfire from drug dealers and barely survives a similar onslaught from his fellow police officers.

When RoboCop finds Boddicker, he’s greeted by more than a dozen bad guys all firing bullets at him. He’s unharmed by their attack and kills almost all of them. Later, RoboCop is heavily damaged by ED-209’s guns and then he faces more than a dozen cops who mercilessly fire on him. He’s weaponless, so he can’t fire back and he barely survives the ordeal.

Q. RoboCop’s Arrests

RoboCop arrests Clarence Boddicker and attempts to arrest Dick Jones.

The turning point of the movie is when RoboCop arrests Boddicker. Up ‘til then, he’s been indestructible and able to handle anything that comes his way. But after throwing Boddicker through several glass windows, RoboCop is about to crush his throat when he’s reminded that he’s a cop. His programming takes over and denies him the ability to kill Boddicker. He arrests the criminal instead. Then, when RoboCop confronts Jones, he’s prevented from arresting him by his programming. And RoboCop gets knocked through several glass doors/windows by ED-209.

Seeing Double

I have no idea if the makers of RoboCop intended for it to be so symmetrical. The fact that they accomplished this feat while still making a fast-paced action film that never feels like it’s repeating itself is simply amazing. It shows that it’s possible to make a work of art, even when making a movie with a silly title and in a genre that usually doesn’t call for much depth.

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

All images are the copyright of their owners.

About these ads

About Robert Lockard

Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing since he was very young. He studied public relations in college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. His skills and knowledge have helped him to become a sought-after copywriter in the business world. He has written blogs, articles, and Web content on subjects such as real estate, online marketing and inventory management. His talent for making even boring topics interesting to read about has come in handy. But what he really loves to write about is movies. His favorite movies include: Fiddler on the Roof, Superman: The Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, The Fugitive, The Incredibles, and The Dark Knight. Check out his website: Deja Reviewer. Robert lives in Utah with his wife and three children. He loves running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
This entry was posted in Cinematic Chiasmus and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

121 Responses to RoboCop (1987) Is an Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Film

  1. Not only a chiasmus, but what a breakdown of a classic movie! Kudos to you, Robert!
    Feel stupid for not looking at movies this way before.

    Like

    • Thank you so much. I’m so glad I could give you a new way to look at films. Now the next time you watch a movie, you’ll be on the lookout for depth like this. :)

      Like

    • Michael Miner says:

      Good analysis! Although Ed Neumeier and I never discussed the “chiasmus” structure, our attention to detail, over-drive type plotting and set-ups and pay-offs were very high prioroties. The Media Breaks were act breaks, which also provided a kind of structural symmetry. A great literary example of a chiasmus is CLOUD ATLAS. Although the movie is a failure, the novel is composed of six chapters that start, are abruptly interrupted halfway through, ascend to one chapter in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, then each story is finished in descending chronological order. It’s a brilliant structure. All the best, Michael Miner

      Liked by 3 people

      • It is an honor to have you comment on my article. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. There’s no better authority than one of the movie’s writers. You wrote an incredible story, and it’s a pleasure to find so much complexity in it, even if it may not have been completely intended in this particular way.

        Like

  2. Tim Staffell says:

    It IS a classic movie; I can’t believe the remake can possibly match it. Like Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ the movie reached a self-contained plateau of excellence that is pointless to try to emulate. Great breakdown, thanks

    Like

  3. Alex says:

    This is great! As a classicist and a robocop fan, this delighted me :)
    It’s not a word I’ve come across too often outside the realm of academia though
    The origin of the word itself is quite interesting

    Like

  4. yogibattle says:

    This movie was very fresh and original and would still hold up today if it was released as is. Great review from a movie I saw during it’s original screening in the 80s.

    Like

  5. RoboCop was one of my favorite movies a kid.
    Great article

    Like

  6. RobocopsDick says:

    So badass

    Like

  7. Suggestion for a future symmetrical film: Eyes Wide Shut.

    Like

  8. Pingback: http://dejareviewer.com/2014/04/29/cinematic-chiasmus-robocop-is-almost-perfectl… | Die wunderbare Welt von Isotopp

  9. Instagvl says:

    Nice article! Once you see it, it all makes sense!

    Like

  10. Scott Simmons says:

    Don’t know if the filmmakers did this on purpose? I doubt this is the one thing ever in a Verhoeven film that wasn’t done on purpose. Just sayin’ …

    Like

    • You’re probably right. I just meant I didn’t want to presume to speak for the filmmakers on their intentions. This chiasmus does appear extremely deliberate, though. I like how it complements the film’s theme of man and machine – two halves that form a complete whole.

      Like

  11. phydeaux says:

    Noticed part of this, but not all of this. If you see this symmetry, my brain almost melts over Babylon 5’s symmetric story. Across 5 years of TV, not just a <2hr movie.

    Like

  12. arlyndab says:

    This sparked a few thoughts. One, as a Shakespeare scholar: hooray for chiasmus (and its related rhetorical figure antimetabole, which I love even more)! http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

    Apropos to the lamentation on remakes, have you watched Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix? Part 2 focuses particularly on movies. I used to show it to my students as a way into talking about adaptation, source material, and the skeleton of a good narrative. http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

    Lastly, the script for _In Bruges_ is the tightest ever. Every little (seemingly) throwaway joke in the entire movie comes back as an important element in the climax. Wonderful.

    Great post!

    Like

  13. CMrok93 says:

    Nice breakdown, Robert! The blood-squibs deserved it.

    Like

  14. Ewen says:

    Just when I thought I’d explored every breastplate, squib and famous line of RoboCop, my favourite film of all time, I stumble across this gem. Great stuff. Many people have highlighted paired moments in the past, such as Murphy saying his name upon arrival and whilst leaving, but never in this much detail.

    Like

  15. I'dbuythatforadollar says:

    Die Hard is also extremely symmetrical, absurdly so. I wrote a college paper on it once.

    Like

  16. Pingback: The Rest of the Web, Tuesday, 4.29.14 | Latest celebrity gossip

  17. womd says:

    Great write-up! I had never heard of this concept before. Now that you mention it though, there’s a very good Russian movie called “The Return” that is also roughly symmetrical, and full of other hidden references. Definitely worth a watch.

    Like

  18. This is absolutely amazing. Makes me appreciate and now understand why it was released as a Criterion collection. Gotta find my original copy and watch it again. Absolutely love your analysis. You’re as geeky as I am with stuff like this. Brilliant and thanks for sharing.

    Like

  19. Andrew says:

    Thanks Dejaviewer, good to see someone out there doing this brilliant and underrated masterpiece the justice it deserves.

    Like

  20. Great post. Loved reading it.
    I would be obliged if you could also check out my blog DoubleThink. I’ll drop its link below!

    DoubleThink is an up and coming blog that is extremely satisfying for every kind of a person, be it the thinker, the optimist, the pessimist, the poet, the musician, the couch-potato, the bookworm or the photographer.We are a bunch of people with different backgrounds, contradictory opinions but one voice. And this blog is our voice.
    Come hear us at :

    http://doublethinkhub.wordpress.com/

    Like

  21. McGravin says:

    Another parallel you may have missed: between the partners splitting up (H) and the shooting range (I), there is the scene where Murphy is on his back at the mercy of Boddicker, about to be shot to death, and the parallel scene where Robocop has just been crushed by the scrap metal, on his back at the mercy of Boddicker. I don’t have the movie in front of me to confirm, but I think he even reaches out imploringly with his right hand in both instances.

    Like

  22. Pingback: Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Did You Miss Me? Edition | As Heather's World Turns

  23. Tim says:

    Dude! You drew a line from my fav-o-fav movie (well, before The Matrix came out) to the Old Testament! Unbelievable! I’ll never watch the movie the same again, or the good book :). Is this something screenwriters actually do or is this more like starting Dark Side of the moon on the 3rd lion’s roar in Wizard of Oz? I have a friend who writes screen plays and ask him if this is a device.

    I’m going to have to go watch this again.

    Like

    • I’m glad I could provide a little more insight into your second-favorite movie and show how a Biblical way of storytelling can still be relevant in a modern setting. I hope you get even more out of the film tonight. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy another viewing tonight myself. :)

      Like

  24. Pingback: Demonstrating The Almost-Perfect Symmetry, Or “Cinematic Chiasmus,” Of Verhoeven-Neumaier-Miner’s Robocop « Movie City News

  25. Paul says:

    I think that between H and I, there are 2 references to baby food that can be inserted into the symmetry.

    Like

  26. riouxr says:

    Buster Keaton’s The General is also a symmetrical movie. Great article by the way! 1926!

    Like

  27. SF says:

    This is a story telling structure I learned in NYC film school. It’s called by several names, but the one I was taught was “parenthetical structure”. For every plot point “parenthesis” you open, you later close, and the plot points “nest” just like parentheses do. So, the first open parenthesis plot point correlates to the last closing one, the second open parenthesis plot point to the second-to-last closing parenthesis, and so on. Not commonly used because it’s hard to pull off, but the symmetry supposedly adds a certain subtle something to the story. Nice breakdown!

    Like

    • Thank you for pointing that out. That’s cool that there’s a whole structure dedicated to this kind of storytelling. It definitely makes sense.

      It makes sense for RoboCop to have its two halves make up a complete whole. It adds even more meaning to the tagline, “Part Man. Part Machine. All Cop.”

      Like

  28. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | iPhone Logic

  29. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? » myhavens.com

  30. Pingback: I am Youth | Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film?

  31. Pingback: ITEASY.COM » Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film?

  32. Pingback: TechBoss – Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film?

  33. Pingback: Was 1987's 'RoboCop' intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Content Generator

  34. Pingback: Was 1987's 'RoboCop' intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Tech Auntie

  35. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Shopping ITs

  36. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Designolics

  37. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Techno-Junkie

  38. Will K says:

    Nice analysis! It brought me an enhanced respect for one of my (already) favorite films!

    If you’d like an example of this in the musical world, have a listen to Mozart’s 40th Symphony in G-Minor, K. 550, written in 1788. Listen to the patterns in the melody. It might take you a few listens, but the third and fourth movements mirror the first and second in melodic and rhythmic patterns. Mozart, ever the musical genius, was noted for his musical jokes; this one was a little more obscure – not everyone hears it.

    Like

  39. Pingback: Was 1987's 'RoboCop' intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | The Gaming Addicts

  40. Pingback: Was 1987's 'RoboCop' intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Mobile Fix A Phone

  41. Dave says:

    Nice! Amazing job analyzing and recognizing it. An advanced embedded application of Reflection Symmetry. I’ve personally experienced this pattern before and it’s pretty pure stuff. Curious how much was scripted vs organic. If they did consciously craft this this then there’s the answer why the film is so iconic. Must also have some natural connection to Palindromes and Ambigrams as it’s semi evident in the name ROBOCOP. What other interesting formulas have you discovered???

    Like

    • I’m working on quite a few others, but like a good magician I think I’ll stay quiet about them until they’re ready to be revealed. I think you’ll be even more amazed by the one I’m working on right now. If you thought RoboCop’s symmetry was epic, just wait. :)

      Like

  42. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Dek Droid

  43. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | US Day Care Jobs

  44. Pingback: Was 1987's 'RoboCop' intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | The Verge

  45. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | EasyHuge.com

  46. The Shining is also symmetrical – perhaps not narratively, but definitely visually. A few years ago I saw an experiment in which the film was played backwards and forwards at the same time, one image transposed over another and the visual matches were crazy! You can see part of the video here: http://vimeo.com/53766925

    Like

  47. This is awesome. A great read. I always knew this film was well balanced, but didn’t really think about how well balanced it really was and why, especially the part with Robocop throwing Boddicker through windows and then later Robocop gets a taste of his own medicine by ED-209. The scenes rhyme like a poem, but it’s strangely subtle unless you lay it out just like you have — more than likely the screenwriter’s outline looked similar to what you created.

    A friend shared this on Facebook and it was definitely a post worth reading. Keep up the excellent work. I’ll make sure to read more of your stuff in the future.

    Like

    • Thank you for your kind comment. It’s amazing how some things hide in plain sight for so many years. I totally agree that RoboCop’s fight with ED-209 is really cool. I even deleted some other similarities, such as Boddicker falling through the ceiling when he tries to jump from the bridge and ED-209 falling down the stairs. Plus, RoboCop preparing to crush Boddicker’s throat only to be stopped by his programming, and then ED-209 preparing to blow RoboCop’s head off with his massive gun, but being prevented by RoboCop’s human ingenuity.

      I’m excited to share even more interesting insights into films with you in the future. :)

      Like

  48. I’m not a literature major or anything but isn’t the whole symmetrical thing just a bi-product basic story telling too? I mean, the fact that you noticed all this within RoboCop is incredible…I’ve been watching the movie for 25 years and never caught on, but maybe that’s because it’s just so core to simple stories that it never called attention to itself. As much as I love RoboCop, it’s not complex storytelling. It’s pretty straight forward…as are many great movies (see Star Wars)…which is why I believe it is such a good movie that people still love all these years later.

    Of course, you could probably go down the road of “humans want symmetry” and that the pattern is some how part of our DNA, but I’ll let someone else argue all of that.

    Like

    • That could very well be. I tried to point out at the start that it makes total sense that movies could be symmetrical because that’s the nature of storytelling: setting up ideas and then having them pay off later. The interesting thing about RoboCop to me isn’t just that its ideas all pay off, but that they do so in such a deliberate order. I could be reading too much into it, but I think there’s more than meets the eye to this movie, which is why it’s always been regarded as more of a thinking man’s action movie.

      Thank you for your awesome comment, by the way.

      Like

  49. Kris S. says:

    Haven’t read all the comments, but my .02:

    The film seems to follow a near perfect Bell curve, which is also one of the recommended ways of story-telling (as I learned in Lit. class- Exposition, Rising Act, Climax, Falling Act, Resolution) because it appeals to our love of symmetry (which the previous poster commented on).

    I think it was absolutely deliberate on the writers/producers parts, and it is quite possibly why Robocop and other films like it stand the test of time.

    I’m willing to bet many of the AFI top 100 films would stand up to this scrutiny.

    Like

    • There are quite a lot of comments to go through, so I don’t blame you at all. I’d say you’re right that the filmmakers had this in mind when they were making the film. I just thought it’s so incredible that they never called attention to it, but let viewers figure it out for ourselves. I love how art works that way.

      Like

  50. Pingback: Behold the fearful symmetry of Robocop | watchlist

  51. Rick C. says:

    Michael “Dorkman” Scott, of the (excellent) “What Are You Doing, Movie?” podcast, recently pointed out that the Harry Potter films do this as well.
    Here is a site documenting the books, but the films follow roughly the same pattern:

    http://booksdirect.tumblr.com/post/33124124830/harry-potter-is-symmetrical

    Like

  52. D. says:

    One flaw: in “J,” RoboCop doesn’t cause any of the property damage, even though he’s pictured in front of the burning gas station. Emil shot through the fuel line, causing a gas spill, and threw his lit cigarette in front of the widening spill. That’s what caused the explosion- not RoboCop.

    Other than that inconsistency, it’s a pretty well-thought-out article. Then again, you could make it consistent by changing the analysis for “J” into: in the earlier scene, part of Boddicker’s gang causes property damage to try and flee the police (as they fear arrest), while in the latter scene part of Boddicker’s gang causes property damage because they *don’t* fear arrest (due to the police strike).

    Like

  53. Pingback: RoboCop (1987) Is an Almost Perfectly Symmetric...

  54. Pingback: Was 1987′s ‘RoboCop’ intended to be a completely symmetrical film? | Most Searched Ever

  55. Pingback: Did You Know Robocop Has An Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Plot? | watchlist

  56. Steve Price says:

    Ha! That’s great! Even the title is a chiasmus.
    A. Consonant (R)
    B.O
    C. Consonant (B)
    D.O
    C. Consonant (C)
    B.O
    A. Consonant (P)
    Thanks for an insightful, fun read!

    Like

  57. Pingback: Roundup: Michael Jackson's New Song; High School Prank Goes Wrong; Frat Bros Graffiti Dead Whale | Sports Discovery

  58. Ian Hamlett says:

    The opening and closing credits of RoboCop always stuck out to me. It skips the usual preamble and bursts in there with the name. Then at the end it has the name again straight away. Who does that? Now it all makes sense.

    Thanks.

    Like

    • Kris S. says:

      I liked this style. Seemed to fit with the film too. Some other movies have done it too (can’t think of them at the moment) and it worked for them as well. Oh, “Gangs of New York” did it. It kinda worked LOL.

      Like

  59. Pingback: Enlaces Recomendados de la Semana (Nº253) | netgueko

  60. John Bijl says:

    Excellent, excellent post. Enjoyed the reed, will enjoy RoboCop even more from now on!

    Like

  61. Pingback: Tech News – 4 mai 2014 | revoblog.ro

  62. Pingback: RoboCop (1987) es una película cuasi perfectamente simétrica [ENG]

  63. Pingback: StoryWonk Sunday 75: Welcome To Camp Noir | StoryWonk

  64. Reblogged this on Inspector Alvy and commented:
    One of Dan Harmon’s favourites; and with good reason.

    Like

  65. doug whiddon says:

    The “Media Break 4″ cut scene linked to on youtube at the end looks like its from Robocop 2, it mentions the strike – which was a major point of the film. Also, 2 was the movie were Anne Lewis was shot (but the film lets you believe she dies)

    Like

    • Interesting. Anne Lewis does get shot at the end of the first RoboCop. I don’t remember her getting shot in the second film. From the fourth Media Break, the filmmakers definitely wanted to show that she’s okay after all, even getting a visit from the mayor for her heroism. But they cut that scene out because audiences reacted so powerfully to RoboCop’s “Murphy” line that anything else was unnecessary.

      And it looks like the makers of the first film meant for the strike to be resolved in the first film and it was Dick Jones who was antagonizing the cops, not OCP as a whole. but RoboCop 2 threw that idea out the window, along with a lot of other good ideas from the first film. It’s too bad.

      Like

  66. meier2k8 says:

    Reblogged this on The Matt | A Blog About Stuff and commented:
    I recently watched RoboCop for my first time in a very long time. Based upon the reviewer’s assessment of the film, I contend that I wholly agree with what they had said.

    Like

  67. Pingback: Robocop and chiasmus: symmetry in story - Quantum Pop!

  68. Pingback: StoryWonk Sunday 76: Mother Issues | StoryWonk

  69. Pingback: 1990: The Year of Failed Franchises | Deja Reviewer

  70. Pingback: The Empire Strikes Back Is a Perfectly Symmetrical Film | Deja Reviewer

  71. Have you read this: INTO THE WOODS by John Yorke? (http://www.amazon.com/Into-Woods-Five-Journey-Story/dp/1468308092/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402037025&sr=1-3&keywords=into+the+woods) Amongst many other things it focusses on exactly the same topic – but more so – the symmetrical nature of all narrative. I should know – and forgive the self-promotion – I wrote it! Your piece is brilliant – as was the original Robocop.

    Like

  72. Pingback: New Releases: 9th June | videocitylondon

  73. Pingback: Weekend Reading LXXI : Blogcoven

  74. Pingback: The Remarkable Symmetry of the Original Superman: The Movie | Deja Reviewer

  75. Pingback: Bad Movies with Great Music: Explorers | Deja Reviewer

  76. Pingback: 9 Iconic Performances That Weren’t Even Nominated But Should Have Won Oscars | Deja Reviewer

  77. Pingback: 10 films des années 80 qui ont marqué ma génération

  78. Brandon Redmond says:

    Mr. Lockard, thank you for this. I want to add something that may indicate it was deliberate. In literature there is a concept of Christ type in literature. It refers to somebody who dies and is then reborn. I think it fits with the whole robocop thingy. You see what i mean?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s