The New Era of Mankind And The Machine
Welcome, my son! Welcome to the Machine – Pink Floyd
It was a little bit like a sudden lightning bolt breaking across a clear sky, both alarming and awe-inspiring. And there was certainly electricity in the air over a newly formed genre that featured things like chest bursting parasites, cyborg armies, men turning into machines, and creatures from other worlds turning the toughest hombres humanity has to offer into gruesome hunting trophies.
It was the age of dark and gritty sci-fi horror/action films and they were all the rage back during the ’80s and early ’90s. These movies had muscle and teeth.
Thanks to people like James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 1 and 2) and action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan the Barbarian, the Terminator movies, Predator) whose name alone sold tickets, we were given nothing short of a diesel fueled adrenaline punch to the teeth. And we absolutely loved it. We clapped our hands, shoved popcorn in our mouths, and begged for more!
And – according to our movies – machines were the future, as dismal or dystopian as that future may be. And leading the way (to mankind’s eventual downfall no doubt) were two cybernetic heavy weights, both begotten from the violence on our streets and the growing paranoia of The Bomb.
Both films showcased a strange new world to come, and they both quickly won over audiences across the globe . Those movies were Robocop and Terminator.
Strangely enough the films did make a few accurate predictions seeing how today we are entirely dependent on software and machines to get through the day. Let the internet go down for a week and watch what wondrous chaos would ensue!
We may not have cyborg implants just yet, but, as fair example, our cell phones have become entirely an extension of our bodies. As Cronenberg coined the term, ‘long live the new flesh.’
And so our future was predicted in both films. We were all just too naïve to realize it.
Bringing both franchises together
“Role models can be very important to a boy.” – Robocop
Robocop was the long arm of the law while the Terminator was the rebel. One stormed down the riotous streets of Detroit in a cop car while the other thundered across L.A. on a mother fucking Harley!
It was Yin Yang! The two complimented one another like Batman and Joker. Both franchises were jarring glimpses into the future, and weren’t too far separated from one another. It would have been Metal against Metal, a fight for mankind’s future determined in the past. And not to mention both series had incredible soundtracks so could you imagine hearing both scores trumpeting out as these two guys fought? Seriously just gave myself goosebumps.
It just made sense! These two legacies had to crossover!
Goodness sake we had cartoons, action figures, and collectible cards! We wore T-shirts and debated who might win in a fight, Robocop or Terminator.
There was just something ultimately cool about these two film franchises. In our heads, it was only a matter of time before we’d see the two fighting on the big screen.
And then came the biggest cock tease of the fandom. A 4-part comic book was released. Read it loud and say it proud, Robocop vs Terminator became a reality. We held it in our hands. And then the rumors started. They were going to make a movie about it.
Written by the legendary Frank Miller, oh yeah, THAT Frank Miller! The guy responsible for dark and gritty stuff like Sin City and the man who single-handily rescued the Batman comics from life support and made the series (and movies) what they are today. Not to mention he wrote my all-time absolute favorite comic book, The Dark Knight Returns. This guy wrote Robocop vs. Terminator!
Our little minds were splattered all over the walls. We couldn’t contain ourselves. Our heads blew up with the excitement.
I’d Buy That For A Dollar
Answering the fundamental question – considering the end of T2 – how the hell has Skynet survived? Didn’t they destroy every trace possible and annihilate Cyberdine’s eventful future? And this comic does follow the events of T2, releasing nearly a whole year after the film. Fret not because we’re given a very interesting (and acceptable) answer. It’s actually really kickass how it plays out.
The story opens in the present meaning we’re right in the heat of war. The human resistance is nearly hammered into extinction but John Connor has an ace up his sleeve. Learning the secrets of Skynet’s survival the Resistance sends back a lone warrior, Florence Langer, into the past with a name to terminate. That name is Alex Murphy, Robocop himself.
In a sensational twist of events, the humans are sending back a human to terminate a machine. Well, a man with a machine heart but a human soul. And, you guessed it, to counterattack the Resistance’s strategy Skynet sends back a small group of Terminators to defend their forefather.
Yup, you read that right. And it’s only getting started so hang on.
Robocop has one helluva introduction here too. We’re given a POV perspective as he goes from psychotic rapist, murderer, and terrorist blowing them each away in bloody awe and wonder.
He then takes on a local dumbass with a bomb fastened to himself and threatening to waste everyone nearby. Robocop ain’t havening any of this guy’s stupid shit though and grabs the goon only to toss his meaty ass to the moon! The guy explodes up in the sky and Robocop walks away in a glorious shot that would have been a thrilling scene in a movie.
Florence proves her skills as a soldier and builds a make-shift (close enough) plasma gun and hoses down Robocop with it. She’s stark raving mad at this point and blames him for ending the world. She holds him accountable for the death of billions of innocent lives. She’s accusing him of events that haven’t happened yet leaving Murphy in pain and confused.
Wait, let’s talk about Florence. She’s the last surviving soldier sent to infiltrate Skynet’s TDP headquarters. She goes back in time and lands in the busy city streets of Detroit – stark naked I might add. She entirely takes on what Joe Bob Brigg’s calls the ‘Shower Scene’ that promotes vulnerability. That vulnerability is immediately shot in the head though as Florence takes on gawkers and whips a cab driver’s gun out of his hand. Armed and dangerous she takes off to find her target.
Had the movie been made I have to wonder who could have played this strong character.
Anyway, before she can complete her task she’s shot by the three Terminators who’ve been sent back to protect the mind that will awaken Skynet. Despite her attempt to kill him Murphy makes sure Florence gets to a hospital and saves her life. Really Robocop is such a cool hero here.
But that’s how the plot connects both franchises. Robocop is, in many ways, successful artificial intelligence or fusion of man and machine. The very thing Skynet will use to annihilate the human resistance.
Making what John Connor is to humanity Robocop is to the machines. It leaves fans with more than just another ‘wow what a cool story’ but there’s some meat to this beast. There is substance and it’s something that stays with you.
Human life, after all, is about consistently fighting to survive. Machines are doing the same thing now and have their own savior to guide them to a very real future. And they are ready to make sacrifices to ensure their survival just as much as we are.
This also provides Robocop some depth. He does some soul searching to see if it could be possible and if he might have a role in this mysterious future slate. Tapping into some top-tier classified records he learns the plans for Cyberdine and begins learning that the ravings of his would-be assassin are not without reason.
It’s also revealed that Skynet’s future is dependent on Murphy’s brain. The future war is anchored in whether or not the Terminators can reach him before the Resistance has a chance to. So yes, unintentionally Robocop is the father of all Skynet and ensures Judgment Day.
That’s some heavy stuff. The kind only someone like Frank Miller can tell and it still make some sense.
We get to see Robocop take on and defeat two of the three Terminators, which is pretty epic considering how tough T-800s are. Florence escapes from her hospital bed and in total badass fashion destroys the third one.
That doesn’t mean it’s over. Not by a long shot. We’re still getting started and Skynet has more machines to send back to the past.
Along with some breathtaking action we’re treated to some augmented timelines and Robocop dealing with harsh issues like destiny and free will. This article could be a whole review on the 4 issue story. But I’d rather not give away many spoilers because I’d hope our readers would want to go read this nuclear hot comic run for themselves.
But all I’ll say for now is Robocop gets an upgrade and there’s a Robocop army. Woo hoo!!!!
So see how amazing this movie could have been? Just look at that above panel and imagine what that war could have looked like on screen.
It’s nothing short of criminal that we have those stupid Alien vs. Predator movies and not this one.
A series of video games were also released to help promote the idea of the movie. Both Robocop and Terminator have enjoyed their run of cool video games. I mean I loved that Robocop arcade game.
RvT became instantly popular and even for those who didn’t play the games they at least thought it was an infinitely cool idea. The best way to experience the game is the Sega Genesis version btw. It’s big, loud, and violent. Just like the music and movies we loved.
The ground was laid and fans were ready. This could have been the crossover to ensure endless success for our favorite cyborgs, Oh but shit interest in RvT is still going strong. MK11 (2020) introduced both Terminator and Robocop skins allowing fans to fulfill their RvT fantasy a little more.
And reminding us what we never got.
This would have been a very expensive project to undertake though. At the time it would have been astronomical to make the SFX match the grandeur required. Cameron got busy making Titanic and moved on to finally make his Avatar movie afterwards. Both were box office sensations but fans knew what they really wanted.
Instead of getting this epic crossover, we all know what happened. We were given Terminator 3 and Salvation and then two really fucking awful reboot attempts. Robocop was given a remake and it went tits up too.
Could they still make the movie? I suppose it could happen. It’s tough now because Dark Horse comics is now dead since the Mouse consumed Fox Studio. And Dark Horse published the RvT comics so how would that work now? All the same I’d like to see James Cameron get a bee in his crotch and decide the time was right to make this fantasy project come true.
Or, and don’t hate me, someone like Zack Snyder direct it and go balls to the wall nuts with it. Take the comic book and bring it to life. Maybe fans should take to Twitter and ready the hashtags. Fan power has made the impossible happen before.
In the meantime fans like me have NECA to thank for the amazing figures they’ve released. We can at least set our Robocop and Terminator on the shelf where the two will be forever locked in the battle we know in our hearts we still deserve to see.