RoboDon's Prime Directives:
1) Serve The Public Trust
2) Protect The Innocent
3) Uphold The Law
4) Honestly Review This DVD
Movie: I vividly recall seeing the original Robocop when it hit the theatres back in the 80's. It was not only a fun action movie but a biting social commentary as well. The dark humor permeated every level of the now famous franchise which has never been repeated-not in the two sequels, the TV series, the various videogame or even comic book stories. Dark Justice is the first volume in the four part mini-series, Robocop:Prime Directive, that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel awhile back. While it definitely falls short of the original, it is the best attempt to restore the feeling of the original to date.
In this volume, Robocop is an aging officer who has just hit his 10th birthday. Like all technology, he is way behind the times and has difficulty keeping up with a modern menace known as Bone Machine, who uses OCP technology to kill, maim, and destroy as a lawless vigilante. Robocop enlists the aid of a former partner, John Cable, who is one of the last officers left on the police force that understands the only way to defeat such foes is through a willingness to beat them at their own game. For Cable's trouble, he is marked for death by the suits at OCP's special op's program, The Trust. I won't include any more spoilers since this will appeal to all fans of related science fiction as much as those who like corporate drama and intrigue.
Picture: The picture is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Compared to the picture I had when this played on cable, it was great. For the most part, it looked very sharp and clear with few problems. I was quite pleased since this was one of those releases filmed in Canada which typically have a lower than average budget. It's not up to Hollywood's standards but it was pretty good.
Sound: The sound was presented in 2.0 stereo. I wondered if it was going to be in 5.1 since the special effects could've rocked that way but I suppose that'd be asking for too much. It was clear and decent enough through my system.
Extras: There was a trailer for the 4 part series and subtitles in either English or Spanish. Not much.
Final Thoughts: Most of the humor came via the MediaNet "commercials" during the movie which were fun to watch. The show itself barely sets up the rest of the series and I would've greatly preferred the entire show to be released in one set since this first disc simply didn't provide enough for someone unfamiliar with the concept to fully appreciate it. That said, it was fun to watch and I hope the later volumes are released in box set form. My biggest complaints related to some of the story's incontinuities such as Robocop's son being so much older than the ten years since the beginning and the fact that it seemed like none of the other aspects of the franchise were incorporated here (heck, Robocop 2 was filmed a few blocks from my office in Houston-it can't be ignored...). Overall, I'd recommend it to fans although I acknowledge it as a watered down version of the over_the_top original movie.