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The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #1: Robocop

Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi masterpiece, Robocop, has the dual distinction of not only being one of my favorite films of all time, but of also featuring THE Best Overkill in Movies.

Come to think of it, overkill is something that Robocop has a great deal of.

There’s the famed ED-209 overkill sequence:

There’s the slightly more obscure, but no less brutal “melt man” overkill:

But standing head and shoulders above it all, putting all of the competition to shame, is the horrendously brutal death of Alex Murphy (Peter Weller):

While many of the other overkills on this list have a sense of excess that could be considered humorous by some, (I.E. me) the death of Alex Murphy is an overkill that has a sense of urgency and dramatic weight that goes a long way towards legitimizing  it.

Unflinchingly brutal and perhaps more importantly, graphic; watching Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his gang torture, humiliate and ultimately, dismember Alex Murphy always brings a haunting, and alarming sense of wrongness to my conscience.

I love Robocop, and in particular, I love this scene; but that doesn’t keep me from understanding that this sequence was intended to be regarded as

Without a doubt; the death of Alex Murphy is easily the most greatest, most brutal, excessive, and utterly fucked-up Overkill in Movies.

That being said, what say we do a play-by-play of the carnage?:

The scene begins as Officer Alex Murphy stumbles into an ambush.

Surrounded by 5 armed men, Murphy is forced to give up his arms as Clarence Boddicker beats on him a little to try and get him to spill the beans on the whereabouts of his partner, Ann Lewis (Nancy Allen).

Best Shitty Haircut in Cinema History: Nancy Allen, Robocop (1987)

After whacking Murphy in the leg, and bashing him in the spine with the butt of his shotgun, Clarence finds himself interrupted as his fellow gang member, Joe (Jesse D. Goins), walks into the room declaring Lewis previously deceased by his hand.

Pictured: Joe's only contribution to the movie.

Yeah, Joe’s a dick…

With the threat of any remaining police presence now completely removed, Clarence and his gang lighten up and decide to have some fun with Murphy.

Kicking Murphy onto his back on the floor, Clarence paces about and starts talkin’ shit:

Throughout this sequence, it’s worth noting that Clarence, despite sounding downright chummy at times, consistently keeps his gun trained on Murphy’s head.

Placing one foot on the inside of Murphy’s forearm, Clarence stands up, looks down the barrel of his shotgun, and points it at Murphy’s groin.

While making a faux computerized targeting system tone, akin to the tone of a jet fighter’s missile lock tone, Clarence slowly brings the gun to bear, first on Murphy’s head, and then down to his still pinned right arm.

"Eagle One, Fox-3!"

The first shot of our overkill results in Alex Murphy’s right hand being rendered into chunky red mush.

If you look close, you can actually see the prosthetic hand being yanked out of the scene to simulate it's severing.

Being as Clarence Boddicker is a certified, grade-A DICK, a pun is his natural response to the violence:

Clarence Boddicker: DICK of the Ages

Following this, Clarence steps back for a smoke, leaving Murphy’s fate in the hands of his underlings.

...But first we have to watch Murphy bleed for 10 minutes.

Most likely in shock from having just lost his hand, Murphy lurches to his feet and immediately begins to slowly walk away from his assailants.

Being as Clarence’s gang is made up of coke-heads and Junior DICKS, their first act is to ask Murphy where he’s going, and then yell at him to turn around.

For whatever reason, Murphy does just this:

Like any great heel in wrestling, Clarence’s gang pick a body part and work it until it’s nothing but a bloody stump.

Well, being as these guys are using SHOTGUNS instead of submission moves, said process takes only about, oh, one shot.

Now missing an arm, the very same arm that he was previously missing a hand on, Murphy does just about the only thing he can:

Unfortunately, like bullies teasing a fat kid at the pool, Clarence’s gang are truly relentless, as with that they open fire with, literally, everything they’ve got.

First, they shoot him in his kevlar vest:

Then they shoot him there some more…

Then Lewis (who is not dead) stumbles into the room and watches them shoot Murphy in the vest…

Yup, she just stood there. Did absolutely nothing...

And they finish things off by shooting him enough times in the vest to tear it to ribbons and take some tasty chunks out of his torso to boot:

These have all been direct quotes by the way

Now, on any normal day, Alex Murphy would’ve been dead long before Clarence’s gang ran out of ammo, but this is a Paul Verhoeven film, so we’re not allowed to question the violence.

That being said, Murphy finally falls to his knees just as the gang pumps the last of their shells into his poor vest.

Seriously man, that thing had 2 days til retirement…

*Sniff* Don't worry friend, we'll remember you...

With Murphy left lying in pool of his own bodily fluids, one of Clarence’s gang, Emil (Paul McCrane), takes this opportunity to state the obvious:

"Hi, I'm Emil. I die a horrible death in this film!"

Not only that, but *GASP!* Joe takes this opportunity to be a DICK!

"Hi, I'm Joe. I, along with everyone else in this film, also die a horrible death in this movie."

Despite all the laughter and hijinks of his underlings throughout this scene, to his credit, Clarence finally steps forward and decides to put Alex Murphy out of his misery.

Well, either that or he was done with his cigarette and wanted to go home…

"The Tigers are a playin' a game, TONIGHT! I never miss a game..."

Either way, Clarence promptly walks up to Murphy, and casually puts a bullet through his head to call it a night:

Thusly concludes, the Best Overkill in Movies.

It’s brutal, it’s equally difficult and entertaining to watch, and in my mind, it’s simply the only top choice for this particular Top 10 list.

Anyway, thanks for reading, maybe we’ll do another Top 10 sometime.

With that, I’ve decided to go out on a high note by leaving you with this Robocop Rap:

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Ip Man 2: Pre-Ordered

Thank God for speedy Hong Kong DVD manufacturing.

That’s right folks, Ip Man 2 comes out on DVD on June 25th, and I am truly psyched.

Take another look at the trailer, maybe it’ll help you get as excited about it as I am:

From what I’ve read over at Love HK Film and Twitch, Ip Man 2 is somewhat of a step down from it’s predecessor, with a second-half plot that is essentially the Hong Kong equivalent to Rocky IV, as is clearly evident from the trailer above.

Am I wrong in claiming that this is the coolest thing ever?

Does that bother me?

Not one bit.

Rocky IV may have been retarded, but it was still a kick ass movie that’s fun to rally behind in a “Yo Joe!” sort of way.

As I mentioned in my EPIC Tribute to Donnie Yen, Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen go together like spiders and the bottom of my shoe.

Spider pictures creep me out, so you get a pic of a beat-up Spider-Man instead.

Scratch that.

That’s actually kind of gross.

Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen = Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Though Donnie Yen would have to be the Peanut Butter, ’cause Peanut Butter kicks Jelly’s ass any day…

Hmm, now that I think of it, I don’t even really like Jelly….

*AHEM!* Whatever, the point is: Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen working together is always a good thing.

In my eyes, the pair honestly can’t make a bad movie.

Dragon Tiger Gate was convoluted and bland, but it was no means bad.

Outside of that one misstep, every other movie the two have worked on together has been a winner in my book.

Hell, Wilson Yip has even managed to make awesome movies WITHOUT Donnie Yen.

The archetypal story of the Chinese being bullied by foreigners and being forced to find redemption through beating the piss out of said foreigners is a story that Hong Kong cinema will never abandon.

It’s simply a result of putting a nationalistic spin on the universal “underdog” story that we all know and love.

It’s cliche yeah, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing when it comes to making movies about people frequently engaging in protracted 5 minutes fist fights?

It worked for Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury.

Bruce, donning his "Who cut a muffin?" face.

It worked for Sylvester Stallone in his Rocky movies.

God bless you Sly. Good luck with The Expendables.

It worked for Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid.

I know he's been 40 since like 1980, but even so, DAMN HE GOT OLD!

Hell, it even worked for Leon and the Jamaicans in Cool Runnings.

Say what you will, Cool Runnings was the shit.

So what if I already know the story coming in?

So what if the villain’s acting performance is supposed to be over-the-top to the point of near Ultimate Warrior levels?

There's epic, and then there's ULTIMATE.

Maybe I like that in my kung fu movies!

Ip Man 2 could have the worst acting and the shittiest plot in the history of Hong Kong cinema, but with Donnie Yen on board, and the promise of excellent fights conducted and performed by the man himself, Sammo Hung, there’s almost no way I won’t like it.

DONNIE FUCKING YEN.


SAMMO FUCKING HUNG.


FIGHTING EACH OTHER!!!!!!!!!!


FIGHTING DARREN SHALAVI IN A BOXING MATCH!!!!!!

It doesn’t take much to please me when there’s fighting involved in movies.

I can’t explain it, but for some reason I find it easier to buy into the ceaseless melodrama of Hong Kong films than I do American ones.

Maybe it’s the innate sense of unity and bold-faced patriotism that often permeates most Chinese films that strikes a chord with me, or simply an element of the culture that I appreciate, but either way, when it comes to getting my screen-fighting fix, I know where to look.

Expect a review of the movie in a few weeks.

Here’s to Ip Man 2 being my summer event movie.

Well, until The Expendables comes out anyway.

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