On this week’s Movies vs. Capitalism, hosts Rivka Rivera and Frank Cappello are joined by TV writer and producer Mike Benner to discuss the classic action movie Robocop.

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A rough transcript of the episode is available here.

The modern era of social disinvestment and police militarization has shown us expanded policing is not the solution to all of society’s problems. Yet many Americans still believe that slashing social programs and increasing policing budgets will eventually keep us all safe.

Before we understood the failures of these neoliberal policies, Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven was sounding the alarm in 1987 with his hyper-violent satire Robocop. The MVC team discusses how the film’s evil corporation, Omni Consumer Products, serves as a perfect stand-in for consolidated corporate power and greed.

They also unpack Verhoeven’s depiction of homoerotic male aggression as a metaphor for capitalist competition, and how the titular character of Robocop has been misappropriated by police officers who think the character is “badass” rather than “a cautionary metaphor for the dehumanization of police.”

For next week’s movie, MVC will be watching Greta Gerwig’s latest film and cultural phenomenon, Barbie.

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