RoboCop: The Sci-Fi Satire of Paul Verhoeven

For the 30th anniversary of Paul Verhoeven’s masterpiece, 'Robocop,' Mike Calabro explains how the director’s schlocky action movies actually contain some of the most brilliant satire ever seen on film.


Paul Verhoeven directed one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time with Robocop. Satire has always been the director’s strong suit, and it’s not limited to Robocop. ED-209 blowing away executives has nothing on the carnage Arnold Schwarzenegger caused on Mars in Total Recall. 1990 was an awesome year for action films, but Verhoeven’s trippy tale of messed up minds used satire to stand out above the pack.


Then we come to Starship Troopers, the most misunderstood movie of 1997. It looked like a dumb alien invasion movie with bad CGI bugs, but Starship Troopers’ satire is utterly vicious. From World War II propaganda to the American Military Machine, no target is safe under Paul Verhoeven’s lens.