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Thread: Remember when they marketed R-rated movies to kids?

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Remember when they marketed R-rated movies to kids?

    I remembered for 34 years they marketed R-rated adult films like Rambo, Terminator 2, Robocop, Demolition Man, Aliens, Predator etc. to kids.

    I mean when i was 4 34 years ago i had a Rambo power bike, toy knife, lunchbox and a toy gun plus a Rambo figure and i remembered watching First Blood when it aired on TV plus saw Rambo 2 on video at that age as i recalled they had a cartoon weekday mornings and i saw Rambo III In theaters when i was 7 years old. They made halloween costumes, bubble gum, cards, coloring books, vitamins, toys and all based on Rambo in 1985 and marketed to kids.

    I also remembered seeing Robocop in theaters when i was 6 with my 12 year old big brother and my dad and thought it was an awesome movie and i had a couple of toys and watched the cartoon sunday mornings. One of my friends had a Robocop lunchbox in second grade and i saw Robocop 2 in theaters when i was 8 and had some cards.

    I remembered seeing Alien on TV a month before the sequel hit theaters when i was 5 and saw Aliens in theaters at that age and i remembered seeing Aliens toy commercials on Fox kids and ABC and CBS.

    I did saw Predator 1 and 2 in theaters when i was 6 and 9 as i recalled seeing commercials for Predator toys later on. I saw Terminator when i was 4 on HBO and saw Terminator 2 in theaters when i was 10 as i had some stuff like t-shirt, a few action figures, comic, poster, lunchbox and more as they did some kids merchandise.

    I also remembered seeing Demolition Man in theaters when i was 12 and had some trading cards and i recalled they had merchandise for kids even an action figure series as i saw commercials for them on Fox in the afternoons.
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    SoH Supporter He-Dad's Avatar
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    I had a Rambo action figure with a huge knife. He was awesome....but I wasn't allowed to watch the movie lol. I did watch the cartoon though. Same with Robocop.

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    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Dad View Post
    I had a Rambo action figure with a huge knife. He was awesome....but I wasn't allowed to watch the movie lol. I did watch the cartoon though. Same with Robocop.
    When did you watch Rambo films and Robocop?
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    SoH Supporter He-Dad's Avatar
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    As a teenager when they were on USA.

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    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    I had the RoboCop Nintendo game. RoboCop 2 was the first R rated movie my dad took me to see in theaters. The Rambo and RoboCop cartoons never ran in my city.

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    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    I had the RoboCop Nintendo game. RoboCop 2 was the first R rated movie my dad took me to see in theaters. The Rambo and RoboCop cartoons never ran in my city.
    First r-rated movies i saw in theaters was Fright Night then Commando and Silver Bullet then Death Wish 3 at age 4.

    I remember the NES and arcade games of Robocop as well.

    The one film property that was TOTALLY NOT FOR KIDS was The Toxic Avenger which was a sleazy and ultraviolent b-movie that came with a "no one under 17 will be admitted" warning on the poster! i mean, i was 10 years old when i saw Toxic Crusaders cartoon as i dug it and had a few toys, cards, coloring book, comics and t-shirt and i rented the movie in it's unrated cut on video and OMG that movie shocked the hell out of me and that scene where a 12 year old boy gets hit and ran by killers then suddenly they back up their car to crush his skull in detail made me sick even when it showed his brains busted as the corpse looked like an actual dead kid's corpse with busted head but luckily it was all make up but was an awesome movie despite that horrifying scene and i bet kids who liked Toxic Crusaders rented the movie and were shocked too.
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    The thing I like to remind people whenever this discussion comes up... We DID have access to these properties. Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, First Blood I and II, Highlander, Robocop, Even Nightmare on Elm street. I had them all on VHS and love them.

    They were copied off standard cable television with the gore, nudity and sex completely gone and the swearing bleeped or replaced down to a PG or PG-13 level... and they were awesome. So when Rambo or Terminator showed up on cartoons and toys... we weren't completely shocked and awed. We (even those with parents didn't let 4 years go R rated movies) had already had access to these shows.


    Let's just say I was EXTREMELY shocked by the amount of nudity in the opening of Lethal Weapon or the random breastfeeding and bathing scenes in Clash of the Titans when I eventually picked up the DVDs of these movies. I had seen them at least 20-30 times... but always the edited versions. I never even imagined that stuff was in the movies. Honestly, I miss those days a LOT. There are a ton of awesome movies I'd love to show the kids... but now they don't bother bleep much of anything and don't cut the nudity just 'blur' it a little...


    Besides... it isn't any different now. When I walk down the toy aisles and see Rick and Morty toys next to Game of Thrones figures there isn't much difference. You can slap 'For adult collector's on the toys all day long, but if you're in an aisle of Toys R Us... you're still marketing them to kids.

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    Back then it was for the kids. I remember going to a Walmart in 1992 when the Aliens stuff came out and was like I can’t believe they made these. Same with Predator. I would have liked an APC from the film though that thing was awesome same with the drop ship.

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    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cryanmchsi View Post
    Back then it was for the kids. I remember going to a Walmart in 1992 when the Aliens stuff came out and was like I can’t believe they made these. Same with Predator. I would have liked an APC from the film though that thing was awesome same with the drop ship.
    Do you remember they did the same with Rambo and Robocop?
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    Demonlord of Evil Galmorzu's Avatar
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    I remember seeing Aliens when I was 6 or so and being terrified out of my mind. Then by the time I was 9 or 10, something changed and I loved the movie and it didn't scare me in the slightest. I remember the toyline coming out and being all over it. I was drawing aliens non stop right up into middle school (still do actually), but I was into that Alien and Predator toyline HARD.

    I remember getting the Terminator toys, having seen T2 in theaters with my mom and brother when it came out and loving it. My brother and I watched Robocop all the time on VHS, and had some of the Rambo toys as well. We all turned out fine, and it really wasn't until semi-recently that we even started talking about how weird it was that some of our favorite toys were from R-rated movies. But they sure lent themselves to toylines super well.
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    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galmorzu View Post
    I remember seeing Aliens when I was 6 or so and being terrified out of my mind. Then by the time I was 9 or 10, something changed and I loved the movie and it didn't scare me in the slightest. I remember the toyline coming out and being all over it. I was drawing aliens non stop right up into middle school (still do actually), but I was into that Alien and Predator toyline HARD.

    I remember getting the Terminator toys, having seen T2 in theaters with my mom and brother when it came out and loving it. My brother and I watched Robocop all the time on VHS, and had some of the Rambo toys as well. We all turned out fine, and it really wasn't until semi-recently that we even started talking about how weird it was that some of our favorite toys were from R-rated movies. But they sure lent themselves to toylines super well.
    First Alien to me frightened me when i was 5 seeing it on TV and i did saw Aliens in theaters, awesome movie.

    And incredible eh? that's why our generation was awesome.
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    What is it with people making a big deal about action figures back then that were made based on action movie characters? Who cares, really??

    Also there was one figure made of Arnold's character from the Commando figure.

    Plus these days, action figures from NECA, Hot Toys whatever keep getting made anyway. Nothing new about that.

    For NECA right now, theyve made and still making a bajillion Predator alien figures from the first movie and random obscure stuff like the old Alien vs Predatoar arcade videogame.

    Yes I know all about the old Rambo figures along with the fire caps Robocop figures, Kenner 1990s Aliens figures etc.

    At least I dont making a big fuss about them

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    A lot of those movies weren't actually marketed to kids tho.They were initially for adults and then got a merchandising blitz years after the movie's release. The first Alien movie is a well known exception, for some reason Fox thought it was going to be another Star Wars so some stuff got released for a movie that was clearly a hard R.

    Quote Originally Posted by urrutiap View Post
    Also there was one figure made of Arnold's character from the Commando
    There were three actually, a 3 3/4 version, a 5 inch version and a 16 inch version. They were all awesome and actually, that instance runs contrary to what I just said about merch coming out years after the movie release since-I believe-those figures were released not far behind the movie's release.

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    Outlaw Preacher Dave-Man's Avatar
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    I remember that Alien toy they put out in the '70s after the movie came out. Looking back on that, I never could figure out who thought that would be a good thing for kids.
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    Another thing to remember... back then kids had imagination. I had He-man fight all kinds of giant robots and scary alien monsters... I didn't NEED to know about the franchise and lore attached to a toy to enjoy it. I see a two-head dragon.. and that's good enough for me!! I WANT IT!!! And He-man will ride it... and then Team up with Voltron to fight Godzilla... who is being controlled by Mer-man.. after stealing control from Aquaman. Throw a cyborg or Alien monster in there... and I'm all for it.

    Because IMAGINATION!!!!

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    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcr4 View Post
    A lot of those movies weren't actually marketed to kids tho.They were initially for adults and then got a merchandising blitz years after the movie's release. The first Alien movie is a well known exception, for some reason Fox thought it was going to be another Star Wars so some stuff got released for a movie that was clearly a hard R.



    There were three actually, a 3 3/4 version, a 5 inch version and a 16 inch version. They were all awesome and actually, that instance runs contrary to what I just said about merch coming out years after the movie release since-I believe-those figures were released not far behind the movie's release.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave-Man View Post
    I remember that Alien toy they put out in the '70s after the movie came out. Looking back on that, I never could figure out who thought that would be a good thing for kids.
    How do you both feel about Robocop, Aliens, Demolition Man, Terminator 2 and Rambo having merchandise for kids?
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    Master of DVDs BCI Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urrutiap View Post
    What is it with people making a big deal about action figures back then that were made based on action movie characters? Who cares, really??

    Also there was one figure made of Arnold's character from the Commando figure.

    Plus these days, action figures from NECA, Hot Toys whatever keep getting made anyway. Nothing new about that.

    For NECA right now, theyve made and still making a bajillion Predator alien figures from the first movie and random obscure stuff like the old Alien vs Predatoar arcade videogame.

    Yes I know all about the old Rambo figures along with the fire caps Robocop figures, Kenner 1990s Aliens figures etc.

    At least I dont making a big fuss about them
    The difference is those figures today are being made specifically for adults. In the 80s they were 100% aimed at kids.

    Its not a big deal, but it was a really interesting marketing strategy (and I'm saying this 1st hand as someone that grew up in the 70s and 80s) that toy companies were making toy lines for movies that kids weren't seeing.

    It was a weird time, and I think part of it was fueled by Mego's passing on the Star Wars license. Nobody was turning down anything because they didn't want to miss out on the "next big thing", and there were only so many "blue chip" licenses that toy companies were going after anything that they thought could be cool - even if it was based on something inappropriate for children.

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    Outlaw Preacher Dave-Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCanyon View Post
    How do you both feel about Robocop, Aliens, Demolition Man, Terminator 2 and Rambo having merchandise for kids?
    Some of those I was never really sure were appropriate. I mean, I can see why kids liked Robocop, Rambo, and the Terminator - cool robots and action. But the over-the-top violence and language may have been a bit much. I'm not quite as prude on some of these things as others in m profession though.
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    Friend of fox Rhanen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCI Guy View Post
    The difference is those figures today are being made specifically for adults. In the 80s they were 100% aimed at kids.

    Its not a big deal, but it was a really interesting marketing strategy (and I'm saying this 1st hand as someone that grew up in the 70s and 80s) that toy companies were making toy lines for movies that kids weren't seeing.

    It was a weird time, and I think part of it was fueled by Mego's passing on the Star Wars license. Nobody was turning down anything because they didn't want to miss out on the "next big thing", and there were only so many "blue chip" licenses that toy companies were going after anything that they thought could be cool - even if it was based on something inappropriate for children.
    I completely agree. It was great for me since all those franchises shared a huge amount of adventure, mistery and a certain degree of horror that nurtured my imagination while growing up. Everything could be considered derivative from "Star Wars", but each of them had their unique mark to differentiate one from the other. I still don't understand how "The Last Starfighter" never got any action figures or merchandise.

    Even some kid cartoons or franchises were considered oriented for mature audiences initially (TMNT, Conan, Butch & Sundance action figures), and some cartoon had a huge amount recurring themes that are considered not appropiate for children nowadays (C.O.P.s, Mazinger Z, Devil Man, Spiral Zone, RanMa 1/2, DragonBall, Inhumanoids, Skeleton Warriors, Space Pirate Cobra, Ulysses 31, G Force and many more, mostly anime)

    Regarding Alien, I remember being a 5 year old and seen the Kenner 18" figure in a toy store here in Argentina in 1981-82 and wanted it really bad. I thought it would have been an awesome monster for SW figures.
    And regarding Kenner's Aliens line from the 90s, it was different since many kids, like myself, got to see 86`s movie in a VHS recorder, thus its popularity as heavily based on military sci-fi warfare against monsters. I got a chance to see the intro of the animated cartoon that was going to promote the line, but Fox thought twice about monsters dismenbering soldiers on Saturday morning cartoons. It was glorious though and almost impossible to find now online.
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    Heroic Warrior HarryCanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave-Man View Post
    Some of those I was never really sure were appropriate. I mean, I can see why kids liked Robocop, Rambo, and the Terminator - cool robots and action. But the over-the-top violence and language may have been a bit much. I'm not quite as prude on some of these things as others in m profession though.
    Well back then in the 80s, boys like myself admired Stallone as he was a hero to some of us 80s boys and been one of my heroes since i saw Rocky 1 2 and 3 on TV when i was 3 back in 84 and i watched Rambo 1 on TV as a kid even Rambo 2 on video when it came out to having my dad take me to see Rambo 3 when i was 7, i had some stuff when i was 4. I mean Stallone was a badass to us boys back then. I mean despite the movies where it first had a PTS ridden soldier who fended for himself then he went on to become a killing machine who slit throats, blow people up with arrows, shoot bad guys and all that, i mean boys thought John Rambo was one awesome dude. That's why they made merchandise for kids based on Rambo.

    And some of us saw Robocop in theaters or when it came out on VHS when we were kids like me whom i was 6 years old when i saw Robocop in theaters and thought he was an awesome character and the movie was awesome and all. Same for Aliens as some of us 80s kids saw it on video, cable or theaters like i did when i was 5 years old as i saw the first Alien on TV before the sequel came out.

    Terminator had some kid appeal but do you think Terminator 2 is adult entertainment like the first one? i mean T2 had kid appeal with the hero, Arnold and of course John Conner. I mean like i said i saw the first on HBO when it came out on HBO when i was 4 and saw the second one in theaters with my parents and big brother and i had some stuff even the backpack and lunchbox. Demolition Man had some violent scenes even where Simon Phoenix uses a sharp thing to remove some guy's eyeball out of his socket to use as a retina coding code thing on a scanner to get out, a virtual sex scene, language even the verbal violation scene which was funny and all yet they made toys out of that movie.

    Besides T2, Aliens and Robocop 1 and 2, Predator 1 and 2 and Demolition Man i've seen plenty of r-rated movies in theaters growing up as a kid like starting with Fright Night when i was 4 when i saw it with my dad and my 10 year old brother and also Commando (which they did action figures for kids too that year), Death Wish 3, Silver Bullet, Black Moon Rising, The Hitcher, House, Highlander, Delta Force, Murphy's Law, Cobra, Psycho III (I saw 1 and 2 on video the previous year with my big brother as he got me into horror), Vamp, Maximum Overdrive, Stand by Me, Friday The 13th part 6 (I watched 1 2 3 and 4 on video with my big brother and 5 on HBO as i was 5 when 6 came out), The Fly, Manhunter, Deadly Friend, Trick Or Treat, Assasination (Charles Bronson film), The Stepfather, Critical Condition, Lethal Weapon, Elm Street 3 (saw the first 2 Elm Streets on HBO in 85 and 86), Creepshow 2 (i saw the first one on video the previous year with my family for Halloween), Beverly Hills Cop 2 (saw the first one on HBO when it came out and saw the second in theaters), Witches of Eastwick (I was 5 when it and Predator hit theaters), The Lost Boys, Hellraiser, Hello Mary Lou Prom Night 2 (saw the first one on cable when i was 4), The Hidden, Prince of Darkness, Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Running Man, Action Jackson, Bloodsport, Return of the Living Dead part II, Seventh Sign, Above the Law, Colors, Shakedown, Friday The 13th part 7, Red Heat, The Dead Pool, Die Hard, Midnight Run, The Blob, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Alien Nation, Halloween 4 (Saw the first 3 movies with my brother at age 5), Child's Play, Rain Man, Hellbound Hellraiser 2, The Fly II, Leviathan, Deep Star Six, Pumpkinhead, Cyborg, The Horror Show aka House III, Major League, Pet Sematary, Road House, Renegades, Lethal Weapon 2, Elm Street 5, Halloween 5, Shocker, Phantom of the Opera (1989), Harlem Nights, Tango and Cash, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (saw the first 2 on video when i was 5 with my brother and dad), Nightbreed, Tales from the Darkside the Movie, Graveyard Shift, Jacob's Ladder, Air America, Total Recall (2 times one with my dad and big brother who was 15 and one with my uncle as i was 9 years old), Die Hard 2, Flatiners, Exorcist III (saw Exorcist on video with my brother when i was 6 and part 2 on TV when i was 7 as i thought 2 sucked but 3 was an improvement), Darkman, Child's Play 2, Night of the Living Dead 1990 (saw the original when i was 5 on video even Dawn and Day), Misery, Silence of the Lambs, Out for Justice, Thelma and Louise, Double Impact, Child's Play 3, Freddy's Dead, People Under the Stairs, Cape Fear, White Men Camp Jump, Sleepwalkers, Alien 3, Lethal Weapon 3 ( turned 11), Universal Soldier, Raising Cain, Pet Sematary II, Last of the Mohicans, Innocent Blood, Candyman, Under Siege, Dr Giggles, Passenger 57, Army of Darkness (saw Evil Dead 1 and 2 on VHS with my brother when i was 7), Falling Down, Dark Half, Cliffhanger, Rising Sun, Jason Goes to Hell The Final Friday (i was 12 26 years ago), Needful Things, Hard Target, Striking Distance, Man's Best Friend etc. were other r-rated films i saw in theaters as a kid and my parents were cool with me and my brother seeing r-rated films in theaters as long as i'm with either parent or adult relative like an uncle and also cool with me seeing some on video or cable. So no problem with that.

    I mean do you agree The Toxic Avenger was definitely NOT KID FRIENDLY movie? i mean they did a cartoon with merchandise for kids and the movie was an ultraviolent and sleazy x-rated (well it was released in theaters unrated with a warning of "Due to the nature of this movie, no one under 17 will be admitted" on it) horror superhero comedy cult film from Troma? i mean it was a shocking film that even included a 12 year old boy getting murdered in detail by bad guys who hit and ran him then they show in detail his skull/brains busted by the car then the bad guys getting out of the car to take pictures of the corpse with busted brains. I bet the 10 years olds like me back then even the 9 and 8 year old who loved the Toxic Crusaders cartoon and had some toys and stuff rented the movie like i did when i was 10 years old as i watched the cartoon, had some toys and comics to t-shirt rented the movie and were like OMG and puked like i did at that scene even with that nearly realistic dead kid with busted brains/skull corpse which luckily was just make up effects and it also had other graphic scenes of extreme violence/brutality like a drug pusher guy who gets his head put under a weight machine then the monster hero lets it go then we see his skull smashed in detail to stomach ripping all that to some sex scenes/nudity and drug use.

    Hell i remembered having a Freddy Krueger squirttoy and yoyo and cards as a kid as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCanyon View Post
    How do you both feel about Robocop, Aliens, Demolition Man, Terminator 2 and Rambo having merchandise for kids?
    I had some of the Robocop and Rambo figures. I would've loved if they had made figures for the first Terminator film but the only thing available at the time were Japanese model kits (which were briefly sold through Starlog magazine). I liked that that figures for the second movie existed but I wasn't really interested in them at that time (was getting interested in girls and I'm one of the few people who think T2 wasn't as good as the first film).

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    I remember my dad letting me watch Alien and Blade runner on VHS but I never made it to the end of either - I was terrified. We all sat down to watch The Towering Inferno one time and I thought I’d have a heart attack. It wasn’t till I was 12 that I could enjoy any 18 rated films, Robocop was a favourite. Couldn’t watch a horror film until I was about 16 when I got really into A Nightmare On Elm Street series. I don’t remember seeing toys for any 18 films however, maybe they were banned in the UK.
    Last edited by Fandabidozi; February 20, 2019 at 08:55pm.

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    It's funny that I thought of this thread topic as I watched the new KFC commercial... with Robocop, but the real reason I bring it up is that the family in this video are watching that movie together. LOL. Like Robo is really a family-friendly movie??

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    Heroic Warrior manowar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehenyo View Post
    It's funny that I thought of this thread topic as I watched the new KFC commercial... with Robocop, but the real reason I bring it up is that the family in this video are watching that movie together. LOL. Like Robo is really a family-friendly movie??
    I was 12 when Robocop came out. I reeeeeeeeeeely wanted to see it. I was able to convince my mom the R rating was for language.... nothing I hadn't heard before so she took my sister and I to go see it. I just remember my mom looking at me at one point and saying "what kind of movie did you drag me to!?" And me and my sister just laughing at everything. Our favorite part was the guy driving into the toxic waste and melting. I still stagger toward my sister mumbling "hewp meh"

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    Quote Originally Posted by manowar View Post
    I was 12 when Robocop came out. I reeeeeeeeeeely wanted to see it. I was able to convince my mom the R rating was for language.... nothing I hadn't heard before so she took my sister and I to go see it. I just remember my mom looking at me at one point and saying "what kind of movie did you drag me to!?" And me and my sister just laughing at everything. Our favorite part was the guy driving into the toxic waste and melting. I still stagger toward my sister mumbling "hewp meh"

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    Well, when it is all said and done, RoboCop is actually a really great black comedy. That being said, a lot of people can be offended by the art form. I like the movie, it has this sort of a "What if Tom and Jerry had realistic violence" element to it. But that isn't everyone's cup of tea.
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