RoboCop (1987) Ending Explained: A Working-Class Underdog

After Murphy and Lewis have taken out Boddicker’s gang at the mill, it’s time to settle the score with Dick Jones. Previously, we saw that RoboCop was unable to arrest Jones due to the shadowy Directive 4, a classified failsafe that prevents him from acting against OCP Executives. A kind of Asimov’s Law for corporate scumbags, if you will.

Crashing into a board meeting, Murphy uses his data spike to reveal Jones’s true intentions to the other board members. It’s a neat touch; he used the spike to kill Boddicker, and now he’s using it to kill Jones’s career. 

Jones gets desperate and takes his boss hostage at gunpoint, but Chief Executive isn’t as doddery as it seems. He thinks quickly and fires Jones on the spot. No longer an employee of OCP, directive 4 is overridden, allowing Murphy to blow him away. The Old Man praises his shooting and asks his name. “Murphy,” he responds, with a huge smile.

This ending plays out so triumphantly for two reasons. Firstly, Murphy goes through an incredible ordeal to get here. He is shot, killed, revived, turned into a robot, betrayed, shot again by about a hundred cops, battered, crushed under a pile of steel, and skewered through the chest. It’s one hell of a journey, and it would take a stony heart not to feel overjoyed for him when he finally reclaims his identity as Murphy.

Secondly, it is a victory for a regular guy like Murphy over grasping millionaires like Dick Jones and his corporate buddies — something that plays even better in the current climate than it did back in the ’80s. No wonder there are plans to erect a RoboCop statue in Detroit; he’s a true underdog and working-class hero for the city in the way Rocky Balboa is for Philadelphia.

Leave a Comment