Everyone's favorite badge-toting manmachine will absolutely be memorialized in bronze, somewhere in the city.

Not to over-analyze it, but there is something sad about Detroit getting a RoboCop statue.

Read this plot description from the X-rated Jesus flick's Wikipedia page: "In the near future, Detroit, Michigan is on the verge of collapse due to financial ruin and unchecked crime." Though the movie was filmed in 1987, doesn't that sound like a strikingly accurate statement of where the city's at today? The citizens of Detroit love their silvery sheriff, sure. But on some level, is this statue a cry for help for an effective police agency to step in?

As bit character The Old Man said in Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece, "Old Detroit has a cancer. That cancer is crime." Despite a recent drop in illegal activity, Detroit is still one of the most (if not the most) dangerous city in America, with 1,111 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2010. (By comparison, the runner-up cities of Memphis and Springfield, Illinois, had 1,006 and 855 violent crimes that year, respectively.) Unemployment and a thinning population has left the metropolis with little money to spend on maintaining law and order.

Here's an idea: Perhaps Across the Board Creations, the British Columbia-based company tasked with making a 3-D scan of the statue, could fix a sentry gun in its hand that would shoot tranquilizer darts at muggers and rapists in the crotch, in true RoboCop fashion. Is it too much to ask for public art to be functional?

Anyway, for people who crave Robo-updates, it looks like the statue almost certainly will be erected. And for some reason the lawman's mouth will be half-opened in mid-sentence or dumb surprise, according to a mock-up posted on Detroit Needs RoboCop:

Jerry Paffendorf, who has helped raise more than $67,000 after a jokey tweet last year morphed into glorious reality, recently informed the Detroit News that he was just waiting on the final foam pieces from Across the Board. The "statue's definitely coming," he assured nerds everywhere. Let's hope the company doesn't screw up and ship one of its other creations by mistake, like this Jabba the Hutt. Nobody wants to see that in a public park, except maybe George Lucas.

Once all the parts of the disassembled police officer arrive in Detroit, local shop Venus Bronze Works will take over the job, sculpting a faithful recreation of special-effects whiz Rob Bottin's original mecha-man. The future home of RoboCop is still up in the air, though. Paffendorf said that one possible location would be the grounds of the abandoned Michigan Central Station in Corktown. It's a desolate-looking zone that one could imagine the felons of the future congregating in, popping Blue Velvet Nukes* and laughing like hyenas for no apparent reason:

Also unknown is what kind of signage this public memorial will include. With luck there will be a plaque citing interesting bits of trivia about the armored suit, such as that actor Peter Weller had reportedly planned to have RoboCop "move like a snake, dancing around and moving very awkward so that his targets were unable to attack him." Or that the suit wound up being so bulky that Weller lost 3 pounds of weight in fluids each day, and couldn't get out of cars or walk up stairs because the "suit acts strange and the butt wiggles in a funny way." Make it happen, Paffendorf.

Critics of the statue argue that it's needlessly highlighting Detroit's enduring crime problem. They should be happy they're not getting the sort of entertainment-themed statues other cities have been stuck with. Rocky Balboa is fine enough for Philadelphia, and Yoda just seems to fit in San Francisco, but Milwaukee pedestrians must involuntarily cringe every time they walk by this wretched statue of Arthur Fonzarelli, otherwise known as the Fonz. A statue of Mel Gibson as Braveheart's William Wallace was so awful that the Scottish city of Stirling wound up shipping it back to the sculptor, whereas the less said the better about the Superman in Metropolis, Illinois. Why, Obama, why?

* Yes, I am aware that this is from the sequel.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    The Automotive Liberation of Paris

    The city has waged a remarkably successful effort to get cars off its streets and reclaim walkable space. But it didn’t happen overnight.

  2. Transportation

    How Toronto Turned an Airport Rail Failure Into a Commuter Asset

    The Union Pearson Express launched with expensive rides and low ridership. Now, with fares slashed in half and a light rail connection in the works, it’s a legitimate transit alternative for workers.

  3. An aisle in a grocery store

    It's Not the Food Deserts: It's the Inequality

    A new study suggests that America’s great nutritional divide goes deeper than the problem of food access within cities.

  4. Equity

    Even the Dead Could Not Stay

    An illustrated history of urban renewal in Roanoke, Virginia.

  5. Equity

    Women Are Marching Again, But It's Not About Donald Trump

    In its second year, the Women’s March that dominated the nation's capital last January has decentralized, focusing on local issues in cities large and small.