I spent one night talking with my friend Nick about matters of philosophy, politics, and literature. Naturally, in that deep, serious discussion, we began to hypothesize what might have happened if Robocop was sent back in time. Peter Weller is, after all, a historian. That is how the idea for this fight came about. Maximus, the main character of the movie Gladiator, is a former general of the Roman Empire who was forced into the life of a slave due to treachery. I should note that I firmly believe that Gladiator is not a good movie. However, for some reason, I love that film. It’s got cheesy lines, broadly drawn and poorly defined characters, and loads of clichés, but something about it just makes it good. It’s the Slim Jim of cinema. Facing off against Maximus is Robocop, the hero of a pair of films in the 1980s. Robocop 3, you say? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Like Maximus, Robocop fights against a society of injustice. He just happens to do it with an armored cybernetic body, a high-tech police cruiser, and a couple thousand bullets.
The Roman Empire has grown listless and dull. The gladiators of their arena have all proven incapable of felling the champion, Maximus. Oh, sure, there was that one time when he supposedly died after a climactic battle against Emperor Claudius, but then it turned out that he was just taking a nap. And while it was once fun to cheer for the Aussie…er, Spaniard, things get dull when he never loses. So the Romans pray to their gods for someone who can defeat Maximus…or at least give them a good show for a change.
Their prayers are eventually answered by Hal, the patron deity of robot-created chaos. After Maximus fells yet another foe in the arena, a blinding flash of lightning and a grinding of cosmic gears fills the colosseum. When the smoke clears, a very confused Robocop stands before Maximus. Assuming that this is simply some new bit of flash and pomp, Maximus attacks the new foe. Naturally, the look on his face is priceless when his sword bends. This attack lets Robocop quickly deduce who his foe is, and he lets loose with a spray of suppressive fire. Even though he’s from the ancient Roman Empire and should have no idea what bullets are, Maximus instictively knows how to dodge them and dive behind cover — almost as though he were imbued with the essence of a man who has endured thousands of mediocre action films. Maximus crouches beneath a conveniently placed overturned chariot and waits for Robocop to run out of ammo. Unfortunately, as he soon learns, Robocop won’t be out of ammo until everyone in the arena has long since died of old age. Round One goes to Robocop.
Although he may be pinned down, Maximus is hardly out. He doesn’t have the firepower himself to take Robocop down, but he does have the loyalty of hundreds of loyal troops, thanks to brotherhoods in arms that he has forged in both the arena and the battlefield. At his signal, dozens of gladiators swarm Robocop. Of course, they don’t actually manage to slow the cybernetic killing machine down; instead, they serve only to distract him. While Robocop is busy slaying wave after wave of gladiators, Maximus emerges from his cover and prepares a counterattack. The last of the slaves die willingly for the glory that is Maximus, and Robocop turns to finish off their general. But Maximus has managed to get in close, and delivers a solid punch to Robocop’s human jaw. Robocop staggers backward, stunned that anyone would be so smart as to attack his one obvious weakness. Maximus then presses the advantage, using his superior speed to hammer away at Robocop while the cyborg slowly shuffles in the plastic mold of his powered armor, suddenly realizing that he has no peripheral vision or movement beyond four main joints. Round Two goes to Maximus.
Despite the staggering blows, Robocop manages to make a counterattack, and eventually knocks Maximus away with a punch. Maximus rolls in the dirt, but comes up again ready for more battle. Instead of going back to the melee, however, he finds himself staring down the barrel of Robocop’s gun. Robocop goes to pull the trigger and end the fight, but his shooting hand doesn’t respond. His head twitches a bit, and his directives flash across the display of his visor.
Directive 1: Serve the Public Trust
Directive 2: Protect the Innocent
Directive 3: Uphold the Law
Directive 4: Any attempt to arrest a senior OCP officer results in shutdown
And, there’s one new directive, previously unknown to Robocop:
Directive 5: Russell Crowe is your motherfuckin’ god, bitch!
Well…maybe the directive is a bit more technically written than that, but what it boils down to is that Robocop can’t seem to act against Russell Crowe or, for that matter, any characters that bear Russell Crowe’s likeness. While Robocop glitches out, Maximus teams up with officer Bud White and terrorist/evil AI training program Sid 6.0. Robocop gets a triple dose of Russell Crowe, which even his might cybernetic body can’t bear. Round Three and the match go to Maximus/Bud White/Sid 6.0.