The soccer-fanatic nation of Brazil is hosting the World Cup, starting on June 12, and as you may have heard, the preparations aren't going so great. Millions of Brazilians have been protesting in the streets for more than a year over the superfluous spending on stadiums that'll be abandoned and probably turned into shantytowns two weeks after the games.
The government's solution? Spend even more money coming up with sci-fi-looking measures to curb the protests. The results look like some Hollywood madman took the World Cup and gave it a gritty reboot set in a dystopian future -- one where people care enough about soccer to pull stuff like this:
#4. Rio's New Police Officers Are Modeled After RoboCop and Darth Vader
If there's anything that resonates with the World Cup spirit, it's hundreds and hundreds of cheering, excitable, weirdly dressed ... RoboCop-styled policemen.
Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images
"Dead or alive, you're sambaing with me."
Apparently anticipating that the World Cup's queue lines will be populated by goons carrying rocket launchers and flamethrowers, the Rio police force has handed out 200 sets of a 22-pound "RoboCop" outfit (their word, not ours) of protective equipment. What comes with it? For starters, special flame resistance up to 427 degrees Celsius (you know, in case this happens) and a Batman utility belt equipped with pepper spray, a stun gun, pistols, handcuffs, and, of course, a special World Cup baton. The helmet and mask are inspired by Darth Vader (seriously) to "provoke a psychological effect on the protesters" and ... make them jump down chasms while yelling "YOU'RE NOT MY DAD," we guess?
In other words, Brazil has finally caught up to the dystopian future shown in the movie Brazil from 1985:
Oh, and the comparison to RoboCop isn't as gratuitous as you might think -- the outfits are also equipped with a small camera fitted to glasses inside the helmet that can capture 400 facial images per second, which are then sent to a central computer database that stores up to 13 million faces. Basically, the World Cup police will have the ability to take a picture of you and instantly send it to their headquarters to see if you're one of the criminal jackasses or just a regular old stupid jackass. Either way, someone's getting shot in the dick.
Those cops not lucky enough to be granted the RoboCop outfit won't be pushovers, either: They've been trained in jiujitsu. There will be an "unarmed juijitsu squad" patrolling the streets and fighting protesters. Yes, Brazil's authorities make all their decisions based on '80s action movies. And on that note ...
#3. They've Set Up a James Bond Villain-esque Mission Control to Monitor Everything
That headquarters with the database of 13 million pictures that we mentioned above? In a movie, that would be some huge complex with walls lined with screens and manned by dozens of henchmen in matching jumpsuits, but let's face it: We all know that in the real world, it's probably more like some boring DMV office filled with plain-looking bureaucrats.
However, this isn't the real world. This is Brazil.
David Levene/The Guardian
There's no way one of those computers doesn't turn that giant Christ statue into a battle zord.
Seriously, that's what the Centro de Operacoes Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro (COR) looks like -- we're pretty sure the interior decorator responsible for this place had only worked on the inside of active volcanoes before.
The idea for the COR goes back to 2010, when Rio's mayor, Eduardo Paes, realized that the city was ill-prepared to host the World Cup and the Olympics in the coming years, what with all the problems that plague it: gang violence, heavy rain and landslides, packs of monkeys with switchblades, etc. To monitor all those things and coordinate the response from the various departments, Paes decided to build the biggest and most complex command center ever made. Not just in Brazil: in any country.
David Levene/The Guardian
At least 15 of those screens will be focused on finding bouncing Brazilian butts at any given time.
The command center brings together 30 different departments and private contractors under one supervillain-esque roof. Seventy COR staff members keep track of the giant wall monitor broken off into grids of status graphs, meteorological reports, and live video feeds from traffic and surveillance cameras ... and yes, their jumpsuits match. They even have the power to change traffic lights to prevent traffic jams or, at some inevitable point in the future, to hinder the escape of James Bond during a dramatic chase.
Gustavo Pellinzon/Ag.O Globe
They're also the leading global superpower in LAN parties.