Published on February 12th, 2014 | by gareth0
By Don Guillory
It seems that in recent years, we have been inundated with reboots, remakes, and reimaginings, however, this film is more than just another remake. In 1987, audiences were introduced to a film that detailed the effects of human corruption, greed, and a military-industrial complex disguised as a man inside of a robot suit. The original Robocop followed the life of a decorated Detroit detective, Alex Murphy who is injured in the line of duty and the only way that he can be brought back to life is as half man / half machine.
The updated version of Robocop, reinvents the story of Alex Murphy and further explores the issues of political and corporate corruption while demonstrating the role that the media plays in shaping public perspective. The film is very imaginative and audiences will not find themselves comparing this film to the original for long. The plot and storyline are relatively strong for the action/sci-fi genre. The film will have audiences question what the future holds for them with respect to the technology that we currently possess and the role that technology will play in our lives. Will it be for benevolence or will it come at a cost as we witness in the film? Fans of the original may be critical of this remake in not wanting a movie they love to be remade, however, they will be satisfied with the action, special effects, story, acting, and humor put into this film.
By Joseph Saulnier
Movie remakes are a dime a dozen these days. Some hit it out of the park (Dredd, and in my opinion Total Recall) while others make you question the sanity of the film makers (Arthur and Clash of the Titans). Fortunately, Robocop is closer to Dredd and Recall, but does it make the cut?
Robocop tells the tale of Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a Detroit City Police Detective. While working a case with his partner, he stumbles into what could be the bust of the century. When his partner gets hurt while attempting to bust criminal mastermind Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow), Murphy vows to take him down. This leaves Vallon only one choice… kill Alex Murphy.
Meanwhile mega-company OmniCorp, led by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), is trying desperately to get their drone police bots onto the streets of the USA, but are being blocked by politicians and the legal system because the drones do not have the decision making abilities and the feelings that human cops have. When the attempt on Alex Murphy’s life leaves him in a debilitative state, Raymond Sellars and OmniCorp’s top scientist, Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), approach Alex’s wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish), to offer a second chance at life for Alex. What comes next is an emotional rollercoaster for Alex as he tries to cope with his new predicament, and to become the first robotic officer on the streets of the U.S.
I really did enjoy this movie. The visuals were amazing, and the action was well thought out. The updates to the story from the original 1987 film make sense, especially given the wider “knowledge” that the average movie goer has of science fiction and what is (and isn’t) even remotely possible. At first I was skeptical about Kinnaman’s ability to play the iconic Alex Murphy, but as soon as the movie got underway, he had me convinced that he was the right person for the part.
The one actor who did not have me convinced, however, was Michael Keaton. I just had a hard time picturing him in this “bad guy” role, especially after all of his parts that made him as popular as he is, and his recent role in another film based on a video game franchise. He just didn’t work in the part for me, or my guest at the media screening of the film. My choice would have been Bruce Willis or, better yet, Peter Weller giving a nod to the original film.
Speaking of “bad guys”. I had a really hard time trying to figure out who the “main bad guy” of the film was going to be. Vallon was a clear choice just based on the story line that was set up. Sellars was also a front-runner just because it is what people would have expected based on the original film. Also in the running was Dr. Norton as he (and Sellars) at time made decisions that seemed to make them out to be the bad guy, but then turned around and made another decision that made you feel like they were really on the side of Alex Murphy and not in it for the wrong reasons. But at the end of the movie, everything became clear. I just wish it wouldn’t have been such a confusing journey.
And let’s not forget Samuel L. Jackson (not Laurence Fishburne, Mr. Rubin). He adds a panache to the film that only he can as Pat Novak, an enigmatic talk show host on the level of Bill Maher, who 100% supports the efforts of Raymond Sellars and OmniCorp. And he isn’t afraid to voice that opinion.
So let’s get down to it. Would I buy Robocop when it comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD? Yes. Yes, I would. While not a perfect update, it is definitely a great version of a classic. In fact, much like Dredd and Total Recall, I consider Robocop (2014) and Robocop (1987) to be 2 different films altogether. Both having great traits to attract you to them, and each stands quite solidly on its own.
3.75 Stars out of 5