Review of 'RoboCop'

robocop.jpg A remake of the 1987 classic, this sees the story slightly tweaked for the modern screen complete with amazing modern special effects. When critically injured in a car bomb policeman Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is rebuilt into a half-man (well, decidedly less than this here) half-robot “RoboCop” by an philosophically torn Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman). Norton works for the maniacal Raymond Sellars (played very coolly by Michael Keaton) head of OCP who seeks to have his robotic product used throughout the police force. Showing signs of emotion guiding his actions right from the minute he is brought round after his dramatic re-birth Murphy, on the orders of Sellars, is re-programmed so that his robotic programming controls his actions with the human Murphy simply “along for the ride”. After re-joining the Detroit police force Murphy, as Robocop, goes on a crime-fighting spree but when he rebels, investigating his own attempted murder Sellars begins to get worried but he still has an ace to play…

Not a lot of surprises for those that have seen the original (complete with a very similar ending) but this does seem a bit fresher and the human side of Murphy is certainly more pronounced with Kinnaman than with Peter Weller in the original (I always saw him as quite flat, emotionally, perhaps it was his face?). The effects here are quite a step up though I can't help but feel the action is not quite as much as it could be though, admittedly, this could be the first in a new series of RoboCop movies so this might be coming later. The scene where the extent of Murphy's injuries are exposed is particularly powerful and more than a bit gruesome. Speaking of gruesome, here, thankfully, the extreme personal violence in the first movie has been slightly sanitised with the bullet in Murphy's head being replaced with an explosion and even the violence against the bad guys seems more often “at a distance”, probably trying to avoid the “restricted” rating given to the original (indeed, this new one is a “12A”).

The periodic “Novac Report” over-the-top right-est pieces hosted by “Pat Novak” (Samuel L. Jackson) really drive home the message of the entire movie that technology-driven solutions do not a perfect country make. In the first movie this message was a tad more subtle (though watchers of that movie may find hard to believe) than here. Does the modern film goer need to be overtly force-fed the message of a movie or can they not work it out for themselves?

Yet more popcorn fodder. Nothing really new from the first film though revamped for the modern day, and younger, audience. OCP is still money-grabbing baddies and Murphy still struggles to overcome.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2016-05-01

Directed by: José Padilha

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 2014

Length: 117 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction