Monday, February 24, 2014
Directed by José Padilha Starring Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jay Baruchel
Very little has been preserved from Murphy's (Kinnaman) heart-breaking journey of rediscovering his humanity once he's been salvaged as a cyborg. Kinnaman's RoboCop is too in touch with his human self from transformation and the pain of what he's lost doesn't enter into it. At least in any emotionally satisfying fashion, since he hasn't lost it. Murphy's family is right there the whole time and the biggest inconvenience seems to be that daddy has many metal parts and is too busy to throw hoops with the kid. Touching? Nay, clichéd. It also doesn't help that RoboCop's new design looks like shit. At least the black suit with laser visor which ironically springs to mind the comic failed designs in RoboCop 2 (1990).
The CG effects are naturally sleeker 27 years later but do we really gain anything with the upgrade? Personal opinion, not a fucking thing. The action is charged up and furious but at times without emotion. There's nothing here to rival, say, the drug factory scene of the 1987 film. RoboCop reboot has the same exact problem as the other recent Verhoeven remake, Total Recall. Both remakes look gorgeous but lack the creative soul which made the originals so legendary. Here, if you simply appreciate seeing Keaton back in the majors like I do and don't mind the increasingly mundane good guy role from Oldman, there might be something you'd buy for a dollar. The only real sincere praises I am able to give are that apparently Padilha and Kinnaman come out of this with little bit of integrity 'cause they campaigned hard for the film to be made rated R but because the budget kept ballooning, they were forced by the studio to make it more kiddie friendly. Also, the respectfully redesigned ED-209s are great and as clumsy as they ever were. Also the scene in which Dr. Norton (Oldman as this film's morally righteous (!) version of Bob Morton) demonstrates to Murphy how much of him is actually left inside the machine. Samual L. Jackson does a kind of impression of Republican soundhorn Bill O'Reilly but no-one will remember and rightfully so.
RoboCop 2014 at IMDb
RoboCop 1987 at IMDb
I had to include this, for quality's sake. Never noticed the music before, from the first Terminator: