“all these great ideas are like the various pieces that physically make up the character RoboCop but they haven’t been put together properly. A robot police officer with his thumb up his arse.”
By Simon Jago
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton
Director(s): José Padilha
Screenwriter(s): Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier
Running Time: 117 mins
Now I know I’m probably going to be committing some Science Fiction sacrilege by starting with the fact I was never a huge fan of the original ‘RoboCop’ (1987). I always felt the great idea was let down by the execution. However, Robocop is an 80’s icon and has become a cult film over the years so I can see why Hollywood producers would feel it’s a great money making idea to remake the film with new cutting edge technology but the 80’s was the decade of great sci-fi with directors who know how to actually blow stuff up and film real action scenes. Instead this time round we get everything created on a computer by an army of World of Warcraft players nicking every idea possible from their Xbox360 collection.
In a dystopian crime ridden near-future a Detroit police detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) begins to stumble on corruption in the force. Falling victim to a assassination attempt Murphy is left horribly burnt and disfigured. However, this accident makes Murphy exactly what world-wide mega-corporation OmniCorp are looking for. With a State wide ban on robots being used on American soil CEO of OmniCorp Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) has put Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) in charge of finding and developing a human test subject who could serve as a cyborg hybrid that might sway public opinion towards using robots.
Deployed to fight crime and serve justice, RoboCop is born.
There are a lot of ideas about the RoboCop remake that I really like such as Samuel L.Jackson’s fabulous exposition as television host Patrick “Pat” Novak. These sections of the film really added credibility to the fictional future the film takes place in. I enjoyed the new RoboCop design and the updated ED 209 from pig squealing stop motion toy in the original to District 9 style CGI law enforcer in this one. However, all these great ideas are like the various pieces that physically make up the character RoboCop but they haven’t been put together properly. A robot police officer with his thumb up his arse.
The action scenes are as limp as Murphy’s barbecued sex organs with no excitement or suspense. Robocop effortlessly disposes of endless computer generated robots sourced straight out of the iRobot school of filming making and in both the main action set pieces you don’t really care or have any idea what’s going on. There is no real climax and the whole film is an unmemorable sludge. One of the most memorable and disturbing scenes from the original is when the character Emil Antonowsky gets covered in toxic waste and his flesh begins to melt and disfigure before he meets his timely end across the windscreen of a speeding car. In this film the most imaginative death for every bad guy is they simply just get shot.
Don’t even get me started on how Hollywood these days won’t respect material by giving it a mature rating. The original RoboCop was R rated and the violence was part of it’s appeal. This lazy remake is PG-13 kid crap.
The Robocop carcass should have been left alone after the various dire reincarnations for television series and straight to video movies. The character has been violated once again with an unnecessary remake that starts out promising but ultimately becomes a boring bloated by the numbers picture. Maybe the wonderful OmniCorp marketing team should have taken a look at this one and made something more ‘Tactical” rather than this Roboflop.