Review

The original Robocop was an unexpectedly intelligent story, mocking our consumer driven society with shocking violence and self-referential humor. Like most of Paul Verhoeven’s films, Robocop was ahead of its time. Many elements of the 1987 film are still relevant today, in fact most of the sci-fi concepts from the original have become reality. This means director Jose Padhila and company had to take a different approach in an attempt to build upon the original story and draw in a modern audience.

The task of rebooting Verhoeven’s R-rated ultra-violent social satire for the modern ages would be daunting to say the least. A large part of the original RoboCop fan-base see Verhoevens’ film as a classic piece of cinema and even mentioning a reboot is considered blasphemy. Lets get something clear. Just because a movie gathers a cult following, does not make it a classic.

Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) steps into the iconic role of Alex Murphy, and although his performance might not be as memorable as fan-favorite Peter Weller, Kinnaman definitely pulls it off. This time around the story focuses a lot more on getting to know who Alex Murphy is, and what he is experiencing as he transforms from an everyday family man to a cutting-edge cyborg. Instead of clever tongue-in-cheek satire we are presented with philosophical questions, primarily focusing on humanity and the increasing use of cybernetic technology in everyday life. At times the film can be a little heavy-handed with presenting these questions and themes, most notably the scenes with Samuel Jackson. Although these scenes are quite enjoyable and arguably help maintain concepts from the original, they feel somewhat forced and prevent the film from fully developing into it’s own original story.

Besides Kinnaman and Jackson, Robocop (2014) has an incredibly strong supporting cast including Michael Keaton, as OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars and Gary Oldman as Dr. Dennett Norton, one of the leading minds in the scientific community, specializing in cybernetic prosthetics for amputees. Although OmniCorp continues to develop groundbreaking technology to better humanity and help individuals, their most lucrative market is the use of robotics in security and defense. Basically every country uses OmniCorp products such as ED, EM, and XT security robots to fight terrorism and maintain social order. Every  country besides America. The majority of U.S. citizens oppose legislation that would allow a machine to take charge in life or death situations.  Hell bent on getting the America to accept the use of robotics in everyday life and growing increasingly impatient, Sellars’ convinces Dr. Norton to use his research to help create a robot Americans will accept, by putting a man in a machine.

2014_robocopAt it’s core, this modern day remake shares many similarities with the original film. The story focuses on Alex Murphy, an honest cop in a corrupt society who is critically injured in the line of duty. Murphy becomes the prime candidate for an experiment which would combine man and machine and create the ultimate law enforcement officer thanks to the top of line line tech company, OmniCorp. Excluding the premise for the story, Padhila’s version is significantly different than the original, introducing thoughts and ideas that Verhoeven never really had a chance to explore.

Jose Padilha is given the almost impossible task of appeasing fans of the 1987 original cult classic while adapting the story for modern times. Many seem quick to judge the premise of this remake and the switch to a PG-13 rating. What many aren’t considering is that a remake, good or bad, will draw attention to franchise and suddenly a whole new generation is rushing out to buy the original. Although the final product isn’t perfect, the film succeeds in creating an enjoyable and thought provoking story, and a world I hope they continue to explore.



About the Author

Sean McAloon
I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can't keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for popculturemadness.com and darkmediaonline.com, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.