So here we are in 2014 with the remake/reboot of RoboCop, a film that a lot of people haven’t been looking forward to. From the time the set pictures showed up with the new suit loads of fans freaked out in disgust. However since the trailers showed up, it’s changed some people’s opinions. Now I’ve bashed almost everything to do with this film prior to its release, but something told me I’d end up watching it for a review at some point. So is this film worth a watch or was this franchise better left off in the 80’s? Read on and find out!
The story is not necessarily new and those who are old enough to remember the original film know what the deal is, but for those not in the know he is a quick summary:
“In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy – a loving husband, father and good cop – is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.”
Even though things were changed, the story is very similar to the original 1987 film, and for what it is the story here is decent. The film basically takes the original source material and mixes up a few things, it really is a modern re-telling of the 80’s film and that has advantages and disadvantages. When it works, the film feels modern, interesting and the aspect that stood out the most was the tampering of human life and what it means to be human or a machine. But the disadvantages include the fact that this film also lacks the originality, over-the-violence and 80’s charisma that made the original it so fun. Also, the new focus on the human aspects of Alex Murphy especially when it comes to his family had too much focus, it just felt boring and any time the wife and kid were involved the film lost my interest and the pacing slowed down. All that being said, the film does have heart, good action, moral dilemmas and deception on both sides of the law.
As for the cast, they’re decent however the characters are a mixed bag with some solid people and some not so good ones. Joel Kinnaman does an okay job Alex Murphy, he’s a likeable enough person, if a bit bland, only after he become RoboCop does he become more interesting and even then it takes Kinnaman a little while to find his groove as the new cyborg, but when he’s serious and kicking ass he’s actually cool. Someone who is not boring is Gary Oldman who is awesome as Dr. Dennett Norton. In my opinion Oldman was the best character in this film. Norton is a scientist who clearly wishes to use his work for good, but when it comes to crafting RoboCop he is faced with a moral dilemma and from there he has to try balance the line between doing his role at OmniCorp and moral and ethical implications of his actions. He really is the Dr. Frankenstein of this film and I liked that complex they created for him. Another good performance comes Michael Keaton as Raymond Sellars, he is actively trying to get the robot in America ban reversed and trying to change public opinion with RoboCop. He is a man who has a way with words, he’s smart and yet crafty at the same time.
Not to be overlooked, Samuel L. Jackson as Patrick “Pat” Novak is amazing. Pat is the host of a notable TV show and he is very strong-willed, opinionated, charismatic and funny, and this role is really elevated thanks to the greatness that is Sam Jackson. There is one great moment with Jackson that channels his performance from Snakes On A Plane to great effect. Abbie Cornish was the weakest link as Clara Murphy (well besides the kid, no offence but I didn’t buy his performance at all). As Alex’s wife, Cornish just slowed down the film and while I understood her emotional scenes, I didn’t buy her acting like everyone else. Jackie Earle Haley was interesting, cool and funny as Rick Mattox. Michael K. Williams was cool as Alex’s former partner as Jack Lewis, Williams puts on his badass act and has some moments of humour too. Jennifer Ehle as Liz Kline and Jay Baruchel as Tom Pope are pretty good too, I especially liked the humour that came from Baruchel’s character.
When it comes to the presentation it is pretty good, the action sequences are good and were a little more inventive and aggressive than I thought they’d be, though nothing here was overly unique or memorable like the current set of superhero films that own the action genre when it come to creating memorable action set-pieces.
In conclusion RoboCop, as much as I hate to say it wasn’t that bad. I really wanted to leave the film saying I hated it, but I can’t deny that there were elements I did enjoy. The film still doesn’t hold a candle to the original, but it is one of the better reboots of recent years. If you need any more convincing let me leave you with this, I’ll take this film over the 2012 Total Recall remake any day.
Rating: 7/10 (I don’t give this rating lightly, but it was actually goof)
So what did you think of RoboCop? Did you think it was good or bad and how do you think it fared when compared to the original? Whatever your thoughts are drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀