Thursday, February 20, 2014

Robocop (2014)- review

RoboCop is a science fiction remake of a 1987 film of the same name.  While using much of the same plot elements, the film makes bold new choices.  The cast choice is decent and they seem to be taking the material seriously.  While the previous film had a lot of social satire, the new film is not without its own version of commentary on drones and TV political commentators.

In the future, the United States is one of the few nations not using drone police officers.  OmniCorp is trying to get the Senate to overturn a bill that makes them illegal. OmniCorp attempts a marketing campaign using an injured police officer to turn into a cyborg to introduce to the public. Detective Alex Murphy, played by Joel Kinnaman, is severely injured in a car bombing and becomes the latest candidate.  OmniCorp keeps Detective Murphy alive and turns him into RoboCop.

One of the major differences between this version and the 1987 film is that the original film has a robotic man discovering his humanity while this one does the opposite and has a man become more robotic.  It’s an interesting change and it works for this movie.  This movie has a few nods to the original, but it really did not take me out of the movie.  Adding Samuel L. Jackson as a Bill O’Reilly-style commentator was fun and humorous to watch as well. 

The acting is decent. Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Keaton, and Gary Oldman bring their A-material.  Considering that they focused a great deal of the story on Detective Murphy’s wife and child, it really felt like they could have written their characters to be a lot more interesting. The action and effects are very good though one instance of shaky cam did make me nauseous until they cut into a new scene.

This new version of RoboCop is pretty good.  If you were a fan of the original or just even enjoy sci-fi action, give it a chance.  There are a lot of instances that they could have taken the easy way out and made a copy of the original film but they didn’t. This one seems genuine to the material and at least wants to be appreciated for it’s own merits. In that way it succeeds in being an entertaining movie.

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