Movie Review – Robocop
OmniCorp’s creation of unmanned robotic soldiers have taken soldier mortality out of war, they’re a hit all over the world except for The United States. Thanks to the Dreyfuss Act, which states a machine is unable to value human life therefore it should not be allowed to govern people. Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), the CEO of OmniCorp is actively looking for find a way to repeal the Dreyfuss Act by creating a product that combines both man and machine.
Police officers Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams) go undercover tracking down illegal weapons,leading them to crime boss, Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow). When Lewis is injured in a gun fight, Murphy makes a promise to take down Vallon and his whole operation. Unfortunately Vallon gets to Murphy first by having his car rigs explosives. Left in critical condition OmniCorp offers him a second chance.
The result is Robocop. He has single-handedly made Detroit a safer place, but as he begins to re-examine the case that left him paralyzed.Murphy will discover this investigation is bigger than he could have imagined.
Fans of the original have already made up their minds about whether or not they will see this remake, which is a shame because it isn’t terrible. Like the titular character, José Padilhaideas come through, but are lost in the machine of a big budget studio production. Last year it was reported that for every 10 ideas he had, 9 were cut, Marc Webb faced similar problems making The Amazing Spider-Man. Is it a coincidence that both are Sony properties? -Probably not.
All things considered though Padilha’s vision takes the familiar character and not only modernized him but also explores some interesting concepts.There isn’t a whole lot of action as the trailer conveys, but fortunately the character story about Murphy’s humanity isn’t entirely eye rolling albeit underdeveloped. The remake is a departure from the original and favours the rooted in reality approach, and some of the upgrade Robocop gets this time around helps to make him appear as an unstoppable force. Such as access to street cameras all around the city and the complete Detroit Police Department database with unsolved cases, wanted suspects and access to phone records, which makes for some creative plot points, but hinders some of the story arcs by oversimplifying them.
Joel Kinnaman is a convincing as officer Murphy, but does a better job as Robocop. At one point,Murphy has a video call with his wife and Kinnaman’s anxiety to her reaction is palpable. He also manages to portray the lifeless robot when his programming overcomes him personality.
Gary Oldman is Dr. Dennett Norton the man responsible for creating Robocop; he gives a solid performance but seems to be in a completely different movie. Whereas Michael Keaton does a great job and is enjoyable to watch but is limited by the formulaic character. The movie tries to do too much too quickly with its supporting cast, and Jay Baruchel, Michael K. Williams, and Jennifer Ehleall end up being throw away characters. Samuel L. Jackson’s is his charismatic self as news anchor Pat Novak who provides us with background information, and is positioned to potentially be a future villain. Abbie Cornish and John Paul Ruttan play opposite of Kinnaman as his wife Clara Murphy and son David Murphy respectively. While they’re exceptional in their roles, the story surrounding them could have been so interesting. Like a lot of the sub-plots, it doesn’t get much explore and gets an anticlimactic ending… if you can even call it that.
Robocop is facing an uphill battle that is completely unwarranted, but it has introduced a lot of elements worth exploring in a sequel. Although I can’t recommend this movie in IMAX, I would encourage movie goers to check this one out.
A director’s cut would be something worth investing in, but if that doesn’t happen you can check out Boom! Studios one shot tie-in comics,they add to the mythology as well as flesh out the world of Robocop.
The writer of this piece was:
Laurence has previously written over at Whatculture.com.
Laurence tweets from @IL1511
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