Wednesday, February 19, 2014

[Review] RoboCop (2014)

It's the year 2028. Samuel L. Jackson is the news reporter, and the conglomerate OmniCorp is supplying the US Military with powerful but dysfunctional robots (only for use on foreign soils). Michael Keaton is the company's greedy CEO with a plan to sell these products to local law enforcement, much to the public's dismay. After some rallying and brainstorming, OmniCorp's team of marketers and scientists, led by mad genius Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman), devise a plan to insert a human into one of their highly advanced combat suits in order to keep the 'conscious' factor.

Policeman Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is selected as the prototype, after being severely injured in an explosion. The film spends a lot of time on introductions, along with a high volume of scenes involving experiments with the high-tech suit and Murphy's post-cyborg form. In fact, RoboCop doesn't go out on the prowl until about an hour in, where he engages in some slick action sequences with videogame-like POV.

This version delves further into Murphy's family life, the moral conundrums that the scientists face, and there's a brain manipulation component that generates Murphy's inner battles of human and machine. Jose Padilha's RoboCop is almost completely void of the over-the-top charms, gore, and sickly satirical humor of the original. Instead, it's dead serious. The politics come to the forefront and are adjusted to the millennial age (and so are the special effects).

People will scoff at this remake's existence, but its obvious departures from Paul Verhoeven's 1987 film are exactly what keep it from being a complete waste, establishing it as a somewhat serviceable action/sci-fi flick. But even though these differences work in its favor, the new climax pales in comparison to the memorable showdowns of the original. That's one thing that can't be really be tinkered with.


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