Review: Robocop


This is all I’ve been hearing and it’s time for everyone to stop crying. Accept that remakes are going to happen in this day and age. Why? Because money. But on our side of things it’s also about bringing the properties we loved as kids and making them more accessible to a modern audience. Take off the nostalgia glasses and realize that old movies are old. Sometimes a nice new polish for a fresh set of eyes is a good thing. With Robocop it’s a very good thing. I feel I can safely say that seeing as I am a huge fan of the original and always will be.

Robocop 2014 is entirely about modernizing the franchise. What this gives us is a much more practical view of the world in which OCP resides. Set, of course, in the not too distant future we have a world that has allowed robots to police the streets of every country except the United States. We are introduced to this world through a television show hosted by Jack Lewis (Sam Jackson). Think Bill O’Rielly on the set of a CNN show with tons of needless holograms and the same Jingoistic attitude. Through his show we see ED-209s (a slight update of the classic) as well as human sized droids called 208s policing a middle eastern street. We’re told this is a great thing as they make citizens come out to the street to be cleared but it looks absurdly oppressive, and it is as several citizens fight back. Without getting into spoilers lets just say there is a new take on the old ED209 board room malfunction scene. It’s much quicker, far less graphic but for some will be much harder to deal with than the original. It’s hits hard and fast and in the gut. The point is clear…robots can’t be trusted to make human decisions.

This is the crux of the film. The US won’t allow robots on the streets so they find a way around it by putting a man in the suit (as well as throwing money at congress like any real world corporation would do these days). This man is Alex Murphy after a crime boss attempts to have him murdered through a car bomb. Now many have complained about this because it’s not as gruesome as the original. I say get off it already. That scene was part of the satire/commentary on the films of the time. That’s not what we deal with these days so we get a more realistic take on an attempted assassination instead of a bunch of cartoonish bad guys laughing as guts fly around the room. Though never fear, there is at least one scene that won’t leave your mind any time soon after seeing it.

So now we have the classic story of Alex Murphy in the suit. This time it’s public knowledge and he knows of his past. However he still has to fight the system and regain his true self in a much more realistic take on events that led up to his… robo-nature. So never fear, we do indeed see plenty of classic “robo-walk” and “robo-talk” though with the augmented voice. Which is again a bit more realistic.

I need to address the casting of Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy…it’s perfect! They needed a tall and thin dude to fit in this slimmed down armor but could still look imposing. He does the robo-strut perfectly and gets into the swift action just as naturally. His deep voice is great and commands the scenes he’s in. His face? So perfect. He does an amazing job of emoting the pain and frustration he is going through after his body has been reconstructed. You feel trapped with him in the machine.

What I left with was a film with great visuals. The robotics in the film are simply a pleasure to watch. Good fast action though the shaky cam was a bit annoying and that says a lot coming from me as it normally isn’t an issue with me in any film. The story was great and filled with a top notch actors hamming it up and enjoying their roles. The pacing might seem slow if you expect non stop action but it’s never boring, always interesting. All of the concerns fans have will be addressed. Yes, that includes the color of the suit. There’s even a very obvious nod to the original as well as other… robot based films.

The bottom line is they made this film by making it their own thing while fully respecting the source material. But most importantly they made a GOOD film. So don’t be a hater. Get out there and see this movie and enjoy it for what it is: A modern realistic take on a classic action franchise. I eagerly anticipate a sequel.

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