Review of Robocop (2014)

robocop2014

If we all recycled refuse to the level that Hollywood recycles movie ideas the Earth would be a far cleaner place. Last Sunday I finally got round to watching Robocop, a 2014 remake of Paul Verhoeven’s eighties classic. Set in the year 2028, Robocop takes place in a world were OmniCorp manufactured automatons serve as peacekeepers in war torn regions. Hoping to capitalize on the lucrative US law enforcement market, OmniCorp chief executive Raymond Sellars proposes using his company’s mechanical soldiers to replace flesh and blood cops on the beat. His plans are rejected however by senators who don’t like the idea of machines dispensing justice. Politicians don’t trust computers, which is why I don’t expect self-driving cars to get approved anytime soon. Never mind that KITT can navigate roads far better than your average female driver.

OVERVIEW

Loopholes are a wonderful thing and corporations love exploiting them (just ask Starbucks who avoid paying tax via creative accounting.) When OmniCorp is banned from making a robotic police officer they settle for the next best thing – a cyborg. Detective Alex Murphy becomes the titular Robocop after his body is blown to smithereens by a concealed explosive. Alex’s flesh body is replaced with an artificial one, clad in black armour. That should confuse the Black Lives Matter mobs. We can’t attack this pig – look at his metal skin, he is one of us! Anyways, the reborn detective sets off to apprehend the evildoers who maimed him. In between all that OmniCorp tries using chemistry to turn Robocop into a mindless puppet and Murphy tries readjusting to married life, despite the handicap of no longer possessing a schlong.

Although I can commend Robocop’s trio of writers for adding depth to what could have been a straightforward revenge flick, the movie’s marital moments didn’t work for me. Joel Kinnaman (Alex Murphy) has zero chemistry with his onscreen bride, played by the sexy Abbie Cornish (I wouldn’t mind eating out that Cornish Pasty if you know what I mean.) When compared to the original Robocop this 2014 reimagining also suffers in the action department, due in part to its tamer age rating. I have to wonder how Robocop 2014 would have looked had it been filmed after Deadpool came out and proved to studios that R rated movies can be profitable. Robocop’s gunfight scenes are “shot” well enough (no pun intended) but they lack the visceral gore that made its predecessor so much fun to watch.

VERDICT

My rating for Robocop is three stars. Judged on its own merits the movie is quite entertaining. The problem with remakes however is that they inevitably get compared to the original. Fans of the eighties Robocop will argue that there is little reason to watch this reboot, as the first film is vastly superior. Not only is the absence of blood splatter noticeable, but the franchise’s trademark satirical humour has gone AWOL too. This new Robocop treats itself far too seriously, although Samuel L. Jackson does manage to add some levity to proceedings. The hater of serpents on aircrafts plays the role of a biased news anchor named Pat Novak. His portrayal of the character pokes fun at how partial modern media stations can be. The Novak Element vignettes were eerily similar to how some channels reported the recent US election and Brexit.

Despite its failings Robocop isn’t terrible and can claim to be much better than some of the other reboots Hollywood has attempted. I liked how this iteration of the character is more mobile than Peter Weller plodding along in a heavy suit. The movie is also enhanced by some strong performances. Michael Keaton is great as the charismatic CEO who places profit above ethics. The star of the show however has to be Gary Oldman who plays the doctor responsible for developing Murphy’s prosthetics. Throughout the film he is forced to wrestle with his conscience. Should he offer the best treatment possible to his patient or sacrifice him to create an obedient weapon capable of eradicating crime? Who knows, I just hope he can rebuild me into a cyborg too. I’ll need a new body because female readers are likely to murder my ass for that earlier driving remark.

15 thoughts on “Review of Robocop (2014)

  1. I probably liked it more than you.
    The movie simply should not have been remade, although the Frank Sinatra dream was pretty cool.

    I forgot why I disliked this movie, then I scrolled down and saw the Samuel Jackson. SJ should post another of his social media videos singing a song about how he wants to kill all those racist New York City policeman.

    I like to use the “don’t touch me man” meme from the original.

    • Remakes often have a tough time living up to the legacy of the original. They either have to be downright awesome or do something radically different to justify their existence.

      From what I hear Robocop 2014 made money so a sequel may be in the works. Let’s look forward to robot ninjas and jet packs.

  2. I always had a soft spot for the first two Robocop films (my Nan loved them too and named her dog Murphy as a result), which put me off seeing this in the cinema. It’s one of those ones that I’ll end up buying when I see it cheap I think, and will likely enjoy as simple entertainment fodder, though doubt it’ll be the sort of film that I’ll watch over and over.

    • My nan only liked soap operas and reality TV so yours has better taste than mine. I think Robocop 2014 was alright, but not a patch on the original. Not something I would pay a cinema ticket for, but okay to rent or catch on television.

  3. Before the internet company sent me a “Stop pirating stuff” death threat, we were watching new movies every weekend. When this one came up I thought ” ah what the hell, I’ll give it a try” and I thought it was pretty good for what it was. Forgettable but not terrible I guess. I don’t know how to feel about all the remakes and reboots these days, the nostalgia is so tempting and I think Hollywood feeds on that. I fully intend to go see Power Rangers in theaters just because that was a major chunk of my after school childhood, and somehow I will probably feel insulted by something and walk out disgusted as is usually the case with these types of movies; Mad Max was more my thing than Robocop and I hated that movie. I think the lack of any real memory of the original Robocop movies (huge fan of the comics though!) probably contributed to how I was able to get through it without finding something to object over if that makes sense.

    • Remaking movies to tap into nostalgia can backfire. In the case of Robocop I think diehard fans will dislike the 2014 reboot because it won’t live up to their lofty expectations. Ironically, viewers who aren’t acquainted with the eighties movie will probably be more forgiving with this film’s faults.

  4. Oh yeah I so fondly remember robocop way back when. That suit must have weighted a ton and hard to move around in for Paul. The first two were good, the third just sucked. Anyway back to the post, yeah remakes do get compared to the past reiteration which isn’t fair at times. I haven’t seen this one, but from the image above, it tries to be like the dark knight?. Sleek black suit (go black lives!! xDD). It won’t be on the same level as Nolan’ batman – peeps need to get that in to their heads. I love that line “the hater of serpents on an airplane”, cracked me up xDD.

    “Never mind that KITT can navigate roads far better than your average female driver” – shots fired (and on point).

    • I liked the old Robocop design, but the heavy suit really restricted what they could do in the action scenes. With that in mind I get why they went with a sleeker look this time round. Robocop adopts that “Batman” armor later in the film. When he is initially rebuilt he does resemble the eighties Robocop.

    • I am certain you can drive much better than me. My first driving lesson ended in a car crash. Due to that bad first experience I try to walk to destinations whenever I can. Thankfully my hometown is only a couple of miles big so you can get by without an automobile.

  5. “I wouldn’t mind eating out that Cornish Pasty if you know what I mean”
    “Never mind that KITT can navigate roads far better than your average female driver”

    Does your calendar say 2017 like the rest of ours does? 😮 😛

  6. I’ve talked to people who insist that Hollywood isn’t creatively bankrupt, but they must be living on a different planet than we are. If something’s a reboot or a remake, I have no interest in seeing it. I didn’t even see that Ghostbusters remake, so I can’t really complain about how bad I hear it was.

    I like Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman though; at least they got good talent.

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