I don’t really recall the fan reaction to Robocop when it was first announced, but I do remember the community rallying behind director Jose Padilha when he was reportedly forced to make changes and was having difficulty with the studio on the set. What troubled me was in the past few months the utter disdain they had for this movie. Fans of the original were calling it crap and refusing to see it, and the statement that blew me away were people hoping it would fail. As a lover of movies (I don’t consider myself a “film snob,” I love all movies) that is very disconcerting. You are more than entitled to not like a movie, but wishing for it to fail is something else entirely. If everyone had their way when a movie they didn’t care for came out and failed there would be no more movies. If you know the story of Cleopatra you know that a movies failure can (almost) bankrupt a studio. I also call in to question your love of movies if you don’t give everything a fair shake. I hate the Hangover movies, but I still watched all 3. How can you not like a movie you’ve never seen? If you still don’t like it after seeing then that is perfectly ok. I also don’t think people realize there was very crappy third installment and four (yes, 4) even crappier made for TV movies. It’s a shame that these bozos won’t give the remake to Robocop, which, let’s be honest would only be a B-movie by today’s standards, a shot because it’s a real fun ride.
The new Robocop only keeps intact the basic premise, a cop is killed and they turn him into a robot crime fighter. Everything else gets revamped and updated. This new iteration takes everything that made the original good and beefs it up while adding to the heart of the story. We get to see more of Murphy’s life and the relationship he has with his family. In the original you get a little time with them through flashbacks and what not, where as in the remake they are prevalent through the whole thing and are actually what drives Murphy.
I wouldn’t necessarily call Robocop perfectly paced, but no part of the story arc felt rushed. Murphy’s memory is never wiped in this one, but he is doped up for a portion of it to the point that he is acting more like a machine than a man. There is also more time placed on Murphy as an actual cop and a stronger emotional connection to the gangster he is trying to hunt down.
This all isn’t to say that there aren’t flaws within Robocop. A few of the action scenes are leave you wanting a little more. Joel Kinnaman as Robocop falls a little flat as if he was trying to mimic Peter Weller from the original even though this version of Murphy is completely cognizant. While on the opposite end of the spectrum Oldman and Keaton are absolutely amazing. I kind of wish Keaton was in more stuff that allowed him to shine like he did in this. Keaton’s character is also a source of my frustration with this movie. At the beginning his character is seen as likeable and caring and suddenly makes a 180 degree turn in the third act. Maybe this was due to some hasty rewrites? I have no idea, but it’s not completely distracting like the obvious rewrites in Wolverine are.
There are two separate, yet related, things that I want to address, the violence and the rating. I want to know why the rating or how violent a movie is dictates its quality? This was one of the reasons (also one of the stupidest) people were refusing to see this movie. You can be plenty violent in a PG-13 rated movie, just look at The Dark Knight. People do realize The Joker set a dude on fire, hung a cop from city hall, and blew up a police station with a bomb that firmly implanted in some dude’s chest, right? And on that note, let me tell you, the new Robocop is plenty violent. Not as violent as the original, mind you, but I don’t recall seeing Murphy completely dismantled in the original. There is also one scene toward the beginning that left my jaw hanging wide open and I’m surprised that it didn’t earn it that R.
Robocop is by no means a perfect movie, but it is action packed and yields enough heart and pays homage to the original without outright stealing to be highly enjoyable. I would definitely buy that for a dollar.
7 out of 11
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