Robocop – Review

 

When the magic of a movie has proven difficult to difficult to recapture in not one, but two sequels, a TV show, an animated series and a cable miniseries, it’s not unreasonable to assume that, at some point, they’ll just throw caution to wind and remake it. However, if that in any way sounds like an attempt to justify the 2014 remake/reboot/regurgitation of RoboCop, then forget everything you just read. In fact, forget all about it and let's just all go back to watching the original on Blu Ray.

 

Rejigged for the 21st century, RoboCop2K14 sees Detective Alex Murphy killed in a car bomb explosion and encased in a cybernetic body in order to sustain his life. With his emotional state now controllable by the corporation behind his rebirth, Murphy becomes RoboCop, the merciless face of law enforcement on American streets. But Murphy soon turns his new technological abilities to investigating his own murder, and that way darkness lies…

 

As the title character, it has to be said that Alex Kinnaman is sorely lacking. It’s entirely possible that his somewhat blank persona is as a result of a very clunky script, riddled with forced momentum and devoid of any real character scenes; but the issues with Kinnaman’s performance affect earlier pre-death scenes just as badly. Abbie Cornish meanwhile is given nothing to do as Murphy’s sort-of-bereaved wife besides shed a few tears and look milfy, Michael Keaton gets to chew a bit of scenery as an evil corporate tycoon, Gary Oldman tries valiantly to find life in a script about as robotic as it’s title character and fails miserably, while the less said about Jay Baruchel’s appearance as…Evil Corporate Jay Baruchel, the better.

 

Peppered throughout by narrative bookmarks featuring Samuel L. Jackson as a thinly veiled caricature of Bill O’Reilly, the film ultimately sinks under the weight of the material that’s trying to be shoehorned in. Whilst Verhoeven’s original played as the story of Christ by way of Frankenstein, Padilha’s instead plays like Iron Man by way of I, Robot and the Total Recall remake. There’s simply no heart to the story, no life in the (frankly dull) action sequences and essentially no soul to a film that really only serves to make a statement about US drone policies. There’s no subtext that either, the film makes no bones about it’s drone statement and hammers it home long past the point of subtlety, rendering the entire thing inert as a result.

 

It’s hard to see any ultimate gain having been achieved with the remake of RoboCop. Presumably, to a twelve year-old boy, it’ll be the greatest sci-fi action film since that last Transformers flick; but to a functioning adult, the film merely comes across as feeling like a cheap cash-in, a marketing exercise for a line of action figures that don’t exist, and littered with references to a source material that you can’t help but think would be infinitely more worthy of your time.

 

 

Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.

 

In it
Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton

Behind it
José Padilha




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