“RoboCop” Movie Review
Just to get this out of the way, it’s almost unfair to compare this to the original. Surprisingly, these two movies are very, very different. I suspect it’s mostly due to this remake having to garner a PG-13 rating instead of the traditional R that the original got. That automatically had me skeptical, but I still decided to give this one a shot and although I do admire it for trying something different, it just didn’t cut it for me.
There is one big issue that I had with this remake that I must get out of the way and it has to do with the change it made from the original. This remake lost the satirical tone that separated the original from other 80s action fare and replaced it with a sort of Frankenstein story about how the human heart conquers all…yuck. Who wants that out of a Robocop movie? This issue doesn’t have much to do with the original, actually. While I don’t mind the film makers taking a different path with their representation, I just minded the path they took it down. The original was so unique due to its interesting concept and inner message about the faults of American culture, but this one just makes itself into a cliché and shoves itself between all of the other Frankenstein rip-offs about us getting more than we bargained for with our new technological advances.
I will admit that Robocop was a lot better than it could have been which isn’t saying much. This is mostly due to the impressive cast and their fine performances. Joel Kinnaman gives a thoughtful performance as the Robocop himself, this Robocop not being as mundane and robot like as in the original. The Murphy (Robocop) character, which actually gets blown up in a car explosion instead of a shooting, in this remake spends the majority of the film as a human, pretty much. He’s still the Robocop, but he remembers who he is unlike the original where he has lost all of his memory and he’s trying to gain back his humanity. I actually enjoyed this change of pace and welcomed it until the screenwriters changed their minds about that and decided to sedate Murphy and make him into the original Robocop again. So there he is, once again trying to gain back his humanity for the duration of about 45 minutes. It’s kind of a waste, if you ask me; might as well just begin with that plot-line.
While Joel Kinnaman did a fine job with the leading role, the real stars were in the supporting spots. I was delighted to get my fill of Gary Oldman in this one who gave a predictably great performance. That man can take any script and find a way to deliver it with such ease, it’s incredible. Michael Keaton does a good job with his role and so does Samuel L. Jackson with a much smaller role. He even got to let out a few F-bombs, although they were bleeped out. The rest of the cast was from pretty bland to bad and when your supporting cast is the highlight of your movie, that can’t be a good sign.
This attempt at a remake didn’t have much action spectacle to be proud of to be honest. It had a ton of action, don’t get me wrong, but none of it felt very genuine. I feel as if it all felt forced and it never served me up any thrills with the undeniably great special effects. It was just eye candy with Robocop being thrown around like an action figure. No real danger except if you’re going to lose the pieces or not, which is ironically actually what happens to Robocop, in a way.
As I said before, it’s almost unfair to compare the remake to the original, but it’s unavoidable, especially by fans like me. I do commend the film makers in their attempt to do something different, but it’s what they did with the story that really had me disappointed. Turning that awesome concept of mocking the current state of American culture into a Frankenstein story that has been done a million times before is not what I had in mind when I said I prefer creativity instead of carbon copy of whatever a movie is adapting. Well, maybe in another 30 years when Robocop will eventually be remade again they’ll get it right… hopefully.