Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Michael K. Williams, Jay Baruchel, Jackie Earle Haley
Directed by: Jose Padilha
Synopsis: In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy – a loving husband, father and good cop – is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.
Robocop suffers the same as all remakes and reboots in that it isn’t, well, Robocop. it doesn’t have the look and feel of the original. Despite being set in the future, it’s too futuristic. Despite being over twenty years after the original, it is too watered down, even in the age of torture porn and other graphic films. In fact, it does what all action films do nowadays; it tones down the violence to such a degree, to get a 12A certificate, that it pales in comparison with the far superior original.
The new version is a solid enough action movie though, and maybe, if the original had never existed, even a pretty good one. There is still a hint of the satire that infused the eighties version. The action is fairly explosive, the CGI isn’t ridiculous.
As you probably know, Alex Murphy is a decent cop who is ‘killed’ by some bad guys only to be bought back to life as part human, part machine. Robocop. The company who built him, Omnicorp, is a slightly shady organisation, and the Detroit police force into which Murphy/Robocop is pitched are all pretty corrupt too. They use Robocop for their own ends whilst, despite being mostly machine, he still has vague memories of his family and the need to find out who tried to kill him.
Maybe because I was just in the mood to watch an action movie that night, but I really didn’t mind Robocop. I mean, yeah. it’s not a patch on the original, but it had enough about it to keep me interested. In fact it’s probably best if you disconnect entirely from the original and just go along for the ride. The film makers have tried to make subtle differences to the story line and Robocop’s appearance and strengths. Personally I didn’t want him to be able to jump over really high walls and stuff like that, but heh ho, we are in the modern age I guess. He has to compete with superheroes now.
Old vets like Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman are, as usual pretty safe bets in their roles. Kinnaman is OK, but not one hundred percent believable as a guy who suddenly realises he is all but a robot. Abbie Cornish too, doesn’t quite convince as a wife who’s husband is now made nearly fully from metal. Samuel L. Jackson as a hideously biased TV anchor was pretty entertaining. It was these brief interludes that actually carried a lot of the originals cynical, satirical humour. Elsewhere it was all played pretty straight.
So, overall, a decent enough remake. The boots it had to fill were pretty large though, so it was never going to be a total success, but there is enough here to enjoy for those who haven’t seen the original.