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I really don't understand all the hate this movie gets. Yeah, I get it,
it's a reboot of a perfectly good 80s movie that nobody really wanted,
but it's a really good one! I expected a mindless Micheal Bayian action
movie and what I got was a really smart, interesting and entertaining
look at trans-humanism, the freedom of choice, politics and
recklessness in corporate leaders.
This movie really dives into the question of how a person could live his day to day live with almost all of his body amputated and stuck inside of a machine. So when people complain about the uncomfortable scenes between Murphy and his wife, I can only imagine they mean what happened after his transformation, and that felt exactly the way it was supposed to!
So yes, the original is way more graphic and still holds up to this day as a gruesome action flick, but this one is smart and interesting and really is a good movie in it's own right.
And by no means is it as bad as people say it is!
I love Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop from 1987 (which remains iconic) and I
usually don't like reboots. But watching the new one I never got rid of
the feeling, that the remake is worth it. It is a whole new
interpretation, that sets the focus on the topics of our time: robots,
drones, the human aspect behind the technology, media critics, war
propaganda. I felt, the movie has a mission to enlighten people and I
liked that. It became even more obvious how much the RoboCop story
exists within the topos of Frankenstein which is the story about the
human devilment and the lack of respect of life. That's why Padilha
gives Murphy more of a face, a life and feelings.
Beside that the pictures, the sound, the music is pretty contemporary. You probably have to make some compromises today to get the millions to get the flick done. It won't become iconic, but it's the right time for the right message in the right movie.
**SPOILERS** I'll start this review by making it clear that the
original Robocop is my personal favourite movie and has been since I
first saw it 25 years ago. Having felt much trepidation about the
direction the remake was going in (PG-13 rating in particular) I went
in with fairly low expectations but still something of an open mind as
I really wanted this reboot to faithfully kick-start a new, successful
I was pleasantly surprised by the first hour of the film and how Murphy's quite horrifying physical transformation was depicted (there wasn't much left of him) and the emotional impact upon him. I particularly liked the first few scenes of him coming to grips with his new form and his little meltdown in the Chinese factory in which he was built. Unfortunately the film starts to take a significant nose dive at the point of Robocop's big public unveiling. A stupidly convenient plot device whereby the entire Detroit PD database including 17 years worth of the city's CCTV is uploaded to Murphy merely minutes before he's about to make his big appearance. This causes Robocop to overload requiring a change to Murphy be necessitated resulting in him then becoming more robotic and ultimately making an arrest for murder upon his big unveiling. This was a clumsily handled plot device done for the advancement of the plot but defied logic. Why give him a massive upload at such a crucial time? Others have pointed to a lack of a true antagonist and this is very true. Main criminal Antoine Vallon is utterly woeful compared to Kurtwood Smith's vile Clarence Boddiker and even Micheal Keaton can't hold a candle to Ronny Cox's performance in the original. There is also little chemistry between Alex and Clara Murphy both before and after his transformation.
The film is best when it isn't trying to ape and nod towards the original. The use of Basil Poledouris' majestic music in Pedro Bromfman's new score is particularly jarring and poorly orchestrated. When I watched Man of Steel at about the 50 minute mark I realised I hadn't heard John Williams classic Superman theme but also realised that this was a new take on the Superman mythos that didn't need to borrow from it's predecessors. Shame this film didn't follow suit.
The effects are generally good but alas the Robocop/ED-209 battle is just a typical modern day CGI fest and has none of the weight of the same scene from the original.
The film's biggest issue is undoubtedly caused by the constrictions of the PG-13 rating. Hearing arch criminals talk without any swearing pulls me out if the film and destroys any sense of realism. In one scene as Murphy approaches a drug factory to make a bust images of the classic drug factory shoutout of the original came to mind. Alas this version turns out to be a total anti-climax almost totally devoid of the carnage so required from such a scene. This follows on to Robocop taking down Vallon in a night vision shootout where men are shot but no blood, death or injury are shown in even any mildly satisfying manner. This shows clearly that gritty subject matter is not befitting of a teenage rating and similar target audience. Would something like The Wire work if it was aimed at a teenage audience? No.
There aren't any particular standout performances other than Gary Oldman who almost always delivers no matter the role or movie. Kinnaman is somewhat wooden in places but gives a decent enough performance even though at times he looks uncomfortable with the role. One aspect of the film that did nothing for me was Samuel L Jackson's character who opens and closes the film and offers his very one sided views throughout. If this is their replacement of the satire of the original they can keep it. It's ham fisted and provides little more than uninteresting commentary on the power of the media and plot exposition. It tells us nothing interesting that we don't already know and Jackson does his shouty thing to excess, especially at the cringe-worthy end.
I wholly embrace the need to make this reboot from a fresh angle to that of Verhoven's original but Sony MGM have played it way too safe with something that would clearly play better if it were aimed at an adult audience. I genuinely believe that an R rated movie, devoid of such tight restrictions would have been a far more satisfying experience. The original Robocop franchise died when they aimed at a younger demographic. Hollywood greed I fear has caused a repeat of this mistake. It's not a bad film per se, it's just painfully average and therefore unable to get out from the vast shadow of its forebear and like the Total Recall remake, it tries too hard too often to remind you of the original whilst offering nothing new to compete with it. I doubt there's even a harder cut tucked away for home release and even if there was there are plot issues that damage the film as much as the tame approach. Other gripes include a lack of clarity as to Omnicorp's role (if any) in Murphy being blown up, and plot threads not being followed through to any satisfying conclusion such as Murphy's relationship with his family. The best bits revolve around Murphy's initial awakening as a cyborg which are very well done indeed.
Alas there's not really that much else that's in any way as memorable as the 1987 classic it's based on. As an example of how modern Hollywood has become all about excessive studio control above creativity and maximising ticket sales at the expense of a film's overall artistic quality then this film succeeds. In all other aspects it's a bit of a wasted opportunity really.
Okay, so very few people were confident about this remake. The original
has such a huge fan base that a reboot seems like blasphemy to most.
So how does this hold up? Well, it looks like butter, it at times tastes like butter, but brother, it ain't butter. Believe it.
The film lacks something and I think I know what it is; there is no real villain. Instead of building up a super-villain for Murphy to fight to the death with, it toys with different characters as his foe, never really committing to one or the other. Kurtwood Smith is an evil son of a gun in the original because he shoots Murphy to pieces. Its up close and personal. In this, well, the guy that car bombs (lame) our robotic cop gets about 2 minutes of screen time with very little back story. Frankly, you just don't care.
The plot seems more concerned about Murphy trying to cope with becoming an amputee and him and his family learning to accept his new circumstances, which frankly, when you see what he looks like without the armour, is just disturbing. Instead of being an awesome action flick, you just feel bad for the guy. The reality of the situation is just too harsh in its portrayal and you end up thinking maybe he would be better off dead.
Do you want to pay good money to question your ideological values towards quality of life or do you want to see robocop go toe to toe with a man who shot him to s***? I know what I'd buy for a dollar.
Also, on a side note: Samuel L. Jackson needs to stop being in films. While his appearance at first is welcome, by the end it feels very cheap and unnatural. The anti-American war effort message starts to get a little forced down your throat and before you start screaming that I'm a flag loving American, I'm a Brit, and even I felt the satire was a bit in your face.
The film shouldn't upset people too badly, it could honestly be much worse and it does have some passable moments with a couple of good nods to the original. Just don't get your hopes too high.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The new RoboCop is a surprisingly good and entertaining sci-fi action thriller that appeals to the human heart by conveying emotions and the humanity side of Murphy, the main character who eventually becomes the titled cyborg law enforcer. The film ultimately wins for not trying to be the original (1987 version). The story of Murphy is similar (since it's a remake) but does its own thing to provide something new instead of retelling the same thing again. The film focuses more on the development of Murphy's character, his initial response to his cyborg body and relationship with his family, making the character more emotional and relatable to the audience. The film delves into the meaning of humanity, family themes, media influence on public opinion, corporate greed (capitalism), authoritarianism and corrupt law enforcement authorities. It provides a brief view of the struggles we might face with machines or digital surveillance of the future. It also briefly raises the question whether it's ethical or legal to eliminate the human factor in law enforcement to reduce crime rates by creating merciless cyborgs or robots to replace humans. The action sequences are updated with a higher body count, with better CGI and sound effects, making them cooler, stylish and more entertaining than the original. The new black tactical design of Robocop is found to be acceptable and nice...the updated Robocop is more agile, flexible and stronger compared to the original. However, I personally find the right human hand to be slightly distracting. (I prefer no human hand at all, entirely machine except the face) There's quite a lot of credible actors in this film: Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, James Earle Haley, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson all providing decent performances to this remake. Although it's hardly a ground-breaking film or a masterpiece, Robocop is a decent and satisfying remake that delivers on many levels. There's currently no plot problems, inconsistencies or plot holes found in this film at this time of writing this review. So, it's good enough for a recommendation to watch it. Rating: 7.5/10
By 7, it really means a 7.5/10. Not sure what's with the negative reviews, but I enjoyed the movie very much. It's well-executed and the direction was clear and crisp. There's no distinct feel-good actions scenes because the pacing is kept constant throughout and I don't see why there's an issue with the pacing being that way. It's hardly flat, it's just a very honest, straight- flushed story-telling, and it fits the themes that are underscored by the movie. Alex Murphy is a reluctant hero and he's ultimately a father and a husband whose personal agenda serves as his existential core. I like how these themes are teased out and zoomed in upon throughout the movie. Also, there are some absolutely delicious production details and CGIs that are just absolutely feasts to the eye. Not to mention the superb cast and the wonderful performances. I think this is a honest and loyal reboot that will appeal to fans of Robocop who fell in love with the story precisely for the moralistic themes it explores.
In 2010, acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (THE WRESTLER, BLACK SWAN) was originally attached to direct the ROBOCOP reboot. Frankly, I thought he was the right choice to reboot the once-popular franchise back in the late '80s. Unfortunately, he quits the project and Brazilian director Jose Padilha (ELITE SQUAD, ELITE SQUAD: THE ENEMY WITHIN) was brought in as his replacement. WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT? When police detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured during a car explosion in front of his home, CEO of OmniCorp Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) sees him as a golden opportunity to make him feel alive again by turning him into "Robocop" -- a cyborg police officer which is touted as the future of law enforcement in America. However, OmniCorp doesn't realize that Murphy still has a personal vengeance in his mind to pursue the criminals who nearly caused him dead. THE GOOD STUFF Like the first two ELITE SQUAD movies, director Jose Padilha delivers the same raw intensity that gives ROBOCOP a quasi-documentary feel to the action sequences. Even though Padilha utilizes shaky camera-work, at least he doesn't make the scene so wobbly until the viewers unable to see what's really going on. The special effects are spectacular, while the costume design for the all-new Robocop in a black tactical body actually looks quite nifty. Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman (best known in the US for TV's The Killing) delivers an emotionally engaging performance as Alex Murphy and Robocop, while Michael Keaton steals most of the spotlight as the slimy CEO of OmniCorp Raymond Sellars and Gary Oldman gives a perfectly restrained performance as the sympathetic Dr. Dennett Norton. Other minor roles -- including Abbie Cornish as Murphy's wife, Clara; Jackie Earle Haley as the military tactician Mattox; and Samuel L. Jackson as the media host Pat Novak -- are all equally impressive. MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S) The brief but intense battle between Robocop and a small army of ED-209 during the climactic finale. THE BAD STUFF The biggest weakness in this ROBOCOP reboot is Joshua Zetumer's captivating but bloated screenplay. First of all, the story drags too much with Murphy's personal family matter with his estranged wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) and son David (John Paul Ruttan). Then there's the underwritten plot involving Murphy's personal vengeance against Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow), who is responsible for the car explosion. Even the so-called social commentary involving the "robo-phobic" issue quoted by Samuel L. Jackson's Pat Novak doesn't really say much that worth a debate. FINAL WORDS While the new ROBOCOP is far from a genre classic by any means, at least Jose Padilha's version isn't as bad as most people might have expected. Just put your mindset of the Paul Verhoeven's original 1987 version aside, and treat this as an entirely new movie altogether.
With Hollywood at a loss to make original movies, it was inevitable
that the Robocop franchise would eventually get the reboot. In 1987,
the original Robocop became an instant box office hit with its mixture
of witty satire and over the top violence as well as top notch acting
by Peter Weller, Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox; the deciding factor in
what made that movie so fresh at the time was the addition of Dutch
director Paul Verhoeven who seemed to understand what the audience at
the time needed: a high tech cyborg (artfully designed by special
effects whiz Rob Bottin and its robotic suit would become a cinema
icon) who fought crime in a near future world overwhelmed by greed,
hypocrisy, corruption and excessive, almost cartoonish violence.
In this reboot, the studios were able to acquire the services of Brazilian director Jose Padiha (who directed Elite Squad and its sequel, two intense police thrillers set in his native Brazil) but unfortunately they forgot to give him a good script to work with (there were rumors during production that Padiha had a lot of ideas that were nixed by studio bosses. Figures.). The other reason why the original movie also worked was because its R rating worked in its favor: the enormous amount of bloodletting added to its satirical view of the future as well as that of American culture which really spoke to the audience. With this reboot aimed at more family friendly crowds, the PG-rated violence is filmed using rapid jump cuts which makes it totally confusing, its like watching a video game on fast forward so that by the time your mind registers what's going on the scene is finished.
The movie itself also suffers from pacing problems- just when the narrative is about to steamroll forward, the scenes abruptly change so that any emotional momentum is lost because there just isn't much characterization of the main parts; everything that should have an emotional impact is glossed over by a jump to a new scene with way too much focus on explanations of what the characters are doing so that the audience fails to gain sympathy for anybody.
I can't really judge Joel Kinnaman's acting in the title role since there really isn't much for him to do other than walk around in the Robocop suit and utter a few words every now and then- he seems to spend too much time bug eyed and in shock more than anything else. The supporting cast also seems wasted, with Michael Keaton and Jackie Earle Haley's screen time largely limited to trying to explain whats going on rather than actually doing anything. Even Michael K Williams seems lost as Robocop's sidekick. Patrick Garrow as the heavy is pretty much a cardboard villain compared to the 1987 version with the menacing Kurtwood Smith and his gang of killer psychos. Gary Oldman's performance is pretty much average since he's also got nothing much to do.
Alas, the biggest disappointment is the movie's absence of any sort of humor: the 1987 film had boatloads of wacky commercials that interrupted the narrative yet provided a great view on how that future world was set up as well as crazy, sadistic villains and a pun on the name of the chief baddie (Dick Jones- best name ever). Instead, we get snippets of a news media show run by Samuel L Jackson whose presence in this movie is also wasted since he spends more time recapping what we already saw and his jokes fall flat.
The only good scene happens right at the beginning with a battle between Iranian insurgents and the robot army but soon after the movie quickly loses momentum and never regains it. Better to skip this one and wait for the rental, or better yet, watch the 1987 version- its way better.
I just don't see, why any other recent science fiction movie deserves more respect than this one. The story is fluent, the characters are well built, everyone has its own motive. Yes film is more of a personal struggle journey of the main character and that is what I like. For the fans of action it is also good, why when (quite often) there is, it is good one. The effects are quality mastership. The most memorable scene is when Murphy sees what he has become.For my regards it has some philosophical connotation to, because it also concerns the influence of technology to the society. It clearly shows bads and goods. I recommend watching this movie for
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Full disclosure: the original Robocop is among my top 5 favorite films
of all time, and I've easily watched it over 200 times. With that being
said, I still looked forward to this re-interpretation due to my love
of the character (whose legacy had already been profoundly tarnished by
the redundant first sequel and catastrophically misguided second
sequel) and my admiration of director Jose Padilha's "Elite Squad"
films (as well as his documentaries). Suffice to say, I came into the
theater with a bias toward wanting the film to succeed.
I'm willing to acknowledge that it may be for this reason that I found this film to be a resounding (if slightly flawed) success. Conversely, it is my belief that a large contingent of overzealous "fans" were hellbent on seeing this film fail, therefore had pre-determined that the movie was trash. How could it possibly withstand several years of unwavering hatred during its production and be given a fair shot? Judging by the middling 6.7 IMDb rating and the 50% Rotten Tomatoes score, many people loathed the film just as much as they'd hoped they would.
This viewer simply cannot accept that Robocop 2014 is anywhere near as bad as people are rating it. For starters, the film has been bashed mercilessly for idiotically trivial elements such as "His hand is human!", "His suit is black!", or worst of all, "I refuse to support a PG-13 version of Robocop". It is my firm belief that all of these criticisms are merely the ravings of closed-minded fanboys who are (bizarrely) searching for the next movie to "ruin their childhood". It's a phenomenon that is baffling and absurd.
Anyway, I rated the film 10/10 on IMDb because I wanted the score to weigh heavier in the positive direction. Truth be told, I think the film is a solid 8 and may even grow to become a 9 over time. Of course it's not as good as Verhoeven's classic, and obviously it's much different in tone. For that I am grateful -- part 2 tried so desperately to ape the original that it felt like a rather soulless carbon copy (albeit a copy salvaged somewhat by spectacular stop-motion effects and a great villain in Tom Noonan's "Cain"). I didn't want another movie trying to mimic the satire of the original, nor did I feel that anyone could ever one-up the hyper-violence of the 1987 version, so why try?
There are those that argue that this film should have simply been called something else other than Robocop if it wanted to be so different, and I get that...except the bottom line is few studios will ever greenlight a $120 million dollar film without some kind of name recognition. It's a sad truth. But in utilizing the Robocop brand name, Padilha was given the funding to acquire a brilliant cast and design cutting edge digital effects. In my opinion, a little brand recognition is a fair trade off if it helps the film achieve the look and feel of a high-end sci-fi blockbuster.
Anyway, I've already babbled several paragraphs longer than I'd intended. The bottom line is you should abandon your preconceptions and watch the movie for what it is: a genuinely smart, heartfelt and wonderfully acted sci-fi featuring characters we know and love. What's so awful about that?
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