Plot: After a terrible accident, Officer Alex Murphy is given robotic enhancements that let him become Robocop.
Review: Before I start let me talk about the original Robocop. I love the original Robocop and it’s what I think is one of the perfect action films. It’s simple, it’s full of action and it’s just smart and tragic enough to keep your brain working the whole time. Robocop’s greatest achievement is that it works on so many levels. It has elements of satire, awareness, drama and most of all heart that goes by so unnoticed that director Paul Verohoven was able to put a Christ analogy in it and no one noticed for 20 years! Having said all that, I was not opposed to a remake. The franchise as a whole has not been the tight ship that the original is. So a film that continues the story in a modern way would have been great in my eyes. I mean isn’t it time we had more than one good Robocop?
Sadly, the new Robocop isn’t that and it’s actually the worst entry in the series. The layers have been stripped away for tired tropes. The satire is no longer in the background but front and center with very little to say. The film suffers from trying to say way too much and ends up saying nothing. The whole thing feels like it was made by a committee, which is kind of funny as that is a major plot point. Swaying the public is a big theme here and oddly enough it’s also this film’s problems.
Another problem is something that I see a lot in remakes in failing to change things. So let’s talk about this remake. In this film, Murphy doesn’t die but is just badly wounded. So he’s given more enhancements than new life. This throws the “is he a human anymore” theme that was the foundation for the first film. That’s fine as this is a new entry so new ground…. BUT WAIT the movie then spends the first 45 minutes getting Murphy back to the original “is he human” question. They do this by constantly changing his brain and adding software to his mind, none of which they had to do if they just killed him in the first place. It’s an odd change that makes less sense as the film goes on. So the remake tries to distance itself, and then spend way longer to get us back to the original’s place.
Another weird change is Murphy’s partner, Lewis. Now Lewis is man. In the original, Lewis was a woman and she was a big part of that robocop regaining his humanity. This was part of Verhoeven’s very awesome “equal” future that he has in a lot of his movies. Lewis was an equal in Robocop’s world which was always a great thing. Now that human role is mostly given to Murphy’s wife and Lewis has been turned into a glorified extra. So my question is, if you were going to reduce and ruin Lewis’ role why make her a man? Why not keep him a woman and then we wouldn’t have to have this conversation?
Overall the new remake is bland as hell. Nothing pops out, we see Robocop’s face way more than we have to so that we don’t get that disconnect. This doesn’t help because the guy who plays robocop is the worst actor of the bunch. His face shows less emotion than when the mask is down. He just gives nothings to the role especially inheriting it from Peter Weller.
I mean he never really feels like a robot, he feels kind of like Iron Man. I mean we don’t even really get an problems with him being robocop other than his wife won’t stop crying. I guess we are supposed to imply that it’s worse but his alternative was a blind handicapped person so how is this worse? They should all be greatful? Which is not what you should think when you are watching Robocop.
The action is also pretty boring. It does that thing where you have no idea what the gravity is in this universe. I mean we have no idea how heavy Robocop is supposed to be and it never has any effect on anything. I mean in the original if Robocop put his hand on a guy, you should assume it would be crushed. Here it just hurts a bit. Also Robocop looks downright silly when running. Again, someone should have notice this as people were laughing in the theater. It has that frantic feel that modern movies that come off flat more often than not.
I think I should stop watching remakes in the early part of the year. Just like last year’s Texas Chainsaw, this may be the worst film of the year.
So we got to see Robocop’s face but we lost his heart.
Trivia: Director Jose Padilla had a lot of problems with the studio.