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3.4 out of 5 stars
Robocop [DVD] [2014]
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2014
I adored the original film, still do. So much of it was iconic, striking, visceral, humorous and memorable. Whereas the remake is forgettable, po-faced, ordinary and 'meh' in so many ways. The characters are meh, the action is meh, and the whole story feels diluted and muddled.

Why is it called RoboCop when Murphy is NOT the first robotic cop? The film begins with robotic law enforcers searching a street. In the original film Murphy's transformation was so incredibly striking because there was nothing else like him. But here, he is just another walking machine with a gun. Meh.

What happened to the music? Basil Poledouris' brilliant, chiming, orchestral/industrial score was perfect. Here it is relegated to the end of the end credits. RoboCop has a theme as much as James Bond has a theme. The new music is forgettable generic action fare. Meh.

There is no sense of Murphy cleaning up the streets, no sense of the streets even needing cleaning! Again, the original had 3 or 4 brilliant scenes of RoboCop actually being a cop. One of these featured him trying to arrest one of his killers who shouted 'I know you, we killed you!', prompting Murphy to regress and question who he was. It was simple, and combined action with emotion and story to brilliant effect. There is nothing like that here. Meh.

The characters are so wishy washy - no real 'bad guys' that the film so badly needs - so you've no real interest in seeing them dealt with. In the original film the bad guys are NASTY, they're a gang of real low-lifes, they laugh like hyenas as they shoot Murphy to shreds, you WANT to see him avenged. Here, he's the victim of a remote car bomb, and there's nothing like that same sense of vengeance. He annoyed some criminals and, Mafia style, they blew him up. Tch.

The emotion, little as there is, is all over the place. 'RoboCop gets a bit fraught, so Michael Keaton fiddles with his brain. Later on he recovers. And he gets a bit angry. The End.' There's absolutely no sense, like the original, of him going through the massive psychological trauma and craziness that would happen to someone in his situation. Meh.

The satire of the original was wonderful and funny. The TV adverts, the abhorrent sense of excess and capitalist greed, the contrast of futuristic shininess and industrial squalor. It all worked. Here, all you get is Sam Jackson's TV show.. is he right wing, left wing, what's his point, who really cares? Meh.

Even the tones/colour palette of the original film was better. I believe that was filmed in Dallas, doubling for Detroit? Here you have various nondescript bits of Canada doubling for Detroit, with washed out skies all feeling flat and geographically vague. The blue silver of his suit stood him apart from the brown industrial mud. Here, he is just another dark mechanical item in the world. He doesn't especially stand out. Meh.

The action scenes are 'meh'. Solid but nothing memorable, more like cut-scenes from an average computer game. The huge (and real) explosion at the petrol station from the original film was better than all the CGI here. Or the melty man... This has nothing as ingenious or visceral as that. Meh.

The only memorable moment was seeing him stripped of his suit, as a head and lungs. That was genuinely very well done. I'll give it two stars for that.

No spoilers but the ending in particular is a complete anti-climax. Compared to the iconic original - 'What's your name, son?' - this had nothing. And that wonderful, original twist of 'You're fired!'. This has none of that genius. Any idiot could've written this ending. Sooo disappointing. Meh.

Reading about the Director's experience of making this film explains a lot. He was forced to make it pg-13 rated, when he wanted it to be R rated. Apparently he also said it was 'the worst experience' of his life. That explains a lot.

Stick with the far superior original, which was absolutely packed with memorable moments and characters. This film felt like a TV movie to me - Diluted, bland, flat, forgettable and unnecessary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2014
RoboCop did not need remaking, but the brand meant easier marketing than - gosh - thinking up something completely new.

It's longer than the original, but it has much less to say. About the best I can say about it is that it's better than RoboCop 3 and about the same level as RoboCop 2: some good ideas, but a disappointing mess.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A remake/reimagining/call it what you will of Robocop (Special Edition)[DVD] [1988], the 1980's action with dark satire near future movie that remains a very fond memory for those of a certain generation.

As with the original, this version is set in near future Detroit, and sees Police officer Alex Murphy left on the brink of death by criminals, and brought back as a part man part machine law enforcer by the ruthless Omnicorp.

Murphy has to fight to deal with those who tried to bring him down, and to regain his humanity.

WARNING: CITIZENS WHO ARE HUGE FANS OF THE ORIGINAL ARE LIKELY TO BE HIGHLY UNHAPPY ABOUT THIS VERSION. YOU ARE ADVISED TO STEER WELL CLEAR.

Given that it's over twenty five years since the original - which makes those of us who saw it at the cinema back then feel so very old - this tries to be a bit of an updating. By getting into areas in regards to technology which nobody saw as being issues back then. Namely the use of drone technology.

Thus this starts off with a look at a world where such technology has produced robots which have allowed the US to go into Iran. All this introduced by Samuel L Jackson as a tv political commentator.

These opening scenes do present a potentially thought provoking look at the possibilities of such things, thankfully never getting didactic about it. But they lack any real satire, particularly of the kind that the original managed so swell. And show you right from the start that this is a film which takes itself too seriously.

Joel Kinnaman as Murphy is okay at playing a perfectly ordinary and decent man, but there's little beyond that to the character so he never really gets the chance to shine. Abbie Cornish is capable enough at playing distressed and grieving wife looking for answers. So her character never gets beyond that either.

Michael Keaton makes his corporate CEO a guy who spins everything to make it work, which is a fair approach but never makes him ruthless enough, so his character never quite comes to life.

But they're all blown away by the sole reason this gets up to three stars. Gary Oldman as the scientist in charge of the project. A man with a conscience. This is a really brilliant performance which makes him a three dimensional character.

The need to make this all audience friendly leaves Robo armed with a taser. But given that a central area of the plot is getting the public to trust a machine with a gun, that actually works well enough.

Two other actors do okay. The man who plays Murphy's partner does well with limited time at making his character a decent cop. And Jackie Earle Haley is good as Omni's weapons guy.

Capable action sequences come along occasionally - the flashing lights of the gunfire in these might be a problem for some - but the whole thrust of Murphy trying to regain his humanity is never quite there as most of the battle for that seems to be happening so deep in his programming that you never get to see it.

This does lack the villainy of the first film, the crooks being a particularly colourless bunch. But it does go in full on action mode for a reasonably involving final act.

It's not a patch on the original, but judged on it's own it's a capable time passer, with one truly superb performance. So whilst it might just appeal to a new generation, the children of the eighties will probably be better off sticking with their treasured memories.

The fact that occasional snatches of the superb original score can be heard through this one's rather forgettable music will only heighten the nostalgia.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

The disc begins with a few trailers, which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.

Extras are:

Five deleted scenes. Which can be watched individually or all in a row. Doing the latter option takes no more than four minutes.

There's ten very short omnicorp product videos. Also watchable individually or all in a row. The latter option taking no more than three minutes. These are short and just like genuine corporate videos. And thus have none of the humour of the adverts from the original.

The cinema trailer for the film.

Three featurettes:

The illusion of free will: Six minutes about the genesis of this version.

To serve and protect: Five minutes about Robo's weapons and motorbike.

The Robocop suit: Thirteen minutes about the suit used for this version.

All are reasonably involving viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It’s 1987: The action genre is dominated with R or 18 rated movies, often starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sly Stalone and kids wanted and expected nothing less than to see these action packed movies, even though they were violent and littered with sexual references. And our parents didn’t seem to be too concerned about all this.

My mates spoke about little else other than A Nightmare On Elm Street and I was would watch Robocop (1987) and Total Recall (1990) with by mum, in fact it was her who introduced me to The Terminator (1984) when I was 12, the same age that I was when I first saw former two titles, and she was a bit of a prude to be honest, keeping me away from horror!

But Robocop (1987) left its scars on me, with its uber sadistic violence and a tone which was much more horrific that I was expecting as a child watching the latest blockbuster, Robocop! But that was the charm of this classic, intelligent satire, packed from start to finish with commentary on the decadent 80’s corporate and consumer culture, and the perverse Frankenstein lengths which society might go to if we were to continue down that path. But that was 28 years ago and…

…Well, we not quite there yet but that’s another story.

So, here we are in 2013/14 with yet another attempt to reboot or simply revive a franchise with so much potential that has never been realised, with Robocop 2 (1990) failing to recapture the tone of the original, which strangely and successfully enough, used it uber violence as a form of comedy, and it worked. But Robocop 2, helmed by Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) director Irvin Kershner failed to capture that twisted tone, one best left Paul Verhoven and with another sequel, a cartoon, live action show and mini-series to follow, Robocop was just one failure after another, leaving its progenitor, Robocop (1987) as the classic.

The first or many errors in judgement in this 2013 reboot was the casting of someone ever more wooden and uncharismatic that Peter Weller in the form of Joel Kinnaman. They also spend way to much of the film dealing with his humanity. Unlike the first film where dead cop Alex Murphy’s body was effectively bought and paid for by the ghoulish corporation, OCP, with his memories erased and his brain reprogrammed to become a cyborg cop, this version has Murphy’s memories intact, within reason and a much more conventional and safe take at the concept.

But that was the point of Robocop, like Frankenstien’s monster, he was a grotesque abomination, not the $2.6 Billion Man! And the rivalry between the frighteningly practical and yet flawed ED-209 and Robocop was as much a reflection on the two battling executives and their rival projects as it was the thinking cyborg vs. the mindless machine, as it is portrayed here.

Here is just another robot for our hero to kill. Like most aspects of the film, it says very little and there’s certainly little beneath the surface to contend with. Everything is telegraphed and spelt out for us and it is not exactly Shakespeare to start with.

In the end, it’s got some interesting ideas and it is probably up there with Robocop 2 as the second best feature of a bad, if not appalling bunch but Paul Verhoven’s original Robocop (1987) is still safe. A true classic with relevance even today, almost three decades later, cannot be supplanted by something which tried to pacify such a broad audience with 12a rating.

Points for effort though, as well as the bold choice NOT to do this in 3D, it does look pretty good, I will give it that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I watched this recently having been a long time fan of the first original Robocop. My expectations were not high, though the film is quite passable and provides reasonable family entertainment, it does in some places feel like a watered down re-boot of the original

The opening felt quite drawn out to me and not really necessary for the film to progress (we see robots in military action in Tehran) selling the concept of robots/machines as an alternative to real people in the army. The story varies quite a bit from the original (that might not be a bad idea trying something different) but the charm and wit of the original seem to have been lost as well. There is no doubt this is a more "tolerable" viewing experience for those who objected to the fairly strong violence and language of the first film, though I felt that film didn't rely just on that to work (backed up with a solid cast AND importantly a good story)

Joel Kinnaman steps into the Peter Weller role of Alex Murphy and whilst he's not doing a terrible job, he's simply not got that vibe or ability to convey the part as well as Weller did. Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman also are in the cast list and both try bring things up to tempo as does Samuel L. Jackson, but they are hampered with a less dramatic story and weaker script.
Unlike the first film Murphy is the victim of a car bomb attack, and in this instalment there is much bigger role for his wife Alex (played by Abbie Cornish) though this adds little to the film overall. Lewis his partner is now a guy (Michael K. Williams). There is no sign of Clarence Boddicker or his gang either. There are minor attempts at some wit but nothing that compares to the Paul Verhoeven inspired ability to mix violence, a serious story with elements of humour (a tricky combination to pull off) and the "Dick" Jones (Ronny Cox ) v "Bob" Morton (Miguel Ferrer) internal OCP power struggle is also sadly missing.

What you are left with is a film that plods along at the start, picks up a bit when you get to see the development of Robocop but wastes a lot of time with fluff and padding in-between some good looking but lacking depth SFX scenes. Robocop looks more edgy and defined, and more mean. But Kinnaman just isn't right for this role, even the ED 209's don't have the same grunt and growl as the first film. After a while you even forget that some of the cast are good actors, because they have very little to play with this is a film that takes an easy route and tries nothing too daring.

The film isn't completely awful it's just distinctly average leaving aside the storyline (which just isn't half as good as the first instalment) what really becomes obvious is the lack of attachment to the cast and characters. You really felt for Weller's Murphy and his struggles, you loved to hate Clarence Boddicker, you'll miss those small but funny high pitched moments with Joe "A new toy!" even the minor cast roles like Sgt Warren Reed are not here and the missing OCP internal struggle is a tragedy as it added hugely to the storyline. The first film worked not because of the violence or swearing, but because it just did that rare thing that sometimes happens a good story, a cast that just work great together and a director who dared to push the envelope a bit in film making (making a film quite different to how many expected) those commercials were a poke at establishment and modern day living that were entertaining in their own right.

Robocop 2014 has had most of the guts pulled out of it and re-wrapped in a family friendly José Padilha (the director) package. But as a result most of the heart and soul has also been removed. At best it's a way to pass a few hours on the sofa, but you'll soon be reaching for the original DVD. Hollywood has (mostly without success) tried to re-boot a number of well known classic/respected films for a modern audience, and in almost every case has failed miserably. Robocop isn't the worst of it's efforts but it should signal a need for real film development with original ideas rather than trying to re-hash prior ones.

The original cast can sleep easy with this around, their efforts will be remembered long after this.
Not bad, not great just about average, for a film that's a very uncomfortable place to be. Possibly worth a watch out of curiosity, certainly more suitable for younger viewers, but why toy around the edges of Robocop and accept the newer version, when you can just have the "real thing" and that was done in 1987
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 July 2014
In the not too distant future, 2028, Detroit, USA. Dogged police detective Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is severely injured by a car bomb & left dying in Hospital. But their is hope for his family as conglomerate, OmniCorp, are prepared to use...help...him and save his life by turning him into a cyborg, a, Robocop. Which happens to coincide with them needing a robot that can distinguish the grey area's in law enforcement, to open the door to rolling out units in America which is currently blocked by law. However Murphy isn't going to be the compliant golden goose they'd hoped for.

While Robocop does a great job of empathizing us to Alex Murphy's predicament with one of the best scenes in the film where we see what is left of him under the armor, in an emotional hand grenade of a scene. The family side of things never felt necessary, they were just as robotic before & after, with Abbie Cornish (Limitless) as Clara Murphy shouting with no one truly taking any notice of her. The action is mostly away from the Detroit streets, they're is a lack of patrolling, interacting with the community, no connection or ridicule with his fellow officers. Generally it's flashy & well presented in mostly CGI apart from the cafe shoot out, yet doesn't really connect due to a lack of impact, as it plays things safe. But is amiable enough to inject some pace.

For a film of cops & robbers they're is no baddie that stands out to focus our hatred on or root against. Michael Keaton (Batman) as the CEO of OmniCorp comes across as a nice guy taking advice from his staff that happens to result in something bad. Patrick Garrow as Murphy's nemesis, Vallon, felt ordinary and insignificant, just like his cronies. Perhaps only Jackie Earle Haley (Human Target) as the cocky military adviser, seemed to channel some dislike ability. And the only ounce of humor in the film came briefly from Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction - over that awful rug on his head) as a corrupt hard copy/News man who is pro-robot. As actual funny man Jay Baruchel (Sorcerer's Apprentice) is literally forgotten about. Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) as Dr. Dennett Norton was solid in a role where he tried to please everyone. And Joel Kinnaman (Easy Money) as the lead was hard to gauge as the robotic cop due to the nature of the role, but didn't do much pre-transformation to show an ability to set the before & after Murphy apart.

In conclusion, Robocop nails the moral dilemma of quality of life, man V's machine moral ethics & the power of conglomerates to bend the law. But it's villains are diluted & their demise provides no real satisfying closure. Contains mild language, violence & disturbing scenes. Worth a watch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2014
Not bad but not good too.. Still prefer the 80s version because I think this type film should had been made into a 18 rated so it shows a violent future of crime like the 80s version, but this version seems to be focused on disabilities and coping with life has a Robocop. Oh Robocop on a motorbike reminded me of the series Street Hawk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
On the plus side, this reboot of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic sci-fi/horror looks spectacular; the ED209s move smoothly and convincingly, Murphy's few remaining organic parts are impressively on display and there is some nicely updated technology - like the transparent iPad devices. In geopolitical terms, there are elements of contemporary news, echoing people's concerns over the proliferation of drones and, of course, islamic suicide bombers. Surround sound is used to very good effect and the rocking soundtrack was great - loved Hocus Pocus during one of the most spectacular shoot-outs.

But...

It seems to have totally missed the biting satire, black humour and jaw-droppingly sadistic but comic-book style über-violence that made the original film so iconic. Diluting the hard-hitting violence down to a 12 reduces the impact of the film by orders of magnitude and makes it feel, ultimately, rather irrelevant. Unlike the original, I suspect this will be forgotten in a few years time.

So, if two hours of impressive but lightweight eye (and ear-)-candy is enough to entertain you, then go for it by all means but, for my money, this has joined the ranks of other pointless sci-fi remakes such as Rollerball, The Time Machine, Total Recall, War of the Worlds and I am Legend, all of which fell way short of the original and felt like they were merely cynically milking the franchise.

If it weren't for Hocus Pocus, it would have been 2 stars!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2014
Not as great as the previous and original Robocop films. This film appeared to pay too much emphasis on it's special effects than the storyline. I was expecting a similar theme from the original films but this was not the case. I didn't like it but friend's of mine did!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2015
As a great fan of the original franchise I was genuinely surprised how good this was. The lead was superb and maintained a great emotional presence throughout the film. Michael Keaton as the baddie was just Michael Keaton - he has an elevated detatchment that makes him so good as a baddie in some of his best films like Pacific Heights. Gary Oldham was a superb nearly goodie, nearly baddie. Some nice nods to the original franchise but they were not overdone. and although it was fantasy, you still ended up thinking you had watched something worthwhile.
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