on 16 June 2015
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.
While this potential reboot is watchable enough, with a half decent script, director and cast, it is not a patch on the original. The original was a gleefully violent tale with a pantomime morality. The modern version is potentially subtler with an overly fussy but ultimately neutered plot.
My gripes -
# There was not enough robocop wiping out baddies,
# filming in Canada and pretending it was Detroit, lost that grimy hopeless post apocalyptic feel
# Omnicorp now just seemed a bit misguided, rather than certifiably rabid
# why tag concerns about cctv surveillance and drones, onto a story that should be about the morality of half human robots
# the script fumbles the ambiguity as to whether robocop was Murphy, and whether he was still human
# having robocop lying on a motorbike and zipping around town a lot, was just a stupid timefiller
# how could robocop download all that data, does he have a flash drive in his noggin? Why not just browse via wifi, as he did for everything else.
In its favour, it was clearly filmed with some affection for the original, the towering Basil Poledouris theme reappears, as does the line “I’d buy that for a dollar”. Some new scenes work well, the rebooted initial killing of Murphy and him waking up for the first time, were both confident and memorable.
Undemanding sf action fans are likely to find this a better than average time-passer, but basically this comes across as a cluttered early draft script mixing up Ironman with Robocop for an undemanding multiplex audience. The final script is far too timid treating American foreign policy and corporates as sacred cows. At heart Robocop is a vicious satire of an appalling possible American, with ED-209s shooting a lot of innocent people. The new version is sadly a tasteful blander suburban corporate friendly reboot.
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
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.
on 10 July 2014
I feel that the Blu-ray product of Robocop is good because I have never seen the original film of Robocop which was shown back in 1987.
I mean, the film was made 27 years ago. Can you see the pattern of history?
I did not see this film in the cinemas because I was very busy and I did not get the chance to see it in action.
The plot of the film is that it's set in the future. The year is 2028 and the scene is set in the American city of Detroit.
This is a city where crime is out on control, though the story is based on a young and dedicated police officer called Alex Murphy.
Mind you, he is determined to fight corruption in a world for which is ruled by chaos.
But, as the plot goes further, he becomes critically injured.
The idea is that a ruthless multi-national company specializing in technological weaponry called Omnicorp transforms Alex into a part-man, part-robot crime fighter.
What the company does not realise is that they don't count on what's inside the machine, though there's still a man who is hungry for justice and the truth.
Retrospectively, there is Alex who would feel that he wants to fight for his own freewill.
But, I am afraid that is what the Blu-ray product description for this film is all about.
Also, I decided to pre-order this product on Saturday 3rd May 2014 because my mum would not allow me to purchase the steelbook.
Afterwards, I decided to get the Blu-ray product of Robocop because this was less money and I paid the full total price of £12.35 with regards of my student discount.
So, I like to say thank you to Amazon.co.uk for your reliable and pleasant service.
Four stars all round!!! Again, thank you for listening and goodbye for now.
By Richard Hill
Firstly let me say, it's a long time since I last watched the1987 Original Movie,
though I do now have the re-mastered 'Blu-ray' version.....I will 'post' comparisons
when in the near future I watch the 1987 version.
This version is perfectly watchable, though the Original (Watched on the remastered
Blu-ray) has far more action, attitude, and graphic violence on-board, it is far more
exciting than this the new-version, of course, if you've never seen the original
perhaps it would be worth giving it a spin.
What I can say from the out-set is that the 'original' carries an '18' rating whilst this
the re-make carries a '12' which immediately suggests that the new-version has been
tailored for a wider and younger audience.
The location 'Detroit City' The Year '2028' Crime is out of control.
A large Corporation 'Omnicorp' is trying to break into the lucrative 'American' market
with their 'Law enforcing Robots' which have been accepted in many other countries
throughout the World.
The 'American' public and their sceptical politicians wont accept 'Robots' that
possess no feelings and conscience to walk the streets of 'America'
'Alex Murphy' (Joel Kinnaman) a happily married man with wife 'Clara' (Abbie Cornish)
and young son 'David' (John Paul Rutten) is a well respected 'Detroit City' Cop, when
an explosion critically injures 'Alex' the ruthless Corporation see an opportunity.
They had considered in the light of overwhelming rejection of their 'Robot' program to
use the technology they have to create a part Human, part Robot law-enforcement
operative, now they have, with 'Clara's' initial approval an ideal candidate in 'Alex'
The head of the 'Omnicorp' Corporation instructs it's Science Lab to implement the
Months after the life-threatening attack on him, 'Alex' now part-man part machine is
ready to be put through his paces, in effect he is a computer enhanced law enforcer
with a deadly array of weaponry.
He is ready to confront his wife and son at their home, but what emotion has he been
left with ?
On the streets he sets out to right wrongs and clear the streets of crime, he is programed
to be aware of all criminal activity, however it is against police protocol to solve a crime,
in which he had been the victim .....however he is programed to arrest criminals, with force
as and when.
What the Corporation led by 'Dr Dennett Norton' (Gary Oldman) had not counted upon is that
'Alex' though heavily programmed still has a mind of his own.
Though the re-make has obviously been tailored to accommodate younger viewers and probably
lacks the graphic scenes of the original, it is a hi-tec and action-packed presentation with the
many benefits afforded by todays Special-Effect advances.
Better than I expected in truth.
Special Features -
* Deleted Scenes.
* DMNI Corporate product Video's.
* Featurettes - 'The Illusion of Free Will'. - 'To Serve and Protect' - 'The Robocop suit'.
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.
This is a good film in many respects, but it's not a good Robocop film and that's the problem. They should have called this something else, changed some of the key components that pin it as a Robocop reboot and I'm sure far more people would have enjoyed it. Watched by someone who has never seen (nor has any fond memories of) the original Robocop it could be a cool, stylish and very visually pleasing Sci-fi caper that goes hard on the slick effects and graphic violence which works well for what it's representing in this genre. But it's nearly impossible to watch it without comparing it to the original and then focusing on the flaws in-between.
For younger people or people who have no affiliation, exposure or love for the original to compare it to I'd give it four out of five stars for being a slightly better than average Sci-fi action movie. For what it's intended to be though I'd give it a very slim 3 stars, based on some nice action sequences and a super performance from Gary Oldman.
If you are expecting this film to be the same as the previous versions think again. I bought it expecting it to be a shoot em up film and was very surprised to see that it had been made from a very different angle. So if you want a shoot em up film this is not for you. If you want a well made film showing a lot more depth and thought then you should like it. I have watched it once and I will be watching it again. I like the new angle and found it to be very entertaining. People will consider it slow compared to the others but it is a very different type of film to them. Over all I thought it was a very well made film and worth the 5-stars.
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.