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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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 November 2015
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.
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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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on 11 July 2014
This isn't the Robocop I remember but on its own terms I found plenty to enjoy. It's almost impossible to watch this and divorce it from the original (brilliant) film from back in 1987. That was a very different film - this one is a 12 certificate which perhaps tells you all you need to know. It doesn't have the wit or stylish verve and certainly not the violence of its predecessor.

This time around its Joel Kinnaman who plays Alex Murphy, a cop who is left at deaths door after being targeted by the criminal element. He is rebuilt as our new Robocop and sent out onto the mean streets of Detroit to enforce the law. Complications arise as the line is blurred between man and machine as Alex is caught between his duties, his family and ruthless executives attempting to use him to their own ends. Kinnaman is solid enough in the role but the acting honours lie elsewhere - Gary Oldman is excellent as a conflicted doctor, Michael Keaton is equally great as a hateable son of a gun and Abbie Cornish brings the heart as Mrs Murphy.

As I said at the top, I found much to enjoy here - the streets of Detroit are suitably gritty, the action is good and it all looks great (admittedly I'm a sucker for big budget sci-fi). There are a few sly nods to the original flick - ED209 is present and correct and the original armour gets a look in.

Overall, although the modern way of remaking perfectly good films can feel kind of pointless, if you can take this one on its own merits it's a pretty good film. If you're only gonna watch one Robocop film though - head back to 1987.
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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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on 11 December 2015
I had to at least try this remake for myself. It's very clever with the visual effects and the acting is excellent, but Murphy's family wasn't needed, I know that sounds harsh but not being with his family in the original is what helped it work. You see his family only in memories in the original.

This is a nice effort, but overall it was fairly bland and felt like a tv movie. I thought to myself that this was a nice looking movie, but it just doesn't do anything for me. I recently watched the original on blu-ray, sad to say that this new one doesn't come close. It's not even the over the top violence of the original, it's put together much better and just.........worked. I'm pretty sure there are many others who will be sticking with Peter Weller.
I'm considering trying Robocop 2 but I'm not sure.

Your move creep. You gotta love that line when Robocop shoots the rapist in the groin, makes me laugh every time and it's classic things like that which are lacking in this remake.
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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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A remake of Robocop, a movie whose biting satire merged with 80’s style exploitation violence, seemed an idea doomed to failure.. and I went in to this movie with correspondingly low expectations. Perhaps that is why I have come away feeling pleasantly surprised. For sure, the raw satirical edge which was in truth enhanced by the gory Verhoeven touch, is missing in this sanitised version. What we do get is a slick retelling of the story, surprisingly more human at its core. There is more questioning here on what it is to be human – and a little less on the dehumanising of culture. That said, the Samuel Jackson character that replaces the witty adverts of the earlier version, personified here as a right wing political editorial show, is amusing and occasionally pointed, but overegged.
What adds class to the proceedings is the surrounding players – following this journey from human cop to Robocop and then trying to find his way back, is a bunch of fine actors. Gary Oldman is hardly stretching his acting talents here, but he makes his sympathetic scientist who has angst about crossing moral boundaries, but can be tempted to do so, genuinely believable. Michael Keaton plays a more conventional character who is just what he seems to be – a manipulative CEO who is only interested in the bottom line… but he manages to bring a few of his acting tics to give a little quirkiness to the role. Kudos too, to Abbie Cornish as the wife with tough decisions to make.
The balance of this movie is really much more about a man’s coming to terms with his injuries and how these have changed his life. Doctors have saved him, but have they allowed him the chance to really live? There is much less focus on any storyline giving a focal bad guy to boo at and give the audience a sense of excitement as the movie builds to a climax. The climax here does have action, but is ultimately much more about one man’s journey to find meaning in his new circumstances. As such, overall, Jose Padilha has made a more believable movie than the first one, both in terms of character and in terms of science. What it arguably lacks though, is the sense of fun that came with the first one – Verhoeven knew how to sweeten his satire with an over the top sensibility ladened with black humour. Here the director has opted instead to make things palatable by simply dialing back the satire and making a more conventional film. It works, as that, and better than I for one had hoped for – but fans of the original are bound to feel somewhat shortchanged.
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on 11 June 2014
Robocop is the latest in a long line of remakes/reboots as Hollywood seemingly runs out of original ideas. Unfortunately unlike Dredd, which was pretty good this is more akin to Total Recall (albeit without the lip sync problems).

In fairness to the writers and producers they did try to make the new Robocop not a direct re-telling of the original, but that is to some extent where they went wrong. Samuel L Jackson's right wing opinionated TV host gets far too much air time and the opening segment, showing the deployment of US robot troops and drones in Iran (!) has little direct connection to the rest of the film. As for the rest of it, without giving too much away...

Michael Keaton is no Ronny Cox as the main protaganist. The original did have the malevolence of Cox's Dick Jones offset by the still devious but well meaning "Old Man" (Dan O'Herlighy) but none of that here.

Gary Oldman dials in his Inspector Gordon persona as the put upon scientist.

Total lack of gore.

Total lack of any humour (no "Mind if I zip THIS up?", or "guns, Guns, GUNS!" moments).

Far too much screen time devoted to the relationship between Murphy and his wife/son. In fact the whole premise of the film seemed to revolve around the mutual angst whereas in the original this element was relegated to a minor segment.

No charismatic police partner. Just an injured guy who spends most of the film in hospital.

No charismatic villain! Just a merc type guy with a beard.

The Blu-ray quality in terms of picture and sound is good enough, though with all the cgi being used hard not to get that part right.

If there was anywhere left to rent discs these days I'd recommend you do so before buying. Otherwise might be worth watching via streaming or Sky before splashing out money on this lacklustre title.
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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.


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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