RoboCop (2014)

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Critically injured in the line of duty, a cop is transformed into an experimental crime-fighting cyborg in this reboot of the 1980s sci-fi classic.

Year: 2014
Certificate: 12
Runtime: 1hr 53m
Director: José Padilha
Starring: Joel KinnamanGary OldmanMichael KeatonSamuel L. JacksonAbbie CornishJackie Earle HaleyMichael Kenneth WilliamsJennifer EhleJay BaruchelAimee GarciaMarianne Jean-Baptiste

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Disappointing, bland and lacks the heart of the original.

While the 2014 reboot of “RoboCop” wasn’t a complete mess, it was a massive disappointment for many fans. I can remember my excitement when a reboot was announced of one of my favourite movies when I was younger. With the advancements in technology this movie should have been a sure fire hit – but with dull characters, a poorly written story and seemingly no motivation for RoboCop outside of ‘stop bad guy’ this really was the let down of the 2010’s for me.

So, the story: Police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is blown up after his car is rigged with a bomb. His wife agrees to a procedure overseen by private company Omnicorp CEO Raymond Sellers and Dr Norton in order to save his life which sees almost all of Murphy’s body replaced with robotic parts. Omnicorp however have a different motive. Due to a law they can not issue their battle drones for domestic use and thus have a huge market they are not able to tap into. Putting human elements into a cyborg helps bypass this law. Murphy wakes up and once he has come to terms with his fate he sets about solving his own murder attempt and bring the culprits to justice.

While this sounds not too dissimilar to the Neumeier/Verhoeven classic hitting similar beats it fundamentally fails on one key element.

While this movie does share a similar main plot, the entire character arc is gone. Part of the charm of the beloved classic was watching a Cyborg who had his memories taken from him slowly regain his humanity and accept his new life. Unfortunately making the choice to have Murphy retain all his memories means we never see the internal conflict of humanity trying to shine through the metal and acceptance is boiled down to one (albeit, well done) scene where Murphy is forced to look at what he’s become. This however happens about a third of the way through meaning any internal conflict has to be artificially created a bit later on. There’s no arc because there’s no struggle for him shown. He still has his loving wife , his child, his friends and his job.

PG13 (rated 12 in the UK) was probably the biggest mistake here. Trying to rally fans of the brutally bloody original was never going to work. We’ve gone from intimidating machine with a huge gun to man in plastic suit with a taser.

And then of course there is the ‘satire’ segments that tie the movie together and act as an exposition dump now and then. These are probably the best part to be honest. Samuel L. Jackson doing his thing is never not amusing but gone is the deadpan delivery in favour of loud in your face shouting.

The cast have no chemistry at all. Joel Kinneman is bland and lacks any personality whatsoever. I do give credit to Gary Oldman and Abbie Cornish for their portrayals of Dr Norton and Clara Murphy both give probably the best performances of the movie.

Had this movie come along and not slapped RoboCop on the front it would have been a run of the mill generic action movie which would have come and gone with no sour taste left. Unfortunately, given it was a reboot of one of the most well loved action movies of the late 80’s, it is only inevitable it would draw comparisons to what came before and when held up together this is a monumental failure.

Roll on RoboCop Returns.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

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