Release Date: February 12, 2014
Cast: Joe Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Jay Baruchel
Director: Joe Padilha
Studio: MGM, Columbia Pictures
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Genre(s): Action, Sci-Fi, Crime
I enjoyed this movie a lot and currently it’s sitting at a 53% on RottenTomatoes…why? Well, there are comparisons to the old movie and how it doesn’t measure up. It’s not as satirical or witty as the old one. It’s not a classic (obviously). Stop comparing it to the old one and look at it by itself and bottom line is it’s a great action/sci-fi movie that has a solid story, great acting, and a political undertone that’s not over-bearing. Being on the blasphemous side that hasn’t seen the original RoboCop (I know, I know don’t shank me), I’ll be reviewing this movie purely based on itself without any comparisons.
The comedic relief of this otherwise quite serious movie comes whenever Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson) is on-screen. He is the host of The Novak Element and is very pro-robot and obviously on the side of Omnicorp, the company that builds all the bots. Omnicorp is bleeding out money because they can’t gain America’s approval to have robots on home land because of the Dreyfus Act.
If you want to go political then Omnicorp and Novak are probably the “Republicans” and Senator Dreyfus is a “Democrat.” Anyway, America wants a robot that has feelings and not just a cold-blooded protector that wouldn’t think twice killing a child holding a knife. Omincorp’s CEO, Raymond Sellars (played by Michael Keaton) goes to Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) to find a way to fix the problem and start making Omnicorp money. Dr. Norton is the brains behind all the machines and he finds his bread and butter in a good cop, Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman).
Alex works as a detective in the Detroit Police and was on the trail of a crime boss selling guns taken from the evidence locker at police headquarters. He dug in too deep and a car bomb was planted, where Alex eventually was blown up (80% of his body burned, legs and arms amputated). Eventually Alex becomes RoboCop in a facility in China…there were so many Chinese workers.
Anyway, Alex still feels because he’s a man in a machine but he doesn’t perform as well as a machine. Sellars throws a hissy fit saying he can’t market “okay” to the American people, he needs to be like a machine. So Norton works his voodoo and when Alex is in attack mode (visor goes down) the machine takes over but Alex still thinks he’s in control.
Alex passes his RoboCop tests and goes back to America to rejoin the police force. When the police database is uploaded to his brain, he has a seizure breakdown when it came to his own crime scene. Dr. Norton had to chemically alter his brain chemistry to lower Alex’s dopamine levels so he wouldn’t be emotional. So Alex literally is a machine with a human face. His wife, Clara Murphy (Abbie Cornish) and son, David Murphy (John Paul Ruttan) are completely ignored by Alex when he passes by them to be introduced to the city. Once Alex gets on stage, he scans the crowd, finds a murder suspect and tazes him in broad daylight. The crowd goes ballistic and instantly loves RoboCop.
All crime is pretty much taken care of by RoboCop and he continues to ignore his wife and son. Until finally his wife confronts him and says how is son is depressed. Alex then by a miraculous twist starts to feel again because he begins investigating his own murder (without the seizures) and his dopamine levels rise again. He goes on an investigation and finds his killer. Tears down the whole place and kills the gang and discovers who the dirty cops are. He is a little beat-up but nothing Dr. Norton can’t fix. Sellars wants to spin it because what’s bigger than a hero? A dead hero… Obviously Dr. Norton is not okay with this so he takes the shutdown chip out of Alex’s brain and releases him to go kill Sellars.
Wham, bam thank you ma’am. Alex completes his mission and is reunited with his family. He is now the protector of Detroit City and all is well…for now.
Like I said earlier in this review, Samuel L. Jackson’s part was for comedic relief because honestly the writers just HAD to make him say mother-beep-er. Seriously? Sigh. Everything about the movie was pretty good. The CGI effects were fantastic because they integrated man and machine very well. The robots looked great and I guess Joel Kinnaman’s physique helps too. He has the long , lean body fit for a robot. The story line flowed nicely, there were no awkward jumps and action was nicely placed throughout. It wasn’t all guns blazing kill, kill, blood, kill. There were sincere moments and there were funny moments. If you’re a die-hard classic RoboCop fan, then I’m guessing you won’t like this remake from the other reviews I’ve read, but if you’re getting introduced to RoboCop, I’m thinking you’ll be fine and enjoy the movie for what it is: a nice action movie about a man in a machine. Now I’ll have to go watch the original and once I do, I’ll update this review to see how the both compare.
Final Thoughts (TL; DR):
RoboCop is a futuristic movie about how machines are the protectors of the land but because they can’t feel Americans don’t like it. Once the man is integrated with machine, then it becomes acceptable. Joel Kinnaman who plays Alex Murphy strikes the balance between emotion and cold when he becomes RoboCop. The action is peppered tastefully throughout the movie without being overwhelming with explosions or gunfire every minute. The storyline is solid and by no means is this movie an award winner, but it’s above average. I think that a sequel would be nice because then they can write their own plot. This remake is being compared to the old RoboCop and because of that I think it’s receiving low reviews. Since I haven’t seen the old one, I enjoy this movie because the effects are great, acting is fantastic (GIVE OLDMAN AN OSCAR! Christ almighty Academy), Samuel L. Jackson is hilarious, and the action is legit.