Robocop or Roboflop?
Director: José Padihla
Running time: 117 mins
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish, Michael Keaton
Remember that guy that couldn’t review the OldBoy remake without constantly referring to the original? Remember what a pretentious prick he was? Well I’m back! And this time to tell you about the new version of RoboCop that’s currently playing in cinemas worldwide. I’ll get it out of the way quickly, it’s nowhere near as fun or subversive or violent as the classic original but it’s still quite a fun way to spend a couple of hours.
You probably already know the story – police officer is pretty much murdered by bad guys but is saved by being rebuilt as an android that catches perps. So how is it different from the 1987 original?
The finished plot is pretty under baked. It begins by asking some very interesting questions about military hardware and drone warfare but somehow in all of the proceeding action the film forgets to provide any answers. It’s this lack of clear direction that detracts from the experience. Is it a movie about the ethics of using machines for policing, is it about how corporations influence politics, or is about a gangly dude who can produce a gun from his leg? Well it’s mainly the last one and that’s ok.
This leads to it being a strangely bloodless movie when compared to the original. Murphy runs around with a stun gun, there’s no gore, and he never once shoots a man in the balls. However once you come to terms with the fact that this isn’t the ultraviolent pic you grew up with, it actually becomes an enjoyable film. There are a few great scenes including a chilling reveal of the changes that Murphy has undergone and an exciting training shootout with robots.
Performances are fine, Kinnaman as Murphy is OK, Michael Keaton is good as the slimy head of Omnicorp, and Gary Oldman is in Commissioner Gordon mode as the nice doctor that rebuilds Murphy. But even the quality acting can’t raise the script above mediocre. Thankfully though, when the talking stops the action starts and the film starts to come alive. Advances in special effects mean that the action is one area where the remake almost betters the original. When there is action it’s great but there just isn’t enough of it.
RoboCop is a lot like the man himself – a highly polished unfeeling product with no blood. But the good news is there is a soul underneath fighting to show itself. Sadly there isn’t enough heart to affect you in any deep way. But if you forget about the original then this remake is a competent action movie with a lot to like about it.
The Screenkicker Quality Index (SQI)
Have you seen Robocop? Are you half man, half machine or all man like me? Let me know below and also check out the awesome 80s Robocop cartoon series!