Joel’s review of Robocop (2014)

I recently discovered that the 2014 Robocop remake was available on Netflix. Funny — hadn’t noticed it before. I’ve avoided most remakes, including that one for Total Recall. Listen, I’m not against a remake if it is going to be a seriously different take on the story. I don’t want an exact copy of the original.  Take the original concept, and go explore new ideas and themes. Be creative. The original Robocop is certainly an 80’s film, so I’m gonna be okay with a good remake.

The original Robocop film was cool, not only because it was different, but because between all of the great action scenes, it touched upon interesting themes like the media, corruption, authoritarianism, greed, privatization, capitalism, identity, dystopia, and human nature. Add in cool action scenes and some cool future technology (forget that Robocop seemed to be running on MS-DOS though), and that’s the recipe of an interesting story.

Watching the 2014 version, I noticed there was a similar plot about a Detroit police officer named Alex Murphy. Happily married with a son, but it seems he’s established within his particular police precinct. And Lewis is an African-American male and a long time friend. OCP is here too, but no talk of futuristic Delta City. OCP is looking to expand their market of robotic drones and mechanized units into the U.S., but are prevented by current U.S. law. They are looking for a new ‘product’ that they can bring to market that the U.S. population will buy into.

Alex Murphy is severely injured (a car bomb this time around) and OCP has their candidate for putting a somewhat human face on their latest drone. The rest of the film follows those threads of solving Murphy’s murder, reconnecting with his wife and family, and finding the inevitable link to OCP.

What was a bit different in this film vs the original (besides the black armor) is the introduction of a slightly more developed OCP doctor / scientist Dr. Dennett Norton oversees Murphy’s conversion into a cyborg, which was more than you saw in the 1987 story. Also, Murphy’s wife Clara and her son are more present in this film, still trying to get their husband / father back. Unfortunately, while I was glad to see this slight change in the story, actress Abbie Cornish was more or less relegated to that ‘wife / girlfriend crying and/or emoting in relation to what is happening to the male lead’ trope.

Lastly, since this is a movie with a lot of CGI, so there are many action scenes. Because this is a more modern film, it unfortunately also acts very much like a video game in a way during specific action sequences. A little unrealistic, especially as Robocop seems to have a a magical (or video game like) unlimited ammunition, where he never has to reload.

This film is not a travesty of justice or storytelling, so go ahead and watch it guilt free.

Robocop (2014)

Robocop (2014)

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