Release Date: February 12, 2014
Director: Jose Padilha
Writer: Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. WIlliams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Barchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: MGM, Columbia Pictures
Genre: Action, Crime, Sci-Fi
It definitely raises the question of drawing the line between man and machine. It has deep moral issues that some may be able to argue for days. When it was announced that a reboot would hit the big screen I was just as concerned as everyone else, in fear this wouldn’t come close to the original. It sure does come close but a comparison wouldn’t be fair in my opinion due to the limitations possibly set by the studio to gain more profit. Hence this version of Robocop is PG-13 while it’s predecessor is rated R. Already when dealing with cops, corruption, drugs, and more I didn’t know how a watered down PG-13 version would suffice. I won’t compare this film to the original because It’s been years since I’ve seen it (don’t remember much), but with that said I can say with confidence that this reboot is a worthy attempt and a fresh take on the franchise.
I really enjoyed this film. My expectations were fair and I wanted to give it an honest chance walking into the theaters as I do with all films. I only say that because it did seem a large portion of the online community wanted this project to fail. I proud to say while not perfect it was definitely good enough for repeat viewings. The year is 2028 and the world is flooded with robotics for peace and order. I can’t help but to empathize with those that want to create a safe world, but it’s also scary, uncomfortable, and is losing all forms of humanity. The whole world is on board except for America. That should be good enough but unfortunately we live in a society where greed runs the world. At the same time a 600 billion dollar profit would probably get me on board too.
Our main character is Murphy (Joel Kinnamon), our hero for the day. While being a detective his acting abilities did seem a bit dry, but that’s probably what the studio was looking for since he would be in a robotic suit for most of the film. After his near fatal accident I felt he fit the role perfectly. In my opinion he gave us two forms of the robotic policeman. One still being the man he was before. A heartwarming father and husband who loves his family dearly, and an android with no emotion and only objectives. After this is presented it was clear to me why he was chosen for the role.
Another fresh take is the design of the Robocop suit. They respected the original grey on black but also gave us a model of shiny black. It was nice to see and he look like a cyborg ninja from an even more distant future. Most of the mechanics of the suit were also impressive with how our hero would access a scene, and be able to distinguish an innocent or bad guy in milliseconds. What impressed me most about the film was the thin line between man and machine. I don’t want to spoil anything but there was one scene where we get to see all the ins and outs of the robot still with Murphy inside, but he’s shedding a tear. It’s the small details like this that I appreciate.
The plot was very easy to follow but not too simplistic to where you’re not challenged. One complaint I do have is the choice of music during some of the action scenes. I wasn’t expecting much but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I anticipated simply because the beats were off. The villain could’ve been drawn out more as well but we just got some random drug lord that didn’t stick around too long. There’s a ton of subtext in the film, especially with our view on society and what’s simply right or wrong. As I stated before I really did enjoy the film and all it’s messages throughout. The performances were impressive as well including the goofy designed Samuel L. Jackson. The best performance in my opinion belongs to Michael Keaton. He wasn’t necessarily evil just misdirected. Besides the music the action was fun and lead to a climax that put the icing on the cake. Of course right now it’s only 2014, and I pray that society won’t get so damaged to where we need robots patrolling the streets. Though if we do I will feel safe if I have Robocop around the corner.