Okay… let’s quickly review Robocop… because, apparently there aren’t enough remakes out already.
If you’ve never heard of the late 80’s/early 90’s pop culture sensation that was the Robocop movies then you, my friend, are either under the age of 21 or at some point in your life have lived under a rock. But even if you aren’t familiar with Alex Murphy, the cop who barely survives attempted murder before being turned into a cyborg by a corrupt corporation of law enforcing robot builders, then congratulations… director Jose Padilha is here to redo it just for you.
This time around, relative no name Joel Kinnaman plays the titular character. Kinnaman isn’t bad, but he also doesn’t bring anything to the role either. In other words… he’s pretty forgettable. His suit and the action sequences, however, are anything but. Most of the other characters from the original films are altered, but the essence is still there. Michael Keaton plays the greedy head of the corporation that builds Robocop in attempt to apparently sway Congress to get robot law enforcers out of the Middle East and into American streets. Abbie Cornish is tough and genuine as Murphy’s wife and the mother to their son (Not really sure why these characters have changed names… but whatever). Samuel L. Jackson channels his inner Bill O’ Reilly as the host of a political talk show in support of robots. And Gary Oldman, in perhaps the most welcomed change to the series, plays the scientist and doctor behind the world’s first cyborg policeman.
The biggest differences between the original and this film, other than the drastically toned down violence, is the focus on what makes the metal man tick. There’s much more science and psychology to this film than there is gunshots and explosions. Whether that makes it better or worse is up for debate. I, for one, never found the 1987 version to be anything remotely ground breaking so to think this film somehow falls short is a bit baffling to me. What the Robocop remake is, is a decent two hour February action film. And let’s be honest, along those lines, there’s probably nothing better in theaters until April.
FINAL GRADE: B-