After a much extended and negative production period, a long time of hype and speculation; finally in 2014 we have been given the remake to the very much loved and cult classic 80’s action sci-fi flick Robocop.
Was there any real reason to make it we wondered? Would it be relevant to our modern times and audiences? Would it be terrible with a much lower age rating this time? Could it even be any better?
At first we may have been interested (besides those of use immediately angered by lazy remakes for expected box office) but after noted troubles with the production, a few directors on and off the film and script, actors being cast or not cast it, finally was moving along. Then a long delay again, when the release was put back for more months away.
After that we got news that this one would be something like a 15 or even 12 certificate. What was happening? No, that was it. It just had to suck the big one for sure. Right?
Even finally before going in to see it, after having seen the trailers, and getting more interested and sympathetic, I then was losing interest once again. But I was taken along anyway.
There are certainly a good number of similarities, references to the original movie, and differences as well. It does start off with a strong connection to modern day international war in the east, terrorism problems, and robot defence and drones used there. This was a good start. Soon after, we are introduced to the main characters, and move to Detroit in America.
Some believe that this was where the film lost impact or becomes softer. It might lose some strong obvious political on international issues, but it does continue to explore U.S. military, corporations and the media and how they use and abuse each other and the public.
There are many remakes and reboots of known films series and franchise these days, and this one actually seems to stick fairly close to the original plot for the majority of the movie, which was a surprise and not entirely a really bad thing.
It may not be as ironic obviously or blackly funny and cynical as the original, this time actually quite more philosophical and topical, looking at the themes of man, machine, death, soul, identity, police and politics and more.
It does have a much lower age rating which did seem to maybe be a bad thing early on, but even though it is nowhere near as gore splattered and ultra-violent as the 80’s version, it possibly offers questions,a script and approach suitable for a 2014 and young audience which is needed.
It is also definately worth seeing for the visual effects, which at times are actually really very stunning, and it can be emotional and tragic as the first one, such as Murphy exploring his ‘death’, his wife and son and who is is now.
There is some great acting from Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L Jackson as a manic news presenter, and the new Robocop actor Joel Kinnaman is quite suitable, with similarities to the great Peter Weller.
This Robocop might not have as many instantly classic iconic scenes, dialogue and images, but it is still a relevant and provocative modern sci-fi movie worth seeing.