So, I managed to watch the remake this afternoon. Being an avid fan of the first two movies from the 80’s and the subsequent TV series and the mini series developed in Canada. So I’ve seen the entire run. I may like and even love the timeline in place, despite the events of 3, and the pacification of Robocop in the 90’s TV series. The mini series I love, despite the improbabilities of the hackers in it. Well, now that I’ve established I know the source material, at least in terms of what we’ve been shown over the years.
With the remake, they try to go into new territory, while at the same time, following the old continuity as an example. I even like some of the ideas and concepts brought up, and over the movie isn’t horrid. Although some of the new actors are kind of painful to have on-screen. Thankfully, the main actor playing Murphy/Robocop, isn’t entirely devoid of acting skill. He maybe still relatively new, but he has some skill.
Unlike the actress playing his wife or the actor playing his son. I’ll give the kid a pass, since he’s a kid and he’s still learning. Her on the other hand, it’s her inability to convince us as the audience that she is suffering, and showing some strength. The only time we see her give a damn, is right after (Spoiler) her husband is left in critical condition from a car explosion. Where she is barely in the room, when they tell her that he either will die on life support, or be turned into a cyborg to live.
This is one of the odd concepts they try to bring in, which is “How do we make a cyborg in a family setting, work with the situation?” Although as we see in the movie, they don’t even give it a chance. They give him a few minutes with his family, before he goes to be put to sleep for the night, and readied for his big reveal later on. The best acting in the movie comes from every one else, which is kind of sad if you think about it.
I personally would’ve rather had an ok ensemble cast, with an insanely brilliant lead actor. As he could carry the movie, the original had this. We had a bunch of up and coming actors as the ensemble, and we had a relatively unknown, but still very good actor in the form of Peter Weller in the original. He carried that movie, not to mention the writing helped. In this, they tried to help with the writing, unfortunately, the editing and the combination of so many concepts introduced, is where things are going awry.
We have two opposing arguments in the movie, that they put in there from both the original movie and today. Can we trust our lives to a machine? The original movie brought it to light how our lives could be controlled by corporations. It hit the core of that idea right on the head, since we kind of do live in a world dominated by corporations.
In this one, the corporation takes a back seat, and its all politics, and news coverage. Then we have the corporation wanting Robocop to be more drone-like, like the original. Before, it was a push of the button at a computer, reprogramming him. Wiping his memory and making him totally autonomous, or so they believed.
Here we see another problem with the movie, the corporation still wants him to be autonomous and machine, but the people and the politicians want him human. Where the old movie had governments as on the side of the corporation and needing a new way to handle the grueling times. This one, they say that, but we have no evidence that crime is really that bad. Aside from the one criminal character that is making weapons deals from stolen police evidence lockup.
Aside from that, which is more of a federal issue, and not a local law enforcement problem. It’s a matter of justifying the use of a robot in an urban setting. They just don’t show enough justification for having him out there in the first place. So it makes their whole argument pointless. So putting aside logic, in the sense that it is a movie.
Moving on to music, its solid and it gives us dramatic tension, while paying homage to the old movie’s theme song. Which is nice, since I enjoy the old music. Special effects are pretty solid, and very little CG is over used. At least to me, I’m sure there were several key action sequences where the CG was present, but its mixed so well with the practical, that its hard to notice. Only once fight scene showed a CG robocop that was obvious to the naked eye, that was over the top. It happens, even in the old movies they used miniatures for the big fight scenes. As it would’ve killed Peter Weller from being jostled around so much.
My only big issue with the movie, is that it tried to be too much like the original in the end. After a while, the film seems to realize that “Oh shit, we’re nearing the 2 hour mark, and we haven’t resolved anything. So the pace quickens and they mash in the last half of the original movie into the ending, by having one sequence of Robocop going against the corporation and having a crap ton more of the references from the old movie put in, with Lewis helping him escape.
Since I bring Lewis up, let’s discuss how the filmmakers decided to take the Sarge from the old movies and merge him with Lewis. No, I’m not kidding. Lewis is now a black man, instead of being a tough as nails woman. Not to mention giving him very little to do, but be there for cannon fodder.
Then there’s the police chief, cool on them for making her a woman. It’s common practise now to see a woman in a command role. Unfortunately, she’s just there to serve as a lynch pin in the movie. Nothing hugely important to being a woman in a commanding role, she’s just there to be a bureaucrat that is hiding something.
The villains in the movie, are set up to be the man whom killed Murphy. Then the movie resolves that storyline (Oops, it’s not who we think it is). Even though its more likely that he was, since the movie sets it up that way. Then the movie does that divide from being cool, modern and different to being like the original and says “Nope, he’s not the villain, Michael Keaton is.” With no justification or reason established.
I knew it was coming, since the movie was rehashing the important bits from the Original. I was onboard for most of the movie, until that divide from the murder investigation plot turns into the old plot. The thing is, in the old movie it worked better because we had set up. We have key dialogue sequences between executives talking about how they shifted police forces to have “Ideal candidates” placed in high risk situations to get what they wanted.
We knew that OCP was the bad guy in that movie. This one, we have none of it, we get everything set up to just be about Murphy’s murder and that the major criminal element in the city is his villain. I would’ve accepted that storyline as the main plot, more than them trying to pay homage to the old movie. They could’ve left the Homage to a possible sequel, and made the corporation the bad guy in that one. At least then it would’ve made more sense.
Oh, Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie. Yep, He’s black Bill O’Reilly. I kid you not, I knew that going into the movie. I saw the trailers, and his tie raid at the end of the movie felt so out-of-place, but so in character for the way he’d been playing it. The only reason he was even in that role, was to have that patented “Sam Jackson” badassery on-screen for that small bit. It just doesn’t fit with the theme of “This is the future.” With Samuel L. Jackson’s bits in the movie, that’s the present, technically.
Why do we need to be reminded of Bill O’Reilly if you’re trying to use story about the future, to illustrate how the future is progressing. Is that something to help us relate to the story. Instead of using Murphy’s Humanity like the original does? If so, you failed on that, haha.
I was planning on hating this movie, going into it. As I’d seen reviews for it, some liked it, some hated it. Me being a huge fan of the old continuity, was ready to hate it. Since modern hollywood is nothing but remakes, and small indie films that are pretty good. This is just Meh, it has moments, but overall needs to be spread out more. Hell I could see this movie’s concepts being done in a mini series and it doing better. Give it to HBO and it would be the next Game Of Thrones. I’m not kidding. If they gave it to HBO and turned it into a mini series, it would be awesome.
It’s not horrible, just it needs work. If they want to salvage it I mean. I liked some of the characters, like Gary Oldman’s character, Dr. Norton. I even liked Jackie Earle Haley’s character Mattox. They were the strongest actors in the movie, and it showed.
Even Michael Keaton, enjoyed what he was doing. Even though his character was a bit annoying at times. I consider that more of an intentional thing. Not to mention, Jay Baruchel playing the jittery, marketing guy was good. So the movie has some positives, it just needed to be fleshed out in the ending, and push the corporate enemy story to a possible sequel.
Final thoughts, if you’re curious or an action movie buff, you’ll probably like this movie. You can probably rent it or watch it on Netflix. I just happened to get a DVD copy to watch. It has issues, although it could’ve been avoided or resolved differently. It is not as good as the original, nor is it as brutal. With that, I’ll sign off. I was not hoping for much in this movie, but it was ok. I’ll see you guys on the next one.