Movie Review-Robocop (2014)


Review-27 years ago, my little brother, my dad and I saw Robocop in the theater. I remember being so blown away by the violence and the thought of a future we have futuristic police cop robots taking care of our society. Well, 27 years has passed and a lot has changed, but we are still depending on regular human beings to protect us. Robocop, I loved the first two films but when Peter Weller wanted no part of this new Robocop vision and we got the awful third film is when I soured on this Robocop franchise. Let’s be honest, Robocop is no superhero, he is not supposed to fly and I thought at that time the PG 13 rating hurt it badly. No one wants to see a watered down franchise trying to get a new crowd by watering down or neutering a character that should be violent, angry and vile. I was stoked when I first heard the news Jose Padilha was bringing back the character Robocop and remaking the first film. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within I will put on par with Raid: Redemption and Dredd as some of the best action films in the last decade. I think this film is the example of when a studio gets a director and bullies him into their vision. I will not say the new film is awful, it is just different. The new Robocop takes place in the year 2028 when a company called OmniCorp is that company that feels like a modern day Enron. Their stock is rising, but they feel they are losing not putting robots on the street to fight justice. So they bring their robots to a war torn area to show America that these robots are the future. During the demonstration, a few suicide bombers decide to try and overtake the robots, which turns to the Robots trying to bring justice by killing anyone and showing America that these robots have no human feelings and are cold blooded killing machines, whether it is man, woman or child. OmniCorp has an enemy in what they call The Dreyfuss Act which does not want a society that is controlled by robots. Well, Raymond Sellers who runs OmniCorp comes up with this idea that “We need to show the people of Detroit, that we can put a man inside a machine. That way the people will feel safe”. So, after looking thru many candidates no one matches what they are looking for, then enters Alex Murphy. The story of Alex Murphy is he is a cop who is on the hunt for a well-known criminal named Antoine Vallon. Alex and his partner Jack are undercover posing as gun buyers to try and get to Vallon. Someone on the police force rats them out and it turns to a gun-fight. When Vallon’s thugs fail to kill either cop, they plant a bomb in Murphy’s car and he gets blown so bad that there is hardly anything left of the man. Omni-Corp now has its subject to show people that robots are the future of police enforcement.

Robocop is a film that is doomed for criticism or failure, like Evil Dead this is a film that so many people love the original that they will be the hardest critics to sell on a new vision. I felt this film felt at times felt like the story mode of Rob Zombie’s Halloween. You had the first half which tried to take a spin on the original and be so drawn out in storytelling and the second half that just fast forwards thru the original hitting every key scene. This feels like a studio made film and not a director made one. The first ten minutes of the film, felt so much like Elite Squad and to be honest, if they would have kept on that route, this film would have been very good. The new Robocop is very heavily influenced by racial commentary. The scene when Alex’s partner sees his black Robocop outfit the first words out of his mouth were, “you are now the right color”. Samuel L. Jackson plays Pat Novak, who comes up on screen a lot almost like a CNN spin doctor trying to sell us on why we need robots on the street protecting us. I felt the acting all the way around was so horrid, Gary Oldman did the best he could and Jackie Earle Haley should have been a bigger part of the film. Joel Kinnaman trying to make people forget about Peter Weller was a hard task, too hard of a task for him. He was so unbelievably wooden and provided nothing new to the role. Michael K. Williams as the partner is no Karen Allen. The new vision is violent, but not bloody violent. I have never seen so many people get shot with so little blood or violence. The violence in this film is cartoon and superhero. Now I will admit when he overrides the system and goes out looking for his killer is when the movie does pickup and we get the Batman motorcycle. The final confrontation which the original got the film an NC-17 for how bloody and violent it was, this was anti-climactic and ho hum. The sub-plot with the wife and kid wanting to be a part of Murphy’s life was hammy, and got to be so stupid. “Alex, your son is worried about you, he wants to see you”. Seriously, this is what you think people want- to see Robocop get the watered down bitch treatment? I would have loved him to just shoot the hell out of his wife and just mutter “I am the law”. That does not happen, so no spoiler alert. This film was drenched in racial comments that I felt were uncalled for, that the studio probably thought the target crowd would be minority, that white people could overlook it. Why not create Robocop 2 and make all the bad guys rappers and black drug dealers and see how the black crowds take to it? You are telling me in Detroit, that all the head bad guys are white and force black people to work for them? I feel this film had an agenda to divide a crowd and also that the kids will love this and then race out and put this with Dark Knight and Spiderman as the new superhero. This film is not all bad, it is just not Robocop. If they release this as the original director’s cut and it is just the same, I will call Elite Squad the fluke. All in all, I like some of the film enough to give it a low C. Would I watch it again? I hated The Purge and I have watched that film over and over and started to grow to like it. This film should have been directed by Spike Lee and they could have put a Black Power sticker on Robocop’s forehead.

7 out of 10

  • James DePaolo

    I love the original…but if you want to get it good on the cheap..the new Blu Ray of the original has the free movie pass on it..and the new transfer with new special features is well worth the double dip…

  • fearshop

    Good to hear. The original is near and dear to me. Still a great movie. I have been looking forward to this one though.