Hollywood has a lot to answer for. One of the things about remakes; it’s that we have started to expect good film-making and certain cinematic excellence. When they announced a reboot of the original Robocop franchise, fans all over the world waited with bated breath. Unfortunately for them and the viewing public, this movie fails to rise up to the original. In fact, this movie is one of those where you’re left scratching your head in the middle of the show, wondering why you chose to watch this film. José Padilha attempts to make the concept of Robocop resonate with our modern-day world, but the film’s tedious pace and dry approach makes it a chore to watch.
The movie has a brilliant star-cast. With heavy-hitters like Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson, there is a certain level of acting prowess that we can expect. In the lead, we have Joel Kinnaman as Det. Alex Murphy a.k.a. Robocop. He does a reasonable job of playing Robocop. But he is also up against the legend, Peter Weller. In comparison, this version doesn’t deliver the punch. Abbie Cornish plays her part well enough. But we get the feeling that she could have had a bigger part to play in this film. The movie starts with a look-at-a-version of our future. There exists a mega corporation called Omnicorp, whose business interests the world-over has made it the biggest in the world of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) and military robots. However, they don’t have a foothold in the American market. This leads to a campaign for the new face of robots in the world of law-enforcement. The story has the same touches as the old script, but fails to capture the original’s tongue-in-cheek humor and satire. Just like old film, this one is set in Detriot. Det. Alex Murphy is as tough as nails, no-nonsense and honest cop who gets betrayed and left to die. And out of the ashes, rises Robocop. This entire process of the birth of Robocop takes a long while. The head of Omnicorp (Michael Keaton) realizes that he has a marketing opportunity to make his headway into the states. He’s aided by a biased reporter, Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson), and his head of R&D, Dr. Dennett Norton, (Gary Oldman). The movie then takes us on a journey about the humanity of a man stuck in a machine. Does he feel? What are his levels of empathy? Does he know the gravity of being part man and part machine? As the film continues, we are shown what impact Robocop has on Detriot. The current ideas of surveillance and centralized databases have been incorporated well. But the action leaves something to be desired. The movie builds up slowly, and then ends rather abruptly. This makes the film feel like it is lacking flow.
Overall, this film isn’t as good as the original. There are brave attempts made to connect the material to the audience. Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Abbie Cornish do their jobs well. Joel Kinnaman is passable. His character asks questions about what it takes to be human. The pace isn’t steady. You are left feeling that the movie takes its time and then proceeds to run straight for the end without any warning.
Why you should watch the movie?
The action sequences, while few, are quite good. Robocop’s training and testing are also quite cool. Samuel L. Jackson definitely has his moment to shine and you will not be disappointed. The whole idea is about the blurring of the line that divides humans from machinery. A few pertinent questions are asked regarding the culture of consumerism and security. The graphics are alright. On the whole, a film which can be seen, but you will have to try to be patient.