In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years - and it's meant billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) - a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit - is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.
I was a teenager in the late eighties and early nineties, so I was big time in the target audience for the original version of Robocop. I remember going to see it at the little cinema in Glenfield on the North Shore of Auckland. It was a single screen cinema beside a shopping mall and local pools. Back then the only multiplex was MidCity in Auckland City, so it was old school cinema going for us. I still have brilliant memories of thoroughly loving Robocop. It was a solid blend of action, comedy with a cool underlying set of moral questions around the use of robots in law keeping.
So as has been the trend of late, here comes the reboot. With this new version we get the chance to see what film makers with modern tech can do with this futuristic action classic. Overall I think they did a fair job, it is always going to be hard to stack up against a classic in this type of genre. For example, regardless of how cheesy the original Total Recall was, the new one didn’t come close to it. However in similar fashion there are a handful of little nods to the original with use of original dialogue. Some of those classic lines from the original have been inserted into quite different contexts in this new version, which only goes to add to the flavour of the film.
Joel Kinnaman brings his gritty feel to Robocop from his time on our Television screens in the cult followed series The Killing. He has a great ability to seem pissed off most of the time even when he delivers emotional lines. While Abbie Cornish does a fair job as the wife who seems to be continually losing her husband as if he was her keys.
Then we come to the rest of the cast, of course we are always going to love Gary Oldman, especially as a good guy, turning bad guy with the hope for redemption. He does that sort of character so very well. Loved Samuel L Jackson in his role as a cocky over the top opinionated TV news host. He brings lots of laughs not only at his dialogue but just how they have dressed and made him up. Watch for a wonderful little bonus at the end from him.
But (and it’s not often that I use the word but) Michael Keaton doesn’t fit and I could likely name a list of ten better bad guys in any films that would have been a better casting choice. I do feel that he has finally made it back on to the cinema screens in the past six months and it kind of feels like he has done a multi-picture deal with one of the studios (Namely Sony) perhaps it was a five movies for the price of one in order to get back in the game. I have to think that it relates to him being cheap to hire at the moment because he has certainly passed his prime in the stakes of quality acting.
A solid and intense at times action film. A good night out for the boys (and action girls) with some interesting dialogue pushing the boundaries and asking questions about the value of the human soul.
DVD Releases: 11th June 2014
Rating: M - Contains violence
Duration: 117 minutes
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Douglas Urbanski, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Michael Keaton
Director: José Padilha (Elite Squad)
RRP: DVD $39.99 Blu-Ray $44.99
Miguel Ferrer stars in both the 2014 and 1987 version of the movie.
Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman both starred in the "Batman" film franchise. Michael Keaton played Bruce Wayne/Batman in "Batman" and "Batman Returns" and Gary Oldman played Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy.