Film Review – Robocop (2014)

Robo - post

Title – Robocop (2014)

Director – Jose Padilha (Elite Squad)

Cast – Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot – It’s 2028 and after Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is injured almost beyond repair shady robotics company OmniCorp led by Raymond Sellers (Keaton) and his head of science Dr. Dennett Norton (Oldman) seize on the moment and create the world’s first Robocop, bringing law to the streets like never before.

“It’s nothing personal. Although, I don’t like you as a person”

Review by Eddie on 9/07/2014

Many scoffed at the thought of Paul Verhoeven’s beloved 80’s classic Robocop getting the modern day makeover, for what form of sacrilege would be committed to a tale that embraced violence and political satire and drenched it in a synth filled tale of man meeting machine? Without wishing to talk up director Jose Padhilla’s updated take too much there is no need to put your visors down as the film is a lot more enjoyable than it really had a right to be.

Not possessing any of the originals wit and satire this Robocop is a more forlorn affair more concerned with the issues a man becoming a machine may possess. Our robotic justice bringer this time around is Joel Kinnaman as barely human Alex Murphy and Kinnaman while not particularly bad is also not much of a screen presence whereas in the original we had Peter Weller on fine angry man form. Alex gets lost in a tale that starts off on a strange side note with Samuel L. Jackson’s TV presenter Pat Novak then picks it up again once we are introduced to our new officer of the law only to lose it once more in a final 30 – 40 minutes, in which all becomes highly uninteresting and detrimentally dull. It’s strange that a story so ripe for not only questions on what it is to be human but popcorn munching action takes such a route that it does.

Padilha has shown great action chops in the past with his foreign film Elite Squad and it’s amped up sequel in particular showing a great sense for nerve wracking action scenes. Robocop would seem the perfect venture for him to translate this ability to an English language blockbuster and with a budget well and truly into the triple digits there is a sense that Robocop just doesn’t pack enough punch into its run time to justify the claim that this is indeed a blockbuster. Moments within the film showcase some fantastic one offs, with an eerie scene in which Alex looks at what is left of his human form or a training sequence set to a Wizard of Oz song an insight as to what could have been in a film far too caught up in being serious where it needed to mould it into fun.

Wasting the talents of Jackie Earle Haley and Michael Kenneth Williams in lame supporting turns is just part of Robocop’s problems in a film that at times threatens to do the impossible and live alongside its original master copy. Without giving itself a real heart, with a lack of action and with a Robocop we don’t really get to love, it’s a film that’s not necessary yet is a venture that still is more than acceptable and in no way sullies the original’s name. Justice in one form or another has therefore been served.

2 and a half yelling Gary Oldman’s out of 5


20 responses to “Film Review – Robocop (2014)

  1. Agree with you on the whole. I really disliked Kinnaman though, and in some ways thought he was the worst thing about the movie. But there are some entertaining parts and if I had to I would watch again.

    • Yeh mate, no where near as bad as it could or really should’ve been but that’s not saying all that much. Really needed to be something more than a Pg-13 seen-it-all-before type deal.

  2. Too bad, I only recently watched the Verhoven original (yes, only recently! as in a month ago!), and I wouldn’t have minded seeing a modern “update.” I’ve also become a huge fan of Jose Padilha’s Elite Squad films, so it’s too bad his talent hasn’t translated to Hollywood, although it’s likely studio interference and insistence on a PG-13 rating are to blame. (I’m betting most Brazilians are rewatching those films right now to take their minds off the sting of getting their asses whooped in the World Cup, BOOOM! )….apply cream to the burned area 😉

    • Yeh mate Padhilla is a great sort, sounds like his experience on this film was not a good one so poor bloke had his vision muddled I think.

      I only recently watched the original Robo as well man and really enjoyed it but was hopeful this update would be a little fun but missed the mark in the end just a little.

      Poor old Brazil the country must be truly depressed today.

  3. The original was tons of fun, but this like most sci-fi action remakes isn’t. For shame; I was really excited when Gary Oldman joined the cast!

  4. I agree completely. It started off great with the big robots in the Middle East. I thought it was going to be about drone warfare etc. but then it just didn’t run with anything interesting. I sort of enjoyed it though

  5. Big fan of the original R1 (and, yes R2). I gave it a shot, but it’s fairly mediocre overall. Best thing I can say is that it is at least better than R3…

  6. Good review Eddie. Better than I expected it to be. Which may sound like crap coming from me, but really isn’t. It was a fine watch, as opposed to the piece of crap it could have been.

  7. I agree with everything you’ve said Eddie. For me the most jarring element of viewing the film was Kinnaman’s lacklustre performance particularly when I consider how compelling Weller’s performance is in the original. The missing ingredient in this film in my opinion, is ironically enough, humanity. I’ve filed this under watch once and forget.

    • Yeh Kinnaman was a very strange choice of lead, surely there was someone with more emotion about the place?

      Good way of categorizing to mate, it’s watchable but overall extremely forgettable.

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