Movie Review: ROBOCOP (2014)
A remake of the classic cult film that resonated in the minds and hearts of the 80’s, ‘RoboCop‘ returns and despite looking like a superficial remake, it actually has a lot of heart. (no surgical pun intended)
Blank Page Rating: 3 out of 5 Expanding Lungs
Although not the greatest movie of all time, ‘Robocop’ was memorable for its on screen portrayal of a man who lost everything, put in an impossible position amidst the (for its time) crazy and mind blowing action sequences in a sea of airborne bullet casings. The new ‘RoboCop’ focuses on these elements to create a story that not only stimulates the pleasure centers of our brains with gratuitous action, but also challenges us with concepts of human rights, crime rates, ends justifying means and the whole political rationale, logic and corporatizing behind it all.
Joel Kinnaman plays an honest and diligent police officer in the not-too distant future that investigates a local thug and gets caught up in a web of police corruption that eventually leads to an attempt on his life. Barely surviving, Alex Murphy becomes the prime candidate for a new type of project, where robot and human are combined to created a hybrid security force known as RoboCop. Despite its clichéd gimmick of a premise, there are certain aspects of the screenplay that make ‘RoboCop’ a lot more than the typical cash-grab remake.
The format in which the movie unfolds is refreshing and allows for a great third person narrative from an unlikely source. The film begins with an intense monologue by Samuel L. Jackson, playing a politically biased talk show host, introducing us t0 the futuristic world that the movie is based in. A world of automated robotic Police aids that are impeccable in their jobs keeping international terrorism at bay is the topic of the show, and the authorization of using those robots on American soil for everyday policing duties is the purpose. But putting a higher value on human decision making than robotic calculation, the program is stalled, until CEO of the company making the robots, played by Michael Keaton, comes up with an ingenious solution: a human brain in a machine body.
Despite Kinnaman having the lead role, the film is mostly told from the perspective of Gary Oldman‘s Dr. Norton, the man responsible for coming up with the medical technology that allows a man to retain their brain in a robotic body. Through the course of the movie, Dr. Norton is reluctantly compelled to suppress more of Murphy’s human side in favor of the efficiency of the machine side. This plot point creates a lot of debate and struggle for Norton who is at odds with the morality of the situation.
For a movie that is essentially a high adrenaline action movie with a robot cop, RoboCop goes beyond its premise and focuses a lot of time on the moral dilemma and emotional consequences of a man in the position of Alex Murphy. While Kinnaman doesn’t display much range, his one note freak-out-face is a great multi purpose expression to convey the emotions of utter confusion & devastation of someone in Murphy’s position. The one face can be violently badass, while being compassionate towards his son’s plight at having a robot dad in the public eye. While being a refreshing change, this focus on the personal elements of a character like ‘RoboCop’ at times takes away from the mindless action elements that the movie had to live up to. While the emotional angle should’ve served to flesh out the film into being more than mindless action movie, it ends up taking over and risks the film becoming more about feelings than fighting robots.
While ‘RoboCop’ is an enjoyable action entertainer, a disappointing climax results in a film unable to balance the B movie cheesy goodness along with the much needed dramatic depth which ended up overshadowing how awesome ‘RoboCop’ could’ve been.