Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Robo Reboot


Yes, I went to the reboot of Robocop.  My nerd license required it.  Neo-Robocop is not bad.  It's fun and has some heavy hitters in the movie biz.  Let's be honest, the original wasn't exactly received as one of the great movies of its generation.

Robocop is played by Swedish actor, Joel Kinnaman.  The bad guys are multiple from the drug and gun running Antoine Vallon, played by Patrick Garrow to the evil Robocop controller/trainer Rick Mattox played by Jackie Earl Haley to the evil corporate president Ramond Sellars played by Michael Keaton.  Thrown into the mess is Gary Oldman who plays Dr. Dennet Norton, Robocop's wife and son, Clara and David, played by Abbie Cornish and John Paul Ruttan, and a combination of every over-the-top political commentator you've ever seen, Pat Novak played by the one and only, Samuel L. Jackson.

The often messy the plot is marked by some nice moments and interesting acting vignettes.  The political subtext is a little heavy handed at times, but the satire over all does work.  I do have to wonder about the moment when we see all that remains of the human Murphy/Robocop. It is a bit creepy and left me a bit surprised that the movie kept its PG-13 rating.

There is enough homage paid to the original with the blue suit, a few famous lines, and even the original theme song.  The biggest issue though is that most of the great scenes don't have Robocop in them.  He actually becomes the secondary character. It is almost as if the writers said, we have Robocop for the action sequences, but we have Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton for the acting along with Samuel L. Jackson for the narration and satire. The good doctor is terribly conflicted about what he must do to Murphy. Finally, morality knew it would.

So while it is not an awful movie for a reboot, it is not the cutting edge of its much more violent predecessor. The original Robocop was a much grittier world, and  its violence made us cringe - I still remember twisting uncomfortably in my chair when Murphy is killed.  While the original has become a "classic" in the pop cultural entertainment, it is doubtful that the new Robocop will follow suit.  I had fun, and I am not demanding my money back.  Its just that the new version wasn't quite sure the story it wanted to tell.  I probably won't buy the DVD, but "Thank you for your cooperation."