Reel Freak

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Reel Review – RoboCop (2014)

robocop-2014-remake-still-1***WARNING: Review Contains Spoilers. Read at Will***

RoboCop is a remake from the 1987 movie of the same name, which follows a man named Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) who is killed in action, and the remnants of his body are taken by OmniCorp and to create a half-man/half-machine authority figure deemed RoboCop.  CEO of OmiCorp Raymond Sellars (Keaton) and Dr. Dennett Norton (Oldman) team-up to creat a product who is able to stop crime, without having to feel the repercussions of the human conscience.  In a fast-pace search to figure out who is responsible for his death, he must fight to stay alive, as well as fighting the crime of Detroit that he has been programmed to attend to.

In an age of reboots and remakes of classic films, audiences are sometimes left scratching their heads towards which movies should or shouldn’t be brought back to life.  1987’s RoboCop was a success among fans and critics, and in many ways has influenced several modern flicks since.

Like it or not, 27 years is a fair amount of time until an iconic franchise should see some sort of resurgence.  So we ended up getting a remake of the 1987 film, which, while sending a lot of people up in arms about the very notion, actually lives up to its brand name in its own right.  If you’re hoping for an exact copy of the original, you might as well stick to your DVD collection.

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The new RoboCop strives to please more mature audiences, despite its controversial PG-13 rating (to which many complained would ruin the whole movie; go figure) that got downgraded from the hard-R rating of the original film.  The movie is centered around corruption, greed, and reckless behavior.  It tackles issues of modern warfare, politics, and business, with the action sequences interwoven with a near-perfect balance.  By this I mean the action doesn’t seem at all forced,, but more natural to the overall environment of the story.

For PG-13, a rating which didn’t bother me nearly as much as other people, this is actually a hard-PG rating.  And if there was just a bit more blood or gore, I wouldn’t see any problem with bumping it up to an R.  In the film’s opening sequence, which acts as a news broadcast, we see suicide bombers plotting to die in front of the news cameras to make a statement.  The citizen-protective OmniCorp robots (including the classic ED-209’s from the original)  have no choice but to fire upon the terrorists, causing them to explode in a rather disturbing manner.  This scene alone made me question those who spend more time whining about a movies’ rating in front of the computer and less time actually going to see the movie.

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Though the rest of the films’ violence is frequent, it isn’t as brutal, but still enough to appreciate.  Aside from the action, the actors used in this film are put to very good use.  You have Joel Kinnaman playing Alex Murphy/RoboCop, who does a great job in his dramatic role of playing a man who has had everything taken from him.  Then you have the all-star power trio of Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson, who only carry the film further.  The chemistry between Oldman and Keaton is one of RoboCop‘s strongest qualities, with banter and personality in every scene.  Jackson plays a stern-but-whacky news host, whose broadcast show is cut to several times throughout the film, where he reports the events of the film in real-time.  This pays homage to the news reporting-element of the original films.  Recycled one-liners such as “I wouldn’t buy that for a dollar” and “Thank you for your cooperation” are brought back, as well as a cameo image from the original film’s RoboCop suit.

Where RoboCop differs from its predecessor is its overall plot.  While there were many similarities between the two, this film focuses more on Murphy figuring out that the ones who killed him are the people at OmniCorp (Keaton, Oldman) who are promoting him as their own arms product; as opposed to the original movie where he was killed in police action by actual outlaws, and then tweaked with by OmniCorp.

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RoboCop becomes more of a thriller as time goes on, and only gets more interesting by the minute.  The climatic fight between RoboCop and the multiple ED-209’s was extremely fun to watch; just as much as the other action sequences throughout the course of the story.  I also found the scenes where Alex Murphy’s remaining body parts are shown without his suit attached, and it’s literally his head, one of his hands, and his lungs/chest area exposed and attached to a machine.  It’s so freaky and shown for an extended period of time.  Very cool sequence and use of effects.

To me, the film felt like a mix between The Dark Knight and Terminator Salvation, and had a soundtrack which at times I could have sworn was Hans Zimmer’s work.  Some of the film’s music sound just like Zimmer’s work on Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but alas the score was created by Pedro Bromfman.

Overall, just go see the RoboCop remake.  It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, and makes for a good action flick.  If you’re still hung up about it having to live up to the original film, you have to be a little more open-minded to modern film.  They are two different movies, and both deserved to be watched by fans of the action/sci-fi/thriller genres.  In the words of Samuel L. Jackson’s character at the end of the film, “Stop Whining!”

My Rating: 7/10

Written by Josh Sazin on 2/21/14

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