This week's post will be different than usual. I watched the 2014 Robocop yesterday and I want to share my thoughts about it. While I was debating whether or not to give it a shot, much of the stuff I read about was comparisons to the original Robocop. Being a remake, that's fair enough but I'm going to judge it on its own merits. I've never seen the original and this one has inspired me to look into the old one.
Like a review request for a book, I will examine plot, character, and polish and then assign grade.
I like the plot. I like the way that the world is set up (the droid soldiers, the Dreyfus Act, the Novak Element) and why someone like Robocop is wanted. It's a solid grounding for the plot to come.
The story's conflict is a mix between Robocop solving crimes in Detroit and Omnicorp milking him for PR to overturn a law that forbids them from selling their product in America. On a third front, there's Alex's family and partner trying to hang onto the human part of him as he is steadily reprogrammed into a robot.
He wakes up as Robocop fully aware of himself and who he is, but this is steadily eroded as OmniCorp's CEO demands him to be more like the robots they're deploying elsewhere. Alex does not know that they're doing this yet he becomes more and more "soulless robot" as the movie goes on. The movie may be rated PG-13 but watching this sort happen is still unnerving.
For more on those that dislike the movie for its rating, I have this-War on Terror, political lobbying, biased media, poking fun at the last two, and Alex's body horror.
My only complaint plotwise is the decision to upload the entirety of the DPD's data base into Robocop minutes before his first official appearance. The opportunity for something to go wrong was high because that's a LOT of data going into a mostly human brain. Then when he has problems downloading the information relating to his own near-death, they don't skip over it. It feels like a weasel to make him act robotic.
There is a great ending. It has resolution but still has plenty of room for more Robocop adventures.
I like this version of Alex Murphy. On tvtropes, he's what we'd called a "Disney Anti-Hero" because he's heroic at the core and rough around the edges. We're introduced to him as a disrespectful cop, who doesn't trust his fellows except for his partner, and who comes down hard on criminals, but he's also a family man, a good partner, and incorruptible. Indeed, the car bomb is set up because two corrupt cops say he can't be bought.
Dr.Norton is a fascinating character because of the depth and berth of his persona. He's the one responsible for transforming Alex Murphy into Robocop and the following programing. It's clear that he's constantly weighing numerous values with each action. For instance, should he install the combat mode which makes Alex a passenger in his own body-without his knowledge-or let Mattox condemn him as a failure, preventing him from going home and seeing his family ever again?
Raymond Sellers is the CEO of Omnicorp and the Big Bad for this movie. However, he too has a fleshed out character. He's personable, friendly, and while he's interested in making money, he's not (initially) portrayed as an unscrupulous asshole. Even after he decides to turn Robocop into a martyr to advance his company's agenda, he doesn't become a mustache twirling villain. There's a classic villain ball at the climax, but that can be put down to (justified) over-confidence than evil gloating.
One thing that cannot be denied is that this movie looks awesome! The Omni-corp drones, Robocop himself, the various associated technology/gadgets and the battle scenes; all of these are sleek, stylish and make for a stunning picture.
I also like the pacing. The main meat of this film is Alex Murphy as a human, who happens to be Robocop, so the first act of the movie that shows him as this human is essential. Indeed the importance (or un-importance) of "the human element" is a reoccurring theme.
There's not a boring moment or time wasted. Even the intimate scene with Alex and his wife is used for character development because he breaks it off to investigate a car alarm nearby. (In my view, this is the Chronic Hero Syndrome that is exaggerated after his transformation).
Trickster Eric Novels gives Robocop 2014 a B+
I have since watched the original Robocop. If you'd like to see a comparison review, click here