RoboCop: Engaging reboot of a Sci-fi classic
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jay Baruchel, Abbie Cornish, Douglas Urbanski, Jennifer Ehle, Michael K.Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, John Paul Ruttan
Director: José Padilha
José Padilha’s remake of Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi action thriller of the same name is the fourth instalment of the smash hit which spawned feature films, TV serials, video games, comic books and toys.
Written by Joshua Zetumer and Edward Neumeier, Pahilha’s reboot replaces Robocop Alex Murphy’s gum chewing woman partner with a black cop (played by Michael K. Williams), and fleshes out the crime-fighting cyborg’s small son and grieving wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) apart from extending OmniCorp’s wicked tentacles to the global arena instead of limiting it to Detroit and the US.
Padilha’s remake is set in the near future (2028) and stars Joel Kinnaman as the titular hero who is determined to clean up Motor City Detroit and its cop-killing crime boss who targets him in a car bombing. Comparisons being odious and all that, I want to say this version has some sentimental scenes, several dramatic action and VFX sequences, but the car explosion is not as heart-rending as Murphy’s agonising “death” in the original film.
This time around OmniCorp is a multinational with a large presence in China and its head honcho is played by Michael “BatMan” Keaton who is trying to get the US Congress to replace cops with robots. Poor Murphy is the lab rat for Omnicorp’s neuro-science program headed by Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) in a bid to improve on the ground combat robots who keep the peace at home as U.S. drones do abroad. The crooked corp gets its chance when a drone kills a boy with a knife in his hand on national television.
Sounding off on TV about this and other world events is news anchor Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson) whose patriotic fervour might make America’s enemies see red. Murphy’s exposed brain, chest and lone hand made me want to cry for the man-machine. The resurrected, more correctly, reconstructed Robocop proves the good doctor wrong. All in all, 2014’s Robocop is an engaging reboot of the 1987 classic.