Review - RoboCop (2014)

RoboCop (2014), PG-13, 108 minutes - I'm not sure when it started, but a trend has come to my attention over the last couple of years.  That of movie studios dropping macho-centric flicks over Valentine's Day weekend.  Last year it was A Good Day to Die Hard and this year it was this reboot of the RoboCop franchise.  I see what they are trying to do, but I'm not sure it has been all that successful.  Although, I suppose that could be in part because neither of the films mentioned were all that spectacular.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this reboot, but it wasn't Earth-shattering enough that I would have been able to talk my wife into seeing it over something more romantic!  

To be honest, this new version of RoboCop was better than I expected.  The same basic idea of the original was kept in place: in the not-too-distant future (2028) a private defense firm (OmniCorp) is developing drones to help combat crime and must find a way to 'humanize' their drones so that the general public will accept them.  In the original it was to keep the out of control crime of Detroit in check, while in this newer incarnation it originated as a military application to help keep the peace in locations occupied by U.S. forces.  Of course, the primary story line driving the film is the battle for humanity and control between Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and the programming of his predominately cyborg body.  The biggest difference between this RoboCop and the original is the change they made regarding Murphy's family.  In the original, they only appeared in flashbacks, whereas here they have a much larger and more direct role.

The cast is full of recognizable faces: Gary Oldman (Dr. Dennett Norton), Michael Keaton (Raymond Sellars), Abbie Cornish (Clara Murphy), Jackie Earle Haley (Rick Mattox), Michael K. Williams (Jack Lewis), Jay Baruchel (Tom Pope), Jennifer Ehle (Liz Kline), and of course Samuel L. Jackson (Pat Novak).

For anyone my age, there is a certain nostalgia factor surrounding films like the original Peter Weller RoboCop.  They captured our imagination as kids and hold a special place in our hearts.  Who knows if this reboot will spawn sequels the way the original did, but having seen both versions over the last couple of weeks I feel safe in saying that this new reboot has a better story in general.  Having said that, it won't ever be able to take the place of the original.  If you're looking for a decent action flick or just want to compare it to the original, you could do worse than the new RoboCop.


- When screen shots first hit the web, there was a mild uproar about RoboCop's design.  People said it was too sleek and wanted to know why on Earth was it black!?  It's a reboot folks, they won't keep everything the same.  Anyway, while I may not have been one to freak out about the design, I loved that in the film it ended up being the prototype design and the final product towards the end of the film was very reminiscent of the '80's design - still more sleek, but it returned to the silver color that we all know and love.

- I loved that Alex Murphy's son David's (John Paul Ruttan) favorite sport of choice was hockey.  Even if it did make him a Red Wings fan.


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