A hybrid in black :: A long time after the release of the 1987 version, here is a reboot which was much talked about. There are times when remakes and reboots do work, like in the case of Dredd, Batman Begins, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel, but there are times when they don’t. RoboCop might have also wondered about the same, and no wonder they wanted to make this hero black too, and remains so through most of the movie. It has released here two days after the original release in the United States and seems to have attracted less audience even as the title character is rather famous among the masses and the posters are pretty much impressive. The original movie re-telecasted on television might have brought better audience, even as this one might have just managed to keep itself together, but not throughout the whole movie, that is for sure. As the original movie was rather ahead of its times, one would wonder where this one will stand as bigger robots have come and gone in the form of Transformers and Pacific Rim.
What is it about? :: The world has gone on to 2028. OmniCorp is the organization that supplies mechanized soldiers to the United States Army which are used abroad. They wish to use the same inside the United States, but the same doesn’t happen due to Dreyfus Act which prevents it. The CEO of the organization asks a leading scientist to create a soldier who is a combination of man and machine, so that the public will like him and support more machines. As they look for a human who can be merged with the machine, one of the cops Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb blast. As his wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish) approves the same to see him live, he is chosen as the RoboCop. The control of the human side is kept to the minimum so that his decisions are more accurate and without being shadowed by human emotions which could weaken his reliability. The question remains if the man or the machine wins in the end, and whether he can have revenge on the people who tried to kill him as well as those who wishes to control him.
The defence of RoboCop :: So RoboCop rides on the fame of a movie which was more popular than even those movies which had big stars in 1987. Being Alexander James Murphy and newest model from OCP Crime Prevention Unit of Detroit Police Department, this guy has been a popular hero for quite a long time. The idea of a cyborg, half-man and half-machine was a crowd favourite. This movie works on that solid grounds, and therefore this movie does starts with certain good score. There are lots of action sequences in store for such a character, and this movie also has the same, but mostly about shooting people. Along with the cyborg, the other robots are also nicely done. The robot versus drones training fight remains the best shooting sequence in the movie. The movie tries again and again to bring more and more thoughts into the process, including humanity, machines and souls, and it makes more and more efforts to keep the emotional side powerful.
The claws of flaw :: The movie can’t really use this emotional side to its advantage, as it is so much caught between it’s confusion about the major character being a man or robot, and in the process, often forgets that the viewers are human, or mostly belonging to that particular species which is supposed to be intellectually superior. RoboCop tries to live on the hype of the original, and in the process, ends up being too less of an entity which can be something which belongs to this age. To add to it, some fight sequences are horribly uninteresting. Then Iran seems to be occupied by the United States and RoboCop is made in China. There is also a television programme which is rather boring for the common viewer. Whenever there is too much deviation from the core of a movie like this, which should have been action, there was to be struggle, and RoboCop is caught in that problem which it has brought upon itself with repetition of the “emotion” stuff, as it gets overdone.
How it works :: Joel Kinnaman does well as the protagonist of the movie. One has to appreciate his presence as the cyborg right from that moment he wakes up inside that suit which is himself. Abbie Cornish is also nice; and I have seen her only in Sucker Punch before. There are lots of good moments provided by the cast, and the movie certainly has its own style. RoboCop seems to be doing better than the 2012 remake of Dredd for now, but I would say that the latter is one of the best reboots ever, even as RoboCop will surely collect more money than the same. Both works on almost the same platform, in a futuristic world full of crime, but RoboCop has the advantage of its hybrid character, and it is what sells, no matter how better Dredd really is. Unlike the original movie, this one isn’t really clear, as it seems to wonder what it is going to convey to the audience. It could have used a lot of updates which any robot should have with that advancement in technology.
Soul exploration :: As RoboCop is the latest victim to Hollywood’s desire to remake movies, there is surely a lot more than what meets the eye. There is a certain amount of satire in it, about the millionaire corporate greed and the prejudice of media, even as they rarely strike hard enough. There is lot of weakness in the idea. The audience expectation of an action movie is fulfilled only on occasions, as the robot police doesn’t get into the field until the second half. There is a lot of slowness related to the first half due to this, but one can spend that time thinking about what is to come and which part of this new breed of police will take over. The movie repeats what one would have always thought about the original law enforcer cyborg, and somewhat adds to the questions which were already there. But the answers are rather not clear in this case. May be it is because the movie wonders about its genre, but it fails to make its point clear as it has another television show in the end which continues what it had been saying.
How it finishes :: RoboCop doesn’t finish that strong as expected from the trailer. There was almost no scene which evoked any good response from the audience in the theatre. It was as if everyone in there was dead; there is always something to cheer for in almost every Hollywood action movie, but not in this one. When it tries too much in order to touch the foreign policy of the United States, capitalism, imperialism, media lies, human tendency towards corruption, terrorism, violence, modern tenchnology with side-effects and all things possible, with no particular care for one, there is rather too much of mess in an action movie which people are expecting. May be it had stuck to one or two things and used more interesting action sequences, with a better link between the audience and the human side of the robot, this would have been better. For now, it is just another okay movie which manages to hold on.
Release date: 14th February 2014 (India); 12th February 2014 (USA)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: José Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel
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