Director: Jose Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Jay Baruchel
Rated: PG-13 (Intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material)
In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy – a loving husband, father and good cop – is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.
By Cole Schneider
The original “Robocop” may not be a masterpiece, but it makes for a fun and poinant look at our culture. On one hand it was great fun and on another it was a body blow to a myopic culture.
Despite a clear vision and goal from Brazilian director, Jose Padilha, the new “Robocop” lacks any sense of fun and overstates its message to the point of exhaustion.
I’m okay with someone pointing their finger at America and calling us empiricists. There is a place for politics in movies, especially in a modern action genre that usually doesn’t aspire to anything greater than quick consumption promised to be soon forgotten.
However, in “Robocop” the message is so heavy-handed that the whole of the film suffers. When Samuel L. Jackson keeps interrupting the story to play a caricatured political pundit the film has nothing to do but suffer. Jackson, along with Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman are wasted here by poor content and Joel Kinnaman is simply atrocious as the star. I can’t imagine him ever succeeding in a role like this.
With the action and plot muted by the film’s insistence that we take it’s themes and characters seriously, it can’t work as an action film; and with the themes and characters punctuated so forcefully and hackneyed, it can’t work as anything else.
As much as I wanted to sympathize with the potential that is within “Robocop”, the film wouldn’t let me, continually reminding me that it is nothing more than a misguided action piece. Simply, “Robocop” is a boring, force-fed agenda to avoid.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.
By Matt Greene
I did everything I could to like RoboCop, the latest in a long line of recent 80s reboots. However, the movie just did nothing to meet me halfway. Not that it’s a totally offensive disaster, it’s just a mess…an (at times) entertaining and ethically interesting mess. Yeah, it’s refreshingly self-aware, but not funny enough. Sure, it makes compelling points on self and autonomy, but in a childish manner. It just doesn’t nail its tone. So while it’s ALMOST a purely silly and effecting sci-fi movie, it bogs down in bad storytelling and lazy filmmaking.
It’s the story of a cop on the edge of death, only to be kept alive within the suit of a super-robot. It was a silly premise in 87, it’s a silly premise now, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the sloppy editing, leading to complete emotional detachment. This could be forgivable if it wasn’t so clichéd, riding every tired beat from every other action movie. However, even clumsy filmmaking could be overlooked if the performances weren’t also so awful. Other than Keaton and Oldman, who are always welcome screen presences, everyone else is completely robotic. Kinnaman in particular is atrocious, delivering lines like a model-turned-actor.
But again, RoboCop isn’t completely without merit. The sci-fi and body horror elements are fun and even really cool at times (especially when you see what is actually left of the guy under the robot suit), and the suit will bring out the ten year old in anyone. Unfortunately, these few high points aren’t quite enough to justify the rebooting of this franchise.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 star