Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RoboCop - Classic 80's Action for the Modern World

                It's sad to admit that I have never seen the original RoboCop so I can’t comment on how well the 2014 remake follows the first film from the 1980’s franchise.  However, I can say that the film was very entertaining in its own right and was a perfect example of taking a tried and true idea from decades ago and adapting it to the modern world which has been the norm in Hollywood lately (See my review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes). 
                The movie takes place in 2028, scarily only 14 years in the future, in a time when the US conducts its foreign policy with robotic soldiers and drones to cut down on both US soldier and civilian casualties.  All the robots are supplied by multi-billion dollar corporation OmniCorp which is seeking to expand its market to the United States where crime is still a huge issue all across the country.  OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars has been trying for years to establish an artificially intelligent national police force which he believes would ultimately eliminate crime across the board.  Unfortunately, public opinion shows that the country is frightened by the idea of robot soldiers patrolling the streets and so Sellars must find a way to sway the public into thinking it’s a good idea.  Enter police detective Alex Murphy.  After attempting to bring down a major crime boss with ties to the Detroit Police Department, Murphy is critically injured by a car bomb outside his home.  Left with almost no physical body, Murphy’s wife gives the go ahead to OmniCorp’s head scientist Dr. Dennett Norton to build a robot body for him.  Alex first struggles with his new life as he comes to terms with the fact that he is nothing more than a robot with a human head.  Becoming the poster boy for OmniCorp’s overarching goals, Alex becomes RoboCop, a super soldier with the strength and skills of a robot soldier and the intelligence, emotions, and free will of a human being.  This last trait however is only mimicked.  Alex believes he is in control when in reality his body and mind are controlled exclusively by Dr. Norton.  Over the course of the film, Alex must fight this control and use the human side of him to take back control of his artificial body. 

                The film felt like any classic 80’s action flick updated for the modern world.  Explosions and beautiful effects are the focal point to help detract from the plot which isn’t too complex or intricate.  The curse words and occasional nudity give the film its R rating which is disappointing as neither is necessary and I feel the film would have been better with a PG-13 rating.  Overall, the film has some great acting, particularly by Gary Oldman who plays Dr. Norton.  Straddling the line between good and bad, his character is by far the most complex and fun to watch.  If you’re a fan of the original then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the remake purely for nostalgia’s sake.  If not, the movie is an ideal example of a blockbuster action film which keeps you exhilarated from start to finish as you rarely go more than 5 minutes without someone firing a gun or blowing something up.

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