Short reviews: Robocop

This is a short review of Robocop which I talked about last night on Joy FM‘s Sci-Fi and Squeam show. The podcast should be dated 18th February.

You can read my longer Robocop review here

So I’m reviewing Robocop, which I saw in South Melbourne at the official preview.

My first impressions;

  • Slick and loud

  • Explanatory information that wasn’t included in the original so in some ways it’s more detailed than the original

  • Somewhat stereotypical angry police-officer

  • More grounded villainy and bad-guys, but as a result, more dull.

  • Token female and African American characters

  • A sex and race-changed partner, breaking from the original.

I haven’t seen Robocop since it first came out, and even then, only on video. I do recall it had a slightly comic-book storyline, with ultra-violence and black-and-white good-guys and bad-guys. The bad guys were really bad, and the good were stomped on by future Detroit.

Gary Oldman is the saviour of dying cop, Murphy who is cooked in a carbomb explosion. Michael Keaton plays the Omnicorp CEO who is the brains behind the marketing of their robotic protector of the American population.

Rather than an ambitious board member, the creator of the Robocop is Gary Oldman who plays a good-natured scientist helping people replace limbs. This is more of a full-body replacement for Joel Kinnaman’s Murphy, turning him into a cyborg with very little humanity left.

Ultimately this story is about Murphy’s journey from angry cop to mature, controlled robot. I don’t know what this says about humanity.

Some nitpicks though:

  • There’s an odd scene where the wife acts like she’s in the 1950’s, giving husband Murphy a beer upon his return home and deferring to his wisdom on their son..

  • The paddy field outside Omnicorp China, perhaps some kind of nod to Foxconn where most of our computer equipment is made

  • The sex and race-changed partner: I’m all for African Americans in films. I think this took a bit of a step-back though by casting a male, Michael K. Williams, in the role of Murphy’s partner

  • The only other African Americans are villains: two corrupt police officers and Samuel L. Jackson’s tabloid TV host. How about an African American as a good guy for a change?

  • All the female roles were subordinate to male bosses with the exception of the police captain, who was a criminal anyway.

  • The wife and child needing to be rescued at the end by our hero

I did hear on the intertubes that director José Padilha was held-back by the studio, so it could have been a much edgier flick than it ended up being.

If you’re comparing this to the original 1984 movie, I think you’ll be disappointed. However, if you haven’t seen it, or think a reboot is in order, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Rating: 3/5

Author: gotheek

Sometime writer, full time human.