Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Robocop (2014) - part remake, part action... All entertainment


While robots keep the peace in other countries America has yet to convert. After an officer is left for dead, what is left of him is engineered into a robotic design and he goes about to arrest his killers but finds his investigation is putting himself in jeopardy.

Forget Paul Verhoeven's excellent 1987 original, many characters and story emphasis have been changed but for fans OCP is mentioned briefly and there's some dialogue nods to the original to name a few. Director Jose Padilha's incarnation is pleasantly different enough to avoid comparison and he certainly puts his own stamp on the subject material although there are unavoidably elements reminiscent of The Vindicator (1986) and The Wraith (1986).

The action is frantic, and gritty with plenty of graphic scenes and violence, for example Robocop's innards out on display, lungs, brain and oesophagus also there's an intense shoot out even though on occasion Padilha's uses thermal imagery to possibly avoid censorship. But a film shouldn't be about a rating, Padilha's offering is about heart with it ending on a high and a hark back to the original Robocop design.

All in all the special effects are impressive, the shooting style is what you'd expect from a modern action. This version is more a cop story than robotics. What's on display delves into corporate corruption (less 'Wall Street' than the 1987 version) and (saldy) skims the street crime underbelly.

Samuel L. Jackson is Pat Novak, his segments (a show with theme tune of the original film's theme music) replaces and updates the commercial satire adverts and news reels, he's more of a political presenter /analyst, needless to say Jackson is on his usual top form.

Both Gary Oldman as Doctor Norton with a heart and Michael Keaton as OmniCorp's head Sellars are outstanding and are what you'd expect for their caliber. Joel Kinnaman is a fitting Robocop/Alex Murphy and carries the emotion, as here it's about his relationship with his wife (Abbie Cornish) making it more focal, which was only touched on in Robocop and part 2. The supporting cast are all high calibre including the likes of Jackie Earle, Aimee Garcia, Jay Baruchel and Jennifer Ehle.

Like its predecessor's social commentary another appreciation for the 2014 version, which may be overlooked, is its own subtle societal commentary, including but not limited to- non-domestic overseas manufacturing, i.e. Robocop is made in the east, countries marketing and distributing its products/ideals/morals without adopting them themselves and so on.

It will be interesting to see where a sequel will take Alex Murphy - part remake, part cop story, all new Robocop, surprisingly recommend.