Film Review – Robocop

Robocop PosterRobocop – Directed by José Padilha

Release date January 6th 2014.

I’m not sure what I’ve learned from watching Brazillian director Jose Padilha’s remake of the 1987 sci-fi classic Robocop.

Originally directed by Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall – also remade recently, Basic Instinct and Starship Troopers), the 1987 narrative delivered not only a big thrills blockbuster but a political and humorous take on corporate America and the Military Industrial Complex and it’s far reaching tentacles. A satire of American culture circa 1987 and as envisioned in that era’s near future, we’ve actually arrived at that place and remote controlled weaponry such as drone warfare is an actual real life thing.

So there’s plenty of places that an updated version of this story could explore.

Instead it covers ground worn pretty thin by many predecessors. From Terminator to I, Robot to Elysium, while touching on other popular vigilante’s like Nolan’s Dark Knight series Batman, the 2014 character of Robocop is Bane meets Darth Vader via Tron.

The plot follows the same threads – honest cop on the verge of catching some crooked officers is seriously injured, necessitating his use as a research lab rat within the world of cybernetics whose corporate heads need a public relations win to further their cause to have non human law enforcement officers deployed across the country at enormous potential profit.

This is not to say it’s a dull film.

Fans of the original will be rewarded, while I was interested in seeing what the director of the acclaimed Bus 174 and Elite Squad could bring to the party.

For one thing, he makes hilarious use of the news ticker feed scrolling along the bottom of all the news broadcasts. Keep an eye out for some very funny lines there.

I did want more than what was delivered, but was happy enough with what I got as it was a faithful interpretation of the great 1987 flick, naturally with much updated technology making it more fun to play with.

Many musical artists use a cover song to get noticed in the mainstream – Limp Bizkit covering George Michael – Faith or Marilyn Manson doing Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics.

The big challenge is what the follow up is going to be.

Jose – I’m watching.

3 & 1/2 stars.


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