Viewed – 11 February 2014 Cinema
Yes I had my reservations going into this. Remakes… will Hollywood ever just leave things alone? But I digress. This new version of the 1987 classic action-thriller stars relative unknown Joel Kinnaman as ill-fated gutsy cop Alex Murphy hot on the heels of a drug kingpin. Yet after disaster strikes, leaving him in critical condition, the shady robotics company Omnicorp come up with the idea of turning him into their new machine on the Detroit mean streets … that’s right, RoboCop!
Michael Keaton (yes…Michael Keaton!) plays a business man who following a law prohibiting machines being aloud to enforce the law on U.S. soil, turns to a scientist (Gary Oldman) who may just be able to put a friendly face to his master plan. Co-starring Jackie Earle Haley as a weapons tech guy whose a bit of a nutter himself, and the delectable Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch) as Murphy’s wife – this has some good star appeal. With a more family-friendly rating we’re not going to get the hardcore bloodshed of the original (and it tells) but this does go for a very different flavour, focusing more of the Murphy attempting to hold onto who he is (or was) rather than the sleaze and excess of the Paul Verheoven movie.
Action is fairly frequent, with some decent effects (the robots look great) even if the training, testing and development of RoboCop seems to go on forever. Also the lead bad guy is a no-name charisma-free presence that can’t hold a candle to Kurtwood Smith’s Clarence Bodikker. Thankfully then, the movie chooses to focus more on OmniCorp and the morality than the drug dealers.
When switching off from the original this can be enjoyed quite easily on its own merits as a slick, imaginative and fun experience, filled with good performances (even Kinnaman in a tricky role) and some star names (Samuel L. Jackson crops up as a media guru – even if he’s not exactly stretched).
Likable, lightweight but worth seeing. Definitely in a lower league, but a nice tribute all the same.
Verdict: 3 /5