Robocop (2014) Review

I don’t really remember the original Robocop. I usually like to watch the original of any reboot/remake before I see the new version but I didn’t get the chance to do that with the new version of Robocop. It means I didn’t have the prejudice or the expectation that a lot of other people seemed to have before they saw the Jose Padilha version, aside from a few distinctive memories, for example the gore, the very cool one-liners and the brilliant theme tune that I still think is cool today.

I also have no real gripe with them remaking Robocop. I don’t have any true affiliation with the original and although it is a special kind of classic, it’s hardly untouchable. In fact, with technology moving forward, computer graphics getting better and the idea of a robot-cop actually becoming much more of a reality, now is the time for a Robocop remake.

Like it or not, Robocop is a superhero movie and quite a generic one too

 

The issue I have is that the movie is being released at the height of the superhero movie golden-age. Robocop, whether you like it or not, is another type of superhero, be it one that was always aimed at a more mature audience and doesn’t necessarily wear a cape.

Watch the original and this comparison isn’t as obvious but in the newer movie, it suffers from this so much more. The film follows the same superhero origin movie stereotypes to the letter and it means that Robocop becomes another generic hero movie when it was always something slightly more special.

Kinnaman doesn’t have the appeal needed for a more “human” Robocop

 

It doesn’t help that they made Robocop so much more “human.” By showing his face for most of the time he is Robocop, you are putting so much more emphasis on the man behind the metal. This is a lot of responsibility to shoulder and I don’t think Joel Kinnaman is up to the task. He isn’t very appealing and you never really get behind him as Alex Murphy or as Robocop, especially in the moments that require any emotion.

It helps that he is ably supported. Gary Oldman steals the show in a cast that includes decent turns from Samuel L Jackson, Michael Keaton and a very cool Jackie Earl Haley. Oldman holds most of the heavy lifting and does so with the accomplish we usually expect, giving Robocop some purpose, direction and most of all, story.

Some of the action is great but the set-piece in the middle overshadows a lacklustre finale

 

It’s in falling back on the same superhero ideas that Robocop’s story suffers too. It feels rushed to get him into the suit and them suffers with little for him to really do when he is in it. There is a fantastic shoot-out, testing Robocop’s new abilities, that demonstrates the potential and the cool realisation of this character but this falls away after this set-piece, with little that gets anywhere near this level of excitement again.

Even the finale, and the revelation of who the villain of the movie will be, doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen in so many superhero movies before, including the poorer, more mediocre ones. If it wasn’t holding the title of an iconic eighties movie, this would make it much more of a generic, forgettable film.

The fact is, there is potential here. There were moments that felt like Robocop could be a film franchise that had something to offer to a more modern audience. With technology moving forward and being so much more of a key part of our lives, Robocop could be the satirical movie it positioned itself as in the eighties. Now it has the generic, bland, origin movie out of the way, let’s hope it gets the opportunity to offer something more in a decent sequel.

Overall, Robocop is a decent attempt at a remake that has fallen in amongst a lot of very similar, be them superhero, movies. It has a tortured hero, new powers and a realisation of his potential and ability, much like any other superhero origin movie. There is potential for a great Robocop franchise at a time when the messages of the original, and some of this movie too, are much more relevant than before.

Rating – 3

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

There is potential here and do hope for a sequel
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9 thoughts on “Robocop (2014) Review

  1. Sometimes when I see a bad film in the cinema gradually my opinion of the film diminishes further. Sometimes this will even happen when I’ve seen a film I thought was good. I start to think about it more and I gradually realise I was fooled by the pretty lights. My opinion of RoboCop (2014) hasn’t changed one bit since I saw it. It is still one of the most incredibly average movies I have ever seen. There’s stuff I liked, there’s stuff I didn’t like. For every nice moment there’s a missed opportunity. This film is so meh.

    That said, Gary Oldman brought his B game to this, which is better than most peoples A game. I would happily watch a film about his character instead. There would have been a much more interesting story if the film was about a doctor being coerced into breaking his moral code to keep a project he believes in running.

    You’re not wrong about this being a superhero film. You should take the time to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier when you can. As a superhero movie it is far superior.

      1. Yeah, I’m not opposed to it. The studio needs to stay the hell out of it though. There’s so many stories about how Jose Padilha was having his ideas shot down and being told to change the tone. There’s moments where the action buzzes a little like Elite Squad did, but then it goes stagnant. As long as they don’t make a film worse than RoboCop 3 they can pretty much keep this series going.

  2. It sucked, doesn’t ouch the original one bit, another piece of rebooted Hollywood crap… if you gotta reboot a franchise just make it a reboot continuation still connected to the original franchise. The next reboot that will suck even more than this one will be Trank’s Fantastic Four – mark my words 😉 :p

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