[The third part in the 4-part series “Movies I Watched on a Plane Back from Barcelona”]
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: José Padilha (Elite Squad; Elite Squad: The Enemy Within)
Synopsis: RoboCop is a robot, but, in addition to being a robot, he is also a cop.
- As a cop, RoboCop is the best cop, because in addition to being a cop, he is also a robot.
- Gary Oldman does some of his best “sensitive, good guy” Gary Oldman work here. Well, he’s basically Jim Gordon as a scientist. Look, Gary Oldman does one thing and does it well these days.
- There’s a scene where they show what’s left of Murphy and it’s pretty fantastic.
What Doesn’t Work:
- Joel Kinnaman is as bland as a piece of wheat toast slowly going into Kristen Stewart’s gaping mouth.
- The black costume isn’t nearly as cool-looking at the silver costume. The costume as a whole is just too sleek, for lack of a better word. It doesn’t seem robotic at all like the original RoboCop. It doesn’t have that kind of weight to it. It just seems like Murphy is wearing body armor.
- Some of the action sequences look way too cartoony, and not in a good way, like this:
- I really didn’t understand the point of Samuel L. Jackson’s character at all. He was basically just there to serve up a lot of unnecessary exposition. And to give his character the closing comments of the film seemed like an odd choice. It felt as if they filmed his scenes in an afternoon.
- The movie took itself a little too seriously, despite Michael Keaton and Jay Baruchel being in it. There were two or three moments of levity, but nothing memorable, unlike this:
- RoboCop has his own robot police officer motorcycle. Hmmm, wonder where they stole that one from?
Overall: Surprisingly not as awful as I was expecting. It’s pretty watchable, but not memorable. Gone are the extreme violence and crude humor that made the original so great. This remake is pure special-effects action. The one major departure from the original is the involvement of Murphy’s wife and son. In the original they just thought he was dead and moved on with their lives. In this, they’re around and concerned about his humanity. But Murphy’s struggle with his past life it’s not nearly as effective here as it was in the original… just like everything else about the movie. Still, not a complete waste of time, but you’re much better off watching the original or a 3-day marathon of R.O.T.O.R.
Score: 6.75 machine police (out of 10)