Hello, Spongey here.
Remakes are …tricky, to say the least. It’s hard to make a film again in general. You have to be faithful to the original, while not just making the same movie again. The problem with remakes is that Hollywood makes too many, and usually it’s for the sake of.
Usually they promise to be different, or better, but usually they disappointment. Look at Total Recall, which sucks a lot of fun out of the original and has the other usual problems. Then with something like Poltergiest, it’s more or less the same movie, only not as good.
But then you have a remake like The Fly, which goes in a different enough direction to make it stand out on it’s own. I think the biggest problem with remakes is the animosity. You know what I mean, the CHILDHOOD IS RUINED crowd.
The people who forget that the original will always be there, and groan at the trailer and doesn’t even give it a single chance. I know we’ve been burned a lot, but come on, grow the hell up.
With that said, they are enough of a mixed bag to be worried about most of them. But people overreact to every single one, so anytime they complain, it’s just white noise. One such example is the one we’re looking at today.
A couple years ago, I reviewed the 80’s Classic Robocop, and thought it was worth the hype as it was smart while also being plenty of fun. After reviewing this, I saw why it would be hard to do a remake in 2014, but I figured it could be fine.
The reaction was …meh. The critics didn’t care for it, but moved on. No one know one remembers it ever existed, especially when compared to the original’s lackluster sequels and spin off shows.
Of course there was tons of whining before it came out, and people saying it was worse than it likely was. The big fuss is over the PG-13 rating. Because all that matters is gore right? Who cares about the story?
Jokes aside, I kind of get it given how violence the original was, but it can still be fun and full of satire even without a ton of blood or whatever. Besides, Die Hard 5 was R and it sucked.
As for the crew, the writer is some unknown and the director and a Brazilian filmmaker, so I don’t know of his work. But from what I can gather, he’s the real deal, and not a bad choice, actually.
Meaning if this sucks, we can blame the studio.
As much I like the 80’s one, I’m willingly to push it aside and judge it on it’s own. I will compare it, but only for fun, I’m a Nostalgia Fanboy after all. We’ll see for sure if this remake a faithful update, or another dull drop in the bucket.
Either way, it’ll be fun to piss people off.
This, is RoboCop (2014)
The movie opens with Samuel L Jackson asking is an important question.
‘What if I told you that evne the worst Neighborhood in America can be completely safe?”
All movies should open with Samuel Jackson asking us random questions.
Let’s back up a bit: This is the host of some news show that will give our exposition for the evening. Like in the original, things have gone to shit and an evil company is trying to make robots to maintain order in some way.
Okay, we’re doing okay so far. Nothing gripping, but they are telling us what we need to know pretty efficiently, and updating it by involving a Middle Eastern Country as their robots are being tested there first.
I’m not sure they didn’t test their own country before invading other people, but I guess that’s America for you. Actually, Sam asks a similar question, as they CAN’T use the machines at home. He says it in his Snakes on a Plane voice, naturally.
I’ve had it with these motherfucking machines NOT in this motherfucking country!
“Why is America so RoboPhobic?”
That weird bit aside, drones are not allowed on US soil. But again, invading third world country with them is okay!
After the title pops up (with a nice rendition of the original Robocop theme) we cut to Detriot we meet our new Alex Murphy, played by some guy no one knows/cares about. He tells someone a story of how his partner got shot by some generic bad guys, and the partner is called…Lewis.
Yeah, I guess in this version Lewis is a man and dies before we even know what his character is like. I’m so torn up due to this amazing connection ,and how he died to generic bad guys instead of the really memorable baddies from the original.
Well, it took us a bit over 10 minutes to reach our first dumb change, that’s not too bad.
Meanwhile, the CEO of OmniCorp, played by Micheal Keaton, is trying to the government to allow their robots to be tested in America. Well, having Batman in this does give it major credibility.’
They still aren’t sure about having robots running around, and if Batman can’t convince them, nothing can, so let’s just pack it in. It thankfully does not take him to figure out a solution: Put a man inside a machine.
Keaton asks Gary Oldman for help. Whoa, Burton Batman meets Nolan Gordon, my mind is blown. So they look at possible candidates to become robotic policemen. Because Alex hasn’t been killed yet, they come up dry. Meaning nothing interesting happens in this except one lame joke.
Speaking of Alex, we cut to him coming home to wife and kid. They seem about as interesting as most movie families, which is why the kid is sent to bed so Alex can mope about his partner. Wish I cared as much as the script kind of does.
He shares with her possibly the most boring kiss in film history, and even when they start to have sex, they seem completely uninterested. Thankfully they are interrupted by the sound of his caring making a noise, which he investigates.
But it looks like The Horrors touched it, because it explodes. This is what will injury him enough to become RoboCop. Yeah, instead of being shot by some fun bad guys, his car explodes due to some generic dudes no one cares about.
Riveting, what a great update.
We briefly see the wife grieving as is she told about him and then we just cut to 3 months later because I doubt anything interesting happened during that time. And now we just see him as Cyborg, just not fully activated yet.
Glad we get to know really well before this happened. We didn’t even see them deciding on Murphy for this test. Why is he stronger than anyone else? I don’t know, but if it means getting to the action, I don’t care.
I’m glad to be at this part, because this actor is honestly do dull being a robot is an upgrade. Him being a robot explains why he’s weak even when he tries to be angry about what they did to him.
He’s so pissed he runs of ,and he can do so because no one thought to have security in case their new cyborg went rouge, for some reason. He goes a decent distance before they shut him down manually.
Why didn’t you do that before? He clearly wasn’t listening!
He is taken to Gary Oldman who explains everything to him, including showing us how his body is now just a head and some origins. A lovely and necessary image. Alex wants to die but Gary tells him to think of his family.
It seems like for this version, he’s more self aware as the Robo Police Man and his wife did not leave him, since he didn’t flat out die here. I don’t mind this, as it’s an okay change, as long as they do it well enough.
Now that he’s New!RoboCop it’s time to train him and give him some weapons. ‘At one point during their little inspection, someone says this:
“I wouldn’t buy that for a dollar’
Hardy har har.
While Alex does well, Keaton doesn’t think that’s good enough, as the human element keeps him from being better, due to the his natural human flaws. To fix this, they mess with him a tad bit to make him a bit better, but slightly less human.
Now this is an interesting update, to further look at the whole humanity theme. Honestly, most of this works…except for Alex himself, oddly enough. With that, they give him a new Robo Suit. Yeah, before he looked like the 80’s one, but now he’s the one you see on the poster.
Honestly, it looks fine. It’s an upgrade that makes sense with how we view the future now, compared to the 80’s. Hopefully no one whined about that. After a neat bit of training, they take him to see his wife, after they took a bit of humanity out of him.
I’m sure this will go really well.
She has no reaction to her husband being all robotic and is just silent during this. Him being a robot excuses the non existent chemistry, at least. We have a very brief it with the son and next scene. Wow, that incredibly short scene where the wife didn’t even speak was so emotional and riveting.
We cut to later as he is ready to be shown to the world. They upload a bunch of info to his brain which causes him to have an emotional breakdown. I’m not quite sure what caused it, we saw a bunch of crime and stuff, so maybe the weight of what he has to do got him? It’s not made clear enough.
To fix this, they take away his emotions, further draining his humanity. He doesn’t even react when he walks by his family. Again, this is a pretty good idea, but so far I just don’t care about Alex Murphy, so at this point, it’s not as interesting as it could be.
He is unveiled and things go well, especially when he spots a wanted man in the crowd and takes care of him. Why would someone like that go to a place swarming with cops?!
This especially pleases Samuel L Jackson, who still exists in this movie.
‘How many like Thomas King was brought to justice, now that RoboCop is here?”
We then get a couple scenes of him doing his job, showing that he’s not really good, but he’s pretty much no longer human. As a wise man said, he’s more machine now than man. Keaton goes on Sam Jackson’s show to discuss the Dreyfus Act which I guess connects to allow Robot Policemen to roam.
Sam pretty much shuts down the guy they have who is against, so clearly he’s a tiny bit biased. Motherfucker.
(My only complaint about the PG-13 is that he can’t do what he does best)
They start getting calls from Clara about her Robot Husband, which they don’t want. Then she approaches Alex on the street, which they really don’t want. She tries to get to him as his son is troubled and really needs his Robot Daddy.
But due to his lack of emotions, he just runs off. Now that is an scene that almost works. There’s been a lack of scenes where I actually care about something, so this was a nice step in the right direction.
However, she eventually gets to him as he starts doing researching on Clara his kid, and this manages to override his priorities and make him go home, to look at the scene of his death. Yeah, no one bothered to look into who murdered Alex for some reason. Well, if you can’t get something done right, you gotta do it yourself.
Speaking of doing things badly, they did a shit job of getting rid of emotions if this happens if someone just talks to him once.
Now his goal is to stop the boring gang of generic guys who killed him. He goes into this hideout and we get an action scene I can barely make out because it’s in a dark place. Good doing, director man.
And in a matter of seconds, he kills them all. I’m not sure if he killed the boss thanks to bad direction, but I hope not because that would just highlight how forgettable the bad guys are.
He goes back to the station to confront two corrupt cops who I guess were important. I don’t know, a lot of this just went over my head. Either way, he shoots them so casually it’s funny.
He figures out the Chief of Police is connected to this, but he is shut down before he can do anything. This comes so out of nowhere and is so unconnected to the story we’ve been mostly following, that it’s hard to really care.
Despite being shut down, Sam Jackson thanks for his finding the corruption, and uses as a way to show how this Act is a good thing. Clara is a bit smarter than this and lets slide to the world that OmniCorp won’t allow her to see her husband.
Also, I just realized on of the OmniCorp guys is played by Hiccup and now that I said that, I can’t get it out of my head.
With a bunch of crap going on, they figure they have to do something, so Keaton wants Alex Murphy to be killed. Which only cause more problems. Am I missing something? Thankfully, Gary Oldman isn’t up for this and saves him.
Then it cuts to Keaton tells Clara that Alex has a breakdown and shot some unarmed people. So was that his plan or is he just rolling with it? Either way, he’s almost smart but your RoboCop going through another breakdown does not look good on you.
Gary Oldman tells Alex the truth and he runs off on his own and eventually just comes back to storm the place. Guess he just needed a head start.
He makes it through a bunch of guards and heads to the roof for the climax. His family even happens to be there to add tension! Thanks to his programming, he can’t arrest Keaton for what he did. But he overcomes that and shoots him anyway, which causes him to drop down as well.
But we don’t have time to really, as we cut to later showing he’s okay, with Clara even ready to look at him. Glad you kept the suspense for so long. Also, was that our climax? Because…yeah, that was lame.
She walks in and…then it cuts to Sam Jackson. I never thought I would be pissed to see him instead of the dullest Robot ever. He tells us that OCP has been shut down and Alex Murphy might he okay.
Also, that Act was denied for obvious reasons.
“I have no doubt he was manipulated by a biased media”
Yeah, and Disney paid off Critics too.
“That fact that this MotherBLEEP-er-”
Whoa whoa whoa, wait what?! He does say Fuck…it’s just Bleeped?! That is…actually amazing, given how much sense makes in context.
Shit is also bleeped, which is part of the joke because they said Shit already. I’m not sure what the real is on that word in PG-13 films at the moment.
I see he’s been on Youtube Comments lately.
“I am Pat NoJack. Good Night”
…Only 5 more weeks, then no more dumb abrupt endings except when I feel like it. Seriously, we barely see Alex’s reaction to this? Is he human again or what? You are going to skip the emotions to just tell us what happened?
I know the original had an abrupt ending too, but it was still resolved a lot better. There’s so many abrupt endings I can’t decided which one is worse, but this has to be up there, as it sums up one issues with the film.
Anyway, finally finished that.
(Putting the RoboCop theme at the end of the credits was nice, by the way)
This was exactly as Average as I figured it would be. As far as remakes go, this one is in the middle, and has it’s highs and lows. Nothing is terrible, nothing is amazing. Before I go into as a remake, let’s look on it’s own.
I feel like it doesn’t fully commit to a lot of what it tries to do. There are some interesting ideas here, and I like getting a peak behind the scenes and seeing how some of this happens. However, I don’t think it adds anything too new compared to every movie taking place in the future that looks at relevant issues.
It also don’t quite say anything except that…turning people into Robots is bad, I guess. There’s a ton of wit to it either. A lot of it is interesting, but amazingly so. There’s also a bit too much talking and not enough action.
For a movie called RoboCop, it could stand to have more of him and not people in suits talking. The action itself is decent, but nothing special. The effects are pretty good though.
It takes it’s time on the Social stuff, which is fine but rushes through a lot of the emotion of what RoboCop is going through. Him solving his own murder happens too quickly, and the bad guys aren’t at all connected to the bigger story.
And did I mention they were so boring and generic?
The cast is mostly solid when they get something to do…except for Alex Murphy himself. His actor is so boring and just adds nothing, especially early on. He’s more more interesting as a Robot, oddly enough.
I blame lackluster direction on this though, or them casting some guy no one knows or cares about. The characters are mostly just there for exposition, and this affects Alex the most. He has interesting ideas for his issues, but the pacing makes it so they don’t explore it.
We get quick scenes, and that’s it. Thanks to the lackluster writing, I do not care at all if he lives or not. I only care due to the ideas, the exceuction is very much lacking. Which actually leads me to the biggest flaw with this film.
It has good ideas, and a lot of elements work…but it’s a film focused more on ideas than anything else. It barely focuses on the emotion, only having quick scenes before moving on. This is summed up with the final scene, as I mentioned.
It’s actually kind of like RoboCop himself in the middle of the film. There’s some emotion I guess, but it’s just a robot going through the motions.
Now for it as a remake. They update some things nicely enough, and adds some things I appreciated. It also still has commentary and isn’t just the exact of thing it’s mocking. However, it takes a lot of the heart of the original and makes dumb changes like making Lewis useless and a man.
They seemed to be trying hard enough, and I gotta give them credit for that. But it just didn’t quite cut it, and was a bit disappointing. The best pars in the middle with the training and them messing with his humanity, as that was a nice update and interesting on it’s own. The rest is…hit or miss.
Overall, it’s just okay. It has interesting ideas and tries to update it okay, but it mostly falls a bit flat due to pointless changes not having the heart it needs. A Good effort, but could have been better.
But hey, from what I hear, it’s better than the original sequels.
Glad to have that done with. As for next time…well, we enter June, which will be the last month of scheduled reviews. I gotta make this big, as each review that month will be special and connected to my reviews in some way.
So, what’s up first?