November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
I am having a strange time not hating movies that aren’t well-liked by critics and audience this year. I mean, I can be okay with an Transformers sequel that doesn’t involve Skids, Mudflap and Deep Wang and I didn’t hate Platinum Dunes’ re-imagining of heroes in a half shell. I explain much on those so what do I explain about this year’s RoboCop remake? Well, I already looked into four knockoffs of Detroit’s greatest defender earlier this year so let’s see what I think about this one.
Taking place in 2028 (instead of “near future” like the previous incarnation), Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) got involved in an explosion that is planted by one of the henchman to Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow). He died but is later brought back three months later by Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) who works in OmniCorp that’s headed by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton). Alex at first felt suicidal and shocked about this but he trained himself to be the first half-human/half-cybernetic police officer in a future America where machinery forces is thought to be illegal for lawful use which is all thanks the Dreyfus act that’s set up by Senator Dreyfus (Zack Grenier).
As Murphy ushered to the public as RoboCop, he took on various criminals but then decides to investigate his own murder which results to him finding out that people like Chief Karen Dean (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) being involved in Vallon’s pack. Also, Raymond became greedy and desperate that he now wants RoboCop to be deactivated and now comes off as an antagonist to Alex and his family for no good reason. So Alex then has to stop both the forces that killed him and that will kill him.
Before I’ll get to what I think of it, let me talk a bit about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans. This is the first major American vehicle for Brazilian director José Padilha who’s already best known for Bus 174 and Elite Squad series. And it’s possible the only vehicle made outside his native country because the thing about it is this reboot is not the way he envisioned and intended. Even though he wanted to make this movie, his experience making it is noted by his friend and director Fernando Meirelles as being the worst experience he ever did so there’s massive studio interference involved (as mentioned on this link). In addition, José mentioned Fernando that only one out of his ten ideas have been used in the final product which honestly, I have to wonder what this rejected ideas are. It could be cool.
At this point of time, he didn’t disown it but it’s a matter of time. The only positives I could give is Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman and Jackie Earle Haley. True, Raymond’s villainous motivation is not the same as Dick Jones or The Old Man but Keaton is so playing Keaton in a hammy way. Gary is good even though I felt he’s being underused. And Jackie playing an asshole antagonist to Murphy? What could I say about this? And that’s about the positives there because everything else sucks. I explained the executive meddling earlier and that’s one issue but the other issue is that this is a definite case of the studio giving a middle finger to the franchise. From Jackie dropping the worst usage of “I’d buy that for a dollar” line to Michael Keaton thinking RoboCop should look more awesome in black rather than familiar type of suit that resembles the original, it is a massive spit on your face.
The acting outside of Keaton and Haley is totally phoned-in and unwanted to the degree. Josh is not playing RoboCop at all, he’s actually playing an emotionless man who thinks he’s RoboCop. Even previous actors who played RoboCop that’s not Peter Weller knows how to play the character despite some criticism. Abbie Cornish as his wife also looks bored being in this and Samuel L. Jackson is really in it to play a parody of himself that failed more than the one seen in Epic Movie. Jay Baruchel nearly got a pass but for a replacement of Bob Morton, the only resemblance is that Jay looks like he’s high in character and possibly in real life (since really his friends with Seth Rogen) and that is his only character trait related to Bob, he’s playing a businessman who looks high and nothing else.
And one more actor who failed to give expectations is Officer Anne Harris or according to this reboot, Officer Jack Harris. Now I’m all for racelifts and genderflips involving previously established characters in various franchises and Michael K. Williams might play Jack well but the issue to that he’s really barely there. How could you do that? You revitalised Officer Harris by having the character played by Omar from The Wire and what do you do? Nothing, just place him because he’s Alex’s partner who does nothing much. If Hammond from Android Cop is a better use as a partner to a police officer that’s practically a machine, then something is really wrong with the picture.
Done with the acting and oh, the camera style and editing. There’s usage of shaky cam technique and while it’s not making you suffer seizure, it is just used for unnecessary reasons. Oh look, a camera shakes in a police station conversation, why bother? Nothing happened there. And the action scenes are just blah right down to copying the shootout in the dark sequence from Uwe Boll’s Alone In The Dark. The storytelling is dull and uninteresting and fail to live up to the original. Speaking of which, it’s rated PG-13 which I mentioned earlier and is surprisingly less violent than the previous time RoboCop is rated PG-13 which is the massively-divided third one. How sad is it that RoboCop 3 is now superior than this reboot? Heck, I think it’s at this point that I liked that movie more than this one.
And lastly, it is a bad sign when you released a movie on an January dump month which is a giveaway clue for this movie is gonna suck and you all gonna pay for it. Sadly, it made more money than anything else with the word “RoboCop” in the title. Yes, a movie that’s boring, lifeless, unoriginal and offensive to the fan base made more cash than the first, second and even the third movie. Congratulations, you might about to get a sequel in the near future and also helped making Joshua Zetumer, the writer of this movie (and Quantum of Solace) to write a X-Men spinoff movie on Gambit that’s starring Channing Tatum. So honestly, this one should be alongside with Total Recall remake as one of the worst reboots I ever seen so fuck this movie and people who’s involved in making this (except the director because of what I said earlier). Just ignore this and go check out Our RoboCop Remake (which the video is below) because at least this one knows and respects the original while having a bit of fun on it.