'Robocop' is one of the most beloved films of the past 30 years or so, it's fun dark tone, its satirical look at 'American Culture' and the media. It's a film that much like 'Terminator' has a die hard following. It's a film that said all it needed to say when it released, it's not perfect but it's intention was fully delivered. So i was little shocked when it was remade, after all spruced up visuals don't validate anything. Pointless is as good as any word to describe remaking this.
But as the film opened up and i was greeted by Samuel L Jackson’s ‘Pat Novak’ i was beginning to think my caution wasn’t needed. Maybe there was a reason for the remake, with ‘Novak’ giving a lecture and in your face rant about the lack of robotic police that are present everywhere but the place it is manufactured. It’s a good bold move to open with it but the right one. But as ‘Novak’ closed out and the prologue was over the film showed its true colours. Backed by a music that sounded more at home in a Superbowl final the tone was set and from there on in i knew only disappointment was ahead. It’s a film that only gets progressively worse as it goes with sprinklings of the satire it promises in the opening.
'Alex Murphy' (Joel Kinnaman) is blown to bits in a different manner after getting to close to a high profile criminal. It's standard stuff that sets the ball rolling but things slow down and the building and 'tests' take precedent. 'Alex' gets over his predicament far to quickly and structurally its a bit miss-mashed, skating over significant moments like meeting his family again all too quickly. The one shining light is when 'Novak' ever makes an appearance injecting some energy and a feeling of what could have been. Where as 'Peter Weller' was able to show the struggle of 'Murphy' but stay within Robocop's emotional range, 'Kinnaman' is not. He may as well be a robot before gets blown to bits, emotionless and not particularly likable. For the most apt his suite is different with a black sleek look - although he does at times don the original grey but i'm glad they changed it (The less association with the original the better).
Usually when a remake fails its clear that love and care as gone into it but here it just seems hollow. And that’s what the film is hollow in every sense of the word it’s ‘Robocop’ light, watered down. And that’s the worse thing - the dark yet fun feeling the original perfectly captured is completely missing here. Even all the action sequence are dull they aren’t badly done they just lack any urgency. As simple as it sounds i think the main culprit is the drop in age rating - 12A isn’t enough for what this films needs. The very lest this films should be in its state is entertaining but its not, there are hints of the machine/man and where the line is its just lack of follow through yet again. It’s constricting and undermining its own point. At first it was just bland but it turned into frustrating because while this wasn’t going to be as good as the original it could stand on its own feet.
Much like our protagonist ‘Robocop’ is a robotic, stiff shell of the original film. There are some nice ideas hinted at here and there and ‘Novak’ gives some needed urgency. And of course ‘Jackson’ and ‘Oldman’ give us good performances but as a remake it’s totally unnecessary. It’s dull, tired, misses the point of the original and annoyingly skips over the interesting elements. If you want to see ‘Robocop’ don’t bother, see the original one its far superior.
- ‘Novak’ stops you from falling asleep.
- Hints are something that could have been.