Published on February 8th, 2014 | by admin
Robocop – Film Review
Reviewed by Tim Cooper on February 7th, 2014
Sony presents a film by Jose Padilha
Written by Joshua Zetuma
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbey Cornish and Michael Keaton
Running Time: 117 mins
Released: February 6th, 2014
It is the year 2028 in Detroit, America. Crime is suffocating the city and OmniCorp dispenses street justice with a literal iron fist. Violence is escalating across the city and the current law enforcement robots are unable to manage or control with the sensitivities of a human officer. When police officer and married father Alex Murphy is nearly killed in a car explosion, his remaining body and mind is used to complete the ultimate law enforcement officer. He is both man and machine. A crime fighting, bio mechanic hybrid called, Robocop.
Whether you’ve seen the original or any of its inferior sequels you will most probably still know of the tin man, top cop, crime buster. The 1987, Paul Verhoeven directed violent, Eighties classic stands strong as a favourite in action and science fiction fans alike. It was and still remains an over the top, technophobia fuelled look at digital advancement in the hands of a domineering global corporation. Yes, it also had a guy in a really cool robot suit too. Well, the suit is back. The technophobia is back. The corporations are back, but this time we have a little extra with our crime watch. There is no denying that the new Robocop is beautifully made. It is edited sharply, incredibly stylish to look at and acted well throughout. This is important to mention, because there is much more dramatic material in this modern version.
The human elements of Robocop are given much more weight and while that may put action fans off, it shouldn’t. The film benefits from the more evolved character work and a better-realised plot from all angles including the social and personal elements. You care for Alex Murphy’s family and you care for Robocop when Omnicorp consistently toys with him. At the end of the day a film like this is action based and there is enough to suffice those viewers who love bullets and explosions with their popcorn. The world has changed since the Eighties and so must the characters within films like this. The violence is not as extreme as in the Verhoeven film, but there is still a good deal of robot metal cracking human skulls. There are also many in-jokes and some visual nods to the past that will delight many die hard fans.
Joel Kinnaman seems an odd choice for Robocop and there is something a little flat in his performance, even before he is in the suit. While the actor doesn’t ruin the role or film, he fails to evoke much more thought in the viewer than wondering how long it will be before we see him in the suit. It is the surrounding cast that support and heighten this film to an enticing and exciting watch. Gary Oldman, remains one of the top actors working in Hollywood. Michael Keaton is impressive in his usual off-kilter way. He also has some well-delivered and excellently written monologues. Abbey Cornish also delivers a balanced performance as Alex’s wife Clara. She enlivens the family scenes and projects the internal conflict of her characters decision perfectly. Director Jose Padihla has kept tight control of this piece and should be given more films of this genre and or style. He seems more at home with material like this many of Hollywoods established action directors.
Robocop is a fantastic cinema experience and this is the way it should be watched, on the big screen. It is a prime example of how to reboot a franchise and bring something fun but dated into the modern era. While it’s obviously not a film that will change the world, it is a character much loved and in this film he has been treated with respect to that legacy. Robocop is a human story told within a larger scale social commentary that blends cohesively with the films action elements. For all the fans out there it must be said that, I’d buy that for a dollar!
Summary: There is no denying that the new Robocop is beautifully made.