If you are 30-something like me, when you sit down to watch this film you inevitably will want to compare it to the original. Do yourself a favor: Don’t. Chances are, you are gonna hate this one. The original Robocop was released in 1987. It featured a cast of mostly unknown fellas or actors of modest fame. The property gave every single one of them their 15 minutes in the spotlight. (enough to warrant two sequels, one cartoon and a line of toys). Of course what stood out was the main character: Peter Weller as Alex Murphy/ Robocop. The performance of this man was so unbelievably good that you almost shared the pain of the heavy losses he experienced during that film. That said the 27 years old story didn’t really need the upgrade because it’s not dated at all yet. But since Hollywood is out of ideas, they just remake everything under the sun including the classics. Proving again and again that in the current movie industry there’s nothing sacred.
In 2014 we have Joel Kinnaman donning a redesigned suit of armor to play a new, more agile and more organic (ew!) Robocop. The wooden acting of this guy actually helps him through all the film (he’s playing a robot you know!) and it’s up to veterans Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Jacky Earle Haley and Sam Jackson to carry on the film which they do efficiently (but not great). And although the music carry some of the great original soundtrack by Basil Polidorus it relies more on well known american classics to carry on the story music-wise. Again, it’s only good. Not great. What hurts most this film (if you’ve watched the original) It’s the heavily toned down violence. It’s my understanding that this was done intentionally to achieve a PG-13 rate for the film. But Robocop it’s a brutal robot with few organic parts who kept his conscience and his soul. He who shoots criminals on sight with his fucking huge ass gun, not some pussy cyborg who carries around a 50.000 volt teaser gun.
All in all this film it’s not as bad as i’m making it look, If you are under 17 and don’t know the character you may very well like it and enjoy it for what it is (do yourself a favor however: watch the original after this one. You’ll thank me for life). But for the old fans of the character… well I guess it’s just good news that they decided to keep the property alive. Yo did just good Jose Padilha… Here’s hoping that if you get to make a sequel you can do better!
Some of the greatest sci-fi or comic films of the 90’s. from top to bottom: Peter Weller as Robocop, Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as J & K from Men In Black and Warren Beatty and Madonna as Dick Tracy and Breathless Mahoney.
At the very end of the 80’s Robocop was a hot property with a solid first film out and a second on his way. Most companies jumped at the opportunity to capitalize on the brand despise the heavy violence displayed by the main character. Marvel Comics launched a comic series based on the adventures of Murphy with the blessing of Orion Pictures. The comic was in the same tune of the movies, although it displayed a Robocop much more tech-savvy, agile, lethal and with a heavy moral compass that made him feel guilt over his actions. Despise being a good read the series lasted only 23 issues, originally though to link Robocop 2 and 3. These tales were later cast out of the actual continuity of the character because it contradicted too much what was set as canon on film. These days Dynamite Comics hold the license of the characters and they release a comic series almost each year.
Maybe you’ve heard all the fuzz about a new remake of Robocop filming right now. If you are under 18 do yourself a favor and see the original, although it was made in 1987, it’s still a great film and a social critique like no other on his time. Don’t get me wrong I’m very much looking forward for the new take for this generation, but Peter Weller did it just right 25 years ago.
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