Sunday, March 02, 2014


Judge Dredd certainly got a fantastic makeover with the recent Dredd, so I was similarly optimistic for Robocop to pull a hat trick here. While there are a good many ideas in the film that could've produced something great, Robocop doesn't live up to expectations.

We have a simple origin story here where good cop Alex Murphy is taken out for investigating an illegal arms smuggler. He is given a second chance at life, but reduced to living within a mechanical robotic body. An experimental test prototype by a robot manufacturer who is looking for a chance to put such armored personnel on the streets of America. Alex thus deals with the horrifying reality he is now in, while trying to adjust to his new life with his wife and son and also tracking down the people who put him in this predicament in the first place. It's a pretty open and cut story from start to finish, even with the twist in teh road being somewhat predictable.

The political commentary is laid thick, though it's execution and presentation is problematic even from the angle of its intentional cheesiness. This is certainly not Paul Verhoven's work. There is even the issue that for such a world where such robotics are more widespread, we sense far too little of its impact in the world of Robocop. So the setting is not idealized enough to suggest to us that such technology meshes well with reality. An issue from a conceptual phase, though most likely a budgetary limitation.

The film isn't a bad one, but it's nothing special either. Not even the action scenes are anything to rave about, and many things seem to be resolved rather quickly. Even in the Verhoven flicks, Robocop seemed vulnerable, but here he's unstoppable, the primary conflict being emphasized with regards to Murphy's coming to terms with his new life, and the political/corporate plays that are happening around him.

Maybe next time they could do better? But I'm not really anticipating more after this. They'd probably need a really good gimmick if there's a next time... Maybe have a Robodog... That'd be awesome!

If you're looking for a better Robocop time, drop by our store and pick up Frank Miller's take.