MOVIE REVIEW: Robocop

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robocop

Robocop is the new science fiction action movie that is a reboot of the 1987 movie of the same name.  This is the fourth installment in the Robocop franchise and is directed by Jose Padilha.  The Brazilian director is best known for his films Elite Squad, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, and the documentary Secrets of the Tribe.  The movie stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jackie Earle Haley.  This reboot has been talked about since 2005 and will finally hit theaters on Wednesday, February 12.

The year is 2028 and the use of robot soldiers for military purposes is taking over the world, but the United States is the last country to allow the takeover.  The corporation behind these “soldiers”, OmniCorp, is wanting to sell this technology for civilian law enforcement, but is being met with resistance by a new law called the Dreyfuss Act.  The main issue is that these robots don’t have feelings and therefore can’t feel remorse if they would happen to make a mistake.  CEO of OmniCorp, Michael Sellars (Keaton), and his head scientist, Dr. Norton (Oldman), figure out a way to give these robots some humanity.  In Detroit, Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) and his partner are working undercover and closing in on the bust of a major crime lord.  Circumstances happen and Alex gets blown up by a car bomb and is now the perfect candidate to lead this new initiative to place a human inside of one of these robots.  The result is a new form of super police officer, known as Robocop, but with this new technology comes many issues and new struggles over right vs. wrong and good vs. evil.

The return of Robocop didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped it would.  To be honest, I stopped getting my hopes up for the 80’s remakes years ago even though I have fond memories of the original.  With that said, I figured I might at least get to see some over-the-top action sequences and big explosions.  That really didn’t happen either, at least not to the extent I was hoping for.  Aside from the lack of big action, there were really three other aspects of the film with which I had a problem.  First, and probably the biggest issue, was the lack of character development.  We really don’t get to know much of anything about any of the characters involved, especially the villains.  Even Alex Murphy, the man inside of Robocop, isn’t fully developed, at least not enough to where I cared one bit about his character.  This sort of leads me to issue number two, the movie spends way too much time on the creation of Robocop and not nearly enough time on Robocop actually fighting crime.  I’m pretty sure that everyone going to see Robocop already knows that a man is put inside a robot to stop the bad guys and clean up the streets.  I couldn’t count the number of times that Robocop would start to do something cool, but would have to turn right back around and be brought back into the “shop” for repairs and tweaking.  They needed to cut out about 30 minutes of set-up and use that time to develop characters and show Robocop fighting crime.  Finally, the third issue I had was with the terrible acting.  The stars of the movie did a fine job, even though their characters were under-developed, but the supporting characters were downright awful.  It felt like they just pulled some extras off the street and had them read lines.  All three of those things added up to me not really enjoying the movie and really wishing they hadn’t remade it in the first place.  For those wanting to escape for a couple hours and not have to think much, Robocop might be right down your alley, but I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time.

Grade: D+

Robocop opens in theaters on Wednesday, February 12.