Sunday, June 1, 2014

Video review: "Robocop"

I’m not mortally offended by Hollywood wanting to remake one of the seminal movies of my youth, but did they have to be so tame about it? This mincing, PG-13-rated sci-fi action/drama feels like it’s had all its precious bodily fluids slurped out of it. The result is cool-looking but rather unexciting.

The story is familiar: in a dystopian near-future, noble Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is blown apart in the line of duty. He’s put back together as cyborg by a nefarious corporation that runs the police services, and is sold to the public as their savior. But there’s more to the story, with Michael Keaton playing the villain who cares more about maximizing revenues than actually improving lives.
The new look of Robocop is quite a sight, with black armor and a red eye slit. Though no one’s ever satisfactorily explained to me why they leave his lower face exposed.

Rounding out the cast are Abbie Cornish as Mrs. Murphy; Michael K. Williams as Murphy’s partner; Samuel L. Jackson as a demagogic TV yapper; Gary Oldman as a conflicted scientist; and Jackie Earle Haley as a mercenary stooge.

Murphy/Robocop comes across more as a video game avatar than an authentic tortured soul. And the over-the-top bloody violence so intrinsic to the 1987 movie are replaced with CGI-heavy eye candy.
The new “Robocop” isn’t a terrible flick. But it commits the one crime that the enduring memory of the original renders unforgiveable: it’s forgettable.

The movie comes with a decent enough mix of video extras. There are a handful of deleted scenes, schematics of Robocop and other Omnicorp creatures and hardware, and three making-of featurettes.



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