Review: Robocop 2014

12 02 2014

Robocop_posterThe original Robocop is a classic for several reasons. Not only because the cyberpunk genre doesn’t have too many great frontrunners but also because it was a glorious parody of media violence and the massive power of cooperate culture’s influence on daily life. Now the problem that anyone who wants to make a remake of that has to face is that the cyberpunk genre is an outdated vision of the future and the main theme of the movie is no longer a relevant message. Of course one could still make a an orgy of violence like any other half decent action movie but can it still contain a message?

To my surprise the producers of the new Robocop rises to the occasion and manages a shift in its themes that is at the same time true to its roots and updated enough to be relevant. Instead of pure cooperate control it is about lobbyism, warfare for the sake of the arms industry and overzealous control and violence against the own populace. Even the owner evil cooperate goons have changed from classic goons in suit and ties to more colorful individuals that would be well at home heading a modern social media platform. So the new Robocop manages to do the impossible and have a theme that is relevant in modern times to dress up its robots and action. Nicely done.

Unfortunately that is all it is. Because this movie fails at the much more easy parts of being a good action movie and having a solid plot. The PG 13 rating certainly doesn’t do it any favors but one has to almost admire how they made the Robocop itself look more like a guy in a suit than the movie from the 80s. The pacing is all over the place, half the movie working towards introducing the character differently than the original only to switch back to the same thing at the last-minute, wasting some 30 minutes of mindnumbingly boring training.

Oh and he's black now. Because...they wanted to make Batman? I have no idea people.
Oh and he’s black now. Because…they wanted to make Batman? I got nothing.

That alone would condemn it to be hated since not entertaining your audience is still the major crime any movie can commit but for me personally their massive flaws in logic are much more painful.  The Robocop itself is an utterly useless machine clearly inferior to the pure robot versions already in use. They even say so themselves. Right before letting him defeat a few dozen because he has superior had and software. Which you know they could have built into the robots too. They really only make one of their machines weaker to make it more relatable to people. It’s a publicity stunt to make one of their highly effective war machines less dangerous.

The pure robotic version with no organic parts to weaken it and no consience to slow it down. They just don't build one with the same quality of hardware or it would beat the shit out of their star.

And of course like all remakes it tries so very hard to make the viewer belief it is smarter and more mature about than the original only to utterly fail in the end and show they didn’t understand shit about their subject matter. You can talk about dopamine levels in the brain and feed nutrients for the organic parts all day to make it look like you took care of the details but in the very end the original Robcop understood what it was about. The machine could not defeat its programming. The plot worked arround it, allowing Robocop to shoot the main villain after the programmed failsafe to prevent it was no longer in effect. The new Robocop simply does the same thing by overcoming the problem with his pure willpower. Because.. souls! Or something along those lines apparently are more important than a full system shutdown.

Oh yea we added a natural hand just so it looks even more like he's wearing a costume!

Oh yea we added a natural hand just so it looks even more like he’s wearing a costume!

While the mind’s ability to overcome problems is a classic theme this movie is absolutely the wrong place for this sort of thing and only serves to show that the writers were simply going through the motions, doing the same thing as always instead of really caring about their subject matter.

Now I could get into the fact that none of the actors really sold their part or how the current state of Detroit is so screwed up that even the old Robocop movie looks more like a documentary than a parody while the new one doesn’t even adress the issue but honestly the movie already is boring and stupid, does it even matter anymore?

Holy shit! The new Ed 209s look awesome. The sad truth is that it is still worth seeing this movie just to see some robots in action. Its not like we get a lot of that.
Holy shit! The new Ed 209s look awesome. The sad truth is that it is still worth seeing this movie just to see some robots in action. Its not like we get a lot of that.
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