The trailer for the long-awaited remake of ROBOCOP is here and guess what? It looks completely interchangable with every other sci-fi/action reboot.
This is of course a remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film, which used a dystopian landscape, an anti-capitalist undercurrent, over the top violence and biting satire to at once celebrate and lampoon many of our notions of heroism. Judging from the trailer, this remake takes all of that and scraps it in favor of “CYBORG MAKE THINGS GO BOOM!”
The new film is directed by Jose Padilha (ELITE SQUAD). It stars Joel Kinnaman (LOLA VERSUS, THE KILLING) as Alex Murphy. To be fair, the remake seems to have taken the main plot outline of the original and done its own thing. Alex Murphy seems to be the only character who, by name anyway, has been ported over to the new version.
Notable differences this time around include Murphy’s family being well aware of what has become of Alex and even reluctantly signing off on the deal. Murphy is aware of his identity and there is a suggestion that Robocop continues trying to be a good husband and father while being half man/half machine. This of course obliterates the primary emotional conceit of the original.
They have managed to assemble an impressive supporting cast for the film including Abbie Cornish (SUCKER PUNCH, STOP-LOSS) as Mrs. Murphy, Gary Oldman as one of the scientists in charge, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Jay Baruchel (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, THIS IS THE END), Aimee Garcia (DEXTER), Jennifer Ehle (ZERO DARK THIRTY), Jackie Earle Haley (WATCHMEN, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), Michael K. Williams and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Miguel Ferrer also seems to have a small role, though not as the same character he played in Verhoeven’s film.
I don’t know. Judging from the trailer, I don’t see anything here that sets it apart from the standard big-budget action films that flood the marketplace already. It spots, it seems to recall made for TV clichés and the idea of having Robocop have a heart to heart with his son seems quite desperate. The trailer seems to do nothing to differentiate itself from the middle of the road actioner. Whereas the original did something new, this one seems bound to please the widest audience possible and coming up with something decidedly non-spectacular just so everyone will have an average experience. I would be surprised if this doesn’t score a PG-13. It looks like another $100 million spent on mediocrity to me.
MGM’s rebooted ROBOCOP will be released on February 7, 2014. Are you willing to buy that for a dollar?