“Brazilian hitmaker Jose Padilha’s attempt to reboot Paul Verhoeven’s cult classic RoboCop pays respectful homage to the original. This 2014 RoboCop is too subtle compared to the 1987, yet, it still tops other sequels. Almost there!”
In Brazil, Jose Padilha hits the box office with his back-to-back Elite Squad and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. The latter, even, becomes Brazilian pride along with Cidade de Deus. This year, he tries his luck rebooting a cult-super-police movie Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop (1987). The result of it is far from being disappointing–it’s completely better than any RoboCop’s sequels, yet, it’s just being over-confident.
Standing on completely different ground from the original, this reboot leads us to a dystopian future. OmniCorp, a robot developer, succeeds its overseas campaign but encounters domestic failure for standing against The US’ Dreyfuss Act proposed by Senator Dreyfuss (Zach Grenier). To convince the people of America about their worthiness, OmniCorp’s president, Russell Sellars (Michael Keaton) hires Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) to put a human inside a robot–to plant ‘humanity’ inside machines.
Our lucky guy is Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a Detroit cops who’s almost killed by a car explosion–a result of teasing a kingpin Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow). His almost devastated body and conscience is put inside a black-varnished cult machine and then introduced to public as RoboCop. The problem is, will this newly armored vigilante accept his new fate as a half man and a half cyborg while he has already had his family and life?
The 2014 RoboCop doesn’t insult its predecessor at all. Even it pays respectful homage to the original (including the “I won’t buy that for a dollar” cliche) and doesn’t fuck with Verhoeven’s merciless version. The thing is… it hasn’t even approached the ‘cult’ status of Verhoeven’s. I’m not a fan of the original, yet, for me… this RoboCop is kinda play safe.
When it leads to the gunshot coreography, there’s some adrenaline rushes. Padilha shows his great effort in showing it on-screen. Well, at some points, the gunshots are dull (falling in ‘been-there-done-that’ pit); however, mostly they really entertain if you put aside your great expectations. However, when it leads to the satire parts (the one the original plays best), this RoboCop plays its discord. Being narrated by Samuel L. Jackson with his patriotic speeches–RoboCop’s too bleak.
One thing you’ll notice immediately is its flashy plot. Devicing no one-for-all villain, this movie tosses its focus here and there to no definite foes. Attempts to twist the plots through corruptions and political issues leads to a flashy clincher which follows the mainstream standard–which entertains… and quite Padilha, moreover with cinematography shot by his regular collaborator Lula Carvalho. Perhaps, the pursuit of PG-13 rating has made it blunt–brutal in some scenes but mostly subtle; while Verhoeven’s version is so violent, sharp, and outspoken.
Well, no regret is addressed for watching this serious attempt. The flash pace and balanced action keeps you on the board for its entire duration. Supporting role portrayed by Keaton, Oldman, L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley and Jennifer Ehle as well as Jay Baruchel is encouraging; yet, I shouldn’t suggest you to expect too much on this reboot if the original still lingers on your mind.
GENRE: Action, Crime, Sci-Fi, Reboot / DIRECTOR: Jose Padilha / WRITERS: Joshua Zetumer / DoP: Lula Carvalho / EDITOR: Peter McNulty, Daniel Rezende / MUSIC: Pedro Bromfman / CASTS: Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Patrick Garrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley