Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Movie Review: Robocop

My sister and I watched Robocop this past weekend. I vaguely remember watching the '80s version of this with my dad as a kid. (When it was on TV, of course, as I was never allowed to watch high-rated films.) I was kind of excited when I saw they were doing an updated version, though it didn't get as much hype or attention as I would have thought. And since watching the first season of The Killing, I've been a Joel Kinnaman fan, so his being in it was a happy bonus. 

Plot: Murphy is is a hardened cop with a wife and son, who doesn't mind taking risks to get the bad guys. When he angers the wrong people, a car explosion leaves him--for all intents and purposes--dead. Until he's chosen to become Robocop, of course. He's haunted by memories of his past, especially his own murder, and memories of his happy life with his wife and son. Inevitably, he has trouble differentiating himself from the machine.

Now, I don't by any means remember the ins and outs of the 80's Robocop films, but it seems to me that they didn't do anything groundbreaking with the plot. Most of the same conflicts that existed in the earlier films existed here, without much that was new. I think his wife (Abby Cornish) and son played a larger role than in the original, but that was about it. Not that the plot here was bad by any means, but I really wasn't wowed by it. Which is perhaps why the film didn't get as much attention as I would have predicted.

*One thing of interest is that in the original, Detroit was in a futuristic dystopian state. This Robocop is still futuristic (2029) but there's not much mention of dystopia. Could it be that Detroit today has degraded enough to become a dystopia, so that's not a point that needs to be pretended for a film?*

Characters: Murphy's character was interesting enough. Buried memories, differentiating man from machine, and trying to solve one's own murder are always interesting. But even saying that, they didn't go as deep as they could have with the character. Kinnaman did an excellent job, but the character himself was a bit superficial. I mean, he's Robocop. Dig a little deeper! 

Plenty of great actors made appearances, such as Michael Keaton (where's he been hiding?) Gary Oldman, and Jackie Earl Haley (ever the villain we love to hate). I will say that it's worth it to see the film just to watch Samuel L. Jackson. His role, though minor, was somewhere between Caesar Flickerman of Hunger Games and your typical Fox News anchor. I totally watch Fox News and this struck me as a great spoof. Had me totally cracking up. 

Effects: Definitely cool. The upgrade on the film here was definitely in the special effects and current technology. I gasped several times at sudden, unforeseen twists. One thing that was definitely different was the explosion that caused Murphy's injuries. (In the earlier film, I think it was a gang shooting.)

Ending: I won't spoil, but I don't really have much to say here. It was a good ending. We got the man overcoming the machine and the importance of family. And it was definitely left open enough to leave room for more films. But again we have the depth issue. I won't rant. 

Overall: I'm glad I saw it and it was definitely entertaining to watch. The acting and affects were great. I'm just not sure I'd necessarily watch it again. It just didn't do a whole lot for me.

Has anyone else seen this film? What did you think of it?


  1. You know I reviewed it on Monday. Kind of forgettable. Although one heck of a cast.

    1. Yeah, I read your review yesterday and went, "Yeah pretty much." :D That's why I always trust your movie reviews because we usually have the same opinions about the films we see/review. :D

  2. That's what everyone is saying about this one. Not a bad sequel, but not good enough to watch more than once.